READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 28th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 28th

Senate Farm Bill to Include Grassley Payment Limits

The Senate farm bill now contains 18 additional amendments, including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s payment limits amendment. Grassley was the lone vote against the bill when it passed through committee because it did not contain his amendment. The change would “amend actively engaged in farming requirements by allowing only one person or legal entity per farming operation to be considered ‘actively engaged’ in farming based on active personal management.” Grassley said earlier this week that he had the votes on the Senate Agriculture Committee to get the amendment approved at the markup of the bill, but ran into a last-minute procedural problem that prevented him from offering it, according to the Hagstrom Report. The amendment is one of 18 attached to the farm bill and announced Wednesday by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts in an effort to expedite the passage of the bill.

Perdue Signals Aid Plan Announcement Possible Around Labor Day

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Chicago this week says he is hopeful his aid program for farmers will be released by Labor Day and the harvest season. Perdue spoke at the United Fresh event Tuesday and told the Chicago Tribune that while farmers want “trade, not aid,” the Department of Agriculture is following the trade war on a “weekly basis,” and assessing the impacts of trade disputes while having a plan ready to assist farmers. Perdue continues to hold off on announcing those plans, but conceded he has “probably” given himself a “Labor Day deadline” with the corn and soybean harvest looming. Perdue says he and USDA see the trade environment as “temporary.” A 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans as part of the trade dispute will take effect next week. While there may not be enough export capacity globally for China to stop all U.S. soybean purchases completely, Brazil’s production and exports are growing, and China is seeking alternatives to U.S. agricultural products.

Canada Announces Pork Sector Investment

Amid global trade uncertainty and U.S. pork facing tariffs, Canada is investing to expand its swine sector. While the two moves are not directly related, Canada Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay just announced a federal investment of up to (Canadian) $12.7 million to Swine Innovation Porc, a non-profit corporation that facilitates research in the Canadian swine sector. The non-profit will contribute up to an additional $5.8 million to the project. The investments will be used to examine new ways of feeding piglets that could help provide immunity from diseases; determine best methods for the classification of pork based on quality attributes; and, examine long-distance transport effects on the health and welfare of early weaned pigs. Canada is the 9th largest pork producer in the world, representing approximately two percent of global production. In 2016, Canada exported approximately 70 percent of overall Canadian hog production, with a value of $3.8 billion.

Oil Industry: EPA Makes Right Call on Not Reallocating Waived Volumes

The American Petroleum Institute says the Environmental Protection Agency “made the right call” to not reallocate volumes of biofuels displaced by hardship waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA volume proposal this week included a small overall increase, but kept conventional ethanol at 15 billion gallons for 2019. API made the comments while at the same time calling the RFS an example of “a broken government program.” The proposal by the EPA followed a Reuters report that the EPA “consistently ignored” direction from the Department of Energy to restrict or reject the hardship waivers. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the waivers are “at odds” with the Department of Agriculture, President Trump, and now the Department of Energy. The ethanol industry contends the waivers are destructing demand, and the recent volume proposal for convention ethanol “isn’t a real number” because the EPA won’t make up lost volumes or stop the waivers.

NC Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Protect Hog Farms from Lawsuits

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would provide protection to hog farms from lawsuits. The bill passed by state lawmakers aimed to protect the ability of farms to “operate as surrounding development encroaches” and protect farms from” frivolous nuisance lawsuits.” Governor Cooper stated following his veto: “While agriculture is vital to North Carolina’s economy, so property rights are vital to people’s homes and other businesses.” Further, Cooper stated that giving one industry special treatment at the expense of its neighbors is unfair. Lawmakers in the state passed the bill after $50 million in damages were awarded to neighbors of a hog operation in the state. A federal judge later slashes the award to $2.5 million. Other similar nuisance lawsuits in the state are expected to follow, with one lawsuit already in progress.

Women in Agribusiness Now Accepting Award Nominees

The Women in Agribusiness Summit is seeking award nominations for the Women in Agribusiness Demeter Award of Excellence. Now in its fifth year, the award is bestowed upon “some of the most innovative, action-oriented movers and shakers in the agribusiness sector.” Nominations must have a minimum of ten years of experience in agriculture, be a positive example and break down barriers for others and exemplify professionalism. The recipient of the award, named after Demeter, the goddess of the harvest from ancient Greek mythology, will receive her award on stage at the 2018 Women in Agribusiness Summit in Denver, September 24-26th. There is no limit to the number of entries, and self-nominations will be accepted as well. Entry forms and guidelines for submissions are available online at Nominations will be accepted through Friday, July 20th, 2018.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service