READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, February 21st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, February 21st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EU Sets a Target Date for U.S. Trade Deal

Phil Hogan, European Union Trade Chief, says he’s looking to have a trade deal in place with the Trump Administration and the U.S. by March 18. Politico says he’s working on a package of agreements for EU leaders to present to Trump in the coming weeks. Among the potential concessions the EU may be willing to make are speeding up the approval process for certain Genetically Modified Organisms, as well as allowing U.S. imports of tallow, which is a form of beef or sheep fat. Why March 18th? That’s when higher U.S. retaliatory tariffs on Airbus planes are set to take effect. The Trump Administration last week raised duties from 10 percent to 15 percent but suspended implementing the increase. Hogan says the move by Washington, as well as the decision to not raise tariffs on EU farm goods, was seen as a positive sign that the U.S. is ready to make a deal. The U.S. also didn’t do anything to increase the 25 percent duties in place on European food and alcohol products.

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Hormel Eliminating Ractopamine from Hog Supplies

Hormel Foods is getting rid of ractopamine (rack-TOH-pah-meen), a growth drug banned by China, from its hog supply. Hormel is joining rival companies like Tyson Foods and JBS in looking to make more meat sales to China, which is in the middle of wrestling with a large shortage of pork. Hormel isn’t going to accept hogs that have been fed or otherwise exposed to ractopamine after April first. Tyson Foods and JBS USA took that step last year. The companies’ moves ramped up the competition for the increased pork demand from China, where the outbreak of African Swine Fever has decimated their herds. In a statement announcing the move, Hormel says, “We have been actively monitoring the changing global market dynamics for several years and believe this decision will further position us to meet growing international demand.” Ractopamine is used in some countries to raise leaner pigs, but China doesn’t allow its use or tolerate residues in its imported meats. The European Union also bans ractopamine.

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Perdue Announces New Innovation Initiative for USDA

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, which is a department-wide initiative to help better position U.S. ag to meet future global demands. The initiative will align resources, programs, and research to help stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050. “We know we have a challenge facing us: to meet future food, fiber, fuel, and feed demands with finite resources,” Perdue says. “USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity to define American agriculture’s role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge.” He calls the new agenda a strategic, department-wide effort to better align USDA’s resources, programs, and research to provide farmers with the tools they need to be successful. “We’re also continually mindful of the need for America’s agriculture industry to be environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable to maintain our position as a leader in the global effort to meet demand,” he adds. The first component of the Ag Innovation Agenda is to develop a U.S. ag innovation strategy that aligns and synchronizes public and private sector research.

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U.S. Pork Industry Wants Additional ASF Prevention Measures in Place

Continued vigilance by the USDA, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. pork industry, means that the U.S. has so far prevented an outbreak of the African Swine Fever Virus. The disease affects pigs and poses no threat to human safety. The National Pork Producers Council and 30 state associations are asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to take additional measures, including restricting imports of organic soy products for animal feed from all countries that have ASF outbreaks. The U.S. pork and feed industries have adopted holding times to allow for the natural degradation of any viruses, to ensure that most imported feed ingredients are safe to use. Research shows that organic soy products can maintain the virus for longer periods, making holding times impractical. Most soy imports into the U.S. are organic. NPPC says it’s confident in the safety of domestic soy products. NPPC and the associations are also asking USDA to further explore the merit of restricting all soy products from ASF-positive countries, to enhance its online system used to permit animal movements in the event of an outbreak, and to expand state animal health laboratory testing capacity.

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Groups to Study 100 Percent Biodiesel Engine Technology

A wide range of groups announced a partnership to conduct a year-long validation project of revolutionary biodiesel technology. Five trucks owned by ADM will be outfitted with Optimus Technologies Vector Fuel System, which enables diesel engines to run almost entirely on sustainable biodiesel. In a real-world environment, the trucks will be used in everyday fleet operations for a year, with each vehicle likely to travel between 160,000 and 180,000 miles, while reducing up to 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Five other trucks in the ADM fleet will be a control group in the study and operate on conventional biodiesel. While nearly all diesel engine manufacturers support at least 20 percent biodiesel, the Optimus Vector System is designed to allow conventional diesel engines to run on 100 percent biodiesel in a wide range of climates. The system is already in use in short mileage, local fleet applications. The new project will test the viability for longer-haul, over-the-road fleets, which could potentially open a pathway to significantly higher volumes of biodiesel in the U.S. truck fleet. Other organizations involved in the project include the National Biodiesel Board, the Illinois Soybean Association, and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.

