USDA REPORTS 12% OF CORN, 6% OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED
Brownfield Ag News reports:
The U.S. corn harvest remains behind normal.
USDA says as of Sunday 12 percent of corn is harvested compared to the five-year average of 14 percent.
Crop development also trails with 58 percent of corn mature, three percentage points behind normal.
Corn considered good to excellent held steady at 52 percent.
Soybean harvest is at eight percent, five percentage points off the usual pace.
Sixty-three percent of soybeans are dropping leaves, compared to 65 percent normally.
Soybeans in good to excellent condition held at 55 percent.
Winter wheat planting is slightly ahead of average at 31 percent, and emergence is at nine percent.
The cotton harvest is 15 percent done compared to the five-year average of 14 percent, with 27 percent of the crop considered fair and 27 percent rated good.
And the rice harvest advanced to 59 percent, five percentage points behind normal.
The term "Climate-Smart Agriculture" has received a lot of news coverage recently, and those are the latest buzz words in the farm industry. That's why Ted McKinney, former Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, is now working in Washington D.C. to make sure the ag community is leading the direction on climate-related policies.
"You can walk and chew gum at the same time, and I think that's probably a good analogy on what we have to do," said McKinney, who is now CEO of the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) after also having served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs for President Trump.
He says NASDA and other ag organizations are working to control the narrative on "climate-smart agriculture."
"A lot of that is what farmers are already doing: no till or minimum till farming, planting cover crops, using judicial amounts of pesticides and fertilizer - all the things that a lot of farmers are already doing is climate smart ag," according to McKinney.
However, he says he is concerned that environmental groups are the ones trying to beat the ag industry to the punch in setting up standards and certifications for crops and livestock.
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Time Ticking on EPA Decision on Treated Seed
EPA must decide by September 30 whether it will accept petition to require additional approvals for insecticide-coated seeds.
As part of a court decree, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has until Sept. 30 to decide on a petition filed by the Center for Food Safety seeking rulemaking or a formal agency interpretation for pesticidal seed treatments. The petition, which is critical of pesticidal seed treatments, requests the agency initiate a separate rulemaking aimed at removing seed treatments from the treated article exemption.
Ahead of the decision, 30 leading agricultural groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and others urged EPA to reject the petition, citing the harm that will occur to U.S. agricultural production, the environment and EPA’s regulatory workload should the agency grant this petition and remove seed treatments from the treated article exemption.
The exemption prevents EPA from having to regulate an item to which a pesticide is applied if the pesticide is intended to protect that underlying article. For example, just as EPA would not regulate a barn because its paint included a pesticide intended to protect the wood, neither would EPA regulate a seed coated with a pesticide since the pesticide itself is already regulated. If granted, this petition may require EPA to regulate both the pesticide and the pesticide-coated seed, the letter explains.
“The harm that would occur should EPA grant this petition is significant and severe,” the letter adds.
In the letter to EPA Administrator Regan, the groups outlined how granting the petition would reduce growers’ access to these vital crop tools by imposing unnecessary, duplicative layers of regulation. Hundreds of thousands of agricultural producers across the U.S. currently use seed treatments to protect their crops from devastating fungi, subterranean nematodes, insects, and other pests during the most vulnerable, early stages of a plant’s lifecycle, which may be more difficult to access if layered with new regulatory burdens.
The letter also urged EPA to consider the negative environmental consequences the petition could cause. As seed treatments coat a seed with only a minuscule amount of pesticidal active ingredient, which is then buried under the ground, it has reduced environmental exposure risks. The groups reiterate to EPA that if ag producers lose access to seed treatments due to new, duplicative regulations, many growers will likely need to spray more pesticide in greater volumes through broadcast, soil and other applications. This outcome would increase the volume of pesticides used through application methods with a greater environmental footprint, which neither the ag industry nor EPA would want.
In discussion about the petition, Kyle Kunkler, ASA director of government affairs, says the EPA’s regulatory workload is already not getting any lighter for the agency.
Kunkler hopes EPA rejects the petition, but if they don’t it would trigger some sort of rulemaking because it’s a treated article exemption. “If they want to change how they interpret whether or not seeds are ‘treated articles’ they would have to change their own rules,” he says.
“Whatever happens before, on, or before September 30 probably won’t be the end of the conversation,” Kunkler continues. He says if EPA doesn’t reject the petition, there would be additional rulemaking where the ag sector would need to spell out the impact.
For growers if seed treatments are limited, this would likely mean more broadcast spray treatments, using more active ingredients, and more passes across a field which also comes at a higher cost to growers and the environment.
“This outcome will have the opposite effect of what the petitioners intend by increasing the volume of pesticides used through application methods with a greater environmental footprint,” the letter adds.
“Right now, you treat the seed, and it gets planted at the same time as the seed. So, you only have to make one field pass,” Kunkler adds.
