03-29-18 Agriculture Coalition Launches ‘Fix Prop 65’ Site in Effort to Halt California’s Unsound Glyphosate Regulation

CLICK HERE to learn more

Agriculture Coalition Launches ‘Fix Prop 65’ Site in Effort to Halt California’s Unsound Glyphosate Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 29, 2018) – The Ag Defense Alliance, a national coalition of farmers and agriculture networks, today launched a new website providing resources and information about its case against California’s unjustified Prop 65 listing of glyphosate.

“The new site will be used to communicate the importance of one tool to farmers, glyphosate. Glyphosate is a safe for use and effective crop protectant used by growers to provide an abundant, safe, and affordable supply of food,” stated Chandler Goule, Chief Executive of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the lead plaintiff in the case against California. “Our coalition understands the importance of glyphosate to our nation’s agriculture economy and we are committed to communicating with all interested stakeholders as our case moves forward against California’s unjustified Prop 65 listing of glyphosate.”

The Fix Prop 65 website provides research and background on the case, testimonials from farmers, information about glyphosate, how it is used, and what the scientific community has stated about this safe-for-use, environmental sustainable herbicide.  Continue reading

03-29-18 NFU: SNAP Squabble Jeopardizes Timely Passage of Farm Bill

NFU: SNAP Squabble Jeopardizes Timely Passage of Farm Bill

The federal Farm Bill has historically been a bipartisan effort. Agricultural issues are typically a unifying force in Congress – everyone eats food every day, so it is easy to agree that everyone should support the farmers and ranchers that produce that food.
The 2018 farm bill negotiations, however, are trending in a more partisan direction, with the House Committee on Agriculture split along party lines. The main point of contention is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once known as food stamps, which has served as the nation’s primary nutritional safety net for the past fifty-some years. In addition to helping millions of American families meet their food needs, the program also accounts for the largest fiscal component of the farm bill, claiming approximately 80 percent of spending.

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USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for March 29th

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Weekly Export Sales for March 29th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 29th

CLICK HERE to listen to Today’s BARN Morning Ag News w/Brian Allmer

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 29th

Lighthizer Hopeful of New NAFTA Deal

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told CNBC television Wednesday he is “hopeful” there will be compromise and a deal reached on the North American Free Trade Agreement. His comments follow those from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (True-doh), who earlier this week said a “win-win-win deal is not only possible but likely.” Lighthizer said Wednesday he is optimistic the three NAFTA members can “get something done in principle in the next little bit.” He acknowledged there is a short window to reach an agreement, as Mexico will hold summer elections and the U.S. will hold midterm elections in the fall.  Round eight of the negotiations are scheduled for Washington, D.C., in early April. In the last round of talks, some agricultural topics advanced, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures. However, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported there was much work left to be done on market access, referring to the U.S.-Canada dairy trade issue.

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KORUS Agreement a Relief to Agriculture

Agriculture was ‘left out’ of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement renegotiation effort, a relief to the sector. For many in agriculture, there was more to lose than gain in the renegotiation effort. The U.S. is the largest supplier of beef to Korea and the second largest pork supplier. Data from the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows red meat exports to Korea set a record last year of $1.7 billion, up 19 percent from the prior year and up 69 percent from 2012. USMEF spokesperson Joe Schuele (She-lee)  told Meat industry publication Meatingplace the revised KORUS is “excellent news” for U.S. beef and pork because it ensures the U.S. “will continue to be able to serve the growing South Korean market.” South Korea is also a top-five importer of U.S. corn, buying more than 5.3 million metric tons in the last marketing year, which is more than 200 million bushels. Under the new agreement, South Korea will limit its steel exports to the U.S. and allow more imports of U.S. autos. The U.S. agreed to exempt South Korea from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

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NCGA Submits Comments on PES Proposed Settlement

The National Corn Gowers Association says poor financial decisions and management caused a Pennsylvania refinery to file for bankruptcy protection, not the Renewable Fuel Standard. NCGA this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Department of Justice on the proposed settlement agreement between Philadelphia Energy Solutions, or PES, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The settlement stems from the outstanding RFS compliance obligations the refiner has included in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. NCGA claims the settlement would undermine the RFS. The association’s comments state the proposed settlement would allow the refiner “to walk away” from more than half of its outstanding RFS obligations and allow its parent companies to avoid liability. NCGA President Kevin Skunes says the proposal “would have negative policy implications for the RFS and future compliance with the Clean Air Act,” as the settlement does not hold all parties liable for violations of the Clean Air Act. The bankruptcy court will decide on the settlement agreement on April 4th.

