04-03-18 NFU: EPA Administrator Issued RFS Waivers to Large Refiner: Reuters

NFU: EPA Administrator Issued RFS Waivers to Large Refiner: Reuters

WASHINGTON – According to Reuters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies from having to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2016. The agency granted “hardship waivers” to three of the refiners’ operations despite the corporation’s net profits of $1.5 billion last year.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the alleged actions “deeply disturbing,” noting that waiving RFS requirements for large refining corporations undercuts the effectiveness of the law. NFU is a staunch proponent of the RFS and its benefits to family farmers and their communities. Johnson issued the following statement in response to the reports:

040318 EPA RFS Waiver

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04-03-18 USDA Designates 12 Counties in NM as Primary Natural Disaster Areas with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States, including CO

USDA Designates 12 Counties in NM as Primary Natural Disaster Areas with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States, including CO

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 12 counties in New Mexico as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. Those counties are:

Catron Lea Rio Arriba San Miguel
Guadalupe McKinley Sandoval Santa Fe
Harding Mora San Juan Taos

 

Farmers and ranchers in the following contiguous counties in New Mexico also qualify for natural disaster assistance. Those counties are:

Bernalillo Eddy Roosevelt
Chaves Grant Sierra
Cibola Lincoln Socorro
Colfax Los Alamos Torrance
De Baca Quay Union

Farmers and ranchers in the contiguous counties in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Utah also qualify for natural disaster assistance. Those counties are:

Arizona

Apache and Greenlee

Colorado

Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, La Plata and Montezuma

Texas

Andrews, Cochran, Gaines, Loving, Winkler and Yoakum

Utah

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04-03-18 USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool

USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool

Bipartisan Budget Act Makes Substantial Program Changes

Washington, D.C., April 3, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new and improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which will provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. With changes authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set the enrollment period to run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018.

“We recognize the financial hardships many of our nation’s dairy producers are experiencing right now. Folks are losing their contracts and they are getting anxious about getting their bills paid while they watch their milk check come in lower and lower each month. The Bipartisan Budget Act provided some much-needed incentives for dairy producers to make cost-effective decisions to strengthen their farms, mitigate risk, and conserve their natural resources,” said Secretary Perdue. “This includes our support of America’s dairy farms. We encourage dairy producers to review the provisions of the updated program, which Congress shaped with their feedback. Those changes are now in effect, and I’d ask any producers who are interested to contact their local USDA service centers.”

About the MPP Program for Dairy:

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04-03-18 Inside CDA’s Plant Industry Division with its New Director Duane Sinning…

Inside CDA’s Plant Industry Division with its New Director Duane Sinning

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) April 3, 2018 – Duane Sinning, currently CDA’s Assistant Director of the Plant Industry Division, took over the helm of the section as its Division Director on April 1st of this year. The vacancy was created when Mitch Yergert announced his retirement from CDA after nearly 31 years of service.
Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and on FarmCast Radio at this time is Duane Sinning, CDA’s NEW Plant Industry Division Director
For more on the Colorado Department of Agriculture, visit www.colorado.gov/ag.

04-03-18 Inside the BARN and FarmCast Radio with Samantha Simon, USDA’s Senior Invasive Species Coordinator…

Inside the BARN and FarmCast Radio with Samantha Simon, USDA’s Senior Invasive Species Coordinator

Samantha Simon, USDA’s Senior Invasive Species Coordinator

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) April 3, 2018 – It’s spring, which means newly emerging invasive species are threatening to destroy our nation’s trees, plants and food crops. Did you know that April is “Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month” and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is asking the public to help keep invasive species from spreading – is asking for the public’s help to keep invasive species from spreading–specifically, 20 highly destructive ones known as Hungry Pests that are easily moved by people.

Joining the Colorado Ag news Network and on FarmCast Radio to discuss this topic in more detail is Samantha Simon, USDA’s Senior Invasive Species Coordinator will discuss how Hungry Pests are spread by people, why they are so dangerous, and how to look for signs of and report them.

  • How to safely buy pest-free plants and seeds, including ones online.
  • The dangers of moving firewood.
  • Why citrus plants should not be moved.
  • How to leave pests behind when moving to a new home.
  • Why it’s important to clean outdoor items before a camping or hiking trip.
  • Precautions to take when traveling internationally.

