In This Issue:

  • USDA Prospective Planting Report a Mixed Bag for Barley
  • USDA Revised WHIP+ Quality Loss Adjustment Requirements
  • USDA Announces Plans for Next Round of CFAP
  • White House Names Ag and Rural Policy Advisor
  • NBGA Weighs-In on Policy Issues
  • Biden Outlines Major Infrastructure Package
USDA Prospective Planting Report a Mixed Bag for Barley

The USDA March plantings report projects total barley acres in the U.S. in 2021 to be 2.59 million, down 1% from 2.62 million acres in 2020. Some states are projected to have small increases in barley acres while others are expected to be down a little. Montana is projected to have a 7% increase while Idaho is down 4% and North Dakota is down 9%. The full report with results for various row crops can be found here: Prospective Plantings
USDA Revised WHIP+ Quality Loss Adjustment Requirements

While they have not yet been released publicly, USDA has made changes to the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) documentation requirements for barley producers that experienced quality losses due to weather events in 2019. It is our understanding that the changes have been communicated to the state FSA offices. NBGA and state staff have worked persistently over the past year to get this program implemented and to revise the initial USDA requirements that would have excluded many barley producers.

Earlier in March, USDA extended the sign-up for QLA sign-up deadline to April 9th as they worked with NBGA and others on clarifications to program rules. 
USDA Announces Plans for Next Round of CFAP

On March 24th, USDA announced plans for the additional round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and related assistance. The updates include reopening of CFAP2 and additional payments for row crop producers. Producers of crops in the CFAP2 Flat-rate and Price-trigger categories (barley is in this category) will use acreage and yield information provided by FSA through the annual acreage reporting process. Producers will have the option to complete or modify their application by working directly with their local Farm Service Agency or online through the CFAP2 Application Portal once signup opens on April 5.

Additional payments will be equal to the eligible acres of the crop multiplied by a payment rate of $20 per eligible acre. FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP2 applications. Eligible producers who have already applied for CFAP2 do not need to submit a new application to receive this payment.
In addition to the additional CFAP payments for crops, USDA will dedicate at least $6 billion of the funding enacted by Congress in December to include assistance for dairy farmers, euthanized livestock and poultry, biofuels, personal protective equipment for processors and other purposes.
White House Names Ag and Rural Policy Advisor

Kelliann Blazek has been appointed a special assistant to the president for agriculture and rural policy. Blazek most recently served as the first director of Wisconsin’s Office of Rural Prosperity. 
NBGA Weighs-In on Policy Issues

This month NBGA joined agricultural allies on several letters and comments to Congress, including a letter outlining transportation priorities in the next Highway Bill reauthorization and a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders urging an increased allocation for the agriculture subcommittee. 
Biden Outlines Major Infrastructure Package

President Biden outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal this week. Key aspects of the proposal for agriculture and rural communities include: $621 billion for maintenance and construction of roads and bridges, $17 billion for inland waterways and ports, $100 billion for broadband, $40 billion to update and modernize government and university research facilities and labs, which could include USDA research facilities and those at land grant universities. Other notable components in the package include $111 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $100 billion for energy infrastructure and modernization of the electrical grid, $80 billion for passenger and freight rail, $100 billion for workforce development, $20 billion for revitalization in depressed regions, and $18 billion for Veterans hospitals. President Biden proposed offsetting the cost of the infrastructure package with tax changes. The proposal would increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and establish a global minimum tax for multinational corporations. The full summary released by the White House can be viewed here. 
National Barley Growers Association
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