READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 20th…

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Report Shows Agriculture a Big Winner under TPP

A report by the U.S. International Trade Commission earlier this week says agriculture stands to reap the biggest benefits from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If the TPP was implemented, the report finds that agricultural exports would rise by about $7.2 billion per year by 2032. Imports of farm products would also increase, but only by $2.7 billion annually. Groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Soybean Association say the report is further proof that Congress should act now to approve the TPP. However, Congressional leaders remain pessimistic that the trade pact will get a vote this year, according to Agri-Pulse. In renewing his call for Congress to approve the deal, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Trade Commission report “echoes what every major reputable study on TPP has now found,” that being strong benefits for the U.S. agriculture sector.

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Monsanto Reviewing Bayer Proposal

Monsanto publicly announced late Wednesday that the company was reviewing a proposal by Bayer AG to acquire Monsanto. Earlier in the week, BASF and Bayer were reportedly interested in acquiring the St. Louis, Missouri-based company. Monsanto confirmed the company has received what officials call an “unsolicited, non-binding proposal” from Bayer, subject to “due diligence, regulatory approvals and other conditions.” Further, the company says the Board of Directors of Monsanto is reviewing the proposal, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors. The proposal by Bayer comes a year after Monsanto was making offers to purchase Swiss-based Syngenta worth up to $46 billion. However, state-owned ChemChina and Syngenta agreed to an all-cash deal worth $43 billion.

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Health Concerns Delay EU vote on Glyphosate

European Union countries have chosen to delay a vote that would allow the continued sale and use of glyphosate herbicides, leaving little time before the EU license for glyphosate expires. A spokesperson for the European Commission said since a majority could not be reached, no vote was held this week as previously planned, according to the Wall Street Journal. The commission had proposed to reauthorize glyphosate for nine years once its current sales license runs out next month. After failing to receive a majority approval in March, the commission had reduced the proposed authorization from to nine years to 15 years. Glyphosate is one of the most popular weed killers in the EU. Complicating the vote is the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer findings last year that say glyphosate probably has the potential to cause cancer in humans. If the commission fails to vote before June 30th, glyphosate sales and use will no longer be authorized in the EU.

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Senate Ag Committee Holds Farm Credit Hearing

Farm groups confirmed their support for the Farm Credit System as the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing Thursday regarding farm lending. Two panels gave testimony during the hearing titled “The Farm Credit System: Oversight and Outlook of the Current Economic Climate.” More than 50 farm groups wrote the Senate Agriculture Committee this week telling lawmakers the current farm economy makes “the role of the Farm Credit System more important than ever.” The American Farm Bureau Federation says the array of credit products offered by both the Farm Credit System and commercial banks ensures farmers and their industry sector partners have access to financial tools that are vital to their success. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, announced at the opening of the hearing that the Farm Service Agency has seen a 21 percent increase in farm loans compared to last year.

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EPA Plans RFS Public Hearing in Kansas City, Mo

While announcing its Renewable Fuel Standard proposal this week, the Environmental Protection Agency also announced plans to conduct a public hearing. The EPA said it would hold a public hearing in Kansas City, Missouri. Following its proposal last year, EPA held a public hearing in Kansas City, Kansas. This year’s hearing is planned for Thursday, June 9th. The public comment period will remain open until July 11th. EPA this week proposed to increase the renewable fuel volume requirements across all types of biofuels. However, ethanol groups say the increases are not enough. The proposal for ethanol is 200 million gallons shy of the 15 billion gallons mandated by Congress. Groups opposing the EPA proposal include the National Chicken Council, which charges the EPA is creating an artificial demand for corn-based ethanol beyond what the fuel market can bear. The group says the proposal will “have unintended consequences for other corn users,” like livestock producers.

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April Milk Production up 1.2 Percent

The monthly USDA milk production report finds production for April was 1.2 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Milk production in the 23 major milk producing states during April totaled roughly 18 billion pounds. USDA also revised the March production to 17.2 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from March of 2015. The March revision represents an increase of seven million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate. The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.65 million head, 21,000 head more than April of 2015, and 4,000 head more than March of this year. USDA also says production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,900 some pounds for April, the highest production per cow for the month of April since the 23 state report began in 2003.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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