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7 ag stories you might have missed

Collage with corn harvest, capitol building and angus beef cattle
High farm profits, the new COVID variant’s impact on ag, crop insurance changes and more!

Missed some agricultural news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.

Highest farm profits since 2013

USDA’s Economic Research Service released its 2021 Farm Sector Income Forecast on Wednesday. ERS forecasts calendar year 2021 net farm income at $116.8 billion, a 23% increase from 2020 profits and the highest inflation-adjusted profit level farmers have earned since 2013.  The chief driver of the uptick in farm incomes is higher commodity prices. – Farm Futures

Omicron COVID-19 variant

The new COVID variant of concern, Omicron, has been in the headlines the past week. On Black Friday, the new Omicron coronavirus variant sent markets tumbling on fears it could prompt another round of lockdowns and supply chain disruptions. Bryce Knorr explains how Omicron could be a factor in key markets like fertilizer.  – Farm Futures

CNH Industrial buys software engineering firm NX9

CNH Industrial announced the purchase of software engineering firm NX9 on Thursday in a step to boost digital innovation in the ag division. NX9 is a small U.S.-based software house specializing in ‘ISOBUS’ technology for ag equipment. Earlier this year, the group struck a $2.1 billion deal to buy Raven Industries.  – Reuters

Fertilizer prices won’t find tariff relief

The Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission announced Nov. 30 a preliminary determination that urea ammonium nitrate imports from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago are unfairly subsidized by their governments. The Department is recommending tariffs on fertilizers from these countries.  – Farm Futures

USDA makes crop insurance changes permanent

In a notice Dec. 1, USDA’s Risk Management Agency is making permanent a new provision that allows producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops and still receive a full prevented planting payment.  RMA is also increasing flexibility related to the prevented planting “1 in 4” requirement, as well as aligning crop insurance definitions with USDA’s National Organic Program. – Farm Futures

Precision Planting to acquire Creative Suites Media

Precision Planting, LLC, a subsidiary of AGCO Corporation, announced an agreement to acquire Creative Sites Media, Inc., a leading software ad app development company in Bloomington. The acquisition will improve internal operations and farmer-focused software products. – Precision Planting

National Pork Producers Council names CEO

The NPCC announced Bryan Humphreys will be the organizations new chief executive officer, effective Dec. 21, 2021. “As CEO, I will strive to advance the industry and protect producers’ freedom to operate through innovative strategies and new partnerships,” says Humphreys. – Farm Futures

And your bonus.

Christmas tree season

Christmas tree growers are ready for the big season ahead. Despite many shortages across the nation, real trees will be readily available for almost everyone who wants one this year. Approximately 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold across the U.S. each year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

Each year, a national forest provides a tree to appear on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. The 2021 tree came from Six Rivers National Forest in California, and the tree lighting took place earlier this week.

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