040318_USDA-April-IPPDA-Month_7m32s

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 3rd

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, April 3rd

China Enacts Tariffs Targeting U.S. Pork

China is moving forward with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products, including the 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork. China’s Ministry of Finance announced Sunday it will suspend duty reductions on select imported goods from the United States. In the announcement, China says the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. violate World Trade Organization rules, and “did not comply with the security exceptions provision.” China alleges the move by trump caused “serious damage” to China’s interests. China is targeting U.S. items, including fruits, along with the 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork. China says the nation is using its action as a method to “safeguard its interest,” as allowed by WTO rules. Last week, China’s Ministry of Finance said the action by the U.S. had “severely damaged” the multilateral trade system. China also made a World Trade Organization filing last week to seek consultations regarding the issue.

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Ag Trade Group: China Tariffs a Tax on Farmers

A U.S. agricultural trade group says the tariffs announced by China are a tax on U.S. agriculture. Farmers for Free Trade, a coalition formed to promote agricultural trade, says the tax stems from protectionist trade policies by the Trump administration. Max Baucus, the organization’s Co-Chair, says the new tariff’s “are a drag” on farmers struggling to make ends meet with a down farm economy and declining exports. However, Baucus warns, the move by China could be “the calm before the storm,” suggesting that retaliation expected on agriculture “could be broader and deeper.” Baucus says it’s time for the U.S. to “deescalate both the trade rhetoric and actions” that have led to farmers being targeted. The retaliations include a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork. Agricultural economists have cautioned that any tariffs on U.S. agricultural products could disrupt exports to China. U.S. farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017.

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U.S. Dairy Export Council Seeks Market Growth in China

The U.S. Dairy Export Council Monday announced a partnership with a university in China to grow U.S. exports in China. The Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jiangnan (Jong-lang) University to establish the U.S.-China Dairy Innovation Center at the university. Tom Vilsack, U.S. Dairy Export Federation President and CEO says the partnership is a “game-changing agreement” that will lead to opportunities that benefit both China and the United States. The partnership aims to encourage the development of China-friendly product formulations that incorporate U.S. dairy products and provide research with U.S. dairy products at the university. Vilsack says China is a “top priority market” for the U.S. dairy industry and calls the university one of the best food science schools in China. The partnership is part of the Next Five Percent initiative, an industry-wide effort launched in 2017 to increase annual U.S. dairy exports from the equivalent of about 15 percent of U.S. milk solids to 20 percent.

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Trump Administration to Revise EPA CAFE Standards

The Trump administration Monday announced it will revise fuel-efficiency and emissions regulations for cars and light trucks. Bloomberg News was the first to report the revision effort that the administration says is needed because the current regulations are too aggressive. The Environmental Protection Agency is also considering revoking a waiver for California to allow the state to set its own standard that exceed federal regulations. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says the agency would begin drafting new standards for 2022-2025. The Obama era regulations aimed to slash carbon emissions by boosting average fuel economy to more than 50 miles-per-gallon by 2025. Ethanol groups have supported the standards, known as CAFE standards, saying ethanol can help meet emissions targets. Growth Energy Monday responded saying high-octane fuels, such as ethanol blends like E25-E30, should be part of this discussion moving forward.

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Farmers Outline Harm from GIPSA Withdraw

A lawsuit brief filed on behalf of poultry farmers details the alleged harm from the Department of Agriculture’s GIPSA rule withdrawal. The Organization for Competitive Markets claims the Trump administration and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sided “with big ag over small farmers,” saying the GIPSA final rule would have helped level the playing field between farmers and agribusiness. In the filing, farmers from Alabama, Nebraska, and Kansas detailed the ways they claim market concentration has enabled large agricultural companies to retaliate against them for “standing up for their rights,” along with how the rules would have helped them seek legal assistance. Organization executive director Joe Maxwell says the group and more than 80 other farm organizations have called on the Trump administration to reinstate the Farmer Fair Practices Rules. Maxwell is a former Missouri Lieutenant Governor and is also the senior political director at the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

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DTN Poll Shows Farmers Becoming More Positive

Farmers are becoming more positive regarding their current situations, and the future. The DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index finds farmers are increasingly indicating a positive outlook. The index reached its third highest level ever recorded in its latest survey, reaching 134.8, up almost 22 points from the December/January level and slightly above the overall level of spring 2017. The index, created in 2010, surveys farmers three times a year to determine their opinions about their current economic situation and about that situation in the year to come. Index levels above 100 are considered optimistic, those less than 100 are viewed as a pessimistic attitude. The findings seem rather opposite of conventional wisdom, as DTN points out the optimism comes as farmers continue dealing with lower commodity prices, large crop estimates, and trade worries.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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