READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 6th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 6th

Nations Racing to Fill Trade Leadership Gap Left by U.S.

China, Japan and Russia are racing to fill a leadership gap on trade issues following the recent U.S. fallout over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade agreement took 12 nations seven years to negotiate, and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump pledges to end the deal on day one of his Presidency. Trade experts agree the move opens the door for a new global trade leader to emerge. Without TPP, U.S. agriculture stands to miss out on billions of dollars in exports and risks losing market share once trade deals without the U.S. are completed. China is already moving to replace the U.S. as trade champion, according to a new report by Bloomberg News. China is talking with other nations in Asia to complete a trade deal and China has also discussed the possibility of an agreement with Russia. However, Russia has criticized TPP and the now failed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership because the trade deals allegedly violate World Trade Organization rules by creating closed associations, while at the same time, Russia is touting its own regional trade proposals.

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House Speaker Promises Regulation Relief in Next Congress

House Speaker Paul Ryan promises to provide regulatory relief during the next Congress. The Wisconsin Republican over the weekend used agriculture as an example of needing relief during a CBS 60 Minutes interview. He called regulatory relief his second priority, following a plan to repeal Obamacare. Ryan says he wants to have “smarter regulations” that can help grow jobs. He says: “We want to have good stewardship and conservation of the environment and economic growth.” For agriculture groups, the first priority when it comes to regulations is the Waters of the U.S. rule by the Environmental Protection Agency. Ryan’s comments put House leadership in line with President-elect Donald Trump as Trump opposes the rule. For now, the rule remains tied up in the federal court system facing dozens of lawsuits and is under a nationwide stay.

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Poultry Industry Fears RFS Increase Will Alter Grain Prices

The U.S. poultry industry is concerned the Renewable Fuel Standard targets for 2017 and 2018 will increase feed prices for poultry farmers. Set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the RFS target for ethanol for 2017 was placed at the statute level of 15 billion gallons. The agency set total biofuel levels – including corn-generated ethanol and biodiesel – at 19.28 billion gallons, up six percent from 2016. The poultry industry fears the increase will change the amount of corn set aside for ethanol production upward and send corn prices higher. That’s welcome news for corn farmers, but National Chicken Council President Mike Brown said it puts U.S. chicken producers “one drought, flood or freeze away from another crisis.” He told meat industry publication Meatingplace that the RFS had cost the poultry industry $59 billion since becoming law.

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Survey Shows Little Assistance from Farm Bill Dairy Program

A survey of dairy farmers in Wisconsin shows the 2014 Farm Bill’s Dairy Margin Protection Program has offered little relief to dairy operations. The results of the survey were released Monday by the Wisconsin Farmers Union and included responses from more than 1,000 dairy farmers in the nation’s second highest dairy producing state. A total of 765 respondents said they signed up for the program. Of those, only 93 farms, or 12 percent, had received any payments from the program, and only five indicated they considered the program to be supporting their farm. That’s less than one percent of all farms that signed up. The survey notes additional comments offered on the program tended to involve phrases like: “It’s a scam,” or a: “Total waste of money that could’ve been spent elsewhere.” Many farmers noted how they liked what the Margin Protection Program replaced, the Milk Income Loss Contract program, better, and that it had provided better payouts.

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USDA Surveying Sheep Operations

Starting later this month, the Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will measure sheep inventories and wool production during a nationwide survey. The American Sheep Industry Association is encouraging all sheep producers selected as survey participants to submit information to USDA. Operators surveyed will be asked to provide information about their sheep inventories, counts of lambs born during 2016 and production and prices received for wool. The association says accurate data on sheep inventory and production is a significant decision-making tool for USDA and the industry regarding domestic and international markets and consumer needs. NASS will publish the survey results January 31, 2017, in the Sheep and Goats report.

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Hot Dog and Sausage Council Unveils Searchable Ingredients Guide

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Monday unveiled the Hot Dog Ingredients Guide to provide consumers with more information and transparency. The guide details the role each ingredient may play in a hot dog and is searchable to allow users to easily find ingredients they see listed on their favorite package of hot dogs. Council spokesperson Eric Mittenthal says “as consumers seek more information about their food, the guide will be a helpful tool to better understand hot dogs and how they are made.” The guide also includes descriptions of common terms consumers might find on packages such as uncured, natural casing, hormone free or organic. You can find the guide online at hot-dash-dog dot org (http://www.hot-dog.org/).

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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