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Farmers Union Recommends Improvements to EQIP

The USDA continues to implement the 2018 Farm Bill and released the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Interim Rule. The National Farmers Union is urging the agency to strengthen the conservation program to better support farmers as they work to ensure the longevity of their land and natural resources. Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says his group values the program and wants to make improvements to ensure its efficiency. “We’d like to encourage the agency to include climate resilience and soil health in its list of EQIP priorities,” Johnson says. “These are two of the most critical issues facing agriculture today and farmers need all available tools and resources to address them.” They also recommend NRCS give each state the ability to set their high-priority practices for increased payment rates. Local and regional offices are the most knowledgeable about the resource concerns in their areas and should determine, when possible, how to address those concerns. “We also urge NRCS to prioritize farmers and ranchers when allocating EQIP funding,” Johnson adds. “We’d like funding to be available to water management entities that serve mostly farmers and ranchers.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

GL_GR110
Greeley, CO Fri Feb 21, 2020 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News

Daily Grain Bids for Denver and Surrounding Areas

Spot bids to producers for grain delivered to terminal and country
Elevators. Bids dollar/bu. except for Barley which is dollar/cwt.
Bids available by 3:00 PM MST.

www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/GL_GR110.txt

Source: USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News Service, Greeley, CO
Tammy Judson, Market Reporting Assistant (970)353-9750
24 Hour Market Report (970)353-8031
Greeley.LPGMN@ams.usda.gov www.usda.gov/lsmarketnews
www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/GL_GR110.txt

1300M tj

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02-20-20 Secretary Perdue Announces New Innovation Initiative for USDA

Secretary Perdue Announces New Innovation Initiative for USDA

The Agriculture Innovation Agenda is a Solution for Farmers, Consumers, and the Environment

Washington, D.C, February 20, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.
“We know we have a challenge facing us: to meet future food, fiber, fuel, and feed demands with finite resources. USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity define American agriculture’s role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge,” said Secretary Perdue. “This agenda is a strategic, department-wide effort to better align USDA’s resources, programs, and research to provide farmers with the tools they need to be successful. We are also continually mindful of the need for America’s agriculture industry to be environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable to maintain our position as a leader in the global effort to meet demand. We are committed as ever to the environmental sustainability and continued success, of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.”
BACKGROUND:

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02-19-20 CDA: Radio Frequency Identification Livestock Ear Tags to Replace Metal Clips

CDA: Radio Frequency Identification Livestock Ear Tags to Replace Metal Clips

BROOMFIELD, CO – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering the option of no-cost Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags to veterinarians and producers for use in young beef, dairy or bison breeding replacements.

The Animal Health Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture will be responsible for distributing the no-cost RFID tags in Colorado and is finalizing a process to respond to RFID tag orders from cattle or bison producers and veterinarians.  The no-cost RFID tags are expected to be available for distribution in late March or April of 2020. Continue reading

02-19-20 CALP: Important Information for the 2020 Governor`s Forum on Colorado Agriculture

CALP: Important Information for the 2020 Governor`s Forum on Colorado Agriculture

Denver Colo. February 19th – This years Governor`s Forum on Colorado Agriculture will feature a slate of dynamic speaker from across agriculture representing a broad spectrum of current issues facing the industry. Continue reading

Livestock Exchange, LLC Weekly Update…

Livestock Exchange logo

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) – Each week, Auctioneer Tyler Knode with Livestock Exchange, LLC. in Brush, CO will be inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network providing a RECAP of the previous week’s auctions and also a PREVIEW of upcoming cattle & hay auctions…

CLICK THE AUDIO LINK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THIS WEEK’S UPDATE…

02-18-20 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Extended Preview

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02-17-20 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Recap & Preview

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**********LE, LLC. ARCHIVES************* Continue reading

02-17-20 Inside the BARN with CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg…

Inside the BARN with CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg…

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) February 17, 2020 – Joining me inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network is CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg from District 1  discussing several topics on the national and state levels.

