READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 7th…

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

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Former FDA Commissioner Worried over GMO Labeling

Former FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg under the Obama administration says GMO labeling could send the wrong message to consumers. Hamburg says GMO labeling worries her the most, adding she worries about entering a period “of what some call science denialism out of fear,” according to Politico. Hamburg says mandatory labeling potentially sends the message that GMO’s are dangerous. Her comments come as Congress has just two weeks’ worth of working days left to complete a GMO labeling compromise before the Vermont labeling law takes effect. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, are reportedly still working on a labeling compromise. However, with little time left, some lawmakers, such as Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, are “unconvinced” Congress can pass a deal before July first when the Vermont law takes effect.


Center for Regulatory Effectiveness Calls EPA Atrazine Accusations False

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness states the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “preliminary” ecological risk assessment relies on computer models to predict environmental effects from use of the herbicide atrazine. The EPA released a draft proposal last week that suggests atrazine is harmful to the environment.The Center says those predictions are not true, adding that there is no real world data showing that EPA’s predictions have actually occurred, despite atrazine’s widespread international use for more than 60 years. The center claims EPA’s unsupported accusations violate EPA’s own Model Quality Guidelines, which require that model predictions be consistent with real world data before they are used to regulate.


Thailand, Taiwan Express Interest in Joining TPP

Nations hoping to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership have begun preparations to ensure acceptance when the trade deal opens to new member states. The TPP currently represents 12 countries that account for nearly 40 percent of global Gross Domestic Product. The National Pork Producers Council says the deal would be the “biggest commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers.” Meanwhile, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister last week stressed the need for the country to improve its competitiveness as part of preparations for joining the TPP. Taiwan’s new president previously indicated she wants the island nation to join the TPP and that the country must resolve issues related to imports of U.S. pork products, including its ban on ractopamine. Along with Thailand and Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Honduras and Colombia have expressed an interest in joining the TPP.


USDA Providing Targeted Assistance to Cotton Producers to Share in the Cost of Ginning

USDA announced Monday the agency will provide an estimated $300 million in cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers through the new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton. Through the program, eligible producers can receive a one-time cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s 2015 cotton acres reported to FSA, multiplied by 40 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region. With the pressing need to provide assistance ahead of the 2016 ginning season this fall, USDA says the agency will ensure the application process is straight-forward and efficient. Sign-up for the program will begin June 20th and run through Aug. 5th, 2016 at the producer’s local FSA office. Payments will be processed as applications are received, and are expected to begin in July. The program has the same eligibility requirements as were used for the 2014 Cotton Transition Assistance Program, including a $40,000 per producer payment limit, requirement to be actively engaged in farming, meet conservation compliance and a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit.

Backyard Flocks Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Seven outbreaks of salmonella linked to backyard poultry flocks have caused 324 cases of illnesses in 35 states since January, according to Meatingplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reported one death in the outbreak. An investigation found the culprit to be human contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries. The CDC says the outbreaks are expected to continue for several months as “flock owners might be unaware of the risk of salmonella infection from live poultry.” The agency found 27 percent of the reported illnesses were found in children five years of age or younger. Interviews by the CDC and other agencies found those who became sick said they bought live baby poultry from several different suppliers, including feed supply stores, co-ops, hatcheries and friends.


USMEF: Red Meat Exports Deliver Excellent Returns for U.S. Corn Producers

A study by the U.S. Meat Export Federation finds U.S. beef and pork exports returned $1.3 billion to U.S. corn farmers in 2015. The independent study commissioned by USMEF was conducted by World Perspectives, a leading agricultural consulting firm. Dave Juday, World Perspectives senior analyst, says if there were no meat exports in 2015, corn prices “would have been about $3.15 per bushel,” instead of the season average of $3.60. That would have accounted for a loss of 45 cents per bushel, which Juday says would have amounted to about $6 billion to the corn industry last year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service