READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 4th…

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

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

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 4th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Vermont Stops Enforcement of GMO Labeling Law

Vermont this week announced the state has stopped enforcement of its GMO labeling law, following President Barak Obama signing the national GMO labeling bill that preempts state laws. Vermont’s Attorney General William Sorrell issued the announcement Tuesday saying he was pleased Vermont spurred Congress to act. However, Sorrell added “it is unfortunate that corporate interests were ultimately able to water down Vermont’s clear disclosure standard” through the federal law. He says his office intends to “take an active role” as the focus moves from the legislative process to the regulatory process at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Politico. Sorrel is opposed to provisions in the federal law that allows for the use of smart labels directing consumers to more information. USDA has two years to complete the rulemaking process but has not ruled out rushing the process through the final months of the Obama administration.

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Rabobank Advising Farmers to Limit and Cut Production Cost

Amid a third year of negative margins, farmers need to cut production costs to maintain access to capital, according to a new report by Rabobank. The report says the next several years will be tough because farmers typically can only survive a couple years of negative income and still access operating capital and loans. The Farming the Efficient Frontier report advises farmers to use cost-cutting strategies instead of focusing on crop volume to stay profitable. Researchers at Rabobank warn that given current input costs and market action, farmers need to avoid the mistake of planting too many acres. That’s because land is the “single largest expense” on most crop farm income statements. Over the next five years, the report estimates flat to lower prices for wheat, a three to eight percent increase in corn prices and consistent export growth for soybeans.

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Renewable Fuels Association Calls for Probe in Biofuel Credits Price Spike

The Renewable Fuels Association says U.S. regulators and environmental officials should probe for possible manipulation in the market for U.S. biofuel credits. The comments come after prices for biofuels credits “surged for unknown reasons,” according to RFA. In a letter this week, the Association encouraged the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to determine “whether certain parties may be exerting undue influence on prices or otherwise engaging in manipulative practices.” RFA says the association is concerned about “recent irregular activity and volatility” in the market for Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, which prices climbed about 30 percent since mid-May. Last week, prices of  RINs neared three-year highs as traders raced to buy the credits. In March, the agencies signed a memorandum of understanding regarding RINs, under which the CFTC agreed to help EPA conduct investigations into possible fraud and market abuse.

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Farm Bureau Urges Support for Legislation to Strengthen Technical Education

The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging lawmakers to support the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. In a letter sent to House lawmakers, AFBF encouraged reauthorization of the bill because, as Farm Bureau says, career and technical education and post-high school job training and retraining are essential to the economic viability of rural communities. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says “a skilled workforce is needed in rural America, just as it is in urban and suburban communities.” Duvall pointed out the bill would provide agriculture education programs the funding assistance needed to create a well-rounded, practical approach to learning through classroom education. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the bill earlier this month. However, both chambers of Congress remain in recess until after Labor Day.

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Russia Wants to Export Poultry and Beef Exports to Japan

Russia is exploring ways to export more poultry and beef products to Japan. Meatingplace reports that officials from Russia and Japan met last week and plans are underway to inspect Russian plants to enable them to export to Japan. In talks last week, the two nations also discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation in agriculture. Russia says the talks centered on exports of grain and related products from Russia to Japan. A list of Russian establishments interested in export of meat and poultry products to Japan is being prepared now by government officials, and those facilities are ready to host an inspection mission from Japan, according to Russia.

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USDA Announces Specialty Crop Research and Extension Investments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week announced 19 grants totaling $36.5 million for research and extension to support American farmers growing fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture. The grants are funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the investments will help “address challenges at the national and local levels to help sustain all parts of America’s food and agriculture system.” The funded projects address research and extension needs that span the entire spectrum of specialty crops production. To date, USDA has awarded almost $400 million through the specialty crops program.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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