04-04-18 Syngenta breaks ground on $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator in Nampa, Idaho

Syngenta breaks ground on $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator in Nampa, Idaho

  • Enhanced R&D facility will enable Syngenta to bring corn traits to market more quickly
  • Accelerator reflects company’s significant incremental investment in U.S. seeds
  • Construction of state-of-the-art greenhouses and laboratory will be completed in 2019

MINNETONKA, Minn., U.S.A., April 4, 2018 – Syngenta has broken ground on a Trait Conversion Accelerator at its Nampa, Idaho, research and development and seed production facility. Construction of the $30 million site enhancement is expected to be completed in 2019.

The Nampa site will accommodate the majority of Syngenta’s North American corn trait conversion work previously done in open field or semi-controlled environments. It will provide a reliable growing environment to conduct marker-assisted backcrossing and version generation, as well as deliver the introgression of market-leading traits into Syngenta’s most advanced corn germplasm.

“Put simply, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will enable Syngenta to more quickly, reliably and efficiently deliver corn hybrids with its latest trait packages to market,” said Ciriaco Franks, Nampa site manager for Syngenta. “This investment, which reinforces Syngenta’s commitment to aresearch and development presence in the region and the jobs located here, will result in state-of-the-art greenhouses and laboratories to help shorten product development life cycles.” Continue reading

04-04-18 EPA’s Undermining of RFS Through Waivers Must Cease, NFU Says

EPA’s Undermining of RFS Through Waivers Must Cease, NFU Says

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has improperly handled the administration of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by lowering total volume requirements and granting “hardship waivers” to large corporations, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

NFU President Roger Johnson sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today, insisting the agency either cease granting the waivers or raise volume obligations to account for a large increase in waivers the agency is handing out.

040418 EPA Letter RFS Waivers

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04-04-18 EPA Announces New Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects

EPA NEWS RELEASE. www.epa.gov/newsroom

EPA Announces New Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects

Funding will leverage public and private investments to keep lead and other contaminants out of drinking water and upgrade aging water infrastructure

DENVER (APRIL 4, 2018)– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, which could leverage over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Prospective borrowers seeking WIFIA credit assistance must submit a letter of interest (LOI) by July 6, 2018.

“Thanks to the President’s leadership, this WIFIA funding will spark new investments to repair our nation’s crumbling water infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will play a key role in the President’s infrastructure efforts by incentivizing states, municipalities, and public-private partnerships to protect public health, fix local infrastructure problems, create jobs, and provide clean water to communities.”  Continue reading

04-04-18 NPPC: Loss Of Foreign Workers Would Hurt Agriculture


NPPC: Loss Of Foreign Workers Would Hurt Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2018 – Given a tight labor market, particularly in rural areas, the loss of foreign-born workers would lead to a drop in agricultural jobs, according to a study commissioned by the National Pork Producers Council. Continue reading

04-04-18 NFU Calls for Plan to Protect Family Farmers from Brunt of Trade War

NFU Calls for Plan to Protect Family Farmers from Brunt of Trade War

WASHINGTON – In the latest of a series of tariff threats exchanged between the United States and China, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) this morning announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans corn, beef, and other agricultural products.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a family farmer-led organization who supports aggressive efforts to fight unfair trade practices, is urging the Trump Administration to work with Congress to develop a Farm Bill that protects family farmers from harm as a result of retaliatory tariffs. NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement…

040418 China Tariffs

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04-04-18 NYFC releases innovative calculator tool for farmers seeking land

National Young Farmers Coalition releases innovative calculator tool for farmers seeking land

Land affordability calculator offers financial insight on land access

CLICK HERE to check out the NYFC’s Finding Farmland Calvulator

HUDSON, NY (April 4, 2017) – Beginning farmers have a powerful new tool in their digital toolbox. The Finding Farmland Calculator (https://findingfarmland.youngfarmers.org/calculator), developed by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) and Fathom Information Design, brings together innovative design and practical resources to help farmers overcome two top obstacles to starting a farm—access to land and capital.

“Buying land is one of the most consequential decisions that a farmer can make,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of NYFC. “We built the Finding Farmland Calculator to help farmers make that choice with more confidence. The tool helps users understand their financing options, the full cost of buying land, and strategies to make a farm more affordable.” Continue reading

04-04-18 USDA Prioritizes Investments to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America

USDA Prioritizes Investments to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving funding priority in two key grant programs to address opioid misuse in rural communities.

