READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 31st

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 31st

Perdue Nomination Poised for Full Senate Vote

The confirmation of Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue now awaits a full Senate vote after the Senate Agriculture Committee on a voice vote approved the nomination. The vote occurred off the Senate floor in the midst of floor votes Thursday morning. Full Senate action has yet to be scheduled, and a packed schedule next week could mean the Senate won’t be able to consider Perdue’s nomination until after a two-week Easter recess that starts at the end of next week. The Senate is expected to consider the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court next week, and that process is expected to be time-consuming. All but one Senate Ag Committee member voted in favor or Perdue. New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand insisted on a no vote and Perdue’s cousin, Georgia Senator David Perdue, abstained.

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Trump May Seek Only Minor Tweaks to NAFTA

The Donald Trump administration seems more likely to pursue modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement in negotiations with Canada and Mexico. Trump called NAFTA a “disaster” during his campaign for President, but the Wall Street Journal reports his suggestions for NAFTA seem less likely to make sweeping reforms to the trade agreement. According to an administration draft proposal being circulated in Congress by the U.S. trade representative’s office, the U.S. would keep some of NAFTA’s most controversial provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors in the three nations circumvent local courts. The draft, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, talks of seeking “to improve procedures to resolve disputes,” rather than eliminating the panels. However, experts caution that the draft could be revised. The administration must give Congress 90 days’ notice under trade law before beginning formal NAFTA renegotiations.

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EPA Denies Petition to Remove Chlorpyrifos from the Market

The Environmental Protection Agency this week denied a petition to remove chlorpyrifos (clo-PEER-uh-foss) from the market. The NGO, or non-government organization petition, failed to fall in line with scientific research, according to agriculture groups. CropLife America says EPA’s decision to deny the chlorpyrifos petition is a hopeful indication that EPA is recommitting t to established requirements and guidelines relating to transparency, public process, and scientific integrity. The crop protection industry is “encouraged by EPA’s detailed rationale set forth in the denial order and supports EPA’s commitment to a thorough registration review of chlorpyrifos.” An official with the Department of Agriculture’s the Office of Pest Management Policy said: “This is a welcome decision grounded in evidence and science.” National Corn Growers President Wesley Spurlock said the organization was pleased the EPA will return to the standard pesticides review process as called for under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, adding “the overwhelming scientific consensus is that chlorpyrifos is safe for use by farmers, and we are confident that the pesticide review process will reaffirm this.”

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U.S. Hogs and Pigs Inventory Up Four Percent

The Department of Agriculture’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released Thursday shows the current U.S. inventory of hogs and pigs up four percent from March of last year. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says there were 71 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms as of March 1, 2017. While an increase year-over-year, that figure is down one percent since the December 2016 report. The report also found that of the 71.0 million hogs and pigs, 64.9 million were market hogs, while 6.07 million were kept for breeding. Further, between December 2016 and February 2017, 31.4 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms, up four percent from the same period one year earlier. Also, U.S. hog producers intend to have 3.01 million sows farrow between March and May 2017, and 3.05 million sows farrow between June and August 2017.

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India Still Top Global Milk Producer

Data by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows India remains the global leader in milk production, trailed by the United States, which is the second largest milk producing country. India is unique among the major milk producers because more than half of its production comes from water buffalo, rather than cattle. However, India’s dairy herd is the largest in the world. Since 1980, production has grown consistently at an average of 4.5 percent per year. India surpassed the United States as the largest dairy producer in 1997 when both countries produced roughly 70 billion tons, each. In 2016, total production reached 154 billion tons compared with 96 billion produced in the United States.

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Men, Young Adults, Most Likely to Grocery Shop Online

A new study shows men and young adults are more likely to be online shoppers of groceries. The NPD Group report, The Virtual Grocery Store, finds since many younger adults are delaying marriage and the formation of families, and many Boomers are becoming widowers, more than 40 percent of primary grocery shoppers are men and 60 percent of men, ages 18 to 44, have purchased groceries online. The report says the Internet is becoming the virtual grocery store for many American consumers with 52 million currently grocery shopping online. Grocery shopping online appeals to those who find grocery shopping a necessary evil and many of those who feel that way are men, according to the report. NPD has found that men tend to make grocery shopping a mission and spend less time in brick and mortar stores compared to women. Young adults of the Gen Z and Millennial generations, who were born and raised in the tech era, also favor grocery shopping online.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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