As the new Biden Administration prepares to take over the government next month, it looks like they have 4 priorities for agriculture policy—climate change, eliminating the Coronavirus pandemic, rural economic recovery and racial equity.
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To deal with climate change, Administration officials say they will pay farmers to put more land in conservation programs and plant more cover crops to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Outgoing House Agriculture Committee Chair, Colin Peterson, says adopting his proposal to expand the Conservation Reserve program to at least 50 million acres, would help that effort since CRP is already a popular program among farmers. Already the current USDA says it will increase payments for certain CRP practices from 5 to 20%.

As we get closer to the end of the year, farmers are spending some money. New numbers from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers show tractor sales were up 41% in November when compared to a year ago. For the first 11 months of this year those sales were up 16%. The biggest jump in sales last month was for 4 wheel drive tractors—up 91% from last year. Combine sales were also up in November—by 33% from a year ago and up 6% for the first 11 months of 2020.

An agreement has been worked so any dairy farmer that sold milk to Dean Foods within 90 days of the company’s bankruptcy declaration doesn’t have to pay back any money they were paid for their milk during that period of time. Originally about 500 dairy farmers across the country got letters saying they owed the Dean estate the money. But it has been decided that the money was paid to farmers in the ordinary course of business and not for any preferential treatment. But leaders at the Pennsylvania Milk marketing Board which did most of the work for dairy farmers on the issue, are telling farmers they need to go the organization’s website and fill out a form so lawyers don’t come after them later for the money.

Not all major agricultural events are being cancelled—some are just changing dates. That’s the case for the 56th National Farm Machinery Show and Tractor Pull in Louisville in 2021. Usually the event happens in February but show officials say they have changed the dates for next year to March 31st through April 3rd. Show officials say they are taking extra precautions to maintain a safe environment for exhibitors and visitors.

One of Australia’s foremost dairy breeders Murray Sowter was recognised with the Lex Bunn Memorial Award at International Dairy Week.

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