To listen to the interview, click the audio mp3 link below…

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To learn more about CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg – CLICK HERE

02-17-20 The BARN’s “Colorado Women in Agriculture Series”, courtesy of CommonGround: Kelsey Pope

The BARN’s “Colorado Women in Agriculture Series”, courtesy of CommonGround: Kelsey Pope

“Meatless Meat” Myth

BRIGGSDALE, CO – February 17, 2020 – Women continue to change the face of many industries, including agriculture. Through managing harvests, running the business and implementing new technologies, like: wind power and using RFID in the tracking of dairy cows for instance. Women are on the front lines – feeding our nation and the world. Many may be surprised to learn that women farmers make up 37 percent of Colorado’s producers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture there are 21,443 women farmers in Colorado, who farm more than 13 million acres, making a nearly $285 million impact on the economy. There is a group of women farmers here in Colorado that are dedicated to sharing their personal experiences, science and research to help consumers sort through the growing number of myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming. The  BARN’s “Women in Agriculture” series continues with my guest today…Kelsey Pope is a Colorado rancher, “Ag on the forefront” blogger, digital agri-marketing consultant and freelance writer discussing:

  • Pope’s Background & Involvement with CommonGround Colorado
  • Pope’s involvement with the Colorado Cattlewomen & Colorado Livestock Associations
  • Mention of the CLA’s 11th Annual Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium
  • “Meatless Meat” Myth  vs Real Meat Facts
  • Ingredients in “Meatless Meats” vs Real Meat
  • What more can We in Agriculture Do?
  • Common Ground Information
  • Final thoughts & more

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02-17-20 Help Culver’s Celebrate National FFA Week Feb 22-29

Help Culver’s Celebrate National FFA Week

Company launches Flavor of Day Naming Poll and FFA Essay Contest

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis.—Feb. 17, 2020—FFA members are our future — they will one day be tasked with the responsibility of helping manage our food supply. That’s why it’s important to celebrate them every day, but especially during National FFA Week, Feb. 22-29, 2020. In honor of this week, Culver’s is inviting guests and FFA members to get involved in two special Thank You Farmers Project initiatives.

This year, Culver’s is launching a special Thank You Farmers Project Fresh Frozen Custard Flavor of the Day. From 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, to 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, guests can visit Culver’s Facebook page to vote on what they’d like the new flavor’s name to be — either Mooey Gooey Brownie or Brownie Caramel Cow. The flavor is made with Vanilla Fresh Frozen Custard, chunks of chewy brownies and ribbons of old fashioned salted caramel. It will debut in restaurants during Scoops of Thanks Day, a fundraiser on May 7 that benefits FFA chapters, and will be used to support agricultural education throughout the year.

“We’re excited to get all of our guests involved in National FFA Week by asking for their help in naming our Thank You Farmers Project Flavor of the Day, the proceeds of which will help raise funds for their local FFA chapters,” said Jessie Kreke, senior marketing manager at Culver’s. “Agricultural education programs are essential in ensuring future generations are prepared to tackle the challenges facing our food supply and instill an appreciation for where their food comes from. We want to make sure students face no barriers, like cost, in receiving such an important education.” Continue reading

02-14-20 USDA Secretary Perdue Proclaims February 16-22 as Grain Bin Safety Week

USDA Secretary Perdue Proclaims February 16-22 as Grain Bin Safety Week

(Washington, D.C., February 14, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a proclamation naming February 16-22 as Grain Bin Safety Week. Earlier this week, the Secretary sat down with the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, to talk about the importance of grain bin safety on the farm. Governor Noem grew up on a farm in Hamlin County, South Dakota and has a personal connection to farm safety. She has been an advocate for increased grain bin safety efforts for years.

“We hope grain operators, farmers and community leaders will join us in expanding knowledge of safe practices not just during National Grain Bin Safety Week, but year-round,” said Secretary Perdue. “Tragedies like the one Governor Noem’s family experienced happen too frequently and call for greater action, which is why I have signed a proclamation naming February 16-22 Grain Bin Safety Week.”

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02-04-20 Colorado Pork Producers to Hold Annual Meeting Feb 24th in Brush

Colorado Pork Producers to Hold Annual Meeting Feb 24th in Brush

The annual meeting of the Colorado Pork Producers Council will be held February 24, 2020 at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Brush, Colorado.  All pork producers, veterinarians, Extension Agents, leaders who work with swine projects, students, youth and other allied members and interested parties are invited to attend. Continue reading

02-03-20 Colorado Corn: Trade School Coming to Burlington, CO March 11-12 – REGISTER NOW!

Colorado Corn: Trade School Coming to Burlington, CO March 11-12 – REGISTER NOW!

U.S. Grains, National Corn, and Colorado Corn Host Industry Event
Domestic or international, trade is a critical element of agribusiness and a unique event is being held for the grain industry March 11-12th in Burlington, Colo. for those interested in learning more about recent trade agreements and hat they mean for grain and livestock producers here and abroad.

