READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, November 28th…

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EPA Releases RFS Volumes, Sets Ethanol Target at Statute

The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday released the final Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements for 2017, setting the conventional biofuel volume—which includes ethanol—at the statute level of 15 billion gallons. That represents an increase from 14.8 billion gallons in the proposed rule and sets the standards in line with bipartisan Congressional intent when the RFS was put into law. Pro-ethanol groups applauded the move by the EPA as it followed series of years in which the EPA undercut the statute set volume levels under the RFS. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said the final rule “validates the critical importance of cleaner burning, less expensive biofuels,” like ethanol.


Biodiesel Volumes Increase under RFS

The National Biodiesel Board applauded the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard just released by the Environmental Protection Agency as the law increases biodiesel volumes. Under the new RFS rule, biomass-based diesel standards would move to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018, up from two billion gallons in 2017. Additionally, the new RFS rule would move advanced biofuels to 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 up from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016 with biomass-based diesel continuing to fill a large portion of the advanced program. The new standards reflect modest growth but remain below the more than 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel expected in 2016. The National Biodiesel Board says: “The real winners with this announcement are American consumers who will now have access to even more cleaner burning, advanced biofuel.” NBB says biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and is currently supporting more than 47,000 jobs.


Obama Could Still Submit TPP to Congress

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead in the United States, but if there is one last glimmer of hope, it’s that President Barack Obama could still send the trade agreement to Congress. Asked about whether Obama would make such a move, Politico says White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to say whether Obama would submit TPP, but he did say chances were slim that the pact would become law in the next two months. Earnest said: “I don’t have any future steps to preview for you, but I would acknowledge the prospects of TPP being ratified by Congress before President Obama leaves are not very good.” Politico says sending the legislation would be a symbolic gesture more than anything else, given Congress’ assurances that there is not enough votes to pass the deal. However, nothing can stop Obama from submitting the trade agreement to Congress, if he wishes to do so.


Rabobank Expects Three-year Price Slide for Commodities to End

Rabobank estimates that a rise in global demand should bring a three-year decline in commodity prices to an end. In a report, Rabobank says: “The global population is growing, and prosperity is rising, fueling the switch to more expensive, meat and dairy-rich diets.” Rabobank suggests food prices should be the main hold up, even if farmers are braced for little or no commodity price growth during the year. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports record-high stocks of staple food commodities like wheat, corn and soybeans are likely to keep world food prices low in 2017, even as inflation starts to rise in developed economies. Rabobank points to China’s commodity stockpiles as one wildcard, noting that a decision to begin selling down these reserves could have a “profound” effect on global markets.


Canada Ranchers Under TB Quarantine Fear Going Broke

Canada ranchers under a federal quarantine in the wake of a small bovine tuberculosis outbreak fear they will go broke by spring. A group of farmers that represent the more than 30 ranches under quarantine in Alberta and Saskatchewan told Canadian lawmakers they desperately need to sell cattle or receive compensation to avoid financial disaster. The ranchers typically sell cattle in the fall, but are having to hold and feed their cattle that are under quarantine. One rancher told lawmakers: “The food costs are going to destroy us.” Reuters says agriculture officials in Canada have not said whether compensation is under consideration, or if some quarantines will be lifted soon. The federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed six cases of Alberta cattle with bovine TB, dating back to the September discovery of an infected cow at a U.S. slaughter plant. An estimated 18,000 head of cattle are being held in quarantine for testing in Canada. The testing could take months to finish.


ASA Welcomes Ruling in Federal Seed Protection Case

Following a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the case of Anderson versus EPA this week, the American Soybean Association welcomed a positive development in the ongoing fight to protect farmers’ rights to use seed treatments. In the court, the ruling sided with EPA and an industry coalition of intervenors including ASA, CropLife America and the American Seed Trade Association, along with others. The suit, brought by many plaintiffs including environmental activists, requested a court order requiring the EPA to regulate seeds treated with neonicotinoids as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which provides authority to EPA to regulate pesticides. The court confirmed that additional regulation would unnecessarily duplicate EPA’s existing science-based regulatory review. ASA President Richard Wilkins called the ruling “a big step forward in the push for a science-based system.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service