READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 17th…

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CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Legislation Banning Packer Ownership of Livestock Introduced

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley introduced a bill last week that would make it unlawful for packers to own, feed, or control livestock intended for slaughter.  The measure would amend the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act and prohibit arrangements that give packers managerial, supervisory, and operational control of animals.  The National Pork Producers Council says it supports the right of all producers of any size or type of production system to market access and opposes any legislation that hinders market access.  NPPC will review the text of the bill when it becomes available.  Grassley introduced similar measures in 2007 and 2012.

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House Panel Questions EPA on Glyphosate Report

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has launched an investigation the EPA’s review on glyphosate.  Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today says the committee is questioning why the agency pulled a report that said the chemical was likely not carcinogenic.  The committee is questioning whether reasons other than science motivated the EPA to pull the report, as well as 13 other related documents, offline.  EPA said the documents were published “inadvertently” and were “preliminary.”  But documents were marked “final” and a memo that was part of the report described it as the committee’s “final cancer assessment document.”

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UN Committee Finds Glyphosate Unlikely Cancer Causing

The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate probably does not cause cancer.  That’s according to a new safety review by United Nations health, agriculture, and food experts.  Experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization said glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans” exposed to it through food.  It’s used mostly on farm crops and in gardens.  Reuters said having reviewed the scientific evidence, the joint WHO/FAO committee said glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic in humans.  That means it’s not likely to have a destructive effect on human genetic material.  The differing findings will thrust glyphosate in the middle of a row between the US and EU politicians and regulators, the International for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the environmental and agriculture experts of the WHO.

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USDA Releases Honey Bee Colony Loss Survey Results

Last week, the USDA released its first honey bee colony loss survey results.  The Hagstrom Report says the survey is intended to serve as a baseline for future work on bee health.  The survey questioned more than 20,000 beekeepers about their number of colonies, colonies added and lost, and colonies affected by certain stressors.  It confirms other reports that bee colonies continue to decline.  According to the survey, there were 2.59 million colonies on January first of this year, which is 8 percent fewer than a year ago on January first of 2015.  This includes operations which have 5 or more colonies. 

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EPA Launches Billboard Probe

The Inspector General of the EPA is beginning an audit of controversial billboards in Washington State which called out called out agricultural water pollution.  Politico says the billboards were funded by a grant from the EPA and were part of the “What’s Upstream” campaign by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.  An EPA official has already acknowledged that the billboards likely violated the agency’s rules because they did not disclose EPA involvement.  Agricultural groups have charged that the billboards amount to lobbying, which is a violation of Federal law.  The EPA has already been found guilty of one such anti-lobbying violation with its social media campaign promoting the Waters of the US Rule. 

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North American Bison is National Mammal

President Obama signed the “National Bison Legacy Act,” which adopts the North Amercian Bison as the National Mammal.  In a blog post, the Interior Department said “the bison joins the bald eagle as an official symbol of our country.  Much like the eagle, the bison is one of our greatest conservation success stories of all time.”  The Hagstrom Report says the Interior Department was referring to an extraordinary effort in the early 20th century to save the Bison from extinction.  At one point in history, more than 40 million bisons roamed North America, but by the late 1800’s, fewer than one thousand remained. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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