10-04-17 NFU & USCA Urge USDA to Finalize Farmer Fair Practices Rule

Farmers Union and Cattlemen’s Association Urge USDA to Finalize Farmer Fair Practices Rule

WASHINGTON – In less than three weeks, a rule to protect family farmers and ranchers from the worst abuses of concentrated markets will go into effect, barring any setbacks from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On the heels of a listening session on regulations hosted by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, National Farmers Union (NFU) and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) are calling on Secretary Perdue to allow the one of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, an interim final rule on “competitive injury,” to be finalized. The two national organizations released the following statement: Continue reading

10-04-17 NPPC: Censky, McKinney Confirmations Good News for U.S. Agriculture

NPPC: Censky, McKinney Confirmations Good News for U.S. Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 4, 2017 – The National Pork Producers Council congratulated Stephen Censky and Ted McKinney on their confirmations for key leadership position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last night, the U.S. Senate confirmed Censky and McKinney as the USDA’s deputy secretary and undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs, respectively.

“The confirmations of Stephen Censky and Ted McKinney come at a critical time for U.S. agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff. “They bring strong agriculture leadership experience and a commitment to the expansion of international trade on which our industry depends.” Continue reading

10-04-17 Seven Western Governors Sign MOU to Plan for Regional Electric Vehicle Corridor…

Governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming Sign MOU to Plan Regional Electric Vehicle Corridor for the West

Image result for Regional Electric Vehicle Corridor for the WestDenver, CO — Oct. 4, 2017 Today, the Governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide a framework for creating a regional electric vehicle plan for the West (“REV West Plan”). The Plan was announced today at the Energy Innovation Summit hosted by the National Governors Association.

The Plan spans more than 5,000 miles of highway across east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, and north-south Interstates 15 and 25. With more than 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids already on the roads in western states, the electrification of these major corridors is expected to reduce range anxiety and drive further adoption of EVs, while transforming the market to allow smaller communities to plug into the regional system.

The MOU calls for a coordination group to undertake the following actions: Continue reading

10-04-17 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on Confirmation of Censky & McKinney for Key USDA Posts

Secretary Perdue Statement on Confirmation of Censky & McKinney for Key USDA Posts

(Washington, DC, October 3, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised the Senate’s confirmation of two key nominees for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Senate confirmed Steve Censky, nominated by President Donald J. Trump as Deputy Secretary, and Ted McKinney, selected by the president to be Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.

Perdue issued the following statement Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, October 4th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, October 4th

Ag Economy Expectations Sliding

Future expectations for the agriculture economy turned lower in the latest monthly Ag Economy Barometer by CME Group and Purdue University. Released Tuesday, the September reading of 132 was unchanged compared to August. However, the barometer’s two sub-indices, the Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations, did shift in opposite directions. The Current Conditions Index rose to 135, while the Future Expectations Index fell to 130. Organizers of the survey say that while the decline in the Future Expectations index was modest, it could be an indication that some of the optimism that surfaced among producers in late 2016 and early 2017 is eroding. The Barometer surveys 400 agricultural producers monthly. A rating below 100 is negative, while a rating above 100 indicates positive sentiment regarding the agriculture industry.

River Freight Cost Pressuring Grain Prices

Delays along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers are causing a backlog for grain shippers. The St Louis Post-Dispatch says low river levels and back-ups at aging locks have slowed navigation on the Mississippi and its tributaries, driving up the cost of hauling Midwestern crops to Gulf Coast export terminals to near-record highs. Grain storage along the Mississippi river is filling up quickly, and cash premiums on soybeans at river terminals have dropped to the lowest level since 2011 amid ample available supplies. As newly harvested supplies reach the market, elevators with barges on hand are prioritizing loading soybeans while storing corn if they have space. Shippers also have to load less grain onto barges because of the low river levels. Earlier this week, the closure of an aging lock along the Ohio river created a line of 65 towboats waiting to pass. The grain handling woes come as farmers are beginning to harvest bumper corn and soybean crops amid weakening prices, with soybean stocks at a decade high and corn supplies at the biggest in nearly 30 years.

Goodlatte Guest Worker Bill Up for Committee Vote Wednesday

A committee vote is planned Wednesday (today) for the agriculture guestworker revamp bill in the House of Representatives. Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte introduced the bill Monday, and vowed to push for a “tight timetable.” The bill, according to Politico, would essentially scrap H-2A in its current form, rename the visa program H-2C and house it within the Department of Agriculture. Many farm groups applauded introduction of the bill. More than 60 dairy groups penned a joint letter calling the bill a “significant, positive step forward.” However, United Farm Workers and the AFL-CIO told Congress the bill would “create even more unfairness and dysfunction” in the immigration system. Goodlatte’s 2013 version of the bill passed out of committee in a 20-16 vote, but was never taken up on the House floor.

Stabenow Intends to Meet with Clovis

Ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow wants to meet with Sam Clovis. Clovis is the controversial nominee for the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist post. Stabenow told reporters earlier this week that she doesn’t feel Clovis meets the criteria for the job, a stance she has held since his nomination. Meanwhile, Chairman Pat Roberts told reporters last week that the committee still needs more paperwork from the White House to consider the Clovis nomination, according to DTN. President Donald Trump nominated Clovis to serve as the USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics, which also serves as the agency’s chief scientist. The White House sent the nomination to the Senate in July. Stabenow has previously said she has many questions about Clovis’s “troubling views” on climate change and providing public investment in crop insurance and education.

USPOULTRY Foundation Approves Funding for More Avian Influenza Research

The USPOULTRY Foundation last week approved $125,000 in additional emergency funding to support avian influenza research and communication. The research is a follow-up study on a previously funded project in which researchers provided insight on using ventilation shut down as a humane depopulation method. The study showed that the addition of heat and CO2 to the procedure provided a rapid and humane depopulation method. The new funds will provide a repeat study using broiler chickens and turkeys, since the original research was completed with layers. The funding for the additional research was approved by the board of directors. USPOULTRY and its Foundation operate an extensive research program incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. Since the inception of the research program, USPOULTRY and its Foundation have reinvested more than $30 million dollars into the industry in the form of research grants.

Beef-bacon Burger Hitting the Consumer Market

Consumers will soon see a 50/50 beef-bacon burger on store shelves. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports Coastal Ltd. has secured a licensing agreement with Jensen Meat Company to bring the Slater’s 50/50 burger to the grocery store. Slater’s 50/50, a Southern California restaurant chain, takes its name from its patented 50/50 burger patty. The product initially will be introduced to 77 Sam’s Club locations in Southern California and six in the Dallas market this month. A Jensen Meats official says “bacon-mania shows no signs of receding,” noting the huge demand for bacon products that has sent national bacon reserves to a 50-year low. The company estimates that gross sales of the product in the first year could exceed $10 million. Jensen Meat is a San Diego-based processor of ground beef products, and Coastal Ltd. is a San Diego-based licensing and brand management agency.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service