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Secretary Perdue Announces Third “Back to Our Roots” RV Tour

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will hit the road again next week in his third “Back to Our Roots” RV tour. Perdue will start the tour Tuesday to hear ideas and concerns from farmers and others. Joining Perdue is Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, for part of the tour. The tour spans from Tuesday to Friday and includes stops in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. While Congress works on the next farm bill, Perdue says the tour serves as an opportunity to hear “directly from the American people in the agriculture community.” This is Secretary Perdue’s third “Back to Our Roots” tour since taking office just under a year ago. On his first tour, in August of 2017, Secretary Perdue toured Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. In September of 2017, Secretary Perdue traveled on his second tour to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Complete details of the tour can be found online at www.usda.gov.

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Global Crop Protection Groups Announce Data Transparency

Global crop protection associations have agreed to a safety data transparency initiative. Crop Life America announced the partnership with its European counterpart as a voluntary commitment to enable more public access to pesticide product safety data from non-commercial use. Doing so, the associations say, will help explain the existing regulatory process, focusing on the European Union, and to address the safety, efficacy and benefits of crop protection products. The initiative stems from the global pesticide industry’s commitment to transparency, responsibility and sustainability. In the U.S., federal law requires the Environmental Protection Agency to make pesticide safety data available to the public, which has made the U.S. a world leader in transparency and access to the public. Crop Life America says the association supports a “continuing conversation” with the public on safety issues and the “continued transparency” of pesticide safety data around the world.

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Washington State Salmon Farms to Comply With Phase Out  Legislation

The operator of salmon farms in Washington State says it will comply with legislation ordering the phase-out of operations by 2025. Cooke Aquaculture says it is “deeply disappointed” in the action by the state legislature and Washington Governor Jay Inslee. However, in a recent company news release, officials say Cooke Aquaculture “will respect the wishes of the legislature.” Last month, a spokesperson for the company said: “Any ban on Atlantic salmon farming will be based purely on emotion and ideology, not science.” Washington’s salmon farms have operated in Puget Sound since the 1980s, but Cooke owns all operations now. The bill by Washington State lawmakers follows the collapse of a pen structure owned by Cooke that allowed the escape of 250,000 salmon. The company says it will evaluate operations and investments in the state moving forward, as it prepared to comply with law.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-28-18 Learn more about the New STEM Study with Bayer’s Casey Allen…

Learn more about the New STEM Study with Bayer’s Casey Allen…

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) March 28, 2018 – Are We Preparing the Next Generation for Tomorrow’s Global Challenges? That was the main premise of a  recent study conducted by Bayer, in collaboration with the National 4-H Council, suggesting “we have work to do”.  Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss the study in more detail is Casey Allen, Corporate Communications, Crop Science, a division of Bayer

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For more information on Science Matters, visit 4-H.org/Bayer.

Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online at www.cropscience.bayer.us.

Visit the Bayer Connect – Social Hub for social media, recent news, blog posts, videos and more from Crop Science, a division of Bayer.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 28th

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…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 28th

Spring Food Prices Increase

The annual Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows higher retail prices for several foods. The informal survey showed the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.05, up $1.02 or two percent compared to a year ago. AFBF attributed the increase to higher retail prices for several foods including eggs, orange juice, meat products, bagged salad, shredded cheddar and vegetable oil. AFBF market intelligence director John Newton says eggs own the highest price increase, saying: “Easter eggs are going to be a bit more expensive, 37 percent higher than a year ago.” U.S. egg exports were up nearly 50 percent in 2017 while egg production remained flat. Meanwhile, the price of orange juice increased 7.5 percent, due to the devastating hurricane late last year that came through parts of Florida, where most orange juice comes from. The hurricane led to growers harvesting the smallest crop in 70 years. Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased and seven decreased in average price.

