READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 4th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 4th

USDA Opens Comment Period on GMO Labeling law

The Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. The rule will regulate how genetically modified, or bioengineered ingredients, would be disclosed to consumers on food labels. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the rulemaking “presents several possible ways” to determine what foods will be covered by the final rule, and presents label options, as well. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement called the proposed rule fair, saying it “ensures that food facts win the day over hype.” The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days and appeared in the Federal  Register Thursday. Public comment can be made online at The deadline for comments is July 3, 2018.

Bunge: China Has Stopped Buying U.S. Soybeans

China has stopped buying U.S. soybeans as a result of a trade war between the two nations. Bunge Ltd. CEO Soren Schroder told Bloomberg this week that China is instead buying soybeans from Canada and Brazil. China last month announced the planned tariff on U.S. soybeans, shifting the nation’s buying habits. The tariffs are part of an ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China that started with President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. The soybean tariff has not yet been imposed. However, Chinese traders appear to be moving away from U.S. soy because of the potential cost increase. Bunge is the world’s biggest oilseed processor, and Shroder says the company has been able to fulfill demand in China by filling shipments with supplies from outside the United States. A recent study projected that U.S. soybean exports are projected to drop by $4.5 billion to $7.7 billion because of the 25 percent tariff.

CBO Publishes Farm Bill Analysis 

The Congressional Budget Office says the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill draft would reduce nutrition spending by $9.2 billion, offset by a $7.7 billion increase in spending on federal administrative costs. The CBO report on the legislation says changes to the Republican-supported bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee would reduce nutrition spending because some people would lose eligibility, according to the Hagstrom Report. Additionally, spending for job training and other parts of the retooled Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would increase administrative costs. The report also expects that states would not be able to offer training to all eligible recipients when the work requirement takes effect in 2021, or even by the end of 2028. The full House of Representatives is expected to consider the farm bill, titled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, within the next few weeks.

Biofuels Group Files Lawsuit against EPA’s Pruitt

A renewable fuels trade group has filed a lawsuit against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Advanced Biofuels Association is the first to sue Pruitt over the Renewable Fuel Standard waivers the EPA is dishing out to refineries, large and small. Association President Michael McAdams says the group is concerned that Pruitt is granting the exemptions in an arbitrary manner “behind closed doors with no accountability.” The Association filed the lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit given its “national implications” for the RFS program and its members. Other biofuels groups have threatened to file lawsuits as well. The group contends that the waivers issued by Pruitt have dropped RIN prices and caused “economic harm” to the association’s members, and poses “a threat to the integrity of the RFS program at large.”

Analyst: Labor Shortages and Volatile Feed Prices Ahead for Meat Industry

A Rabobank analyst says the U.S. could be on the tail end of the second longest expansion of its economy in history. Rabobank Analyst Don Close told the North American Meat Institute this week there are implications for the meat industry, including a pending labor shortage and possible volatile commodity prices ahead, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. Close warns that labor shortages are going to get worse over the next few months, and feed grain prices are headed towards more volatility. There currently are large stocks of corn and soybeans in storage, which will continue if this is a normal crop year. But, the analyst says “the ride this summer could be quite exciting,” explaining that normal weather market price changes could be intensified by all the extra investors in the market. As for labor, he predicts rising competition for labor and associated wage increases over the next 12 to 18 months.

Beef Industry Leaders Release National Framework for Beef Sustainability

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Thursday opened a 60-day public comment period on the group’s Sustainability Framework. The Sustainability Framework is a set of resources developed to assist ranchers, cattle auction markets, feedyards, packers, processors, and retail and food service organizations in their efforts to continuously improve the sustainability of U.S. beef. Roundtable chair, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, says the framework should “serve as an invaluable tool in enhancing U.S. beef sustainability.” The key areas identified by the group as being important to the sustainability of beef are referred to as High-Priority Indicators. These include: animal health and well-being, efficiency and yield, employee safety and well-being, land resources, water resources, and air and greenhouse gas emissions. The Public Comment Period will end July first. To learn more about the framework or to submit comments, visit


SOURCE: NAFB News Service