Grain and oilseed markets traded to the upside this week as speculators and hedgers watched weather, demand and political developments. Today’s USDA production numbers will help shape the trade next week as the farmer surveyed production information released today. Outside influences, like new CPI numbers, also played a role this week with the move up in futures price for corn and beans.
Changes have been made to Virginia’s spotted lanternfly (SLF) quarantine area that all farmers should be aware of, and plan to address as part of their operation. The SLF is a destructive agricultural pest that was first detected in Virginia in January 2018. It is an invasive planthopper that first showed up in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014. The SLF can feed on over 100 plant species and is a known pest of grapes, maples, walnuts, cucumbers, peaches, hops, apples, basil and other important crops. The purpose of the quarantine area is to stop the human-assisted spread of the pest and to protect Virginia’s agriculture industry.
On July 8, 2022, VDACS’ Commissioner Guthrie expanded the Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine area to include the counties of Albemarle, Augusta, Carroll, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Prince William, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren and Wythe Counties, and the Cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester.
Businesses in the quarantined area are required to complete a training ($6) and obtain a permit from VDACS and perform self-inspections on all regulated articles leaving the quarantined area to ensure that the articles do not contain any life stage of the spotted lanternfly.
Regulated articles are items considered to be a risk for the movement of spotted lanternfly to un-infested areas and include, but are not limited to:
Any life stage of the spotted lanternfly;
Live or dead trees; nursery stock; green lumber; firewood; logs; perennial plants; garden plants or produce; stumps; branches; mulch; or composted or un-composted chips, bark, or yard waste;
Outdoor industrial or construction materials or equipment; concrete barriers or structures; stone, quarry material, ornamental stone, or concrete; or construction, landscaping, or remodeling waste;
Shipping containers, such as wood crates or boxes;
Outdoor household articles, including recreational vehicles; lawn tractors or mowers; grills; grill or furniture covers; tarps; mobile homes; tile; stone; deck boards; or
Any equipment, trucks, or vehicles not stored indoors; any means of conveyance utilized for movement of an article; any vehicle; or any trailer, wagon.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will honor other state-issued Spotted Lanternfly permits. To obtain your Spotted Lanternfly permit through Virginia, you must submit proof that the Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training, or equivalent training, was completed along with the Spotted Lanternfly Permit Application.
Spotted Lanternfly Resources for Farmers & Foresters
How quickly will folks need to get permitted once the area expands?
The quarantine is effective now and businesses will need to be permitted prior to moving articles out of the quarantine. Begin the process of training and permitting as soon as feasible.
When/how will VDACS enforce permitting?
VDACS performs regulatory follow-ups with businesses in the quarantined areas. This typically includes site visits, record requests (does the business have the permit? does the business have training records for their staff? is the business inspecting the articles prior to them leaving the quarantine?) and the VDACS staff member will verify this information. VDACS performs these throughout the year if they learn of a business not complying with the provisions of the quarantine, but during the late spring-fall, they are actively performing treatments and perform more of these permitting inspections in the fall-early spring.
What are the consequences for not being permitted?
The VA SLF Quarantine does not have fines associated with non-compliance, however if a business does not obtain a permit and is not following the quarantine, a VDACS staff member may stop the movement of all articles being moved. Additionally, if a business does not obtain a permit, and they are transporting articles to another state that does not have spotted lanternfly, they may be stopped from entry or fined, if that state has an exterior quarantine for spotted lanternfly.
Do I need a permit to move products within my county?
If a business is only moving within a quarantined area, they are not required to obtain a permit. It’s only when they move articles outside of a quarantined area into non-quarantined areas that they would be required to obtain a permit. Businesses and individuals are still required to inspect articles and ensure they are free of spotted lanternfly life stages when moving within the quarantine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is funded at a record high in this year’s budget and Virginia farmers can now implement buffers and wetland restoration at no cost.
CREP is a partnership between the FSA and the Commonwealth of Virginia that aims to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. It offers financial incentives, cost-share and rental payments to farmers and landowners who voluntarily implement riparian forest buffers, grass and shrub buffers and wetland restoration.
“There has never been a better time for producers to participate in CREP,” said Dr. Ronald M. Howell, Jr., FSA State Executive Director in Virginia. “It costs nothing for farmers to participate in this program now, which will provide their farms with ongoing revenue and other financial benefits. At the same time, the CREP practices promote richer, more fertile farmland and healthier livestock. It is a true win-win.”
Previously, farmers had to cover a portion of the initial cost of establishing buffers and associated infrastructure, such as fencing and livestock watering systems, to enroll in CREP. This year, FSA and the state will pay 100% of eligible practice installation costs, including fencing and alternative watering systems. CREP will also continue to provide incentives and rental payments as well as other on-farm benefits for years to come.
“It’s important to remember that CREP practices can also help make farms more efficient and therefore more profitable,” said Darryl Glover, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Deputy Director. “By removing poorly drained land from cultivation and reducing soil loss into adjacent streams, CREP practices can make farmers’ efforts and resources go further while also improving water quality.”
The CREP contract period is 10-15 years. Enrollment can take place year-round as signups are ongoing.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration , USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Office of Pesticide Services (OPS) is hosting the Pesticide Collection Program again this year. This program assists agricultural producers, licensed pesticide dealers, homeowners and more with properly disposing of unwanted pesticides. The program is administered at no cost to participants and is led by VDACS with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.
The Pesticide Collection Program divides the state into five regions and each year collections are carried out in a different region. The Program requires participants to transport their unwanted agricultural and commercial pesticides to a central collection site where the hazardous waste disposal contractor will package the pesticides for eventual disposal. If a participant cannot safely transport unwanted pesticides, the program may make arrangements to containerize the pesticides for transport.