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Mexico and Canada Face U.S. Tariffs If NAFTA Talks Extend Beyond May

President Donald Trump says Mexico and Canada will face steel and aluminum tariffs if the North American Free Trade Agreement talks don’t progress to his likings by May first. The administration has granted an exemption to Canada and Mexico from the tariffs. However, a White House document says Trump will decide by May first “whether to continue to exempt these countries from tariffs, based on the status of discussions.” The move, Bloomberg reports, puts pressure on Canada and Mexico to progress and complete the talks. Mexican officials have hoped to wrap-up the process by the end of April, before the country’s summer election, and the U.S. midterm election later this year. The move by Trump comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says momentum is building, and that “a win-win-win deal is not only possible but likely.” Still, there are many issues left to agree on, including major agriculture issues. An American Farm Bureau Federation economist speculated earlier this month that the NAFTA renegotiation effort would stretch into next year.

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Trade Coalition Launches Effort Against U.S. Tariffs

A new effort seeks to protect U.S. agriculture from trade retaliation. Americans for Farmers and Families Tuesday announced the “Retaliation Hurts Rural Families” project. Former Missouri state lawmaker and spokesperson for the project, Casey Guernsey, says the effort will help farmers and ranchers “communicate with one voice” to the Trump administration that “rural and farming communities must be heard.” The project is using spokespeople, like Guernsey, to convey agriculture’s message on trade through media. Organizers hope the effort will help protect U.S. agriculture from retaliation due to President Trump’s tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports. Guernsey says the tariffs “negatively impact” agriculture as U.S. trade partners are targeting U.S. ag products for retaliation. He says the retaliation efforts will represent “real job losses and real lack of market access” for U.S. farmers. The coalition was originally formed to protect agriculture’s interest in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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McConnell Introduces Hemp legislation

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week announced legislation he intends to introduce in the Senate to support hemp farmers. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances. McConnell announced the legislation in his home state earlier this week, which implemented a hemp pilot program that McConnell calls a nationwide example of how to cultivate hemp. Noting the history of hemp cultivation in Kentucky, McConnell says he believes hemp can “be an important part of our future.” As of 2017, 38 states allow hemp cultivation for commercial or research programs. McConnell says the legislation would also remove the federal barriers in place which will help expand the domestic production of hemp. It will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allowing them to continue their work with the support of federal research dollars.

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Veterinarians Take to Capitol Hill

Nearly 100 veterinarians took to the nation’s capital earlier this week to discuss farm bill priorities. While lawmakers are on break this week, the American Veterinary Medical Association held its annual fly-in to meet with congressional offices. In the next farm bill, fly-in attendees are asking Congress to help prevent animal disease outbreaks by establishing and funding a three-pronged measure, including an animal pest, disease and disaster prevention and response program, a stronger national animal health laboratory network, and a U.S. livestock vaccine bank with immediate priority to foot-and-mouth disease. AMVA President Michael Topper says decisions by Congress will ultimately “determine whether veterinarians are able to afford their educations and effectively do their jobs.” The veterinarians are also seeking congressional support for AVMA’s Higher Education Act principles, with a focus on preserving Public Service Loan Forgiveness and loan options through Grad PLUS. These programs, the association says, play a vital role in enabling veterinarians to fund their educations, which is increasingly important as veterinary debt has risen.