“The opioid epidemic is dramatically impacting prosperity in many small towns and rural places across the country,” Hazlett said. “With this focused investment, we are targeting our resources to be a strong partner to rural communities in building an effective local response to this significant challenge.” Continue reading

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

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, April 4th

Ag Economy Barometer Results for March

Farmers are expressing concerns regarding agricultural trade, according to the latest Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The barometer slipped to 135 in March, down five points compared to February, but unchanged from January’s results. The decline was attributed to farmers weakening perceptions of current conditions and a decline in their expectations for the future. The index surveys 400 producers each month and a figure above 100 is positive, while a figure below 100 is considered negative. Focusing on trade in March, the survey found nearly 50 percent of farmers included in the survey were concerned a trade war would negatively impact agricultural exports, as seen with the recent China tariffs. Regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement, one-third of farmers surveyed expect the U.S. to exit the agreement, while another one-third of farmers expect the U.S. to remain in NAFTA.

Ag Bankers Report Shows Increase in Lending

Agricultural lending from U.S. banks increased nearly six percent in 2017, according to a new report by the American Bankers Association. Ag lending increased $5.9 billion to $106 billion last year from farm banks, which are defined as banks whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to the industry average. Total farm and ranch loans from all U.S. banks at the end of 2017 was reported at $180 billion. ABA says asset quality remained healthy at the nation’s more than 1,800 farm banks as non-performing loans fell to a pre-recession level of 0.52 percent of total loans. However, an ABA spokesperson says the increase in lending shows bankers are “starting to see the effects of a weaker ag sector.” Meanwhile, more than 96 percent of farm banks were profitable in 2017, with more than 55 percent reporting an increase in earnings. In 2017, farm banks added more than 1,600 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase, and employed more than 88,000 rural Americans.

USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced the reopening of enrollment for the “new and improved” Margin Protection Program for Dairy. USDA says the program, changed by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will provide better protections for dairy producers from volatile milk and feed prices. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that the Bipartisan Budget Act provided “some much-needed incentives” to help farmers strengthen their farms and mitigate risks. The revised program changes the calculations of the margin period to monthly, rather than bi-monthly, along with increasing covered production to five million pounds on the Tier One premium schedule, while reducing the Tier One premiums. Dairy operations must make a new coverage election for 2018, even if they have enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. The enrollment period will run from April 9th, 2018 to June 1st, 2018.

NFU Says EPA RFS Waiver Undermines Biofuels

The National Farmers Union says a waiver exempting an oil refiner from having to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard undermines the biofuel industry, farm prices and rural economies. In an exclusive report, Reuters says the Environmental Protection Agency has granted “hardship waivers” to three refinery operations owned by Andeavor. NFU President Roger Johnson called the alleged actions “deeply disturbing,” noting that waiving RFS requirements for large refining corporations undercut the effectiveness of the law. Johnson says hardship waivers “weren’t designed for large corporations who net billions in profit each year.” The waivers are typically reserved for small operations in danger of going out of business. NFU’s Johnson alleges the waivers “directly contradict” the President’s promises to rural America to support the RFS. Johnson says exempting refiners from RFS compliance “essentially waives away demand for corn” at a time when farmers need to cut into corn oversupply and is “certainly contrary to the intent of the RFS.”

GAO Gives USDA Approval to Ditch Organic Livestock Rule

The Government Accountability Office says the Department of Agriculture complied with rulemaking procedures during its withdrawal of The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. The office reviewed the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s process to withdraw the rule after many groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, filed lawsuits claiming USDA did not follow proper rulemaking procedures. The lawsuits allege USDA repeatedly delayed the rule, which effectively repealed it, and did so without public comment, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. The final rule was first published on January 19th, 2017, the last day of the Obama administration. The rule would have increased federal regulations regarding housing, care and transportation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers. USDA chose to withdraw the rule because the agency says it “exceeds the department’s statutory authority.”

ITC Vote Levels Playing Field in Biodiesel Trade Dispute

The International Trade Commission agrees with the National Biodiesel Board that the biofuels industry has suffered because of unfairly dumped imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. In a vote Tuesday, the Commission voted 4-0 in support of the position by the National Biodiesel Board. The vote on injury is the last remaining procedural hurdle before final antidumping orders can be issued later this month. A spokesperson for the National Biodiesel Board says in a statement the dumping of product into the U.S. has “undermined the jobs and environmental benefits that U.S. biodiesel brings to the table.” The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed the antidumping petition in parallel to a countervailing duty petition to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The Coalition says the imports resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers.  Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service