READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 12th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 12th

House Farm Bill Still Uncertain

Uncertainty remains regarding the House version of the farm bill, as the Senate will markup its version in committee this week. House Republicans are busy trying to craft an immigration agreement, which a group of legislators are demanding by blocking a vote on the farm bill, and previously helping to vote down the bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway expressed optimism last week that an immigration deal would be reached. Friday, House Republican leaders had drafted an outline of a plan on immigration, but there was no deal. The farm bill will not pass the House without support from the Freedom Caucus or Democrats. Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Committee is producing a bipartisan bill that does not include the work requirements included in the House version of the bill under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Senate leadership expressed hope that the Senate could pass its version of the farm bill this month.

Livestock Groups Happy with FMD Funding in Farm Bill

The Senate farm bill released last week includes language establishing a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, a priority for livestock groups. The House version of the bill includes FMD language, as well. National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl (Hi’-merle) called the language “encouraging,” adding that: “With a vaccine bank, we’ll finally be able to adequately prepare for an FMD outbreak. But, we do need mandatory funding to make it work.” FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world. NPPC says that currently the United States does not have access to enough FMD vaccine to handle more than a small, localized outbreak. Studies show that an FMD outbreak in the United States, it would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over ten years.

Mexico Calling for Flexibility in NAFTA Talks

Mexico is calling for flexibility in the North American Free Trade Agreement talks. A trade official from Mexico said Monday that the only way the countries renegotiating NAFTA will find a solution is through “sufficient flexibility” to narrow differences. Further, the official says Mexican and Canadian negotiators will be “engaging strongly” in July to reach an agreement that is “feasible, workable and benefits the three nations involved, according to Reuters.” Meanwhile, a White House official says the U.S. will seek to replace NAFTA with bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico, if the talks fail. However, Canada and Mexico oppose that idea. Further, President Donald Trump over the weekend and again on Monday targeted Canada’s dairy supply management system, saying Canada’s trade practices are harming U.S. farmers. While much of the NAFTA discussion is focused on automobile trade, dairy is a sticking point for Canada, which is not backing away from its dairy program.

Perdue Traveling to Canada Friday

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue heads to Canada this week to meet with his Canadian counterpart. Perdue will travel to Canada Friday, meeting with Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay. The two will engage in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls a bilateral meeting, and tour agriculture sites in Canada’s Atlantic region. The tours start at Minister MacAulay’s farm, then to a lobster boat, finally touring Rollo Bay Holdings, a potato growing, packaging and marketing operation, along with meeting with potato farmers. The trip comes as Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, continue to negotiate an updated North American Free Trade Agreement. MacAulay and Perdue most recently visited last month, when the two attended the World Meat Congress in Dallas, Texas.

NCGA’s Novak Selected as CropLife America CEO

National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak will take the CEO position at CropLife America later this summer. CropLife America announced the selection of Novak Monday, who will take the place of retiring CEO Jay Vroom. Novak will begin full time employment with CLA on August 20, 2018. In a statement, Vroom says Novak “brings great knowledge and energy to the leadership of CropLife.” Novak says he is “grateful to the CLA board” for their selection. Novak has also held leadership positions for the National Pork Board, Indiana commodity organizations, and earlier in his career worked at Syngenta, the American Soybean Association and on Capitol Hill. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.

CDC Investigating Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Backyard Poultry

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating several multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks. As of June 1, 2018, 124 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 36 states. Several different types of Salmonella bacteria have made people sick, according to the CDC’s investigation. 21 ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. The CDC says epidemiologic, traceback and laboratory findings link the outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from multiple hatcheries. In interviews, 55 of those who were sickened reported contact with chicks or ducklings in the week before their illness started. People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries, and from relatives. Seventy outbreaks of Salmonella infections have been linked to contact with backyard flocks since 2000.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service