READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 17th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 17th

Farm Groups in NAFTA Nations Express Unity

The largest farm groups in the U.S., Canada and Mexico offered a sign of unity Wednesday over the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations. The American Farm Bureau Federation, Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Mexico’s National Agricultural Council (Consejo Nacional Agropecuario) issued a joint statement supporting NAFTA and how the trade agreement supports agriculture in each of the NAFTA nations. AFBF says agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Grains Council says it will be engaged closely with the negotiations to help achieve a conclusion “that provides long-term certainty and creates a new platform for growth and integration of our regional feed and fuel industries.” Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight says “Both farmers and negotiators must understand how important these markets – and free trade – are to agriculture’s profitability.”

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Not All Ag Groups Happy with Direction of NAFTA Talks

A handful of farm groups say the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation goals favor corporate agribusiness over family farmers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Politico reports that a coalition of farm groups argues that increasing exports won’t replace the need for fair prices in disputes such as the one over Canada’s dairy supply management system, along with eliminating restrictions on genetically engineered crops. The group includes the U.S. National Family Farm Coalition, Canada’s National Farmers Union and Mexico’s National Association of Rural Producers, as well as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Officials with the Mexican National Association of Rural Producers says the “whole process should begin with a thorough, independent evaluation of NAFTA’s economic, social, environmental and governance impacts,” adding “the new NAFTA should support local farming communities.

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Roberts, McCaskill To Host Agriculture Security Roundtable

Senate Agriculture Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas, along with Senate Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri will hold a roundtable discussion Friday on agriculture security. Senators McCaskill and Roberts will discuss the role of the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies in protecting farmers and ranchers, and our nation’s food supply. The discussion Friday in Kansas City, Missouri is hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. Participants include Missouri and Kansas stakeholders, and officials at national agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and McCaskill, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, recently passed the “Securing our Food and Agriculture Act,” which President Trump signed into law in July.

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Family Farm Action Lobbying Group Launched

A new political organization says it will fight for America’s family farmers and rural communities. The Family Farm Action group was launched this week, and says it will “fight to protect” America’s family farms and rural communities from multinational agribusiness monopolies that are “destroying rural economies and way of life.” The Kansas City, Missouri-based group’s President Joe Maxwell, a Missouri farmer, has ties to the Humane Society of the United States. In a statement announcing the launch, Maxwell said “Our freedom and our democracy is threatened by the corporate stranglehold large corporations have on our country.” At the announcement, Mike Weaver, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets explained how in the recent China Beef Trade Agreement the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association had signed off on allowing both Canadian and Mexican cattle to be marketed as U.S. Beef. He declared: “The American family farmer needs an organization who can politically stand toe to toe with NCBA, NPPC and the other industrial agriculture political voices.”

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Settlement Reached in Duarte Nursery Case

California-based Duarte (Doo-ar’-tay) Nursery has agreed to a settlement with the United States in the federal government’s nearly five-year enforcement action over Duarte’s plowing property to plant wheat in late 2012. The Pacific Legal Fund, along with Duarte Nursery President John Duarte announced the settlement earlier this week. Under the agreement, Duarte would admit no liability, pay the government $330,000 in a civil penalty, purchase $770,000 worth of vernal pool mitigation credits, and perform additional work on the site of the plowing. The Corps of Engineers accused Duarte of improperly disturbing a wetland when he plowed the wheat field in 2012. The Corps claimed Duarte was liable for millions of dollars in fines despite a provision in the Clean Water Act which exempts “established farming, ranching, and silviculture activities such as plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products, or upland soil and water conservation practices.”

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EPA Administrator Asks Cattlemen to Submit WOTUS Comments

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is urging cattle ranches to submit comments to the EPA on the Waters of the U.S. rule repeal. Pruitt made his plea in a video released by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, urging farmers and ranchers to submit official comments on the repeal of the WOTUS rule before the Agency’s deadline of Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. In the video, Pruitt says the comments: “helps inform our decision-making process.” The video was filmed during a visit that Pruitt and his senior staff made earlier this month to a Colorado ranch as part of Pruitt’s nationwide State Action Tour. The video can be found on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTVd54WyhDQ&hd=1)

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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