READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 23rd…

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

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 9th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Bureau Wants Tweaks to Drone Rules

Agriculture should be one of the largest industries to benefit from the new drone rules issued Tuesday from the Federal Aviation Administration. The American Farm Bureau says it will continue working with the FAA to tweak certain restrictions in the rules. The Farm Bureau suggested several changes to FFA rules, including not requiring drones be operated in the user’s line of sight or not operated directly over people, but those suggestions weren’t adopted. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says the obvious challenge is farmers have a lot of lands to cover and some of it isn’t contiguous.  The group’s Director of Congressional Relations, R.J. Karney, gave the FAA credit for building in flexibility by allowing waivers to those restrictions. He hopes this will help build a case for more fine-tuning of the rules to help the technology take off for farmers and ranchers. Agriculture could make up almost 80 percent of expected commercial drone use. Drones could map terrain or monitor fields for pest and disease pressure, just to name a few of the expected uses.

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Meat Stays On Military Menus

The House of Representatives recently passed the Defense Department Appropriations Act with an amendment that said meat will remain an option for members of the military.  The amendment was offered by Nebraska Republican Adrian Smith, and it prohibits the Defense Department from excluding meat in its food service program manual. The U.S. Coast Guard had cut meat consumption among its cadets by ten percent over three years, and that prompted concerns of potential meat cuts among other service branches. Smith said, “Meat contains vitamins and nutrients not available in a plant-based diet. The amendment is not a mandate or prohibition; it simply says there will be a meat option for our service members each day.” Both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers’ Council applauded Smith’s efforts to make sure anti-meat activists can’t decide what our military can and cannot eat. 

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New York Farm Bureau to Intervene in Lawsuit

The New York Farm Bureau will attempt to intervene in a lawsuit that supports farm workers’ rights to unionize. Even though the lawsuit challenges existing state law, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he won’t fight it. The state Farm Bureau said it’s attempting to intervene and defend farmers precisely because Cuomo won’t do it. The Farm Bureau says farmers have been abandoned by both the governor and attorney general who won’t defend state laws, and the state’s farmers will be hurt if the plaintiffs prevail. “We believe exempting farm workers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and excluding farm workers from State Labor Relations Law is based on decades of rational public policy.” The New York Farm Bureau said legal precedent is clear, and the New York Civil Liberties Union is attempting to make an end-run around the state legislature, which hasn’t approved collective bargaining for state farm workers despite numerous chances to do so.

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Brazil Labeling GMO Products Since 2003

Brazil is the second largest producer of genetically modified crops in the world, and mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods has been in effect since 2003.  Foods for humans and animals must be labeled if more than 1 percent of the product contains or is produced from GMO’s, and companies that don’t follow the law are fined.  GM labeling hasn’t prevented Brazil from becoming an innovator in the technology.  The labeling law also doesn’t appear to have stopped shoppers from buying foods with certain genetically modified ingredients.  The Center for Food Integrity said the impact of labels depends on its consistency, what it says, and whether or not the technology is so common it can actually lose its fear factor, which is what happened in Brazil.  Even an anti-GMO group like the Environmental Working Group has an article on its website titled “GMO’s Don’t Scare Away Shoppers,” specifically referencing Brazil.  The article notes that researchers suggest “consumers are, in some cases, more likely to buy GM foods, especially if the label claims to provide a nutritional benefit.” 

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Federal Official in Trouble Over WOTUS

A federal official is facing contempt charges in the House of Representatives over failure to turn over documents and information pertaining to the Waters of the U.S. Rule, or WOTUS.  DTN says the House Oversight Committee recommended that Howard Shelanski, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, be found in contempt of Congress for not cooperating with the investigation into the Waters of the US rulemaking process.  Contempt of Congress carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and a year in Federal prison, but the threat is often used to compel officials to comply with investigations.  The Oversight Committee wants to know what role the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs played in developing the rule.  The Committee notes that “of the over 7,600 pages of documents that have been produced, just over 5,100 are duplicates.”

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Culver’s Introduces #FarmingFridays

The Culver’s restaurant chain is giving its social media followers a chance to see into the daily lives of farming community members.  Culver’s is asking agricultural influencers to submit photos and videos during a seven-week series called #FarmingFridays.  The people who’ve been invited to share information about their farming life on Culver’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts will do so every Friday from June 24 to August 5.  Culver’s says its restaurants are committed to helping customers to learn more about the people who are behind the food they eat.  The initiative is part of Culver’s national Thank You Farmers Program, which recognizes the hard work of the farmers who feed the nation.  So far, the national Thank You Farmers initiative has raised nearly $1 million to support the National FFA Organization and its Foundation, as well as local FFA chapters and ag organizations.   

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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