The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results are out this week, showing that over 231,400 farms irrigated 55.9 million acres. That included 83.4 million acre-feet of water in the United States.
By way of comparison, the 2013 survey showed there were just over 229,230 farms that irrigated 55.3 million acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that even though the number of farms irrigating, and the amount of land increased slightly over those five years, the total amount of water used to irrigate land actually declined.
The 83.4 million acre-feet of water used to irrigate land in 2018 represent a 5.8 percent drop from 2013. The average acre-feet applied to land was 1.5, which is lower than the 1.6 in 2013. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.
The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the U.S. was dedicated to cropland, including grains and oilseeds, vegetables, nurseries, greenhouses, as well as hay crops. The survey also shows that more acres are irrigated with sprinkler systems than with gravity irrigation.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is hoping that a third round of trade aid payments to farmers will be unnecessary in 2020 because of a new trade deal with China.
The Hagstrom Report says Perdue spoke with reporters last week shortly after returning from a “successful” trade mission to Mexico. Farmers “would rather have trade than aid,” Perdue says. At the same time, he did say the second round of 2019 trade aid is approved and will be heading to farmers soon. “We have just gotten authorization on the second tranche,” he said. “I expect payments to be out to farmers by late November or early December.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was one of the big topics of conversation on the trip to Mexico.
Perdue says Mexican officials are hoping Congress will sign off on the agreement as soon as possible. “They’ve done their work, as you know, and they’re anxious for us to complete our task as well,” Perdue says. Immigration was another topic of conversation with Mexican officials. Perdue is hopeful that the Mexican government will begin a program to “pre-certify” workers southeast Mexico for the H-2A Program. Southeast Mexico is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.
The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.
Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.
The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.
In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.
Livestock producers interested in Nebraska’s goat and sheep industry can attend a daylong conference in Curtis on Saturday, November 2.
The Nebraska Sheep & Goat Producers are hosting their 2019 conference at the campus of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture . Registration starts at 9:30 a.m.. at the Everett Stencil Livestock Teaching Center.
The public is invited to attend, said Randy Saner, extension educator with Nebraska Extension in Lincoln-Logan-McPherson Counties. “If you are a sheep or goat producer we hope you will plan to attend,” said Saner.
Partipants will tour the NCTA Veterinary Technology complex, learn about lamb quality assurance and have opportunity to view a lamb necropsy by Libby Fraser, DVM and NCTA instructor.
Other topics will include:
· Tour of Cover Crop Plots – Brad Ramsdale, Ph.D., NCTA Agronomy Professor
· Cooking with Lamb – Gwendolyn Kitzan, American Lamb Board
· Attendees will help fix lamb dishes for lunch
· Direct Marketing of Lamb and Goat, Gwendolyn Kitzan
· Market Updates – Brad Anderson, American Lamb Board
· Sheep and Goat Body Condtion Scoring and Nutrition – Randy Saner, Nebraska Extension
Other activites include an NCTA Stock Dog Team demonstration and education booths on Annie’s Project, the National Sheep Improvement Program, forages, breeders’ displays and more.
“On behalf of dairy farmers and farmer-owned dairy cooperatives across the country, NMPF wrote to the President today to commend his Administration for its excellent judgment this month in including a number of European dairy products, particularly cheeses from major EU exporters such as Italy, on a list of WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs related to the successful U.S. case against European Airbus subsidies. However, we must reject European efforts to deceive the United States about the reality of Transatlantic dairy trade. To that end, we respectfully asked the President to put the needs of U.S. dairy farmers above those of Italian and European farmers by maintaining the retaliatory tariff list against Europe, as the Administration proposed earlier this month.
“The U.S. is running a $1.5 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of unfair EU trade practices that largely block our access to their market while they enjoy broad access to ours. EU policies such as Italian-initiated bans on American-made parmesan, asiago and gorgonzola mean that they can ship us $1 billion in cheese each year while U.S. cheese exports to the EU clock in at $6 million.
“In light of this disparity and the EU’s refusal to meet its WTO commitments regarding illegal Airbus subsidies, American dairy farmers saw the proposed retaliatory tariff list’s strong focus on EU dairy and cheeses as at least temporarily creating a slightly more level playing field for Made in America products that face even higher barriers to entry in the EU market.
“Dairy farmers are counting on the President to stand with them and resist Italy’s request that he side with the Italian farmers and cheese makers who have blocked our own great cheeses from EU store shelves.”
Two farm state Senators are promoting legislation that seeks to curb farmer suicides. Announced last month, the Seeding Rural Resilience Act would offer ways to help farmers and rural America deal with stress.
The bill was formally introduced this week by Senator John Tester, a Democrat from Montana, and Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley and Tester say the legislation is receiving praise from farm and mental health organizations. Tester says the legislation “puts us on track towards giving farmers the resources they need” to cope with stress in a tough economy.
Federal data shows the suicide rate is 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas. The bill would provide Department of Agriculture employees voluntary stress management training, and for a partnership with the Department of Health to create a $3 million public awareness campaign, and create a path to identify the best practices for responding to farm and ranch stress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says work continues on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, while impeachment proceedings move forward in the House of Representatives.