For more information regarding this year’s program, collection sites, and dates click here. All participants are asked to complete the registration form and submit it to the VDACS-OPS Office via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to VDACS-OPS, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218.
August 9, Southern States (5784 Valley Pike, Stephens City, VA)
August 10 CFC Farm & Home Center (15172 Brandy Road, Culpeper, VA)
September 6, CFC Farm & Home Center (12645 Lee Highway, Sperryville, VA)
September 7, Rockingham County Fairgrounds (4808 South Valley Pike, Harrisonburg, VA)
September 8, Ivy Materials Utilization Center (4576 Dick Woods Road, Charlottesville, VA)
October 11, Page Cooperative Farm Bureau (127 Big Oak Road, Luray, VA)
October 12, Madison County Fairgrounds (1015 Fairground Road, Madison, VA)
With recent changes to the motor vehicle code for permanent farm use placards in Virginia, many farmers are faced with a problem; they own a vehicle and never found it necessary to have the vehicle titled in their name. Whether they never took it on the road, or some other reason, they now are posed with the problem of how to get their vehicle’s title in their name. Under current Virginia law, all motor vehicle owners, including owners of trailers or semitrailers, are required to obtain the certificate of title for the vehicle before it is operated on any highway (§ 46.2-600).
DMV plans to have the new permanent farm use placards for sale by late September, and resolving missing titles now will make purchasing new permanent farm use placards simpler. Keep in mind, the law has an effective date of July 1, 2023, to allow farmers a full year to learn about and prepare for the new requirements.
Lastly, the requirement for liability insurance coverage on all exempted vehicles, such as farm use, went into effect July 1, 2022.
All farmers have an interest in a regulatory process that is transparent, fact-based and respects the will of Congress while observing the separation of powers in the Constitution. Federal regulations have a direct impact on farmers’ lives and livelihoods, and over the years, the extent of that regulatory landscape has increased. There has recently been action related to the availability of neonicotinoid pesticides, and California’s Proposition 12 which would impact the pork industry. Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (VAFB) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) continue to take a stand against regulatory overreach and are working to protect your ability to farm.
EPA has released its final biological evaluations (BEs) for several neonicotinoid pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam), and the BE reflects a “likely to adversely affect” (LAA) determination for 67%, 79% and 77% for the products, respectively.
Unfortunately, the final BE does not reflect the refinements offered in comments on the draft biological evaluations. As with the draft BEs last August, the final BEs are overly conservative and in some instances fail to use important data. As a result, we are concerned the BEs drastically overstate the impact of the pesticides on endangered species and their habitats.
The BEs do not incorporate scientific and commercial data that could have provided a more realistic picture of the potential impact of the chemistries on species. For example, nearly all applications of neonicotinoids in soybeans are made as seed treatments, using a minuscule amount of pesticide buried underground where it is far less likely to impact species or habitat. However, the final BEs assume growers exclusively make foliar spray and soil applications using many times more active ingredient than is reflected by real-world USDA and market survey data. The BEs also continue to assume a species will be adversely affected if only one individual in a species is impacted, which greatly inflates effects assessments.
Despite groups like VAFB and AFBF highlighting these shortcomings in draft BE public comments, EPA doubled down on using inappropriate and overly cautious assumptions in its final BEs, which leads to significant overestimations on the impact on species.
Based on the BE, the next stage is formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service in the development of a Biological Opinion. It is expected that this final BE will spur anti-pesticide organizations to call for restrictions on how these products can be used while the Biological Opinion is being developed. Farm Bureau and other grower groups will continue to advocate for complete data to be used in these evaluations, and to preserve valuable crop protection tools as this process moves forward.
Shifting focus to the courts: the U.S. Solicitor General, one of the highest ranking officials in the Department of Justice, filed a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to California’s Proposition 12. The state law seeks to ban the sale of products from veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens that don’t meet California’s arbitrary production standards, even if the livestock was raised on farms outside of California. The AFBF and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) filed the challenge, arguing Proposition 12 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
In the amicus brief, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argues that AFBF and NPPC have stated a valid claim that Proposition 12 violates the constitution and will create burdens in interstate commerce.
“Other States might well condition in-state sales on even more square feet of space per hog, or on compliance with requirements concerning animals’ feed, veterinary care or virtually any other aspect of animal husbandry. The combined effect of those regulations would be to effectively force the industry to ‘conform’ to whatever State (with market power) is the greatest outlier.”
In addition to the amicus brief filed by the Biden Administration and the U.S. Solicitor General, Virginia Farm Bureau was proud to see Virginia Attorney General, Jason Miyares, join 25 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief urging the high court to overturn Proposition 12. The brief states
“California’s rules represent a substantial departure from current practices and standards in most States, yet the Constitution does not permit California to set a single, nationwide animal-confinement policy.”
It is critical to remember that, because California has less than .15% of U.S. breeding hogs, their restrictions will almost exclusively apply to out of state producers. The brief further lays out concerns by noting, “Allowing the California law to stand would balkanize markets and lead to interstate conflict: precisely the problems under the Articles of Confederation that the framers sought to fix by assigning the interstate commerce power to Congress.”
The pork industry plays an important role in Virginia’s economy, with hogs ranking 13 in Virginia’s top 20 commodities and generating $58,647,000 in farm cash receipts. All producers share the goal of ensuring animals are well cared for, but Proposition 12 fails to advance animal health or food safety. Instead, it will make caring for animals more difficult and drive up the cost of food for families across America, and potentially eliminate Virginia producers’ access to the California market.