READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 15th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 15th

China Beef Market Worth Billions to U.S. Producers

The U.S. Meat Export Federation says U.S. beef exports to China could be worth an estimated $2.6 billion, once allowed. The White House announced a deal with China to open the market to U.S. beef no later than July 16th. China has been closed to U.S. beef for nearly 14 years after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (in-sef-o-lop-athy) that occurred in Washington state in December 2003. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden stated: “It’s impossible to overstate how beneficial this will be for America’s cattle producers.” Meat industry publication Meatingplace points out that China has twice before agreed to grant market access to U.S. beef, but regulatory hurdles have prevented any real trade from materializing, and U.S. beef industry stakeholders applauded a similar announcement last September. 

China Beef Announcement a Positive Step for U.S. Chicken Exports

The National Chicken Council says the announcement that U.S. beef exports will return to China is a positive step towards resuming chicken exports to China as well. U.S. chicken has been blocked by China since January 2015, when the country issued a blanket ban on all U.S. poultry over issues related to avian influenza. In a news release, NCC President Mike Brown encouraged the administration to “continue their work to remove China’s obstacles preventing U.S. broiler access to their marketplace.” Poultry exports to China peaked in 2008, with an export value of $722 million. The trade deal announced by the White House will also allow Chinese companies to export cooked poultry products to the United States.

Stabenow, Rural Groups, Express Concern over USDA Reorganization

Ranking Senate Agriculture Committee Democrat Debbie Stabenow praised the addition of a trade undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture, but is concerned with the proposed rural development changes. The reorganization proposal for USDA would eliminate the undersecretary for rural development. Stabenow says the role is “an important voice for rural America” adding the proposal would bypass Congress’s role to confirm a qualified nominee. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says the move would simply have the person in charge of rural development closer to his office. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition says the move is “trading away” rural, domestic priorities in favor of boosting international trade. However, the Coalition notes that all USDA undersecretaries already report directly to the Agriculture Secretary, and say the demotion, taken together with the Administration’s recent attempt to wipe out rural business programs through the appropriations process, “sends a clear signal that the President does not understand the critical nature of rural development to the American economy.” USDA is encouraging the public to provide input on the plan.

EPA Send RFS Volume Obligations to OMB

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent Renewable Fuel Standard volume obligations to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The White House is expected to complete its review of the proposed rule within the next 90 days for the 2018 RVO’s and the Biomass Based Diesel Volume for 2019, according to DTN-Progressive Farmer. The deadline for the final rule is November 30th. Last year, the EPA proposal called for 14.8 billion gallons of corn ethanol, just shy of the 15 billion gallon target set by Congress. The total RVO was finalized at 19.28 billion gallons. That included 4.28 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and 311 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That means the implied RVO for conventional biofuels including corn ethanol was set at 15 billion gallons.

Methane Vote Agreement Offers path for E15 Bill

An agreement between Senators regarding a vote to reject the Obama-era methane rule has paved a path forward for year-round E15 sales. The agreement between Senators Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, means the E15 bill will head to the committee for markup within the next week or so. While the Congressional Review Act resolution to reject an Obama-era methane rule failed, the agreement will stay in place, according to Politico. A hearing has not yet been scheduled to review Fischer’s bill. Under the Clean Air Act, E15 cannot be sold in the summer in some parts of the country. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this month the EPA is also reviewing the law to see if the EPA has the authority to grant a waiver for year-round E15 sales.

Canada Ag Census Shows Increase in Young and Women Farmers

Canada saw increases in young and women farmers in its latest Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada has released its 2016 Census of Agriculture, which counted 271,000-some farm operators, down from 293,000 during the 2011 Census. While people age 55 and over still make up the fastest-growing segment of farmers in Canada, the latest report shows slightly more producers under age 35 for the first time in five surveys. Operators under 35 years of age rose from 24,120 in 2011 to 24,850 in 2016. Women also accounted for an increasing share of operators in 2016, at 28.7 percent, up from 27.4 percent in 2011. The average area per farm increased from 779 acres in 2011 to 820 in 2016. However, Canada’s total farm area slipped 0.9 percent, from 160.2 million acres in 2011 to 158.7 million acres in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service is in the beginning stages of the next U.S. Census of Agriculture. In 2012, the U.S. census counted 2.2 million farm operators in the United States.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service