Still, a fear persists outside of Washington, D.C., that USMCA may not reach the finish line because of the full schedule in Washington. Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Pelosi reaffirmed that House Democrats are working towards a solution, saying, “we hope to be on a path to yes.” Pelosi says Democrats are still waiting on assurances about enforceability.
Those in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, remain optimistic House Democrats can reach an agreement with the Trump administration to pass USMCA. The Trump administration threatened when the impeachment inquiry was announced that “House Democrats destroyed any chances of legislative progress,” including USMCA, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mexico’s President recently pledged to sign a letter to U.S. lawmakers urging passage of the agreement. Mexico ratified USMCA this summer, and Canada is expected to do so following its federal elections later this month.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently announced additional label restrictions for the 2020 growing season for dicamba. Agriculture Director John Sullivan announced the rules due to a dramatic rise in the number of off-target complaints received during the 2019 growing season, adding “the department is taking action to reduce those numbers.”
The new restrictions halt the use of dicamba after June 20, 2020. The new regulations also prohibit the application of dicamba if the air temperature at the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day of application exceeds 85 degrees.
Applicators also must maintain the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site. In addition to these provisions’, applicators must follow the federal guidelines when it comes to applying dicamba, including taking an annual certified applicator training course.
Agriculture is hoping sees momentum building for more trade deals, after President Trump signed a $55 billion dollar trade agreement with Japan Monday.
The American Farm Bureau Federation says it hopes momentum from the Japan deal that lowers or ends tariffs on U.S beef, pork, poultry, corn, wheat, almonds, wine, ethanol and other ag goods, sets the stage for similar deals with other nations.
President Trump says China is key…
Especially U.S. soybeans, possibly a ‘sweetener’ by the Chinese, as a delegation arrives here Thursday for renewed talks.
Trump meantime, is leaning on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, amid the political drama over Democratic impeachment efforts, to allow the US Mexico-Canada Agreement to come up for a House vote…
Pelosi earlier charged it was up to Trump to make concessions on USMCA enforcement language, while Republicans counter Democrats have slow-walked the deal worth billions for US Ag, since last December.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump signed the official text of new trade agreements with Japan:
“This agreement between the U.S. and Japan is a victory for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ethanol producers. By securing reduced tariffs on a variety of exports like beef, pork and ethanol, this agreement expands markets for Nebraska’s great ag products. I appreciate the administration’s hard work on this deal, and look forward to continuing to work with the president toward additional trade agreements.”
Under these trade agreements, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, ethanol, and more, as well as expand digital trade between the two countries.
Statement by Steve Nelson, President:
“The trade deal with Japan formally signed today by President Trump makes good on his promise to strike an agreement with one of Nebraska’s most important trading partners. This deal represents a huge win for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. When implemented it will put them on a level playing field with some of our largest competitors that are currently participating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP). More specifically, Nebraska’s beef, pork, dairy, and ethanol producers, will all greatly benefit from this agreement which significantly reduces or eliminates tariffs and increases overall market access to this important strategic ally and trading partner. We are hopeful this agreement will provide a long-term economic boost and is a sign of more good things to come on the trade front.”
NCGA President Kevin Ross
“Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston
“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”
Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.
“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefited greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”
ATLANTA (AP) — More than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of what’s being called a “flash drought” that’s cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires, scientists said Thursday.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle. Lesser drought conditions also have expanded in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Overall, nearly 20 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states is experiencing drought conditions.
The drought accelerated rapidly in September, as record heat combined with little rainfall to worsen the parched conditions, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska.
“Typically we look at drought as being a slow onset, slow-developing type phenomenon compared to other disasters that rapidly happen, so this flash drought term came about,” Fuchs said. “The idea is that it’s more of a rapidly developing drought situation compared to what we typically see.”
Fuchs said he expects scientists to have further discussions about flash droughts, and perhaps develop parameters for what constitutes a flash drought.
Climate change is expected to make this kind of drought even hotter in the southern Great Plains, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported recently.
In a separate report this summer, NOAA scientists and researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder studied the impacts of the intense 2017 flash drought in the northern Great Plains, which caused $2.6 billion in losses in the region. A more arid landscape due to climate change “will make droughts of similar intensity 20 percent more likely than in the past,” NOAA said in a summary of the research .
The current drought has been putting stress on a wide variety of crops across the South, including cotton in Alabama, peanuts in Georgia and tobacco in Virginia, according to reports from the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Pumpkins are faring better in Alabama, though they’re somewhat smaller this year due to the drought.
“We would have liked to have had a few more pumpkins this year, but we do have pumpkins and we are selling pumpkins _ that’s the good news,” said Doug Chapman, a commercial horticulture expert with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
In Mississippi, wildfires have been on the rise, Gov. Phil Bryant said this week, as he ordered a statewide burn ban. Outdoor burning is also restricted in parts of several other states including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the drought center.
The drought was also affecting some water supplies across the region. Lake levels have been falling throughout Georgia, including at Lake Lanier, which provides much of Atlanta’s drinking water.
In North Carolina, rivers and streams are running low, Rebecca Cumbie-Ward, the state climatologist, said in a statement. Some North Carolina water systems are limiting use, and state officials are asking residents to follow those water restrictions .
Alabama Power said last week it was reducing water releases from its hydroelectric dams because of the drought. The move was intended to prevent lakes from shrinking too much.
The Drought Monitor is produced by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NOAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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