The letter concludes in urging firmly denying the petition. “As EPA makes its final considerations regarding the petition, we would remind the agency that to grant it would greatly harm the ability of U.S. agricultural producers to productively and sustainably feed, fuel, and clothe the world. It would also result in significant, unnecessary costs to both regulated entities and the agency’s workload, all with no benefit to be gained from regulating already-regulated products,” the letter adds.
EPA WITHDRAWS ITS GLYPHOSATE INTERIM DECISION, DETERMINES NO HUMAN HEALTH RISKS OF CONCERN
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7 news release
Today, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing its withdrawal of all remaining portions of the interim registration review decision for glyphosate. Pesticide products containing glyphosate continue to remain on the market and be used according to the product label and are unaffected by this action.
Glyphosate is undergoing registration review, a periodic reevaluation of pesticide registrations to ensure that existing pesticide products continue to perform their intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), each pesticide must be reviewed every 15 years.
On Feb. 3, 2020, EPA published the Glyphosate Interim Registration Review Decision (ID). The ID did not identify any human health risks of concern from exposure to glyphosate but did identify potential ecological risks. The ID included interim risk mitigation measures in the form of label changes, including labeling to manage spray drift and herbicide resistance. It concluded that the benefits of glyphosate outweigh the potential ecological risks when glyphosate is used in accordance with the labels.
On March 20, 2020, the glyphosate ID was challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Petitioners challenged EPA's analysis of human health and ecological risk, the weighing of such risks against the benefits of glyphosate and the interim risk mitigation measures and alleged that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On May 18, 2021, EPA sought partial voluntary remand without vacatur of the ecological portion of the ID so the Agency could revisit aspects of its analysis in light of EPA's November 2020 draft biological evaluation for glyphosate and recent court decisions for other herbicides, among other reasons.
On June 17, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the human health portion of the glyphosate ID and held that EPA's registration review decision under FIFRA was an 'action' that triggered ESA obligations. The court also granted EPA's request for voluntary remand, without vacatur, of the ecological portion of the ID but imposed an Oct. 1, 2022, deadline for EPA to issue a new ecological portion. EPA sought relief from this deadline, which the court denied on Aug. 5, 2022.
EPA has determined that withdrawal of the glyphosate ID is appropriate in consideration of the Ninth Circuit's June 17, 2022, decision. The Agency is unable to finalize a new ecological portion in a registration review decision for glyphosate by the court-imposed Oct. 1, 2022, deadline because of the time needed to address the issues for which EPA sought remand of the ecological portion and satisfy ESA requirements.
EPA initiated formal ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) for glyphosate in November 2021, and consultation is ongoing. Moreover, before issuing any decision, EPA must first prepare a proposed decision, publish for a 60-day public comment period, and consider any comments received. EPA cannot complete these processes by the court-imposed deadline.
EPA's underlying scientific findings regarding glyphosate, including its finding that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, remain the same. In accordance with the court's decision, the Agency intends to revisit and better explain its evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and to consider whether to do so for other aspects of its human health analysis.
For the ecological portion, EPA intends to address the issues for which it sought remand, including: to consider whether additional or different risk mitigation may be necessary based on the outcome of ESA consultation for glyphosate, prepare an analysis of in-field effects of glyphosate on monarch butterfly habitat, consider whether there are other aspects of its analysis of ecological risks and costs to revisit, and consider what risk mitigation measures may be necessary to reduce potential risk following completion of analyses left outstanding in the ID.
EPA also intends to complete ESA consultation with the Services, make a determination under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, and respond to an administrative petition regarding glyphosate before issuing a final registration review decision.
To read the Withdrawal of the Glyphosate Interim Registration Review Decision click here.
To read the glyphosate registration review docket click here.
Editor's Note: Essentially a stay; this decision kicks the can down the road. It is good news, however, that US EPA has not changed their human health risk assessment for glyphosate - yet. We'll see what the endangered species assessment looks like when all is complete.
Danforth Plant Science Center collaborates with the National Sorghum Producers on a $65 million USDA partnerships for climate-smart commodities project
Danforth Center release
Nadia Shakoor, PhD, principal investigator and senior research scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is part of the nation-wide team that will work to quantify the climate impact potential of sorghum as part of a five-year, up to $65 million project lead by National Sorghum Producers. Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.
Sorghum is an incredible plant that holds great promise as a carbon-sequestering crop. Sorghum’s inherent traits such as drought tolerance, make it an ideal crop to positively contribute to both food security resiliency and the mitigation of impacts due to a changing climate.
Shakoor has significant expertise in sorghum genetics and has developed high-tech sensors to monitor plants’ environments and growth in real-time. Additionally, she serves as a principal investigator for the Sorghum Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI), a collaboration between the Danforth Center and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
“Sorghum inherently boasts climate-smart attributes and a tremendous opportunity exists to implement further climate-smart production practices and activities on working lands to achieve substantial carbon capture, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to other associated environmental benefits,” said Shakoor.
