READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 18th…

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Farm Groups Mixed on GIPSA Rule

Farm groups are offering mixed responses to the Department of Agriculture’s announcement it will move forward with its draft of changes to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration Act, or GIPSA. USDA plans to publish an interim final rule and two proposed rules this year, amid years of debate regarding the Act. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association commended the action saying changes within the USDA draft will protect U.S. ranchers and cattle feeders from anti-competitive buying practices and help to advance true price discovery in a competitive marketplace. The National Farmers Union called the move a “win” for farmers and ranchers, echoing the USCA comments. However, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called on USDA to withdraw the Draft. NCBA President Tracy Brunner says the USDA rule would “limit producer marketing options, compel buyers to offer lower bids across the board to avoid the appearance of preference and create an environment ripe for baseless legal challenge.”


EPA Postpones Glyphosate Review Meeting

The Environmental Protection Agency postponed this week’s Scientific Advisory Panel meeting regarding glyphosate because the agency says it needs more expertise in epidemiology. The EPA says the meeting will be rescheduled for later this year. EPA postponed the meeting due to a lack of “the availability of experts.” According to a statement, EPA says “ the Agency believes that additional expertise in epidemiology will benefit the panel and allow for a more robust review of the data.” Agri-Pulse reports that in a brief response, Monsanto cited a recent EPA document that said evidence strongly supports the conclusion that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. Monsanto says the conclusion is “based on the overwhelming weight of evidence.” The review comes after a division of the World Health Organization last year claimed glyphosate was probably carcinogenic to humans. However, many studies have since denied that claim.


Profit Outlook for 2016 Still Negative

A monthly report to the Farm Credit Administration shows an overall negative profit outlook for 2016. The Farm Credit board received a report on the 2016 profit outlook last week and finds the outlook is negative for corn and wheat and is near the break-even point for soybeans. The forecast was based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and university estimates of production costs. Farm Credit says large supplies are pushing down farm prices for corn and wheat, while soybean prices are expected to be near last year’s average because of a less bearish global stock situation. For the farmer’s bottom line, a modest reduction in production costs is offsetting some of the price-depressing effects. Still, Farm Credit says many producers will need to make adjustments by controlling their input costs, selling crops when pricing opportunities arise and cutting household living expenses. That message falls in line with similar comments made throughout the year regarding the farm economy.

Beef, Pork Imports in China Growing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture office in China expects the nation will import 950,000 metric tons of beef in 2017, a gain of 19 percent from 2016. The U.S. could get some of that business now that China has lifted its long-standing ban on U.S. beef. But before such trade takes place, the countries must negotiate export protocol. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports initial import numbers from the U.S. will likely be modest, “mainly due to the relatively higher prices of U.S. beef.” USDA also expects a rise in hog and pork prices to encourage a recovery in China’s hog herd, which should limit the country’s import needs in 2017. USDA forecasts pork imports at 2.2 million metric tons, up eight percent from 2016. However, the U.S. is not expected to get much of this business due to China’s restrictions on ractopamine as well as the strong dollar.


New Cuba Regulations Include Farm Equipment

New regulations regarding products from Cuba announced last week also ease restrictions on farm equipment. The Obama Administration Friday announced the new regulations that ease restrictions on products such as rum and cigars, but the new rules give Cuba more of an opportunity to be a part of supply chains. Politico says certain authorized goods exported to Cuba can be imported back into the U.S. This will allow items initially sent to Cuba to come back to the U.S. for repair or service. The amendments also make it possible for exporters to directly finance shipments of tractors, pesticides and other goods used in agriculture, avoiding cash in advance requirements that apply to transactions for agricultural commodities. The National Farmers Union applauded the regulations, saying the enhanced engagement with the people of Cuba could offer long-term advantages for agricultural trade.


Study Claims Proteins in Wheat Causes Inflammation

New research unveiled in Austria last week claims a family of proteins in wheat may be responsible for activating inflammation in chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Medical News Today reports the findings were announced at UEG Week 2016, a meeting organized by United European Gastroenterology. Most research regarding wheat has focused on gluten, but this latest study focused on a group of proteins known as ATI’s, which only make up about four percent of wheat. The research claims the ATI’s have been shown to trigger an immune response in the gut that can spread to other tissues in the body. Researchers are currently preparing studies to investigate further. A lead researcher in the study said “we are hoping that this research can lead us toward being able to recommend an ATI-free diet to help treat a variety of potentially serious immunological disorders.”


SOURCE: NAFB News Service