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02-01-20 USDA Reminds Producers of February 28th Deadline for Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

USDA Reminds Producers of February 28th Deadline for Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

WASHINGTON, February 1, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup to enroll by February 28, 2020. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term.

“This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to take advantage of this popular conservation program.” Continue reading

02-20-20 U.S. Pork Industry Requests Additional ASF-Prevention Measures


U.S. Pork Industry Requests Additional ASF-Prevention Measures

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2020 – Thanks to continued vigilance by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. pork industry, the United States has so far prevented an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks. To ensure the U.S. swine herd remains free of the disease, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and 30 state pork producer associations today asked Agriculture Secretary Perdue to take additional measures, including restricting imports of organic soy products for animal feeds from all ASF-positive countries.

The U.S. pork and feed industries have adopted holding times to allow for the natural degradation of any viruses, to ensure that most imported feed ingredients are safe to use. Research indicates, however, that organic soy products can maintain the virus for longer periods of time, making holding times impractical. While overall imports of feed ingredients are minimal, most soy products imported by the United States are organic. NPPC is confident in the safety of domestic soy products.

“We appreciate the diligent focus and outstanding collaboration between the U.S. pork industry, USDA, CBP, Congress and state animal health officials to protect the U.S. swine herd,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. “While we are confident in the safety of domestic soy products, we urge Secretary Perdue to use authority under the Animal Health Protection Act to restrict imports of organic soy products from ASF-positive countries to further safeguard our animals and prevent an outbreak that would have devastating, far-reaching economic consequences.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 20th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 20th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Groups Come Together for Sustainability Discussion

Twenty-one farm and ranch groups that represent millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers are launching Farmers for a Sustainable Future. It’s a new coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability. The coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider climate policies. One important task for the new coalition is to share with elected officials, media, and the public, U.S. agriculture’s commitment to sustainability and the incredible strides they’ve already made to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. As policy proposals are developed and considered, the goal is for the coalition and its guiding principles to serve as a foundation to ensure the adoption of meaningful and constructive policies and programs affecting agriculture. Those guiding principles include calling for policies that support science-based research, voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, investment in infrastructure, and solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities and a healthy planet. The coalition says farmers and ranchers are committed stewards of the land, leading the way to climate-smart farming by promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, using nutrients efficiently, and caring for their animals.

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Ag Groups Excited about New Sustainable Farming Coalition

Farm groups that represent millions of farmers and ranchers across the country have come together to form a new coalition called Farmers for a Sustainable Future. It’s a coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability. One of the ag groups is the American Soybean Association. Their CEO, Ryan Findlay, says, “Soybean farmers have an awesome story to tell, including their sustainability initiatives, so it’s great to be able to collaborate with like-minded organizations to facilitate sound policy and program decisions and have a platform to share our efforts.” The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives also joined the coalition. Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the NCFC, says, “This effort is important as policymakers at both the state and federal levels, and our partners in the value chain develop programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says, “Twenty-one agricultural groups are now standing side-by-side in unity to correct a false narrative that’s haunted us for as long as I can remember.” The National Pork Producers Council says farmers and ranchers are “committed stewards of the land” and leading the way in climate-smart farming.

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Meat Import Containers Piling Up in Chinese Ports

There are thousands of containers of frozen pork, chicken, and beef, all sitting in major Chinese ports because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Bloomberg says transportation disruptions and labor shortages are slowing operations down drastically. People familiar with the situation tell Bloomberg that there aren’t enough truck drivers to pick up and move the containers due to travel restrictions imposed on the country to control the coronavirus. Ports are running out of electricity to help freeze the containers, while some ships have been told to move on to other destinations in mainland China or Hong Kong. China imports massive amounts of meat products from South America, Europe, and the United States. It’s been boosting purchases to help ease some of the shortages caused by the African Swine Fever outbreak that decimated its hog herds. Customs data shows that China boosted its imports of meat and offal by almost 50 percent last year to a record 6.2 million tons. It’s not known if or when port operations will be able to return to normal as truck drivers returning from other cities are quarantined for 14 days. Other transport restrictions on trucks also remain in place.

