Russell Nemetz has the Montana Ag Network report for Monday, March 2, 2020.
#1: The USDA has announced additional disaster assistance available to farmers and ranchers including producers impacted by drought and excess moisture as well as sugar beet growers. The Farm Service Agency will open signup on March 23 for producers to apply for eligible losses of drought and excess moisture. USDA is also entering into agreements with six sugar beet processing cooperatives to distribute $285 million to grower members of those coops who experienced loss including those in our region. Sugar beet producers who are members of these cooperatives and experienced losses may contact their cooperative for more information about how this assistance will be administered.
#2: Fears over the coronavirus wiped out more than $3 trillion in the equities markets last week. Livestock and grain markets were hammered, too. The coronavirus meltdown is the second black swan event for cattlemen in six months, but many fear this is worse than the Tyson packing plant fire. Worse because of the uncertainty. With the Tyson fire the industry knew the extent of the damage and had realistic ideas of how long the event would last. With the coronavirus traders are uncertain of the damage or how long it will impact markets. And as we are remined regularly, markets don’t like uncertainty. CME Cattle futures extended the week’s losses as fears the coronavirus will hurt global growth and demand for beef.
#3: Bayer and the American Farm Bureau announced that the “Farm State of Mind” campaign, initiated by Bayer, will be transferring over to the Farm Bureau. The campaign is designed to help take away some of the stigmas on the topic of mental health in rural communities, as well as provide relevant information to farm families on this important topic. Farm Bureau is planning to combine the Farm State of Mind assets with those of its ongoing Rural Resilience campaign, expanding the reach and effectiveness of its rural mental health initiatives. Bayer says transitioning this program to an organization as trusted as Farm Bureau will greatly help to expand its reach and effectiveness among farmers and ranchers.
#4: The latest USDA milk production report shows, the largest annual decline in the number of licensed dairy operations since 2004. Since the end of 2014, dairy farmers have struggled with low prices resulting from large supplies outweighing demand, in the U.S. and around the world. The report showed that annual milk production in the United States in 2019 was 218.4 billion pounds, increasing 0.4% from the 217.6 billion pounds produced in 2018. California is the largest milk-producing state in the U.S., clocking in at 40.6 billion pounds. The state is followed by Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Texas. Meanwhile, Montana produced 259 million pounds of milk last year or down 10% while Wyoming produced 147 million pounds which was up 22%.