READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, July 17th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, July 17th

Brazil to Address U.S. Beef Ban During Visit

Brazil’s minister of agriculture will meet with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday in an attempt to resume fresh beef exports to the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture halted beef imports from Brazil last month because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products. Brazil is hopeful the U.S. will lift the ban, as the Brazilian government said the suspension was related to non-conformities due to reactions to vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease, which can provoke abscesses in the meat. The Brazilian government has ordered all beef producers to follow certain cut procedures for beef that will help to easily identify potential problems, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. The U.S. embargo is among a series of challenges Brazilian meat producers are facing this year, after an investigation questioning the quality of sanitary inspections was released in March, prompting dozens of countries to temporary block shipments from the country. Since then, most of those countries have resumed Brazilian meat purchases, but many have reinforced inspections.

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Ag Groups, Perdue Applaud Censky Nomination

Agriculture groups, along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded President Donald Trump’s nomination of Steve Censky as Deputy Agriculture Secretary. The nomination was rumored for months. The White House described Censky as a Missourian since he has lived for many years in the suburbs of St. Louis where ASA is headquartered, but Censky grew up on a soybean, corn and livestock farm in Minnesota. Secretary Perdue says Censky will “bring enthusiasm and a dedication” to the Department of Agriculture, adding that he is hopeful the Senate will quickly consider the nomination. President Trump last week also nominated Rostin Behnam to be a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. if confirmed, he will fulfill a term expiring June 19, 2021.

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Current Farm Downturn Not Likely to Reach 1980’s Crisis

A report by a Farm Credit Administration economist told the Administration’s board members last week that the current downturn in the farm economy is not likely to reach a 1980s-style crisis. Farm Credit chief economist Stephen Gabriel said the “likelihood of this is very low,” adding that a confluence of adverse factors led to the crisis that occurred in the 1980s. He says it would take a similar combination of adverse developments to create another crisis in the farm economy. While the two periods are similar in some respects, Gabriel points out that interest rates were very high in the 1980s, and today’s interest rates are historically low. The price of oil is another major difference, according to his report. In 1979 and 1980, the price surged, while today it is declining. Also, the general economy is in better shape today than it was in the 1980s. The country experienced two recessions during the 1980s’ crisis whereas today we’re in an “extended, if lackluster, economic expansion,” according to Gabriel.

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EPA To Hold RFS Hearing Next Month

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing on its Renewable Fuel Standard volume obligations August first. The hearing, to be held in Washington, D.C., will take public comment on the 2018 renewable volume obligations, along with the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel, according to Ethanol Producer magazine. The agency released a prepublication version of the proposed rule earlier this month. The proposal calls for approximately 19.24 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the national fuel supply next year, including 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, and 4.24 billion gallons of advanced biofuel. For 2019, the new proposal calls for the biomass-based diesel RVO to be maintained at 2.1 billion gallons. In a notice posted to its website, the EPA said the hearing aims to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or arguments concerning the proposal. The agency may ask clarifying questions during the hearing, but will not respond to presentations at that time.

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U.S. DDGS Exports Up 16 Percent to Southeast Asia 

Exports of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles to Southeast Asia have increased 16 percent this marketing year. The U.S. Grains Council says the region currently represents the third largest market for U.S. DDGS. Thus far in the marketing year, sales to the region totaled more than 1.7 million metric tons, accounting for 20 percent of overall U.S. DDGS exports. U.S. DDGS exports have increased to seven of the eight countries within the region this marketing year. Year-over-year, shipments of U.S. DDGS have increased by 55 percent to Thailand, to 630,000 tons, and 42 percent to Indonesia, to 348,000 tons. In addition, U.S. DDGS exports have more than doubled to both Malaysia and Myanmar compared to the same time the year prior. While sales are down to Vietnam due to outstanding market issues, the country’s more than 490,000 tons in purchases still rank as the seventh largest market for U.S. DDGS.

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North Dakota Governor Announces Provisions to Help Drought-stricken Producers

Amid a severe drought in much of the state, North Dakota last week announced more provisions aimed at helping producers cope with the dry conditions. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum relaxed commercial driving restrictions to allow producers to drive farm vehicles further than 150 without a commercial license. That allows farmers to travel further away to haul livestock, or hay and water. Burgum earlier waived driving hour restrictions on commercial haulers of hay, water and livestock, and eased weight limits for those trucks, according to the Associated Press. The state also is putting more money into its Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply cost-share program, and eight National Guard helicopters are on standby to help fight any wildfires that may occur.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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