READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 21st

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CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 21st

Turkey Farmers Feel Pain from GIPSA

Just days from Thanksgiving, some turkey farmers are feeling the effects of Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue’s decision to pull out of the final interim GIPSA rule. Politico reports that just hours after the announcement, Plainville Farms of Pennsylvania presented its farmers with updated contracts that required the producers to make costly upgrades to their operations or accept a cut in pay. One Pensylvania farmer is aiming to get out of the business as a result of the new contract. Ike Horst raised 22,000 organic turkeys on his farm. Plainview is requiring the new owner of the operation to install upgrades like new fans, tunnel ventilation, and a stationary generator. Renovations will be difficult for all their contract farmers to make in the winter as they have to find temporary housing for a lot of birds. The interim rule would have made it easier for producers to sue the meatpacking or processing companies they contract with. Mike Weaver is president of the Organization for Competitive Markets. He says, “We’re fairly convinced that if the Secretary wouldn’t have done away with the rules we wanted to get implemented, companies wouldn’t do things like this.” Weaver thinks doing away with GIPSA has emboldened companies to abuse their growers.

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Monsanto Asks Judge to Overturn Arkansas Dicamba Ban

An Associated Press report says Monsanto went before an Arkansas judge on Friday to ask the court to stop the state’s plan to ban dicamba use from April through October. Dicamba has been a source of complaints from farmers across the state, who say the product has drifted to their fields and caused widespread damage. The state’s ban on dicamba is expected to go before a legislative panel for approval next month but Monsanto says the action is necessary because farmers are already buying the product for the next growing season. The company said in its court filing that the ban severely limits Monsanto’s ability to sell its new dicamba-tolerant seed and low-volatility herbicide within the state. Monsanto says every day the ban remains in effect costs the company sales and customers. The state has received almost 1,000 complaints about dicamba drift damage. The request to stop the ban was added to a lawsuit Monsanto filed last month against the state board’s decision in 2016 to ban the use of dicamba.  

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Fifth Round of NAFTA Talks Moving Slowly

The fifth round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement got off to a slow start and continue to move slowly this week. A source tells CBC dot com that negotiators have talked through a dozen topics but there hasn’t been much movement. However, that same source also says while progress has been slow, there haven’t been any fireworks behind the scenes, which is a change in tone from the last round in Washington D.C. During the previous round of negotiations, the U.S. tabled several proposals that Canada and Mexico objected to. The U.S. is reported to be frustrated because Canada and Mexico are hesitating to give counterproposals to U.S. positions on key issues. The U.S. has made several proposals that have been referred to as “poison pills.” For example, the Trump Administration wants to raise the made-in-America requirements in the auto sector, kill Canada’s supply management program in dairy, and restrict Mexican and Canadian access to U.S. government contracts. The CBC source said procurement was a topic during the discussions, with the U.S. showing no flexibility in its demand that Mexico and Canada’s access should be on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

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Pro-Trade Republicans Unhappy with U.S. NAFTA Positions

Pro-trade Republicans are increasingly worried that the Trump Administration will pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rather than negotiate a deal that keeps core benefits intact. As the fifth round of talks winds up on Tuesday, Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent says, “I think the administration is playing a dangerous game with the sunset provision.” He says the threat of NAFTA disappearing every five years makes it difficult for businesses in his district, which includes Hersey’s, to invest in supply chains and manage their operations. Business groups have said millions of jobs would be in jeopardy if tariff rates in Canada and Mexico revert back to what they were in the 1990’s. 74 House of Representatives members signed a letter to the administration this week opposing U.S. proposals on rules-of-origin which would require 50 percent U.S. content in NAFTA-built vehicles and 85 percent regional content. Representative Pete Sessions disagrees with the Trump approach of “trying to beat someone in the negotiations,” saying we need to offer a fair deal. Half of the $231 billion in exports from Texas goes to Mexico and Canada. “If we want them to take our cattle,” he says, “we need to take their avocados.”

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Holiday Drivers Save by Choosing E-15 Fuel

Triple-A recently predicted a record number of drivers will be on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. Growth Energy says those drivers could save up to $4 million by filling up with E-15. Growth Energy is encouraging drivers to take advantage of the value E-15 brings and go to Get Ethanol dot com to locate the nearest E-15 station while they’re on the road this weekend. “E15 is a great value anytime, but when families are traveling further to see loved ones for Thanksgiving, it gives them an opportunity to keep a little extra money in their pockets since E15 can cost up to 10 cents less than regular gasoline,” says CEO Emily Skor. “If every driver filled up with E15, it could mean savings of up to $4 million. That’s a reason to celebrate.” E15 is available at almost 1,200 locations in 29 states. America recently surpassed two billion miles driving with E15. Skor adds, “E15 is a good choice for engines and the environment, making it a better value all around.” E15 is approved for 2001 and newer vehicles, which make up about 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today.

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Census of Ag Helps Farmers Influence Future Policy

USDA Census of Agriculture forms will start showing up in farmers’ mailboxes in December. The national census is conducted by the National Ag Statistics Service every five years and it’s extremely important that farmers take time to respond. Barbara Ratner is the census and survey director at NASS and she says, “The census is aimed at getting a complete count of all farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. The census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenses.” The last Census of Ag found two million farms and ranches covering more than 914 million acres in America. The census is a critical item that gives farmers and ranchers a chance to influence future policy decisions. “This information is important to all those agencies that serve farmers, ranchers, and the rural communities they live in,” says Ratner. “Everyone from federal, state, and local government agencies to agribusinesses and trade associations all look at the numbers.” Federal law requires all agricultural producers to complete the census and requires NASS to keep all of the information private.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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