READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 23rd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 23rd

USDA Halts Brazilian Beef Imports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday evening announced that it would halt imports of fresh Brazilian beef. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement said: “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness,” in making the announcement. The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which USDA finds satisfactory. Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil.  FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products. That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world. Brazil’s meat industry has been in turmoil this year since the investigation of a corruption scheme that allowed tainted meat to pass in-country inspections.

Perdue Comments on Rural Broadband Needs

On the way to Iowa this week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told a White House press pool that broadband internet has become infrastructure of necessity in rural areas. His comments came as President Trump toured agriculture education facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to learn more about agriculture technology, and to pledge a focus on rural broadband in his infrastructure plan. Perdue said that the administration is developing proposals to enhance rural broadband connectivity with providers. When asked about a national plan, he said: “I don’t think you’re going to see a national plan” because each area is different. While there will not be a national footprint, Purdue said that the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development offices would look at “every area” in “working with the resources that we have” to make rural broadband as widespread as possible.

Farmers Union Requesting Emergency CRP Grazing in Drought-Stricken States

The National Farmers Union is asking the Department of Agriculture to release Conservation Reserve Program lands in drought-stricken states for haying and grazing. NFU, along with state affiliations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, are urging USDA to release the CRP grounds immediately. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Farmers Union emphasized the need for immediate relief for affected farmers. The letter says Farmers Union members are reporting a deteriorating feed supply, and that “while recent rainfall has helped, it has done little to significantly alter conditions in the long term.” Emergency haying and grazing of CRP land is authorized in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster to provide relief to livestock producers. Given the severity and duration of the drought, the group warned that “waiting until August to allow producers on to CRP land will provide little relief, as the grass will be of little nutritional value,” by that time.

Dicamba Complaints Increasing in Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture now says there are more than 200 complaints of dicamba drift and misuse in the state, up from the 135 reported on Tuesday. The Department’s Plant Board updated the number of complaints Wednesday night, with more complaints likely. That’s as the Plant Board will reconsider banning dicamba-based herbicides for 120 days. The revote was planned for (this) Friday morning after confusion led to the first vote failing. The Plant Board voted eight to six Tuesday, but thought a vote of nine in favor of the ban was needed. The majority of drift complaints are from the Northeast portion of the state, and Arkansas is investigating all of the complaints that are filed by growers. If approved Friday morning, the temporary ban on dicamba-based herbicides must also be approved by the state’s governor.

Eastern Canada Dairy Producers Get Quota Increase

Canada’s dairy producers in the nation’s eastern provinces will receive a five percent quota increase July first. Five provinces in eastern Canada have approved the increase. The move follows a series of smaller increases that began last year. Dairy Farmers of Ontario says the increase is needed because there still isn’t enough milk produced to fill the market for butter. Online publication AgCanada reports that as butter demand has increased, there’s been an increasing amount of skim milk left, after the butterfat has been removed to make butter and other products. Canada is mulling a nation-wide milk class that lowers the price of milk to make milk protein isolates to compete with U.S. products. However, that plan is being scrutinized by the United States. Canada’s supply management system for dairy is harming U.S. producers, as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently stated “the supply has to be managed,” adding that Canada has “created a glut on the market.”

EU, Japan, Within Reach of Trade Agreement

The European Union and Japan are inching closer to a free trade agreement after years of negotiations. A Ministry official from Japan Told Reuters that “both share understanding that a broad agreement is within reach.” The European Union says the deal will allow for easier access for EU products into Japan, and that its agri-food industry, along with pharmaceuticals, stands to benefit the most from the agreement. Signing the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU is a priority for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s (sheen-zoh ah-bay) stimulus programs and growth strategy. Reuters says the EU-Japan deal has taken on greater importance since U.S. President Donald Trump took the United States out of the multi-member Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, leaving the remaining 11 members including Tokyo to figure out what to do without the group’s biggest economy. The European Union currently accounts for roughly 10 percent of Japan’s total foreign trade.

GoFundMe for Mika Exceeds Goal

The GoFundMe page for food industry lobbyist Matt Mika who was injured in last week’s shooting at a congressional baseball game practice has exceeded it’s $50,000 goal. Mika was shot multiple times during last Wednesday’s shooting at a Republican party practice the day before the traditional congressional baseball game. Mika was volunteering as a coach for the GOP team during practice last week. He is expected to make a long, but full recovery. The GoFundMe campaign reached over $50,000 in just five days, after reaching an initial goal of $20,000 in less than 24 hours. Mika is Tyson Foods director of government relations in Washington, D.C., and a former senior director of legislative affairs for the American Meat Institute.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service