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China Offers More Tariff-Relief on U.S. Imports

The University of Illinois’ Farm Policy News website says reports are surfacing that China is looking at purchasing some U.S. farm products by early March. The gesture would be intended to show the U.S. that it will meet its commitments outlined in the Phase One trade deal. The Chinese government is in discussions over what commodities it could potentially buy at the end of February or in early March. The purchases would show the U.S. that China intends to stick to the trade deal despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Additional reports from Reuters show that China intends to “grant exemptions on retaliatory duties imposed on almost 700 U.S. products,” which would be the most substantial tariff relief to be offered so far. That would be the third round of tariff relief offered by China and comes after the Phase One trade deal officially went into effect on February 14. China has already been issuing tariff waivers on more of an ad hoc basis for U.S. farm products, including soybeans. The exemption announcement that came this week includes energy products like crude oil.

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Don’t Forget to Complete Census of Agriculture Special Studies

The USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service continues to collect responses to the 2019 Organic Survey and the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties, both of which are special studies that take place every five years. The response window runs through March of this year. NASS is asking producers who received the questionnaires to respond online, by mail, or by telephone. “We are extending the deadlines for responses since we still have a steady stream of completed questionnaires coming in,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “NASS produces the most comprehensive data about U.S. agriculture. Our record of accuracy is why NASS data continues to be used throughout the industry.” Hamer says the better response they get from the questionnaires means the better data they have to offer. “Responding to NASS surveys and censuses means contributing to the future,” Hamer adds. The resulting data will be used by commodity associations, agribusinesses, policymakers, researchers, Extension, and more. Producers who didn’t respond to the original deadline will receive a second questionnaire this month.

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CRP Signup Deadline Rapidly Approaching

The USDA is reminding producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program that the signup deadline is on February 28. The signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10-to-15-year term. Farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program get yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, which can control soil erosion, improve water quality, and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. The CRP has 22 million acres currently enrolled, but the 2018 Farm Bill lifted that cap to 27 million. The program is marking its 35th anniversary in 2020 with many milestones. It’s prevented more than nine billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks. The program has also sequestered an average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking nine million cars off the road.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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02-19-20 TRACTOR SUPPLY HOLDS ANNUAL FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT FFA

TRACTOR SUPPLY HOLDS ANNUAL FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT FFA

Donations accepted in-store and online will fund student-led agricultural projects across the country

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2020) – Tractor Supply Company continues its efforts to support youth across the country by kicking off the year with its annual Grants for Growing campaign. The fundraiser, which will coincide with National FFA Week, supports hundreds of unique and sustainable agricultural projects implemented by FFA chapters nationwide.

From February 19 to March 1, donations can be made in store or online at TractorSupply.com. Each grant will fund projects within the same state the funds were donated in.

“We are committed to the FFA mission of making a positive difference in the lives of our students,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply. “Thanks to the passion our team members and customers have for supporting their communities, Tractor Supply will continue to invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders.” Continue reading

02-19-20 Lights, Camera, Dairy – Dairy MAX creates all-star advocates of the dairy story through communications trainings

Lights, Camera, Dairy

Dairy MAX creates all-star advocates of the dairy story through communications trainings

From its unique nutrient package to the role in sustainable food systems, dairy brings a lot to the table. But with people generations removed from farming and the overwhelming number of beverage choices and activists, spreading the truth about dairy foods and where they come from is more important than ever. Continue reading

02-19-20 NFU’s College Conference on Cooperatives Continues Excellence in Cooperative Education

NFU’s College Conference on Cooperatives Continues Excellence in Cooperative Education

WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union (NFU) hosted 75 students in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last weekend for its annual College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC). The three-day conference provides an interactive learning experience for American agriculture’s next generation on the importance, structure, and operations of various types of cooperative groups.

“Cooperatives have long played a vital role in bolstering rural and urban communities alike – which is why National Farmers Union established this program more than four decades ago” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “By engaging tomorrow’s agricultural leaders in hands-on application of cooperative business principles and structures, we can help inform them of and prepare them for the many opportunities available to them through the cooperative model.”

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02-19-20 NPPC: Farmers Join Forces for Sustainability and Responsible Climate Policy


NPPC: Farmers Join Forces for Sustainability and Responsible Climate Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 19, 2020 – Twenty-one farm and ranch groups representing millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers are launching Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF), a coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability. This coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider climate policies. Continue reading

02-19-20 National Potato Council Welcomes Year-Round Access for U.S. Chipping Potatoes to Japan

National Potato Council Welcomes Year-Round Access for U.S. Chipping Potatoes to Japan

Announcement deepens relationship with largest trading partner

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF) informed USDA that U.S. chipping potatoes will be allowed to enter year-round, starting Feb. 14, 2020. Previously, the import protocol for U.S. chipping potatoes states was from Feb. 1 to July 30 each year. The new language state that U.S. chipping potatoes can enter all year round.

