READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 22nd

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TPP Countries Forging on Without or Without U.S.

At least six countries included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership aim to complete the trade deal with or without the United States. Reuters reports Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore are all pledging to continue forward with TPP if the United States does not. The six nations are among 12 signatories of the trade deal, which currently cannot take effect without being ratified by the United States. President-elect Donald Trump condemned the deal on the campaign trail, leaving its fate dim. However, Mexico’s Economy Minister recently said: “We determined that our countries will press ahead with this agreement independently of what Washington decides.” The trade deal could be implemented without the U.S. if it meets strict GDP requirements.


Conaway urges CFTC to Delay Controversial Rulemaking

House Agriculture Committee Chair Michael Conaway has sent the Commodity Futures Trading Commission a letter urging against “pushing through controversial regulations” before President Barack Obama leaves office. The Texas Republican wrote that: “While we may not agree on which regulations are overreaching or unnecessary, we should agree that the American people have asked for someone else to make that judgment.” Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports specifically, Conaway requested that CFTC not move forward on position limits rulemaking and for the Commission to extend the comment period for Regulation Automated Trading.


COOL Not on the Agenda for Trump

Country-of-Origin meat labeling will not be making a comeback under a Trump administration. Politico reports that Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee was quick to mobilize and inform Trump’s transition team that such a policy — which has been litigated in both the U.S. court system and the World Trade Organization — is a non-starter for most farm groups. Leaked portions of Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office highlighted a provision to potentially include COOL in a renegotiation of NAFTA. Farm groups from Canada threatened trade retaliation if COOL in the U.S. were to be reinstated. But a spokesperson for Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee said no one knows how COOL got into the plan, adding COOL is “dead as a doornail.”


California Egg Law Challenge Struck Down

A federal appeals court last week ruled against six states challenging a California law placing restrictions on egg sales from other states. The 2008 ballot initiative approved by California voters set strict requirements for housing egg-laying hens. The court ruled that the states—Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa—failed to show how the law would impact them and not just individual egg farmers, upholding a lower court decision that dismissed the lawsuit. However, Food Safety News reports that while the three-judge panel affirmed the dismissal, they did so in a way that does not close the door on the dispute between California and the other egg-producing states, paving the way for future lawsuits. The next possible step in the case is for Midwestern egg producers to file a lawsuit on their own.


Canada Confirms More Bovine TB cases

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed five more cattle from southeastern Alberta have been infected with the bacteria that causes bovine tuberculosis. Ag Canada reports the five animals were discovered during the removal and destruction of the initial cow’s index herd. The source of infection is still unknown. The investigation follows a notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a cow from Alberta had tested positive for the disease at a U.S. packing plant. While the index herd is the only herd so far to turn up infected cows, quarantines remain in place on approximately 34 farms in Alberta and two in southwestern Saskatchewan. All cattle from the index herd are in the process of being removed from the ranch and humanely destroyed.


Brexit May Open British Farmers to GM Crops

Great Brittan’s exit from the European Union may open the door for British farmers to grow genetically modified crops. British officials are drawing up plans that could allow GM crops in the future. Great Brittan’s Agriculture Minister said: “The government’s general view remains that policy and regulation in this area should be science-based.” Numerous scientific studies have shown the safety and benefits of GM crops, but are largely ignored across the EU. Only one type of genetically modified crop has ever been grown commercially in Europe. A UK farmer told the website Farming UK that exiting the EU means Brittan is “open for business” when it comes to GM crops, adding “farmers would not choose to grow these unless they saw benefits.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service