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What is today’s news | Friday, February 4, 2022

At the end of the week, the headlines kept rolling in.

In case you missed it, we’ve rounded up some of the most recent news to keep you informed.

Livestock

Tyson Foods Inc is expected to post strong results for its beef business in a quarterly earnings report on Monday, as the Biden administration's criticism of high meat prices and fat profits for processors continues to mount.

Increased operating margins could attract more unwanted scrutiny from Washington for Tyson and three other industry behemoths that slaughter about 85% of grain-fattened cattle carved into steaks for consumers, analysts said.

The Biden administration, concerned about rising prices, said it plans to spend $1 billion and issue new rules to address a lack of "meaningful competition" in meat processing.

There’s money in manure for California dairy farmers with anaerobic digesters that capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their cattle’s manure.

Each cow on a farm with a digester can generate $2,827 a year in air pollution and biofuel credits for methane that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, calculated Aaron Smith, a professor at UC-Davis.

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture has launched farmerfairness.gov, a new online tool that allows farmers and ranchers to anonymously report potentially unfair and anticompetitive practices in the livestock and poultry sectors.

The launch of the new portal will advance the goals of Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, including by creating more competitive agricultural markets that are fairer to producers and consumers.

Crops and Machinery

High-ticket machinery is still setting auction records and that includes self-propelled sprayers as well. Editors Jodi Henke and Dave Mowitz discuss used sprayers in this radio episode.

Arm yourself with as much price information as possible before heading to an auction or dealer’s lot. If you really want a new sprayer, Mowitz recommends placing an order with your dealer *today*. Maybe you’ll get it by spring. 

What’s the alternative? Update the old one and make it last for another year.

If you set out to improve overall field profitability this year, you may want to evaluate the performance of side hills, eroded hill tops, and field edges and reimagine their use.

Adam Janke, wildlife Extension specialist, and Mark Licht, Extension cropping systems specialist, both with Iowa State University, have worked with the Sustainable Ag Research and Education group to explore options for these areas that can shift them to cost-neutral and even profitable.

Editor Megan Schilling writes about the potential solution is to convert the marginal land areas to native, perennial vegetation, which offers benefits to water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat, and overall aesthetics.

Argentina's soy crop faces a make-or-break period ahead as the risk of drought creeps back, with rainfall "erratic" and heavy precipitation looking unlikely until the second half of the month, the Rosario grains exchange said in a weather report.

The South American country, the world's top exporter of processed soy and the second largest corn exporter, was hit by a bad drought from December until the middle of January, which led to harvest forecasts being cut sharply.

The USDA sent $23 billion in trade war payments to more than a half million farming operations, with the lion’s share of the aid going to row-crop producers, said the Government Accountability Office on Thursday.

Historically underserved farmers, such as those belonging to groups that have been targets of racial, ethnic, or gender bias, received less than 4% of the money.

A USDA review of 2018 payments, to see if they were accurate, was faulty, and the agency abandoned a compliance review of 2019 payments because it needed to create a COVID-19 aid plan.

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