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Deputy Secretary Censky to Keynote Farm Foundation Workshop

A Farm Foundation workshop on rural Infrastructure Investment will feature Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky. A collaboration of Farm Foundation and the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, the workshop will examine current research on the impact of rural infrastructure investments on economic activity. Farm Foundation President Constance Cullman says the workshop is a “vital step in sharpening those tools” needed for rural infrastructure improvements. Farm Foundation says the workshop will help researchers and stakeholders identify practical research that exists or is needed on the economic returns of investments in rural infrastructure. The workshop will be at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 10, and Wednesday, April 11. Learn more and how to register at www.FarmFondation.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-28-18 The 2018 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award® Recipient Announced

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Beatty Canyon Ranch Co., has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

2018 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award® Recipient Announced

Arvada, Colo. – (March 27, 2018) – Beatty Canyon Ranch Co., has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

The prestigious award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, and is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

Beatty Canyon Ranch in Las Animas County is a generational ranch that has long served as an example of cutting edge conservation. Owned and operated by Steve and Joy Wooten and Brady and Arin Burnham, the ranch currently has the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of land stewards involved in day-to-day operations. Controlling invasive species, grazing management, and a focus on wildlife habitat are just a few of the reasons the ranch has become a popular outdoor recreation destination in addition to a successful livestock enterprise.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award inspires other landowners and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac; Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” Continue reading

03-27-18 CDA Commissioner Brown Announces Sinning as Director of Plant Industry Division

CDA Commissioner Brown Announces Sinning as Director of Plant Industry Division

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Duane Sinning, currently CDA’s Assistant Director of the Plant Industry Division, will be taking the helm of the section as its Division Director.  The vacancy was created when Mitch Yergert announced his retirement from CDA after nearly 31 years of service. Sinning assumes his new role on April 1, 2018.
“Duane has served this agency and Colorado’s agricultural community well over the years; his leadership ability has been apparent with our staff. Duane’s career has been focused on furthering plant and seed development and I’m confident that his dedication to agriculture will help his successfully transition into his new role,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown.

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03-27-18 Inside NAWG with VP Ben Scholz: NWIC Fly-In, Research, Farm Bill, Trade & More…

Inside NAWG with VP Ben Scholz: NWIC Fly-In, Research, Farm Bill, Trade & More…

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) March 27, 2018 – Joining the  Colorado Ag News Network is Ben Scholz, Vice President of the National Association of Wheat Growers discussing several topics pertinent to the wheat industry including:

  • Recent NWIC Fly-in
  • Importance of Wheat Research & Full Funding
  • 2018 Farm Bill Update
  • Steel & Aluminum Tariffs & Wheat Exports
  • Importance of Trade (NAFTA – TPP)
  • Wheat Prices & Condition Concerns
  • & More

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BEN SCHOLZ BIOGRAPHY  Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 27th

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…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 27th

China: U.S. Has “Severely Damaged” the Multilateral Trade System

Steel and aluminum tariffs crafted by the Trump administration based on national security have “severely damaged” the multilateral trade system, according to officials from China. In a translated news release, a Chinese trade official says the nation will take legal actions through the World Trade Organization to “maintain the stability and authority” of multilateral trade. The comment came late last week as China announced a list of 128 products to target in retaliatory measures, including U.S. soybeans and pork. China made a World Trade Organization filing Monday to seek consultations regarding the issue. China calls the move by the U.S. a “safeguard measure” as outlined in WTO rules. Being the two biggest economies in the world, China says the U.S. and China must “focus on cooperation” to promote trade relations between the two countries. The first flight of tariffs from China focuses on fruit, wines and ethanol, among other products, worth an estimated $1 billion. The second flight, should China move forward, covers pork, recycled aluminum, and other products.

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Trade Tiff with China Serves as Negotiating Primer

A leading U.S. agricultural economist suggests that the trade issues with China serve as a vehicle for negotiations. Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt says China may be simply signaling the U.S. that the nation wants to negotiate, just as the U.S. has seemed to signal to China in crafting the tariffs. That seems to be the case, too, according to action by some Trump administration officials. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that U.S. officials were discussing with China several issues, from finance to manufacturing, which could ease trade tensions. Hurt points to the proposed tariffs on U.S. soybeans in response to the U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel as a signal of negotiation. He says that China needs U.S. soybeans, and would rather not start a trade war. The list of proposed tariffs by China on U.S. imports also includes a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork.

