READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 18th…

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 18th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Trump’s New Ag Advisors Take Aim at Regulatory Overreach

The list of Ag Advisors to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a long one containing 65 names. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says that list is much larger than any of Trump’s other advisory panels. The list of names represents diverse experiences in different types of agriculture, but one of the common themes among the names is a dislike of regulatory overreach. That would seem to put the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Waters of the U.S. Rule” right in the line of fire, should Trump win the election. Many of the panel members Politico spoke to mentioned the WOTUS rule specifically and said a vote for Hillary Clinton would mean four more years of the same failed policies. Trump has said he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but the panel members overwhelmingly support the deal. “It’s going to be important to articulate how important trade is to agriculture,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. He said both major party candidates say they are against the TPP agreement but support trade. “They need to articulate what that means,” Northey added.

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Asian Trade Negotiations Taking Place Without the U.S.

Representatives from Australia, Singapore, and other countries in the Far East and Pacific Rim are in Vietnam today, negotiating a trade agreement that could potentially take the place of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement would exclude the U.S. and include China, which is currently not included in the TPP agreement. Some of the member countries included in TPP discussions are pushing ahead with the alternative agreement as the fate of the TPP in America isn’t certain. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports that some experts are hoping news of these negotiations will spur the TPP discussion forward. Beijing is a key driver in discussions on the RCEP agreement, which would include 16 nations and 3.4 billion people if it’s ratified. If left out of the TPP, China would lose ground to manufacturing competitors like Vietnam, which would have greater duty-free access to the United States and other member nations.

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Cancelling Atrazine Would Cost Farmers $2.5 billion

The Environmental Protection Agency released its draft report on ecological risks of Atrazine in June of this year as part of its re-registration process for the herbicide. If the assessment recommendations are allowed to stand, farmers would essentially lose access to atrazine, and that would cost a lot of money. The National Corn Growers Association says the EPA report could cost the industry up to $2.5 billion in yield losses and increased production costs, all at a time when incomes are down sharply. A 2012 University of Chicago study showed that farming without atrazine would cost farmers an extra $59 per acre. That’s a large boost in costs when farm incomes have dropped 55 percent in the past two years. A jump in costs that high would not only affect producers but would have ramifications across the entire agribusiness industry. NCGA First Vice President Wesley Spurlock of Texas is urging farmers to contact the EPA and voice their concerns. Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum, and sugar cane farmers for 50 years, and some of the toughest weeds are resistant to other herbicides but not to atrazine.

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Poultry Facilities Recognized for Safety Performance

122 chicken and turkey facilities received awards for safety at the recent National Conference for Safety in the Poultry Industry. The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council honored the companies for their outstanding safety records, thanks to their innovative safety and health programs. The Joint Council consists of members from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Chicken Council, and the National Turkey Federation. These three companies make up 95 percent of the nation’s poultry production and employ 350,000 people. The total injury and illness rate was 4.3 cases per 100 full time workers a year. That’s down from 4.5 in 2013. This is an 81 percent drop from 1994 when records were first kept when the rate was 22.7 cases per 100 workers. The Council said, “This represents the enormous progress poultry producers have made in improving the safety of our workforce.” They also said the injury rate is now almost equal to the rate in the rest of America’s manufacturing industries.

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ATA Hopes Final Efficiency Rule Can Meet Emissions Goals

The American Trucking Association said it was cautiously optimistic that phase two of the Obama Administration’s standards for greenhouse gas and fuel emissions in commercial trucks are reachable. They also hoped the ten-year phase-in period wouldn’t be disruptive to American fleets and vehicle manufacturers. ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said, “Although fuel cost is down 50 percent from what we experienced in 2008, it’s still one of our top two operating expenses. That’s why the industry has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure the new standards took into account the wide diversity of operations across the trucking industry.” The ATA developed 15 guidelines to serve as parameters for inclusion in the final rule. They’re pleased that concerns regarding adequate lead time for new technology development, national harmonization of standards, and flexibility for manufacturers were included in the new rule.      

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USDA Grant to Support Future Farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with new and beginning farmers at Iowa State University this week. While there, the Secretary announced an investment of $17.8 million for several projects that educate and enhance the sustainability of future farmers in America. The average age of the American farmer is 58 years old so the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes the need to bring new farmers into the business. The USDA has engaged its resources to provide new farmers improved access to land, credit, and equipment. The USDA has even extending crop insurance specifically designed to benefit new farmers. USDA programs have helped young farmers save over $14 million in costs and fees. This year’s awards go to partner organizations in 27 states and the District of Columbia to help fund a range of projects by partner organizations.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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