READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 2nd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 2nd

National Farmers Union Criticizes Trump Paris Agreement Withdrawal

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement, an accord among 192 nations to combat the impacts of climate change. Echoing concerns raised in a recent letter to President Trump, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said the President’s decision “rejects science and U.S. leadership in an effort that requires global attention.” Johnson says family farmers and ranchers are already enduring consequences of climate change, and projections indicate these effects will worsen without an immediate and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. He says the decision by President Trump “fails to recognize the very real and immediate threats of climate change to family farmers, ranchers, and our nation’s food security.” Johnson called the move by Trump “shameful,” saying the U.S. “cannot sustain a viable food system if climate change is left unchecked.”

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USTR: No NAFTA Deadline Set

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says no deadline has been set to finalize North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations that can’t begin until mid-August. Officials from Mexico have suggested that Mexico and USTR Robert Lighthizer have agreed on a December 15th deadline to wrap up the negotiations. However, the USTR office told Politico this week no date has been set, but added “the sooner we can conclude negotiations, the sooner we can address the concerns of the president and the American people with NAFTA.” By U.S. law, negotiations can begin 90 days after the USTR notifies Congress, which Lightizer and the Donald Trump administration did May 18th. Mexico is eager to wrap up the negations quickly as the nation is facing an upcoming presidential election next year, and because of that, officials in Mexico say they cannot continue talks in 2018.

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Egg Lawsuit Against California

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by Missouri to hear a case against California by six states. Led by Missouri, the states sought to overturn a California law setting requirements for housing egg-laying hens. California voters approved the law in 2008, but Missouri, along with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa challenged the law. In 2015, the American Farm Bureau Federation said the law would have detrimental effects on the national egg market since California accounts for every one in eight eggs sold in the nation. Compliance costs were estimated to cost between $25 and $30 per hen at the time. The ruling reaffirms a November 2016 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision against the challenge, as well.

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JBS Parent Company Paying Brazil $3.2 Billion to Settle Corruption Investigations

The parent company of JBS SA will pay $3.2 billion in a settlement with Brazil over bribery and corruption charges. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the fine will be paid over 25 years and is the largest ever in a leniency agreement worldwide. The leniency agreement addresses the involvement of the company in a bribery and corruption scheme with Brazilian politicians, revealed by company executives in a plea bargain deal in April. Only the parent company of JBS, the J&F holding company, will be responsible for paying the fine, with the first payment expected in December. Earlier this year, Brazil indicted 63 people for their role in a corruption scheme within the nation’s Ministry of Agriculture. Suspects in the case were charged with falsifying medical records and certificates, tampering with food products, conspiracy, and corruption. Allegations also included selling spoiled meat and injecting water to sell poultry at higher prices.

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BPI Lawsuit Against ABC Going to Trial

A lawsuit by Beef Products Inc. alleging defamation by ABC-TV will head to trial next week. BPI is seeking $1.9 billion in the lawsuit against ABC and correspondent Jim Avila for a series of stories the network ran on BPI’s signature product, Lean Finely Textured Beef, which was referred to as “pink slime” in those reports. Jury selection began this week for the lawsuit that will be heard in South Dakota. The Sioux City Journal of Sioux City, Iowa, says if BPI wins at trial, its claim could be tripled to $5.7 billion under provisions of South Dakota’s Agricultural Food Product Disparagement Act. BPI accuses ABC and Avila of engaging in a disinformation campaign that defamed BPI and Lean Finely Textured Beef, causing consumers to mistakenly believe the product was unsafe and unhealthy. The trial is expected to last two months.

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Fatal Injuries Reported in Wisconsin Corn Mill Explosion

At least one is dead and others missing as of Thursday afternoon following an explosion at a Wisconsin corn mill. Two workers remained missing Thursday after the explosion at the Didion (did-e-an) Milling facility in Cambria, Wisconsin. Sixteen employees were working at the facility Wednesday night where an explosion and large fire occurred in the corn mill, not the adjacent ethanol plant that Didion Milling also owns. USA Today reports the facility was destroyed and at least a dozen of the 16 workers were injured. There’s no word yet on whether the explosion was caused by grain dust, a common factor in similar instances. However, grain dust explosions at grain handling facilities are at a ten year low, according to a study by Purdue University released in February of this year. According to the company’s website, construction on the Cambria corn mill was completed in 1991. Its corn products are used in brewing beer, making chips, breakfast cereals, bathroom moldings and ethanol.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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