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Association of Equipment Manufactures Urges Trump to Lift Tariffs

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is urging President Donald Trump to lift his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. In a statement, AEM President Dennis Slater said the mere threat of tariffs or quotas has already contributed to higher steel prices, disrupted business operations for equipment manufacturers, and caused uncertainty in the business climate. AEM represents manufacturers of equipment, including agricultural machinery. The association says the tariffs will have negative impact on equipment manufacturers and their employees. Slater said he was encouraged by the exemption offers for some of equipment manufacturers’ largest suppliers of steel, but notes that the overall industry exemption process is confusing and burdensome for businesses. Slater concludes that the best thing President Trump can do to mitigate the negative impacts of the tariffs is to “end them, immediately.”

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Growth Energy Objects to EPA-Refiner Settlement

Growth Energy has filed comments with the Department of Justice outlining the biofuel industry’s objections to a proposed settlement between the Environmental Protection Agency and a Pennsylvania refiner. The proposed settlement, between Carlyle Group-owned Philadelphia Energy Solutions, or PES, and the EPA was filed and drafted as part of the ongoing PES bankruptcy proceedings. The current settlement agreement would pardon the refinery of key obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the proposed settlement “sends a terrible message to investors who have played by the rules.” Growth Energy alleges that the Carlyle Group pulled hundreds of millions of dollars out of the company and failed to make clean energy investments that have allowed other refiners to thrive. Growth Energy says the proposed settlement would unjustifiably allow PES and its parent companies to substantially avoid their environmental obligations, among other things.

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Research Finds New Direction for Halting Citrus Greening

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service says a new study has discovered a path forward to halting the citrus greening epidemic. The research is inching closer to helping scientists understand how to block citrus greening from infecting citrus trees. The disease infects citrus trees through bacteria carried by tiny insects. The researchers have found that young insects appear to be resistant to the bacteria, which needs to pass through the insect’s guts to multiply. The next step will be to identify the mechanism for the resistance in the insects so that it might be manipulated to also halt the spread of the bacteria by the adult insects. Researchers say further studies will help in developing ways to block transmission of the disease by insects in citrus groves. If the research pans out, citrus growers will be “in a much better situation in terms of disease control,” potentially saving the U.S. citrus industry. There is much more to learn, but researchers add that the more they learn, the closer the U.S. will “get to moving citrus production past the threat of citrus greening.”

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USDA Announces Support for Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. The funding through USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement was originally authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990. USDA says the grants “seek to enhance the equitable participation” of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA resources and programs, such as Farm Service Agency loans or grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Projects may focus on conferences, training sessions, educational materials, or new programs to help those farmers and ranchers thrive and succeed. Eligible applicants include community-based organizations, networks, or coalitions of community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and others.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-26-18 ARBWF: State water chief: Water issues require funding…

ARBWF: State water chief: Water issues require funding

Streams of funding will become important to keep streams of water flowing in Colorado in the coming decades, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s top water adviser said.

Dr John Stulp, DVM
Special Policy Advisor to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper & Chairman of the Interbasin Compact Committee

“We are looking at the appropriate revenue streams,” said John Stulp, the governor’s adviser. “One of the key questions is: How do you build certainty that new methods don’t dry up agriculture?”

Stulp, whose home base is a farm-ranch operation in Prowers County, will speak at the 2018 Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, April 11-12 in La Junta. This year’s forum is dedicated to the issues facing the Lower Arkansas Valley. Water lawyer David Robbins, who defended state interests in the Kansas v. Colorado speaker will open the conference, while Stulp will offer closing remarks.

Colorado’s Water Plan, completed in 2015, calls for $3 billion new state investment in water projects from 2020-50, or about $100 million annually. Much of Stulp’s time, working with the state Interbasin Compact Committee, has been spent figuring out just how to do that.

“We looked at 110 possibilities, then narrowed that to about 12. About four of those rose to the top,” Stulp said.

