READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 16th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 16th

Senators Want NAFTA Renegotiations to Address Canada Poultry Market

A group of senators wants the renegotiation effort of the North American Free Trade Agreement to address U.S. poultry exports into Canada. The group, led by Delaware Democrat Tom Carper says Canada has engaged in protectionist trade policies that limit sales for U.S. poultry exporters. The Senators are asking the Donald Trump administration to address the issue during NAFTA renegotiation talks in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The letter states: “NAFTA presents American poultry exporters with a unique opportunity to eliminate Canadian trade barriers, which have hampered growth for more than 20 years,” according to Politico. Similar to dairy, Canada maintains a strict supply management system on poultry production. The system’s import restrictions and production limits are meant to create a more stable system immune to market forces.

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China Trade Agreement Includes Biotech Approvals

The trade agreement between the U.S. and China that focused on U.S. beef also paved the way for Chinese approval of two U.S. genetically modified crop traits. The Wall Street Journal reports China has approved imports of two new varieties of genetically modified crops, clearing the way for U.S. agricultural companies to market new biotech seeds to farmers. Through the announcement, China this week approved the import of Dow Enlist corn and Monsanto’s soybean variety, Vistive Gold. The approval stems from China agreeing to speed reviews of biotech products as part of the trade deal with President Donald Trump announced last month. Seed companies have long complained that China’s regulatory approval process was slow-moving and vague. The announcement does not, however, approve cultivation of GM crops in China.

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Nebraska Firm First to Ship U.S. Beef to China

Nebraska’s Great Omaha Packing Company is sending U.S. beef to China, the first shipment of its kind in 14 years. After the U.S. and China finalized protocols to allow the U.S. to export beef to China, the Nebraska-based company announced it would send beef by air freight to a customer in Shanghai. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach(eye-bah) joined Greater Omaha Packing Chief Executive Henry Davis to load the first box of beef destined for China Thursday morning. Davis told the Drovers Cattle Network: “China has the potential to be the largest market for U.S. beef,” adding “this will be the first of many shipments.” On Monday, The Department of Agriculture announced final details concerning export requirements to resume beef shipments to China. Among the requirements, U.S. producers must track the birthplace of cattle born in the United States that are destined for export to China.

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Organic Trade Associations Applauds USDA for Revoking Organic License

The Organic Trade Association welcomed a move by the Department of Agriculture aimed at stopping fraudulent organic products from entering the United States. USDA this week revoked the organic certificate for a Turkish firm for shipping nonorganic ingredients to the United States labeled as organic, according to the Hagstrom Report. The Organic Trade Association said “fraud cannot be tolerated in the organic system,” adding that “the integrity of the organic certification process and the commitment to compliance and enforcement are the lifeblood of the organic industry.” Earlier this week, the Organic Trade Association announced that it would create an anti-fraud task force. The anti-fraud task force will create guidelines for the private sector to use in verifying its international supply chains.

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Renewable Energy Covering 10 Percent of U.S. Needs

Wind farms and solar panels that dot the map of rural America now account for more than 10 percent of U.S. power generation. Bloomberg News reports wind farms in Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere accounted for eight percent of electric generation, while residential and commercial solar installations provided about two percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that during 2016, wind and solar accounted for about seven percent of power generation in the U.S. The record set in March comes after developers added a record 22.2 gigawatts of wind and solar in 2016. However, clean energy is seasonal, as solar power flourishes in the summer when the days are longer, and wind energy thrives in the spring and summer as wind speeds increase. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the total clean energy output to fall back below the 10 percent level later this summer.

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Arkansas Investigating Dicamba Misuse Complaints

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is investigating more reports of dicamba misuse complaints. Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward says there are currently 50 alleged dicamba misuse complaints this year in the state. Those complaints, according to Ward, are currently under investigation. The state’s Plant Board is handling the investigations and is encouraging farmers to report any potential dicamba misuse or drift issues. Drift issues of dicamba-based herbicides were reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, among other states, last year. A group of farmers filed a class- action lawsuit against Monsanto in February over the issue. Additionally, an Arkansas farmer was shot and killed during a dispute over dicamba drift near the Missouri and Arkansas border last year. Arkansas is planning a series of public meetings that begins Friday to keep producers informed on the investigation process.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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