READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 14th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 14th

KORUS Review Could Follow NAFTA Renegotiations

The Donald Trump Administration appears to be planning to reexamine the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement after the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, if not sooner. Politico reports that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week formally requested talks with South Korea to consider changes to the five-year-old deal, with a focus on reducing the $28 billion bilateral trade deficit. However, it remains unlikely at this point that any talks surrounding KORUS will take place on the same scale as the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA. Congress has already warned the White House that it needs to follow formal procedures under the 2015 trade promotion authority law if it wants to make major changes to the pact — including by giving Congress 90 days’ notice of its intention to renegotiate and consulting with lawmakers on negotiating objectives. The administration is currently going through that process to begin renegotiating NAFTA. According to a USTR fact sheet, Korea is currently the fifth largest U.S. agricultural export market, with beef leading the way, followed by lemons, shelled almonds, cheese, cherries and wine and beer.

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Cattle Groups Applaud Proposed Delay of Electronic Logging Requirements for Trucking

Cattle groups, including the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, applauded the proposed delay of electronic logging requirements for livestock haulers. Language in a U.S. House bill would delay the requirements mandating the use of electronic logging devices in livestock hauling trucks for one year. USCA’s Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker says the bill allows time for the industry and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to “find acceptable solutions to the restrictive Hours-of-Service Rules for livestock haulers.” His comments echoed that of NCBA president-elect Kevin Kester of California, who says the delay allows time to “add needed flexibility, as hauling livestock has many challenges.” The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development approved its appropriations bill that includes the delay earlier this week. The full committee could mark up the legislation as soon as next week.

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Upper Midwest Drought Growing

The area defined under severe drought in North and South Dakota is growing, according to the latest drought monitor released Thursday. The severe drought area is growing as excessive heat has further depleted soil moisture and further stressed rain-fed crops, pastures and rangelands. In North Dakota, extreme drought conditions increased from 30 percent to include nearly 36 percent of the state during the past week. More than half of North Dakota now lies within an area of severe drought, and 35 percent of the state was listed under extreme drought. Nearly all of South Dakota remains in a classified drought status, with roughly 41 percent of the state in severe drought, and 10 percent in extreme drought. The latest drought monitor shows 22 percent of Montana in extreme drought, with another 37 percent of the state in severe drought. Much of those conditions remain in the eastern half of the state. Meanwhile, 71 percent of Nebraska is classified as abnormally dry, and 47 percent of Iowa is classified as abnormally dry, as well.

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Tennessee Joins Other States limiting Dicamba Use

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced new limits on the use of dicamba-based herbicides this week. The move follows practical bans issued by Arkansas and Missouri for using dicamba for row crop applications, as concerns and drift damages mount. Missouri, however, released its “stop sale, use or removal” order Thursday on dicamba-based herbicides. The new rule in Tennessee restricts application to certified private applicators or licensed pest control operators, certified by the state. The rule also prohibits the use of older formulations of dicamba products for the rest of this growing season and restricts application hours to between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The new rules, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture, is in response to farmer-to-farmer complaints of suspected dicamba drift damage to crops. The measures are in effect until October first of this year, and violators could be fined up to $1,500 per violation. With removal of its ban, Missouri announced similar limits on dicamba use Thursday, which includes wind, time and applicator restrictions, as well as required notification of planned dicamba applications online.

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Rural Infrastructure Hearing Scheduled for Next Week

The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on rural infrastructure next week. Committee leadership announced the hearing is scheduled for Wednesday and will address a vast array of rural infrastructure issues. Committee Chairman, Texas Republican Mike Conaway, says “infrastructure has been vital to the success and stability of our rural communities, and has helped American agriculture thrive.” Conaway says the hearing is aimed at maintaining that success over the next century, and hearing ideas for strategic investments to grow opportunities in rural America. Infrastructure improvements is one of the promises made by President Donald Trump. Earlier this summer, he told a Cedar Rapids, Iowa audience: “We will rebuild rural America.” The hearing, titled The State of Infrastructure in Rural America, is planned for 10 a.m. eastern time Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

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Pruitt, Zinke Visit State Farm Bureau Presidents

During a Washington, D.C. meeting earlier this week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told state Farm Bureau President’s that “The farming industry deserves regulatory certainty.” While speaking during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Council of President’s meeting, Pruitt told the group EPA is returning power to the states and “standing with farmers who have been hurt by misguided policies of the past.” Pruitt discussed with state Farm Bureau presidents the EPA’s recent decision to begin rescinding the Waters of the U.S. rule, as well as other issues of concern to America’s farmers and ranchers. Also speaking to the group, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined the importance of supporting multiple uses of the nation’s public lands, a priority for AFBF members. Zinke also spoke briefly about the challenges presented by wild horse overpopulation on public lands.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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