READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 17th…

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Coalition Pressing Congress to Reach GMO Agreement

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is urging Congress to reach an agreement on GMO labeling quickly. The coalition called on Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow to come to an agreement on legislation to set a national standard for the labeling of food products containing biotechnology. Joining the coalition in its plea to Congress, American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky told reporters Thursday “the lack of Senate action really threatens the livelihoods of the farmers we represent.” Roberts and Stabenow have indicated that they continue to make progress toward a solution. However, only a handful of legislative working days remains before the Vermont law’s July first deadline. Agriculture groups, such as the American Soybean Association, say without a national standard that supersedes the Vermont law, states across the nation could adopt individual laws that differ, making compliance highly burdensome.

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Winter Wheat Harvest Moving Faster through Kansas

Winter wheat harvest has picked up notably in recent days amid drier weather, according to harvest reports from the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today Reports the drier field conditions of late have also improved the moisture levels of the crop, speeding along the harvest. There is some rain in the near-term forecast for the state, however. Pro Farmer says yields have remained impressive as harvest progresses, with fairly regular reports of test weights topping 60 pounds.

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U.S. Meat Industry Represents $1.02 Trillion in Economic Output

A new study shows the U.S. meat and poultry industry accounts for $1.02 trillion in total economic output or 5.6 percent of gross domestic product. The analysis, commissioned by the North American Meat Institute, found the meat and poultry industry is responsible for 5.4 million jobs and $257 billion in wages. The report says that not only does the meat and poultry industry create jobs, it also generates sizeable tax revenues in two forms. Traditional direct taxes paid by firms and their employees provide over $108.4 billion in revenues to the federal, state and local governments. In addition, meat and poultry consumption generates $3.2 billion in state sales taxes. The analysis is featured on Meat Fuels America dot com (www.meatfuelsamerica.com), and can be broken down by state or congressional districts on the website. 

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Prestage Farms Close to Selecting Iowa Site for Processing Plant

Prestage Farms is closing in on a new proposed location for a $240 million pork processing plant rejected by Mason City, Iowa voters. Meatingplace reports Prestage Farms has looked at nearly half of the 19 Iowa communities that contacted the company following the Mason City vote. Prestage Farms President Ron Prestage says the company wants to avoid a repeat of the situation it faced in Mason City, where several groups protested at public hearings, voicing concerns about the environmental impact and other issues that could result if the plant was built. The project is expected to create around 1,000 jobs for the community Prestage Farms selects. Communities in neighboring states have reportedly reached out to Prestage Farms as well expressing interest in the facility.

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USDA NASS Names Acting Chair of USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board

The USDA National Ag Statistics Service this week announced Joseph Parsons will serve as Acting Chair of USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board. At the same time, he also becomes Acting Director of the Methodology Division. Parsons currently serves as Director of the Information Technology Division and is the agency’s Chief Information Officer. Before that, he was Senior Research Statistician in the Research and Development Division. He has served in a variety of leadership positions throughout the agency. The Agricultural Statistics Board prepares and issues USDA’s official national and state forecasts and estimates relating to crop production, stocks of agricultural commodities, livestock and livestock products, dairy and dairy products, poultry and poultry products, agricultural prices, economic information, agricultural wage rates, chemical usage, and other subjects.

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German Organic Leader Urges Research Robotic Weeders

The president of Germany’s largest organic farmers association says multinational businesses such as Monsanto and Bayer AG should focus on crop weeding robots, instead of spending capital on mergers. Jan Plagge(Yan Plah-gee), president of Bioland in Germany, told the Hagstrom Report this month that robotic weeding equipment would eliminate the need for widespread use of pesticides or genetic modification of crops. He says weeders can be developed to select which weeds in a field to kill and which plants to leave. He says the robots are a much better investment than merger considerations. Bayer has made two offers to acquire Monsanto. Plagge represents more than 6,000 German farmers as president of Bioland and is also vice president for Europe for IFOAM, the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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