NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: NASS Releases 2021 Planting Intentions; COVID Vaccines; and QLA Deadline is Friday

The National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released planting intentions for 2021. Those numbers point to more cotton, peanuts and soybeans being grown this year. Flue-cured tobacco and winter wheat acreage expected to remain unchanged. Corn acres are expected to be down 10 percent.

  • This week I have a number of topics I want to talk about this week, including 2021 planting intentions, getting your COVID vaccine and an upcoming deadline for a program that offers assistance to growers who saw quality losses to their crops because of natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Some growers may not know that tobacco is an eligible crop under this program.
  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2021 planting intentions last week and based on those numbers we are likely to see more cotton, peanuts and soybeans grown this year.
  • That is not surprising since commodity prices are up and are expected to remain good based on what could be a tight global supply for cotton, corn and soybeans.
  • As China’s hog industry has rebounded from the devastation of African swine fever which killed about half of its hogs, the country’s demand for soybeans is also up significantly
  • And, it looks like the acreage of flue-cured tobacco and winter wheat will remain the same as 2020. Corn is the only crop projecting a decline in planned acreage.
  • Of the three expected to increase, cotton acreage is projected to be up the most at 14 percent from last year with 410,000 acres planted.
  • Soybean plantings are expected to be up 3 percent over last year. That should put acreage at around 1.6 million, giving it the biggest footprint of any crop in the state.
  • Peanut growers are also expected to see a modest 2 percent increase over 2020 in planted acres at 110,000.
  • We will likely be looking at 102,000 acres of flue-cured tobacco and 450,000 acres of winter wheat.
  • Corn acreage looks to be 900,000 acres in 2021, which is down 10 percent.
  • Farmers are certainly long overdue for some better prices. I know they are looking forward to a better return.
  • I want to remind farmers about the upcoming April 9 deadline to apply for the USDA’s Quality Loss Adjustment Program. The program assists farmers who had quality losses to their 2018 and 2019 crops due to weather disasters.
  • This program covers a lot of crops including tobacco.
  • You can find out more about this program, what crops are eligible and how to apply by going to farmers.gov/quality-loss
  • And, finally, I want to encourage farmers, farmworkers, food workers and anyone in agriculture to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Healthy workers are essential to agricultural operations and farmers can lead by example by getting their shots, too.
  • I’ve talked to a number of growers who have had health teams come to their farms to administer shots.
  • I have gotten both of mine and I feel better knowing I am doing my part to grow herd immunity.