“NPC and the entire U.S. potato industry appreciates the diligent work of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff to secure this increased access,” said NPC Vice President of Trade Affairs Jared Balcom. “Year-round access for U.S. fresh chip-stock potatoes will deepen our relationship with our number one trading partner and support the continued growth of the U.S. potato industry.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 19th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

India Offers Concession on U.S. Farm Goods to Help Reach a Deal

India is attempting to reach a trade deal with the U.S. before President Donald Trump makes his first official visit to the country on February 24-25. People close to the negotiations say the Indian government is open to greater market access for American farm and dairy products. India is willing to allow market access for U.S. products like cranberries, blueberries, pecan nuts, and avocados at lower duty rates. They’re also open to allowing imports of DDGs, the by-product of ethanol production used in animal feed and alfalfa hay. Even as the two nations attempt to have a deal in place before Trump’s visit, there aren’t a lot of details available as to when a new agreement might be ready. Negotiators are still working on the final details in an attempt to resolve some long-standing issues between the two countries. Bloomberg says even a partial trade deal with India that allows greater market access for U.S. farm goods is likely to help the president as he runs for reelection this year. He’s fresh off success with the “Phase One” deal with China, as well as the USMCA agreement, and the trade deal with Japan.

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GAO will Investigate Trade Aid Funds Distribution

The Government Accountability Office is looking into President Trump’s $28 billion aid program for farmers that were hurt by trade disputes with other countries. The office is investigating allegations that the money was mismanaged and distributed unfairly. The New York Times says the investigation came about because of a request by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who says she thinks the aid program was biased. She argues that the program provided more funds to southern states that voted for the president and that it favored large and foreign agriculture companies over small farmers. The administration says the aid program that began in 2018 will end this year. The program started as a $12 billion effort to help mitigate losses for farmers who faced lost sales because of retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, as a result of the trade war. The program grew to $28 billion last year as the trade war disruptions with China lingered. Critics have said the formula that was used to determine payments for certain crops were faulty, which meant funds went to multiple big corporations or large farms, instead of the smaller family operations.

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Hemp Farmers on Edge Because of Law Enforcement Requirements

Hemp producers around the country feel they’re being treated like criminals. That’s because laboratories that test the crop must be certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration, something that has the country’s producers uneasy. USDA’s new hemp regulations say farmers have to ship some of their crops off to labs so that they can verify the crop doesn’t contain illegal amounts of THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana. If a hemp crop is found non-compliant, which would mean the THC levels are above .3 percent, it has to be completely destroyed under the supervision of a law enforcement officer. Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, tells Politico that law enforcement shouldn’t be involved unless there’s evidence of illegal activity, such as a farmer with a hemp license growing marijuana. Other critics worry that DEA lab certification will create a major bottleneck to testing, which must take place during a 15-day window before harvest. 44 labs in America can process hemp samples, but some states such as Alabama don’t have a single lab to take care of that kind of testing.

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Justice Department Looking Into Dairy Merger

Dairy Farmers of America has reached an agreement with Dean Foods to purchase the bulk of Dean’s operations for $425 million. An Agri-Pulse report says that agreement will be contingent on approval from the Justice Department and a federal bankruptcy court. Dean filed for bankruptcy back in November. The company currently operates 57 facilities in 29 states, and under the agreement, Dairy Farmers of America would acquire 44 of those facilities. However, not everyone is happy with the agreement. “It would be awful,” says Peter Carstensen, a Law Professor at the University of Wisconsin. “This has the potential to hurt consumers because it would eliminate a lot of competition within the industry. At the same time, it will hurt dairy farmers.” Carstensen specializes in antitrust in agriculture, and he says Dean and DFA are some of the only milk processors in the Upper Midwest and New England. Bobbi Wilson, a government relations associate for the Wisconsin Farmers Union, says, “We don’t want to see a situation where DFA is the only buyer around.” The Justice Department will need to review the merger and has been in contact with Dean Foods about potential transactions, including a tie-up with DFA. Dean Foods says it believes the transaction would be “competitive and beneficial” for both farmers and consumers.

