READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 19th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USMCA a Framework for Future Trade Deals

A White House adviser says the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a model for future trade agreements. USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, if approved. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said this week that other potential agreements will “look very much alike, and very much like this,” according to Politico. His comments come as the Trump administration this week announced the intention to seek bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, The European Union and The United Kingdom. However, the Trump administration this week also threatened to apply tariffs on Europe’s auto industry. That is also similar to the NAFTA talks, as the U.S. pledged, and threatened, tariffs, depending on how the negotiations were moving. The U.S. and the EU first agreed to explore an agreement this summer.

Conaway Determined to Complete Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway remains determined to finish the farm bill this year. During an event in Omaha, Nebraska, Conaway told DTN “there’s plenty of motivation for the four of us to get this farm bill done,” referring to the four leaders of the farm bill conference committee. Conaway says farm bill negotiators are still working through issues with commodity and conservation programs, along with other titles of the bill. Conaway acknowledged that farmers are well familiar with the history of delays with the farm bill, but added stressors, such as low commodity prices and trade issues, are driving anxiety. Add to that, a rising suicide rate among farmers, Conaway says “I feel really badly about that, saying lawmakers “should have gotten that off their backs,” referring to the anxiety farmers are facing. Conaway says that issue alone helps fuel the drive to finish the farm bill. Conaway notes Peterson also has said he does not want to carry the farm bill into 2019 even if the House flips in the midterm elections.

Study: E15 to Provide Limited Ethanol Market Impact

Year-round E15 sales will have a limited ethanol market impact, according to analysts. President Donald Trump recently announced a directive to move towards year-round E15 sales, and industry analysts say that would have a limited impact on the depressed U.S. ethanol market, with record supplies and prices for the fuel hovering near the lowest in a decade. There are more than 1,300 stations with pumps that can dispense E15, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. However, that is a small portion of the estimated 122,000 stations in the country, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. RFA does say the number of stations offering E15 could double to around 2,700 by late 2019 to early 2020. Mark Lytle of Pro Petroleum told Reuters his company would consider adding ethanol tank storage if fueling stations start demanding more of the biofuel. However, due to the uncertainty regarding challenges to the measure, expansions in the short-term are unlikely.

NBB to EPA: Small Refinery Exemptions Destroy Demand for Biodiesel

A letter by the National Biodiesel Board asks the Environmental Protection Agency to fully account for small refinery exemptions in the annual Renewable Fuel Standard rules. Specifically, the letter addresses EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, asking him to “end the demand destruction for biodiesel.” The letter asks EPA to set RFS biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 at 2.8 billion gallons, consistent with the industry’s demonstrated ability to produce fuel. The National Biodiesel Board says that between 2015 and 2017, the demand destruction for biomass-based diesel is more than 300 million gallons. The letter also thanked Acting Administrator Wheeler for increasing transparency around the agency’s granting of small refinery exemptions. However, the agency’s data dashboard now makes it easy to calculate the biodiesel demand lost to these exemptions, the letter points out.

AFBF Coalition Tells Court to Throw Out WOTUS Rule

A 2015 rule that expands the federal government’s control over private land nationwide should be vacated in its entirety, according to a coalition challenging the rule. Attorneys made the argument against the Waters of the U.S. Rule in papers filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The American Farm Bureau Federation and others, including the state of Texas, are suing to do away with the WOTUS rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. Plaintiffs say the rule is illegal for a host of reasons, including that it disregards statutory and Supreme Court requirements that federally regulated “waters” be at least closely connected to “navigable” waterbodies. The current filings in Texas mark the third time a federal district court has been asked to strike the 2015 rule. Federal courts in North Dakota and Georgia are also currently considering similar claims. The rule has been temporarily blocked in dozens of states pending the outcome of the litigation.

65,000 Expected at National FFA Convention

More than 65,000 FFA members and guests from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto    Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are expected to attend the National FFA Convention & Expo. Held in Indianapolis, the convention is scheduled for October 24th through the 27th. Convention and expo events will take place at several venues in downtown Indianapolis. FFA members and advisors will meet in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where eight of the nine general sessions will be held. At the Indiana Convention Center, members can explore the expo or attend a variety of workshops and educational and career success tours. It’s estimated that the national convention and expo will have a $40 million impact on the city. Attendees will stay in 115 hotels throughout the Indianapolis area. The National FFA Convention & Expo is scheduled to be held in Indianapolis through 2024.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service