Those ideas included:

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 26th

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…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 26th

Omnibus Bill Includes Several Ag Provisions

The omnibus spending bill passed by the House and Senate last week includes many victories for agriculture. Farm groups applauded the inclusion of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM Act, that Act exempts air emissions from animal waste from being subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA, reporting requirements. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says he was “pleased” with the bipartisan deal, which will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. Roberts says the bill gives farmers and ranchers “some regulatory relief.” The omnibus bill prohibits funding to implement regulations requiring livestock haulers to install electronic logging devices on their trucks to monitor time behind the wheel. That comes after livestock haulers were granted another waiver extension to the law recently. Also included is a solution to address the U.S. Forest Service budget for wildfire suppression, extension of current law of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, and legislation relating to dairy product labeling.

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Spending Bill Includes Victory for Milk Labeling Standards

The omnibus spending bill passed by the House and Senate last week included language regarding milk labeling. The bill directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take action against mislabeled imitation dairy foods, a move the National Milk Producers Federation says is a major victory for farmers and consumers alike. Federation president and CEO Jim Mulhern says the bill will “ensure action,” following “years of inaction” by the FDA regarding labeling of plant-based beverages as milk. The language in the bill comes from the DAIRY PRIDE Act, introduced in January in the Senate by Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin. NMPF said that Congress’ instructions to FDA should restrict the ability of beverages made from plant foods from using the term “milk” on their labels. The language will also affect products misusing other dairy food names such as “cheese” and “yogurt” that are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations and cited in the congressional bill.

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China Retaliations to Harm U.S. Ag

Agriculture groups say trade retaliation from China will “costs farmers their livelihoods.”  China announced retaliation efforts to the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. The American Soybean Association says “It’s extremely frustrating” the administration is targeting the nation’s largest trading partner during a time of low farm income. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall echoed those comments, stating Friday that if the trade situation “continues to deteriorate,” the lives of farmers and ranchers “will become more difficult.” China is mainly targeting U.S. steel products, fresh and dried fruits, and even ethanol, along with U.S. pork. The National Pork Producers Council says the tariffs by China will hurt the rural economy. Last year, the U.S. pork industry exported $1.1 billion of product to China, making that country the number two value market for U.S. pork. China is considering a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork, along with recycled aluminum goods.

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Trade Issues Pose Farm Bill Challenges

During a Senate hearing last week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts linked the state of U.S. trade to the farm bill, remarking trade presents more challenges to the farm bill. Speaking last week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Roberts simply said: “This is not a good situation.” Speculating that if Congress needs to add payments for farmers to reduce the impact of any trade retaliation, he says that would be another “dust-up” as lawmakers try to write a farm bill in the backdrop of a “severe budget situation,” along with low farm income. Roberts, during the hearing, told Lighthizer that the top trade official’s agenda must include “a focus on returning the United States to reliable supplier status.” Roberts and the Agriculture Committee is actively working on crafting the next farm bill. During field hearings held regarding the farm bill, farmers testified about the need for continued strong export opportunities as well as business certainty from regulatory reform.  

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Organic Groups Suing USDA over Livestock Rule

Four organic groups have filed a lawsuit against The U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, regarding the organic livestock welfare rule. Led by the Center for Food Safety, the groups say the decision to withdraw the rule was “outrageous and unlawful,” similar to what USDA called the rule. In the March 13th decision, USDA claimed the regulations could not be issued because the agency lacked the authority to regulate practices such as animal space for livestock under the Organic label. The regulations were finalized in the final days of the Obama administration. The Groups say the rule would strengthen the minimum requirements for the care and well-being of animals on organic farms. Represented by CFS legal counsel, the plaintiffs are the Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health, Cultivate Oregon, and the International Center for Technology Assessment.

