READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 18th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 18th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S. Continues Demand for Dairy Fix in NAFTA

The United States still demands a dairy fix in the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Canada still wants to protect its dairy industry. While Canada may be ready to give some concessions on dairy market access, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (True-doh) and his allies have strong political motivations to stand firm. A trade lawyer told Politico this week that much of the focus is on Canada’s Class 7 milk, a class created last year that has disrupted trade between the U.S. and Canada. The trade expert says those talks are “highly technical” and will take days to complete, but suggested an agreement is still possible, “even likely this week.” Talks between the U.S. and Canada are expected to continue with an overall goal to complete the agreement by the end of this month. Mexico officials are also back in Washington, DC to propel the handshake agreement between the U.S. and Mexico forward.

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U.S. Ag Coalition Sponsors U.S.-Cuba Business Meetings

A coalition of agriculture groups plan a U.S.-Cuba ag business conference in November. The U.S.-Cuba Agriculture Business Conference, according to organizers, comes at a time when U.S. agriculture needs to expand into new markets. Cuba continues to depend on imports for 80 percent of its food supply, and the coalition says Congress is poised in the Farm Bill to allow USDA export promotion programs to be used in Cuba. Coalition chair Paul Johnson says the event “will help inform and connect the people who can work to make those things happen.” The conference offers participants a chance to meet ministers, leaders of agriculture industry, farmers, cooperatives and decision makers in Cuba’s newly formed government. The conference is planned for November 8-10 in Havana. Registration information is available at visit www.usagcoalition.com.

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Interior’s Sue and Settle Order Exposes Secret Settlements with Activists

Activists have grown rich by suing the government and reaping billions of taxpayers’ dollars – and all in secret, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The U.S. Department of Interior, however, has issued an order to curb this “abuse of basic, democratic processes and to open backroom deals to public scrutiny,” according to an AFBF news release. The organization notes that  Interior alone paid out more than $4.4 billion in monetary awards under terms of 460 settlement agreements and consent decrees between 2012, and 2017. In other words, Interior paid out an average of more than $800 million a year while keeping key aspects of litigation secret. AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen says the action to change policy “is a solid first step to fixing the problem. ”Among other things, the department has committed to establishing a publicly accessible webpage that details ongoing litigation, and post a searchable list and text of final judicial and administrative consent decrees

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NCGA Names Doggett as CEO

The National Corn Growers Association announced Jon Doggett as the organization next CEO, taking the place of Chris Novak. Doggett is the fifth CEO in the organization’s 61-year history. The change is effective immediately. He has served as interim CEO since August first when Novak left for CropLife America. Doggett has also served as executive vice president of the organization since 2014, and before that, served as vice president of public policy, leading public policy efforts in Washington, DC since 2002. NCGA President Kevin Skunes says Doggett’s skills in agriculture and policy are “invaluable to our organization.” NCGA says Doggett has substantial knowledge of production agriculture and agribusiness, as well as more than 30 years of agricultural policy and leadership experience. Before joining NCGA, Doggett served 11 years at the American Farm Bureau Federation, where he was AFBF’s lead lobbyist on several public policy issues, including ethanol, climate change, land use, conservation, and endangered species.

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Growth Energy Launches Bus Tour Promoting E15

The summer ban on E15 sales in select areas ended over the weekend as Growth Energy launched a campaign to promote E15 and higher blended fuels. As part of their campaign, Growth Energy is launching a bus tour to rally support for quick action on the president’s promise to unleash E15 ethanol blends. Over the next few months, the bus will appear at Midwest gatherings, including last weekend’s Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. E15 is already sold in 30 states at least eight months out of the year. However, due to federal regulations, E15 cannot be sold in the summer months. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says allowing sales year-round of E15 and higher blends helps farmers by increasing domestic markets and gives farmers “more certainty because of increased demand for their grain.” President Trump has repeatedly made clear he would like to end restriction on access to E15 year-round. However, action has yet to be taken to remove the barrier.

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USDA Partners to Improve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 42 States

Nearly $400 million from the Department of Agriculture are helping rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states. USDA announced Monday $392 million in partnerships with rural communities because “modern and reliable water infrastructure is foundational to quality of life and economic development,” according to Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. Hazlett announced the awards Monday during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. USDA is supporting investments in 120 infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. For a complete list of projects, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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