03-03-17 NBA: U.S. Bison Sales Hit $350 Million in Retail, Restaurant Additional Growth Constrained by Tight Supply

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U.S. Bison Sales Hit $350 Million in Retail, Restaurant

Additional Growth Constrained by Tight Supply

Westminster, CO (March 3, 2017) The U.S. bison business has notched $350 million in sales at the retail and restaurant level in 2016, with tight supplies of market-ready animals limiting addional growth in the business, according to information compiled by the National Bison Association this week. Continue reading

03-03-17 RFA Applauds Legislation to Provide Year-Round Consumer Access to Higher Ethanol Blends

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RFA Applauds Legislation to Provide Year-Round Consumer Access to Higher Ethanol Blends
WASHINGTON — On Thursday, two bills were introduced in Congress that would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“I applaud the leadership of Senators Fischer, Donnelly and Grassley, and Representatives Loebsack and Smith, for calling attention to this critical issue that hinders stations from offering year-round access to E15 and other higher level ethanol blends. Major marketers like Thornton’s, Kum & Go, Sheetz and RaceTrac already offer the fuel blend, but the industry is being hamstrung by EPA’s nonsensical disparate treatment of higher level blends. Ethanol is the lowest cost, cleanest and highest octane source of fuel on the planet. Greater consumer access to higher level blends remains our top priority and we are committed to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to make that a reality.”
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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 3rd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 3rd

The Case Against More Farm Bill Funding

Ag groups and farm-state lawmakers are already making the case for more funding in the next farm bill due to the current state of the farm economy. However, groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Environmental Working Group, and Taxpayers for Common Sense gave testimony this week against the idea of more funding. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says the groups were on Capitol Hill this week arguing that the downturn in what is typically a cyclical economy isn’t a reason to maintain the status quo on Farm Bill policy. The three groups’ biggest criticism of Farm Bill law is the subsidies. “The next Farm Bill shouldn’t be based on a snapshot in time. Congress didn’t do that in 2014 because if they had, the Farm Bill wouldn’t have been so generous,” says Darren Bakst, Heritage Foundation research fellow. He cited statistics showing that median on-farm income is roughly $77,000, over $20,000 higher than the average of all U.S. households. Scott Faber is the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the EWG and says subsidies incentivize farmers to plant certain crops rather than respond to market conditions. Rather than invest in agriculture subsidies, Faber says the U.S. should invest in education, infrastructure, and health care for the rural economy.


Former EPA Offical May Testify in Glyphosate Lawsuit

A former manager in the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide division may have to testify in court about an alleged role in helping Monsanto suppress inquiries about whether or not Roundup weed killer can potentially cause cancer. Jess Rowland is the official who’s become an important figure in over 20 lawsuits in the U.S. Monsanto is accused of not warning consumers and regulators that its glyphosate-based weed killer can potentially cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A federal judge said Monday that he’s leaning toward making Rowland submit to questioning from the plaintiff’s lawyers, who contend he had a “highly suspicious relationship with Monsanto.” Rowland chaired a committee that found insufficient evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic. Rowland left his job just after the report was leaked to the media in May. The turn in the case comes less than a week after Bayer AG said it may face delays in its attempt to acquire Monsanto. Some investors say regulatory concerns may keep the deal from taking place. Monsanto said in a statement that regulators around the world have determined that glyphosate isn’t carcinogenic.


Thune Unveils New Conservation Program

South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune is introducing a measure designed to give producers another conservation option in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. He’s calling it the Soil Health and Income Protection Program, or SHIPP. An Ag Web Dot Com article says this is a voluntary program to address soil health and less-productive farming land. The SHIPP proposal is a shorter conservation program than the normal Conservation Reserve Program. To participate, farmers would have to commit a maximum of 15 percent of their least productive acreage for three-to-five years. It’s a shorter time commitment than the 10-to-15 years required for CRP. “Having a program like this that’s three-to-five years in duration satisfies a lot of the requirements that farmers are frustrated with regarding the CRP program,” Thune says. He says this will be a good opportunity for farmers to get income off their least productive lands and give them a chance to plant crops on it again if commodity prices improve. Producers can plant the acreage with hay or alfalfa outside of the nesting and brood-rearing period in their county. The annual SHIPP payment rate is half of the CRP general sign-up rental-per-acre rate for the county.


Warm Weather Worries Fruit Growers

Fruit growers in the Midwest and Northeast are worried as warmer weather is causing their trees to flower early. Bloomberg says it means several weeks of worry for farmers as the potential is there for a hard freeze to move in and kill the flowers on their trees. Spring-like temperatures are causing trees to bloom from Michigan out to New York and New Jersey. Cold air is lingering in Canada and northern New England, not too far from some orchards. Long-term averages show freezing temperatures are possible from late April to mid-May. If frost moves in to kill the flowers on the trees they can’t bear any fruit. Mark Longstroth, is an Extension Fruit Educator at Michigan State University and says, “Fruit growers are afraid the crops are developing too early and will get hit with a freeze.” He says growers would be happy for cooler temps to slow down the growing season. “There’s still several feet of snow on the ground in New England and a lot of cold air in Canada,” says New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson. “All that has to happen is for it to break through for a night or two and that can ruin a season.”


Fuels America Cuts Ties With RFA

A coalition of the nation’s top biofuels advocates united together as Fuels America resolved to reject a move by Carl Icahn (Eye’-Kahn), owner of CVR Refining, to destabilize the Renewable Fuels Standard. They’ve also severed ties with the Renewable Fuels Association. Fuels America says it represents diverse groups that are working to protect America’s Renewable Fuels Standard. A Fuels America statement says, “We adamantly oppose any effort to derail the RFS by shifting the point of obligation and exempting certain refiners and fuel importers from their responsibility to deliver cleaner and more affordable fuel options for consumers.” The group says in Icahn’s conflicted role of refiner as well as White House advisor, he’s now attempting to mislead biofuels advocates into accepting changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard in exchange for changing outdated Environmental Protection Agency regulations that limit the summer sales of ethanol. “Despite our opposition to Mr. Icahn and his efforts, the Renewable Fuels Association has elected to support Mr. Icahn,” the statement reads. “Because the RFA’s position is no longer aligned with America’s biofuels industry, the Fuels America coalition has resolved to sever ties with the group.”


Law Enforcement Searches Illinois Caterpillar Plant

A Reuters article says federal law enforcement officers have searched three Caterpillar manufacturing facilities in Illinois today (Thursday). A spokeswoman for the Central District U.S. Attorney’s Office says federal activity was conducted at locations in Peoria, East Peoria, and Morton, Illinois. Caterpillar spokeswoman Corrie Scott said in a statement that Caterpillar is cooperating with investigators, noting that “law enforcement is executing a search warrant.” Agencies involved include the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations’ Office of Inspector General. The Morton location oversees receiving and shipping replacement parts to parts facilities and Caterpillar dealers around the world. Seven people in black coats that said, “IRS Special Agent” or “Police Federal Agent” were seen entering the building. Some were armed and some pulled black roller bags behind them. Caterpillar shares fell almost five percent in trading this (Thursday) afternoon after the news broke.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service