READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, December 11th

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

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 Monday, December 11th

Can Corn and Oil Live Together?

Oil-state Republican legislators met with President Trump on Thursday to discuss the Renewable Fuels Standard. They left with a directive from the president to figure out a compromise that would work out for both the oil and renewable fuels industries. Politico says Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe was one of the lawmakers who met with Trump. “The president wants us to come to him with something that’s going to make both sides happy, and I believe we can to it,” Inhofe says, “and I believe he thinks we can do it.” Inhofe and Senator John Cornyn of Texas have already begun working with corn-state senators on a possible compromise. In the meantime, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is still holding up the nomination of Bill Northey to a USDA post. It’s a retaliatory move after corn-state senators killed an effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken the Renewable Fuels Standard. After the meeting with Trump, Cruz says he’s optimistic they can find a fix to please all sides. He did not say if he’d lift his hold on Northey’s nomination. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says there may be some administrative actions available to help refiners cut some of the costs they face to stay in compliance with the RFS.

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Canadian Ambassador Optimistic on NAFTA Negotiations

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. says the target date of March as a finishing point to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations is very possible. He tells Bloomberg it’s possible if the three sides can overcome some sticking points, including U.S. demands for tougher auto quotas. David McNaughton (Mick-Nawt’-uhn) tells Bloomberg he’s hopeful the deal with be done by March. “Certainly, I think the deal has been good for all three countries,” he says, “and we’ve put some pretty constructive alternatives on the table.” Negotiators have updated several chapters of the pact already and are getting close on several others. Canadian and Mexican negotiators are heading back to Washington for the next round of talks that begins on Monday. The three sides have several issues to work through yet, including a U.S. proposal for a five-year sunset-clause to the deal. McNaughton says U.S. proposals to boost American content in automobiles from the NAFTA countries won’t work for the U.S. auto industry. “The American auto industry has said the American proposals during the negotiations will make the industry less competitive,” he adds. Negotiators have scheduled March as the target date because of Mexico’s presidential election on July 1.

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Coalition Wants Injunction Against CA Glyphosate-Label Requirement

The National Association of Wheat Growers led a coalition of ag groups asking for a court mandate to stop California’s new labeling requirements for glyphosate. The groups are citing irreparable harm to farmers, consumers, and the nation’s agricultural economy. The groups are asking for a preliminary injunction against California’s Prop 65 regulation, which requires labeling any product that may contain glyphosate, such as commodities. NAWG President Gordon Stoner says the requirement will immediately cause irreparable harm to farmers and the national economy. “We’re asking the court for an injunction to immediately halt this action,” he says, “because a significant number of wheat growers use glyphosate and requiring these false and misleading labels will fundamentally change the way farming is done in America.” The coalition says their reputations will be significantly damaged if they’re forced to falsely label their products. They also point out that the agricultural production process is already regulated by the federal government to ensure consumer safety. The Prop 65 mandate was based on flawed research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which declared glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. The IARC members concealed and distorted data that showed glyphosate is a safe product.

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Antibiotic Use in Livestock Drops

The Food and Drug Administration began keeping records on antibiotic use in livestock animals in 2009. For the first time since then, the agency says antibiotic usage dropped. Sales of medically important antimicrobials for livestock and poultry fell by ten percent in 2016. The decline actually took place ahead of new antibiotic usage requirements that became law in January. As of 2017, farmers have to have veterinary oversight to give antibiotics to livestock animals. The drugs can no longer be sold for growth promotion. Tetracyclines made up 70 percent of all medically-important antibiotics sold last year, but their usage dropped by 15 percent from the previous year. Opponents of on-farm antibiotic use look at this as a win. The Natural Resources Defense Council points out that the decline follows a series of commitments from the food industry to cut back on antibiotic use. A senior attorney for the NRDC says the progress is heavily influenced by the changes already made in the chicken industry, but also says the beef and pork industries are lagging behind.

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Mend, Don’t End NAFTA

Officials from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will begin a technical round of meetings on the North American Free Trade Agreement on Monday. Top negotiating officials aren’t scheduled to be in Washington next week. They’ll appear at the next formal round of talks, which will be next January in Montreal. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern says NAFTA must be “mended, not ended.” The Hagstrom Report says that headline on a recent op-ed by Mulhern is significant. Milk producers are backing the Trump Administration’s proposal that Canada ends its supply-management system for dairy, which the Canada government says is a non-starter. The NMPF also joined other organizations in writing a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking the president not to follow through on a threat to walk away from the trade deal, which is vital to the agricultural economy. Mulhern wrote in the piece that, ” we emphasized that a U.S. withdrawal would disrupt critical industry supply chains, close markets, eliminate jobs, and increase prices of goods for American consumers.”

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Cargill Launches Fedbytrade Campaign

Cargill is launching a new campaign to provide stories that consumers can understand regarding how trade helps feed the world. The new initiative is called FedbyTrade, highlighting how companies are speaking up against the Trump Administration’s public criticisms of trade and the trade deficits. The campaign is designed to provide facts about trade and trade deals. Cargill is also encouraging its employees and the producers they work with to be “ambassadors” for trade. They want farmers and employees to tell others how trade helps them. A Cargill corporate VP says, at its most basic level, trade facilitates feeding people. The focus of this isn’t just about NAFTA, although Cargill is working closely with other organizations to emphasize the benefits of the pact. The campaign is more about countering the administration’s hostility toward all trade deals, including KORUS, TPP, and NAFTA. That hostility is costing the ag sector. Cargill wants to know how many hits agriculture has to take before Washington realizes that trade hostility is affecting farmers and rural livelihoods.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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