The target geography of the project includes portions of six states and covers an average of 67 percent of the sorghum industry, or 4.4 million acres annually. The area includes more than 20,000 sorghum farmers and a region vitally important to U.S. agriculture. The U.S. High Plains is the world’s leading region for nitrogen use efficiency and mitigation of nitrate leaching, volatilization and runoff. Sorghum is a primary tool in these mitigation efforts and incorporating the crop into rotations in this region can improve the carbon footprint of U.S. agriculture overall.
If sorghum producers can be reached with training on and be supported in implementing climate-smart agriculture practices on a large- scale across key sorghum producing regions, and climate-smart practices measured, monitored, and verified it will significantly help increase market channels for this climate smart commodity. The project will also include a robust diversity and community outreach program that will focus on in-reach and outreach to underserved communities in the project target area with a primary focus of creating opportunities for underserved farmers to participate in climate-smart sorghum production and realize the benefits of ecosystems services markets.
“This is a watershed day for the sorghum industry,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “Sorghum is and always will be The Resource Conserving Crop™. This award affirms that fact in historic fashion, and we appreciate USDA for the opportunity to realize sorghum’s potential as a climate-smart commodity. For the first time, participating farmers will be fully recognized and fully compensated for the good work they do to improve the impact of agriculture on the environment. We couldn’t be more excited to come alongside them in this important effort.”
In addition to the National Sorghum Producers and the Danforth Plant Science Center, project partners and supporters include the Salk Institute, Kansas Black Farmers Association, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, Sustainable Environmental Consultants, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, Arable, Galvanize Climate Solutions, Kansas State University, Texas Tech University, Conestoga Energy Partners, Kansas Ethanol, Pratt Energy, Western Plains Energy, White Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Peoria Tribe Of Indians of Oklahoma, Women Managing the Farm, Kansas Agri-Women, Nu Life Market, Pinion, Kansas Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Kansas Water Office, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, Kashi, RIPE, Trust in Food™, Colorado State University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, Argonne National Lab, National Cotton Council, Field to Market, Danone, Colorado Sorghum Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Association, New Mexico Sorghum Association, Oklahoma Sorghum Association, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Bayer Crop Science, CoBank, High Plains Farm Credit, ServiTech and No Chaff Group.
USDA "EQUITY COMMISSION" TARGETS ITS FARM SERVICE AGENCY COUNTY COMMITTEE SYSTEM
National Sorghum Producers report:
The commission charged with furthering equity within the Agriculture Department wants USDA to consider eliminating the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee system.
The "Equity Commission" voted Thursday to recommend in an interim report to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that USDA "conduct an analysis and study regarding the termination of the county committee system and design a more equitable alternative for ALL farmers."
The analysis "should include the current role of the county committees in creating disparities for minority farmers, both the historical role of the county committee system and the current displacement of minority farmers," the recommendation says.
In addition, the commission is recommending that USDA "immediately implement a program to ensure that County Committee minority advisors have access to the FSA Administrator to bring in real time issues or concerns within the county and an annual report of accounting to the Administrator on how that committee is operating" and "appoint a minority VOTING member in areas of high proportion of minority farmers without representation."
Read more click here.
Editor's Note: Equity may be defined as equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity.
World Farmers’ Organisation allies with International Seed Federation on climate action
Seed choice, innovation, and value chain engagement are pillars of a farmer-driven climate change agenda
The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) and the International Seed Federation (ISF) today formalized an alliance to put farmers front and center in the transition towards sustainable and climate-resilient food systems.
ISF reaffirmed its support to “The Climakers” initiative for the next two years, which will gather and scientifically validate on-the-ground practices by farmers to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Workshops will be held in multiple regions (Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean) to build the knowledge base, relying on farmers’ practical experience in the field which could be replicated and scaled up on a broader level.
“The private seed sector’s main preoccupation is to support farmers in finding the most suitable solution to the challenges they face every day. Improved plant varieties that are locally adapted to farmers’ needs enable them to harvest better yields amidst the pressure of climate change and limited resources. The seed sector can only succeed if the relationship with the farmers is based on trust and the use of quality seed provides them a sustainable positive outcome,” said Michael Keller, ISF Secretary General.
“We are delighted to continue our solid partnership with the International Seed Federation to cooperate globally and implement win-win actions toward sustainability. Such partnerships are essential for farmers to have the means to keep on feeding the world by fostering their farm productivity while protecting biodiversity and coping with the impacts of climate change,” said Arnold Puech d’Alissac, WFO President.
A 2021 survey by WFO showed that 82% of farmers considered new improved varieties as important to respond to climate change and for sustainability in the food systems.
Additionally, WFO and ISF will jointly implement activities to support innovation and engagement within the agri-food value chain in the form of knowledge building, advocacy, and promoting farmer-driven innovative practices.
The Climakers will be present in the COP27 meetings (6-18 November, Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt), among many other international fora, to ensure that farmers’ voices are heard in policy debates on the nexus between food and climate.