**Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to increase capacity at California’s Port of Oakland and improve service for shippers of U.S. grown agricultural commodities beginning in early March.

The USDA is partnering with the Port to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for ag companies to fill empty shipping containers.

Fewer containers are available for U.S. ag commodities, as ocean carriers have circumvented marketing channels and rushed containers back empty.

**The USDA reports cattle numbers are down slightly in the latest inventory count.

There were 91.9 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of January 1, according to National Ag Statistics Service Cattle report.

Of the 91.9 million head, all cows and heifers that have calved totaled 39.5 million.

There were 30.1 million beef cows in the U.S. on January 1, down 2% from last year.

The number of milk cows decreased to 9.38 million.

**Several Senators wrote a letter recently to the EPA regarding the agency’s recent denial of 65 outstanding refinery exemption petitions.

The letter asks the EPA to reconsider its proposed blanket denials of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The letter says, we’re puzzled by the EPA action, especially at a time of increasing gas prices and several small refinery closures.

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