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Grain Glitch Could Cost Farmers, Cooperatives Money

It’s been two years since the discovery of the “grain glitch” in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. A DTN report says farmer cooperatives are still asking Treasury Department officials to change provisions of Section 199A back to the way the tax deduction worked before the 2017 tax law was passed. The tax quirk that looked like a windfall for farmers who did business with cooperatives might now increase the taxes for at least some of those farmers who are patrons of more diverse cooperatives. Accountants and grain industry leaders discovered in early 2018 that the new tax law inadvertently gave farmers a potentially large tax break for selling their crops to farmer cooperatives instead of private elevators. Major private grain companies were faced with a possible large purchasing disadvantage. The grain glitch generated enough attention that Congress passed legislation to rework the tax deduction in a federal spending bill within a few months. Last summer, the Treasury Department began proposing that Section 199 deductions only apply to “patronage income.” That would eliminate cooperatives’ ability to combine “non-patronage income” as part of the deduction calculation. That exclusion of non-patronage income was never part of the original Section 199 regulations.

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Coronavirus a “Wildcard” in the Cotton Market too?

The coronavirus in China represents a significant wildcard in the world’s cotton market. That comes from the 2020 economic outlook released at the National Cotton Council’s annual meeting in New Orleans. The coronavirus outbreak in China may mean delays in the Asian country’s ability to increase purchases in the near-term. The NCC says that it makes it hard to predict what 2020 buying may look like in the cotton market during the year ahead. The NCC is projecting planted acreage to be 13 million acres, 5.5 percent less than in 2019. The Hagstrom Report says the expected drop in cotton acres is a result of slightly weaker cotton prices relative to corn and soybeans. Export markets for cotton, like many other commodities, continues to be the primary outlet for the raw fiber shipments from the U.S. World trade is estimated to be higher in the 2019 marketing year. However, retaliatory tariffs and increased competition from other major exporting countries have led to a sharp drop in the U.S. share of the cotton market in China. However, despite the continued U.S. and China trade disruptions, the NCC says U.S. export sales to other markets have been very strong for the current crop year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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02-18-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Following Record Year, Outlook Remains Strong for U.S. Beef in South Korea

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Following Record Year, Outlook Remains Strong for U.S. Beef in South Korea 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO -February 18, 2020 – U.S. beef exports to South Korea are coming off another record performance in 2019, with export value reaching $1.84 billion – an increase of 5% from 2018.

Jihae Yang, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Korea director, says the outlook is very positive for continued growth in 2020. She explains that Korea’s domestic beef production cannot keep pace with growing demand, and well-marbled, high-quality beef from the United States is very appealing to Korean consumers. Australia’s beef production is being impacted by drought-induced herd liquidation, which has an increasing number of Korean retailers and foodservice operators relying on U.S. beef. Lower tariff rates under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) also helps make U.S. beef more affordable for consumers. Since KORUS was implemented in 2012, the tariff rate for U.S. beef has fallen from 40% to 16%, and will go to zero by 2026. U.S. beef enjoys a tariff rate advantage over competitors in Korea, because KORUS was Korea’s first free trade agreement with a major beef supplier.

Yang notes that U.S. beef has an ever-expanding presence in Korea’s foodservice sector. It is a perfect fit for popular home meal replacement kits, and a wide range of U.S. beef cuts are used to satisfy Koreans’ growing appetite for steaks and craft burgers.

Jihae Yang record beef exports to Korea 2-17-20

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 17th & 18th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 17th

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India Offers Dairy, Chicken Access in Trade Negotiations with the U.S.

In a bid to land a limited trade pact with the U.S., Reuters says India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets. The offer comes as India readies for President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the country at the end of this month. No country produces more milk than India, which has traditionally restricted dairy imports to protect the livelihoods of the 80 million households involved in the industry. Last year, Trump suspended India’s special trade designation that dated back to the 1970s. That move came after India put price caps on medical devices, such as cardiac stents and knee implants, as well as introduced new data localization requirements and e-commerce restrictions. The U.S. is India’s second-largest trading partner, trailing only China. India has offered to allow imports of U.S. chicken legs, turkey, and produce like blueberries and cherries, while also cutting tariffs on chicken legs from 100 percent to 25. U.S. negotiators would like that cut to ten percent. The Indian government is also offering to allow some access to its dairy market, but with a five percent tariff and quotas. However, dairy imports would need a certificate saying they aren’t derived from animals that have consumed feeds containing internal organs, blood meal, or tissues of ruminants.

