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7 ag stories you can’t miss – Feb. 17, 2023

Catch up on the funding boost for NRCS conservation programs, Mexico’s latest GMO corn decree, tightening dicamba restrictions and more!

Rachel Schutte

February 17, 2023

3 Min Read
Collage of capitol building, cattle, and wheat field

Did you miss some news this week? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a collection of the top headlines in agriculture.

EPA tightens dicamba restrictions

With less than two months until planting, EPA says no in-season dicamba applications will be allowed after June 12 in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and after June 20 in South Dakota. Minnesota switched to a June 12 cutoff date in 2022, and the number of off-target damage complaints to the state department of agriculture decreased dramatically. – Farm Progress

Mexico’s new GMO corn decree

Mexico will no longer ban all genetically modified corn imports by 2024 – it will continue to allow GMO corn for animal feed and manufactured products. Still,GMO corn used for dough and tortillas will be prohibited, along with all glyphosate use. Industry groups and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed concerns regarding the decree issued this week. – Farm Progress

Torres Small nominated for Deputy Secretary of Ag

President Biden has tabbed Xochitl Torres Small to be the next Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. She will replace Jewel Bronaugh who announced last month she would be stepping down to spend more time with her family. In the meantime, USDA APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary after Bronaugh moves on. – Farm Progress

Ethanol push lifts gas prices

Motorists in the Midwest could expect to pay more for gas under a fuel policy shift demanded by governors in the region. A study conducted by Baker & O’Brien Inc. predicts it would cost as much as 12 cents more per gallon to distribute, store and produce gasoline as policy encourages higher sales of E15. – Bloomberg

U.S. ag exports set records in 2022

U.S. exporters shipped $196.0 billion worth of agricultural products to international partners in 2022, surpassing the record set in 2021. China was the top buyer of U.S. products, snapping up $38.2 billion of the year’s sales, followed by Mexico and Canada. However, 2023 export forecasts may not match the prior year’s highs. Here’s why. – Farm Futures

NRCS announces $850 million for conservation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced NRCS is making available $850 million in fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs:

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

The Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture through several NRCS conservation programs. – USDA-NRCS

American ag accomplishes more with less

U.S. farm output (livestock, crops and other goods) tripled in the seven decades from 1948 to 2019. During the same timeframe, the amount of farm labor used in the production of ag commodities fell 74% and land use declined 28%.

On the other hand, intermediate inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, and purchased services grew 126%, and the use of capital inputs (machinery, farm structures) grew 79%. – USDA-ERS

Graph of U.S. farm input composition, 1948-2019

About the Author(s)

Rachel Schutte

Content Producer, Farm Futures

Rachel grew up in central Wisconsin and earned a B.S. in soil and crop science from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. Before joining the Farm Futures team, Rachel spent time in the field as an agronomist before transitioning to the world of marketing and communications. She now resides in northeast Iowa where she enjoys raising bottle calves and farming corn and soybeans alongside her husband and his family.

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