READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, February 7th…

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…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 7th…

Conaway, Peterson Want Farm Bill Finished This Year

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, says he wants to finish the next farm bill this year. The current farm bill does not expire until the end of 2018, but Conaway has asked House leadership regarding the possibility of floor time this year. House Ag Committee Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson of Minnesota says he would also like to complete the farm bill this year. But a majority of lobbyists saidin a poll week they expect Congress will not finish the farm bill until 2019, and think lawmakers will spend 10 percent below the current legislation. Speaking via video to the Crop Insurance Annual Conference Monday, Conaway said crop insurance is not working for farmers. Meanwhile, speaking in person at the Southwest Ag Issues Conference, Conaway said farmers are hurting, and that he is committed to providing farmers a strong farm bill, according to the nonprofit coalition Farm Policy Facts. The Senate Agriculture Committee has set its first farm bill field hearing for February 23rd in Manhattan, Kansas.


GMO Labeling Law May Avoid Executive Order on Regulations

The national GMO labeling law passed by Congress may avoid the Donald Trump administration executive order against government regulations. The executive order calls for two regulations to be removed from the books for every regulation enacted in 2017. As Politico speculates, the GMO labeling law would be exempt from the order because it’s not projected to be completed until 2018. Although the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, which created the labeling law, is not out of the woods yet as Trump could choose to extend the executive order into 2018. Further complicating the GMO labeling law, the bill set a deadline for the Department of Agriculture to release rules for complying with the law by July 29th, 2018. The legislation requires the law to go into effect if the rulemaking process is not completed by that date. USDA was working to implement the law with an Advanced Notice of Proposed rulemaking this year, but those plans have been delayed because of the executive order.


New GIPSA Rules Delayed

The Department of Agriculture has delayed the Farmer Fair Practices Rules under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act until April, 22nd. The delay allows time for the new Donald Trump administration to review the rules and is part of a White House order on government regulations. USDA claims the rules announced in December by the Obama administration seek to end harmful practices against farmers, and outlines protections to restore fairness and reduce the burden for farmers seeking justice under the Act. After having been delayed and obstructed for the past seven years, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says “it’s time to end the unnecessary delays” to the rule. Farmers Union is urging the Trump administration to complete the review process as quickly as possible. Opponents, however say the rule will lead to a flurry of lawsuits because of lighter proof requirements for competitive injury. USDA will accept comment on the rules until March 24th.


U.S. Rejection of TPP Creates Opportunities for Canada

Pork industry leaders from Canada say the rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the United States could create new export opportunities for Canada’s pork producers. The Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board says the U.S. backing out of TPP and President Donald Trump’s eagerness to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement could create a void in the global pork market. 20 percent of U.S. pork is exported and pork industry leaders in Canada speculate they need 60 to 70 percent of production exported to sustain current production levels. While acknowledging the renegotiation of NAFTA could also have significant implications for Canada, the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board notes the Canadian dollar being 75 percent of the value of the American dollar is very helpful for its producers, along with a large slaughter capacity.


Soy Growers Defend Soymilk

The American Soybean Association and the Soyfoods Association of North America call the Dairy Pride Act unnecessary. The Act would prohibit the term “milk” from being used with soymilk and soymilk-based products, under the premise that the term “milk” is misleading to consumers. In a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Monday, the groups said the legislation is unnecessary “as no confusion in the market exists.” The two organizations argue that the term “soymilk” has been in commercial use since 1947, and that: “Consumers of soymilk clearly understand that the product is derived from soybeans rather than bovine milk.” The letter cited a 2006 Soyfoods Association study that found out of more than 800 respondents, none believed cow’s milk to be an ingredient in soymilk. The letter follows a separate letter to the Food and Drug Administration sent last week, in which the Soyfoods Association concluded that use of the name “soymilk” complies with FDA regulations on common or usual names, and noted that soymilk has been included in USDA materials dating back to 1963.


USDA Removes Personal information from Animal Welfare Act Documents

The Department of Agriculture has removed some personal information from documents posted online involving the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has shared the information online for the last decade, including inspection reports, research facility reports and lists of persons licensed under the Animal Welfare Act. APHIS has also been publishing lists of persons licensed by USDA-certified horse industry organizations and associations to inspect horses for compliance with the Horse Protection Act. However, in an explanation of the action on its website, APHIS indicated that continuous monitoring of court rulings and guidance regarding the Privacy Act played a part in the decision, which it made with the support of the Office of the General Counsel. Online publication Meatingplace reports that anyone seeking information from APHIS regarding the reports and publications should now submit Freedom of Information Act request. Animal activist groups have in the past used these records to monitor government regulation of animal treatment and condemned the announcement.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service