READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 26th…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 26th…

U.K. and U.S. Taking First Steps to Trade Deal

British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have taken the first steps towards a U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement. The duo recently met to create a working group that will “lay the groundwork” for a bilateral trade deal, according to Politico. However, official negotiations cannot begin until the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union around April 2019. In 2014, the U.K. was reported to rely on the EU for 27 percent of its food imports. Just four percent of food items in the U.K. originated from North America, and 54 percent of food consumed in the U.K., originated in the U.K., according to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The newly established U.S.-U.K. Trade and Investment Working Group will explore trade priorities for the two nations.

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Crop Insurance Comments Could Jeopardize Clovis Nomination

Comments made by Senate Agriculture Committee leaders suggest that Sam Clovis’s position on crop insurance could jeopardize his nomination for a top post at the Department of Agriculture. Senate Agriculture Ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow and Chairman Pat Roberts both eluded to the nominee’s statements on crop insurance. Clovis has previously questioned the constitutionality of crop insurance. Stabenow said: “It is important we all continue to work together to make sure we have the resources we need for crop insurance,” while Roberts commented that: “If there is some nominee who is coming before the committee who says crop insurance is unconstitutional, they might as well not show up.” Roberts said after Tuesday’s hearing that it is too early to say whether the Trump administration should withdraw Clovis’s nomination, but that Clovis should have an opportunity to explain his comments to him and Stabenow, according to the Hagstrom Report. Clovis was nominated by President Trump to serve as the USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

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Bankers List Goals for New Farm Bill, Ways to Prevent Farm Crisis

The Independent Community Bankers of America is urging Congress to adopt a new long-term farm bill incorporating five broad goals and offered enhancements to USDA programs to prevent a farm credit crisis. Testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday, an ICBA representative advocated for Congress to adopt a dynamic multi-year farm bill to provide continuity and enable agricultural producers and their lenders to engage in multi-year business decision making. The organization wants Congress to provide producers ample funds for commodities, crop insurance and credit programs to help them weather a potential farm income or farm credit crisis. Other goals include: considering any program changes that benefit producers and their community banks, directing agencies to reduce regulatory burdens and prohibit regulations not based on statutory language, require federal agencies’ rules to treat all categories of program participants fairly, and requiring direct loan programs to complement, not undercut, private sector lending.

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Perdue to Attend House Farm Bill Listening Session

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will attend a farm bill listening session in Texas next week. The listening session by the House Agriculture Committee will feature comments from Texas farmers on farm bill priorities. The “Conversations in the Field” is planned for 10:00 a.m. central time Monday, July 31st, at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. It follows a listening hearing last month at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and a handful of hearings on Capitol Hill by both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway earlier this year vowed to complete the 2018 farm bill “on time,” adding that completing the farm bill on time will avoid adding more uncertainty to an already strained farm economy.

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Pork Industry Supports No Regulation Without Representation Act

The National Pork Producers Council Tuesday expressed support for the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017. The legislation, introduced in the U.S. House by Wisconsin Republican James Sensenbrenner, would stop states from adopting laws and regulations that ban the sale of out-of-state products that don’t meet their criteria. NPPC says that means the bill would prohibit a state from imposing tax or regulatory burdens on businesses, including pork operations, that are not physically present in the state. NPPC CEO Neil Dierks testified to Congress Tuesday saying: “Changes in production practices should be driven by the marketplace, not government fiats or even ballot initiatives.” Nine states have banned, through legislation or ballot measures, gestation stalls, battery cages and veal crates, but only California and Massachusetts extended the bans to sales in their state of products produced anywhere in the country that don’t comply with their housing standards.

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Chlorpyrifos Ban Introduced in U.S. Senate

Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall Tuesday introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to ban chlorpyrifos (clo-PEER-uh-foss), a widely used agricultural insecticide. Udall explained that The American Academy of Pediatrics says chlorpyrifos use “puts all children at risk,” adding that “we need to listen to the experts” and ban the pesticide.” The Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency was poised to ban Chlorpyrifos. However, new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt denied the petition calling for the ban, arguing that the EPA needs more time to study the health risks of the chemical. Chlorpyrifos has been used as a pesticide since 1965 in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, according to the EPA. The chemical is used to protect a number of crops such as soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, citrus, tree nuts, peanuts, vegetables, and others, from losses to insect pests.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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