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USDA Wants Input on Statistics Gathering Programs

The Department of Agriculture is seeking feedback on the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Through the 2018 USDA Data Users’ meeting, USDA will seek comments and input on recent and pending changes in various data and information programs. NASS and partner agencies organize the annual meeting for USDA stakeholders. Other participating USDA agencies include the Agricultural Marketing Service, Economic Research Service, Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service and the World Agricultural Outlook Board. The U.S. Census Bureau will also participate. Leaders from each agency will provide an overview of current issues and then take questions and comments. The 2018 meeting will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 at the University of Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois. Attendees can register online for free at www.usda.nass.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-23-18 CFB: China’s Threats of Tariff Retaliation Leaves Colorado Agriculture on Edge

CFB: China’s Threats of Tariff Retaliation Leaves Colorado Agriculture on Edge

Centennial, Colo. — March 23, 2018 — In reaction to tariffs on steel and aluminum exports announced by President Trump earlier this month, China has threatened retaliation with tariffs on U.S. exports, including pork, wine, fruit and other agricultural products —  the impacts of which, would negatively impact farmers and ranchers here in Colorado.

“The threat of these penalties against agriculture would stunt markets here in Colorado for many of our producers,” says Don Shawcroft, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau. “Commodity prices, already soft due to oversupply will be pushed ever lower. These tariffs will hit our producers particularly hard.” Continue reading

03-23-18 Hungry for Change: Day at the Capitol is April 4th

Hungry for Change: Day at the Capitol is April 4th

The agenda has just been released for Hunger Free Colorado’s annual advocacy day at the Colorado State Capitol! Join advocates across the state, Wednesday, April 4, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. for a day dedicated to raising awareness about the prevalence and impacts of hunger across Colorado. Your voice makes a critical difference in the decisions of our legislature. Together we can shift the perception of hunger and ensure every Coloradan has the fuel they need to thrive and reach their potential. Plus, the statewide Hunger Through My Lens exhibit will be on display.

View the full agenda. This is a free event, but space is limited so register today.

REGISTER NOW

03-23-18 WGA: Top 50 Invasive Species in the West

CLICK HERE to view the entire report

Top 50 Invasive Species in the West

The first-of-its-kind regional assessment was released at the Western Working Lands Forum. The list will enable state managers to better understand the cross-boundary risks posed by terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. Download the report.

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USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for March 23rd

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Weekly Export Sales for March 23rd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 23rd

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…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 23rd

Trump: China Tariffs Will Total $50 Billion

President Donald Trump announced an estimated $50 billion in tariffs against Chinese imports today. Bloomberg says it’s a retaliatory move against intellectual property violations. The move will take effect on more than 100 different types of Chinese products. The overall value of the tariffs was based on economic estimates of the damage caused by those intellectual property violations. Last year, Bloomberg says Trump instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into claims that China steals U.S. intellectual property and forces American companies to transfer their technical know-how to Chinese firms as a condition for doing business in the country. Lighthizer confirmed in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday that the administration is considering both tariffs and curbs on Chinese investment. U.S. companies like Walmart and Amazon have warned the White House that tariffs on Chinese goods will hit consumers with higher prices. The Wall Street Journal says China plans on hitting back against Trump tariffs by targeting goods from states and industries that tend to employ Trump supporters. Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady cautioned Lighthizer and the administration about “indiscriminate” tariffs against China, noting that “it’s not about backing down, it’s about hitting the target.”

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More Tariff Exemptions for U.S. Trading Partners

During testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer confirmed that the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea will be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminum. A Politico report says Lighthizer told the committee that, “the president has decided to pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries.” The levies are set to take effect on Friday. Canada and Mexico had already been exempted from the tariffs. The president agreed that “based on a certain set of criteria, that some countries should get out” and those are the countries that the U.S. has been negotiating with. Lighthizer confirmed the exemptions after ranking member Ron Wyden asked the administration’s trade boss to provide some clarity on the exemption process. “Everyone here wants to be part of the consultation process, which we haven’t had much of, recently,” Wyden said. “Which countries – because it’s going to happen tomorrow – won’t have these steel and aluminum tariffs applied to them?” Lighthizer responded with, “It’s the list I just gave.” The U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Commerce Department have been in talks with several countries about exempting them from the steel and aluminum tariffs.