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Phase One Trade Deal Officially Takes Effect

Not only was Friday Valentine’s Day, but it was also the first official day that the Phase One Trade Deal was in effect. Tariffs on both sides of the agreement officially began coming down. The coronavirus outbreak is causing concern about China meeting its obligations under the agreement. An Agri-Pulse report says U.S. experts are worried about whether ports, interior transportation, and soybean crushers are all operating at normal levels. However, industry sources and USDA data show that 1.6 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans were making their way across the Pacific Ocean and heading to China. The latest numbers show that 69,000 tons of soybeans left the U.S. and headed to China during the week of January 31st. During that same time frame, USDA reports showed net sales of 132,000 tons of soybeans to China for the 2019-2020 marketing year. The numbers show that soybeans are still going to China, even though information coming from out of China is almost non-existent. Officials point out that we still don’t know any specifics about how many purchases China will make under the Phase One agreement. Farm groups are looking for more specific information but don’t have any yet.

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Phase One Trade Deal Does Include Deadlines for China

While much of the attention on the deal between the U.S. and China centers around concerns on China meeting its purchasing requirements under the agreement, there are some deadlines it has to meet. There are some deadlines for the U.S. to meet as well. Politico said on Friday that, within the next seven working days, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and China’s Customs Agency are required to sign a protocol to allow for the importation of U.S. potatoes. China is also required by February 24 to formally recognize the U.S. dairy safety system is as safe as its own, as well as allow imports of American pork that’s been inspected by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. China is also required by March 14 to lift its ban on U.S. pet foods containing ruminant ingredients and to eliminate cattle age requirements for imports of U.S. beef and beef products. The two sides are also required by that same date to begin technical discussions intended to pave the way for China to import U.S breeding cattle.

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Stronger Farmland Values are Supporting the Farm Economy

Strength in farm real estate markets provided support to the agricultural sector amid ongoing financial challenges. The Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Condition from the Federal Reserve of Kansas City says non-irrigated cropland values and cash rents increased slightly in the fourth quarter of last year. Cash rents had been dropping since 2017 but rose slightly at the end of last year. Credit conditions in the District remained weak but deteriorated at the slowest pace in more than four years. Despite some signs of stabilization, geographic disparities persisted across the region. Land values were stronger on the eastern side of the District, while farm income and credit conditions were weaker on the west side of the district. Lower interest rates and reduced borrowing costs may have contributed to recent strength in the District’s farmland values. Demand for farmland remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2019, which could also have supported farmland values. Bankers who responded to the survey said that trade relief payments provided notable support to farm finances in 2019, but many also indicated that underlying weaknesses in the sector continued to be driven by low agricultural commodity prices.

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Midwest Bracing for More Flooding This Spring

States that border the Missouri River are forecast to experience an elevated flood risk this spring. The National Weather Service says those conditions will only be made worse by already saturated soils and a lot of snow to melt. The NWS issued its first Spring Flood Outlook last week, saying Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and eastern North and South Dakota all face an above-average flooding risk. It’s not good news as many of those areas are still trying to recover from devastating flooding last year that damaged levees and cost farmers millions in crop losses. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they are “very concerned at this point.” An Associated Press report says even in places where the Corps was able to patch holes in some levees, the normal level of protection won’t be there because initial repairs haven’t been done yet to the full height of the levees. Officials say levee repairs will likely take up to two years to complete. Part of the challenge is the water remained so high in some areas that officials couldn’t even assess the full scope of damage until just recently. Many levees in Iowa and Nebraska have been patched but work hasn’t begun yet in Kansas and Missouri.

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Hemp Industry Executive Blames FDA for industry Challenges

The Food and Drug Administration’s uncertainty over how to regulate the hemp industry is causing challenges that some companies can’t overcome. Warning letters to companies for selling products illegally has diminished big companies’ interest in hemp food products and made it difficult for processors to obtain working capital. Steven Bevan, president of GenCanna, says his Kentucky hemp processing company had to file for bankruptcy last week. “The FDA doesn’t have a pathway for accepting something that was an illegal product,” Bevan told attendees at the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau seminar on hemp. Crop insurers and companies that issue reinsurance are interested in hemp because the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to grow the non-psychotropic relative of marijuana. There are three main hemp products, including fiber, seed, and flowers used to make CBD oil, which is used without FDA approval to treat a range of medical problems. In November, FDA warned consumers that it could not conclude CBD is safe for use in human or animal food, and it sent warning letters to 15 companies. Bevan called the FDA’s safety concerns “hogwash.” He says the FDA hasn’t ever removed a single CBD product from any store shelves. The result of the warning letters is that big companies are following their lawyer’s advice to say away from hemp.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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