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

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

U.S. HPAI Sparking Import Bans

Following the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Tennessee over the weekend, three Asian countries have imposed bans on chicken from the state. More than 73,000 birds will be culled on the chicken breeding farm contracted to Tyson Foods stemming from the first report of HPAI in the United States this year. Government officials in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan all announced bans on the import of poultry from Tennessee as well as from Wisconsin, where low pathogenic H5N8 bird flu was also confirmed. The H7 strain found in Tennessee prompted the state to place 30 other farms in the area under quarantine for testing, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. In 2015, HPAI killed 48 million birds in the United States. HPAI is plaguing parts of global poultry production as several countries in Europe and Asia are dealing with multiple outbreaks. HPAI was last found in the U.S. in an Indiana commercial turkey flock in January 2016.

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Trump Administration Reviewing Icahn RFS Request

The White House has no position on proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard yet, but is mulling over a request by Carl Icahn (Eye’-kahn). The Donald Trump administration is reviewing the proposal that would change the burden of complying with biofuel quotas from refiners to blenders. However, White House officials say the administration has no position “either way on this issue at this time,” according to Reuters. Icahn is a majority owner in CVR Energy and has long pushed for the change. News of an alleged executive order requiring the change last week pitted ethanol groups against each other. The Renewable Fuels Association supported the request because of an agreement of a waiver allowing gasoline blends with 15 percent ethanol to be sold year-round in U.S. markets. Growth Energy condemned the request, saying the proposal would undermine “America’s progress under the RFS.”

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Governors Ask for Changes to Support Biofuels Production

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition is asking President Donald Trump to support several changes to federal law to support biofuels productionpe. A letter signed by coalition chairman, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, asked the Trump Administration to change the fuel volatility limitations placed on E15 in current law, according to DTN. For years, the ethanol industry has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to equalize the Reid vapor pressure, or RVP, regulations for E10 and E15 during the summer driving season. Because of those requirements, E15 has largely not been available to some wholesale suppliers and retailers who receive only E10 blends. The governors also asked the administration to update corn ethanol’s lifecycle carbon emissions profile to reflect advances in ethanol production technology, and said the EPA should enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard as approved by Congress. The coalition includes governors from 21 states throughout the U.S.

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U.S. to Send Representative to Post-TPP Summit

The United States will send a representative to a trade summit later this month on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The agreement is thought to be dead following President Donald Trump’s removal of the U.S. from the deal. However, The Chile Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed a U.S. representative would attend the summit March 14th and 15th, according to the Hagstrom Report. Chili organized the summit after Trump withdrew the U.S. from TPP. The summit is expected to consist of at least some of the other countries that were supposed to be part of the TPP, and China has also been invited to attend. The U.S. representative attending the event has yet to be confirmed, but would likely be acting U.S. Trade Representative Maria Pagan.

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Farmers Union Hosting 115th Convention

The National Farmers Union 115th convention is underway in San Diego, California. More than 450 Farmers Union members are at the event this week. Attendees will hear from two high-level panels on the upcoming farm bill and conservation in agriculture, and industry experts focusing on consolidation in the agricultural sector, renewable fuels, and sustainable food production. Farmers Union delegates will also hold a line-by-line review of policy for the organization. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the delegates will “set the stage for NFU’s policies and priorities in the year ahead.” The convention concludes Wednesday.

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Global Food Prices Edging Higher

Global food prices trended higher in February, increasing half a percent compared to January. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released its Food Price Index Monday. While the index shows a slight month-to-month increase, it shows food prices have increased 17.2 percent since the same time last year. Except for vegetable oils, the indices of all other commodities used in the calculation of the index increased in February. Cereal grain prices increased 2.5 percent from January 2017 levels, while meat prices were up 1.1 percent for the month and sugar prices increased 1.6 percent. The index shows global vegetable oil prices decreased 7.6 percent. Finally, dairy prices were up slightly from January, but reached the highest level since August 2014. Global dairy prices are now 37 percent higher than the same time last year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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