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Appropriations Bill Agreed Upon by Congress, Contains Section 199A “Fix”

The Hagstrom Report says congressional leaders have agreed on an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through September 30. It passed a House vote today, 256-167, and is expected to pass in the Senate before the weekend. There may still need to be a short-term continuing resolution if any senators object to the bill. The bill does contain a fix to Section 199A of the tax law that currently gives farmers an incentive to sell to cooperatives rather than privately owned companies. The National Grain and Feed Association was happy with what they saw. NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon says there is a huge sense of urgency in getting this issue fixed as producers continue to make marketing decisions, especially with the recent rally in corn and soybean prices. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the spending plan contains a number of USDA priorities. “Fixing the so-called ‘grain glitch’ problem is simply an issue of fairness and we should not be picking winners and losers through the federal tax code by favoring one side over another,” Perdue says.

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Omnibus Spending Bill Also Contains Livestock “Fixes”

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association was pleased to see that the omnibus appropriations spending bill released on Wednesday night has what it called “two commonsense solutions to regulatory overreach in the Fiscal Year 2018.” The spending bill includes a one-year delay of the Electronic Logging Devices mandate for livestock haulers. It also excludes livestock producers from the reporting requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s livestock emissions reporting mandate. Executive Vice President, Kelly Fogarty, says both of the victories in the bill offer commonsense solutions to over-regulation. “The USCA Transportation Committee will use the one-year delay to continue its work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Congress to secure needed flexibility for livestock haulers in the restrictive Hours-of-Service rules,” says Fogarty. “USCA worked hard to avoid yet another EPA overreach on the industry and we will continue to work with the administration and Congress to secure successful outcomes on both of these issues.” USCA says they thank members of Congress for acknowledging and addressing regulatory overreach and its potential negative impact on the livestock industry.

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Farmers for Free Trade: Tariffs Make American Farmers a Target

Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade, says the Section 301 tariff announcement against China is bad news for American agriculture. The group says these tariffs will put a target on the backs of American farmers. Kuehl says, “In fact, in testimony this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says that ‘farmers get the short end of the stick’ when we raise tariffs like these on other countries. Given that China is the second-largest export market for American farmers and ranchers, the pain from retaliation could be significant.” The group points out that state-run Chinese media has already indicated that American soy exports could be targeted. That would mean the nearly $14 billion in annual soy exports from American farmers could face an immediate tax. Other reports from China have said that American pork and sorghum exports could also be in the bullseye. “Nobody wins in a trade war,” Kuehl adds, “but it’s also true that some sectors of the economy lose more than others. Over the years, American agriculture has consistently paid the price for protectionism.” With farm incomes declining, the last thing American farmers and rural communities can afford is a tax on the export market they rely on.

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NBB Disappointed with No New Biodiesel Tax Credit

The omnibus appropriations bill that’s already won approval in the House of Representatives doesn’t reinstitute the biodiesel tax credit. Kurt Kovarik, National Biodiesel Board VP of Federal Affairs, says his organization is disappointed that Congress once again hasn’t provided pro-growth tax certainty for a domestic energy industry that has broad bipartisan support. “The lack of urgency by Congress to extend this expired tax credit continues to frustrate the producers, blenders, and marketers of biodiesel,” says Kovarik, “and we will work to educate members of the economic and environmental benefits of increased use of biodiesel, so that Congress is poised to drive investments in this American energy industry. “Last February, Congress passed a retroactive biodiesel tax credit that applied to 2017 only. Producers continue to operate in 2018 without a tax credit, which is forcing biodiesel producers nationwide to carry the risk of the uncertainty caused by the lack of the tax credit. For some small biodiesel producers, that can be the difference between keeping the lights on or shuttering down. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-22-18 NFU: Trump Administration Unveils Trade Actions Against China

Trump Administration Unveils Trade Actions Against China

NFU Laments Administration’s ‘Bull in a China Shop’ Approach, Urges Tactful Process to Address Trade Woes

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration today unveiled trade actions against China that will likely spur significant retaliatory measures aimed at U.S. agricultural products. The move is in response to a U.S. Trade Representative office investigation on China’s violations of intellectual property rights.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a family farmer-led organization who supports aggressive efforts to fight unfair trade practices, lamented the administration’s apparent lack of a plan to safeguard the interests of family farmers. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement: Continue reading