READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 25th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 25th

Midwest Governor Skeptical EPA will Meet E15 Deadline

The Trump administration has pledged to finish a proposal allowing year-round E15 sales by the summer driving season, but one Midwestern governor is skeptical. Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets told Bloomberg News he doesn’t expect the rule to be finished by Memorial Day, when the summer driving season begins. The Environmental Protection Agency is working quickly to move the proposal, yet to be released and delayed by the government shutdown. The proposal would eliminate barriers that prohibit year-round sales of E15 fuels, gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. Ricketts applauded the E15 move when it was announced in October, as the proposal would boost ethanol consumption at a time of stale margins for the ethanol industry. Ricketts told Bloomberg News he spoke with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler about three weeks ago to encourage him to get the E15 change “done as quickly as possible.” The regulatory process including publishing of the rule and comment period can take four to five months.

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U.S., Canada and Mexico Taking Measures to Prevent Swine Fever Spread

The United States, Canada and Mexico are seeking measures to prevent the spread of African swine fever to North America. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Reuters “it’s important that we function together as one,” in speaking on the effort to keep the disease from spreading. African swine fever has spread through China’s hog populations and parts of Europe, sparking fear of further spread globally. Market analysts say if the disease spreads to the United States, it could curb shipments in the $6.5 billion export market for American pork. The highly contagious disease can cause death for hogs in just two days. The disease is not harmful to humans, but there is no vaccine for hogs and transmission of the disease can occur easily through contact between animals, or through contaminated feed, and even humans traveling from a contaminated site to an uncontaminated site.

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Milk Producers File Petition Over Label Issue

The National Milk Producers Federation last week filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, outlining a labeling solution to the use of dairy terms on non-dairy products as the agency considers public input from a recently concluded comment period. The petition reinforces current FDA labeling regulations, with some additional clarification, to show how marketplace transparency can be enhanced and consumer harm from confusion over nutritional content can be reduced, according to NMPF. Federation Executive Vice President Tom Balmer says the petitions “lays out a constructive solution to the false and misleading labeling practices existing in the marketplace today.” In its petition, NMPF urges FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to “Take prompt enforcement action against misbranded non-dairy foods that substitute for and resemble reference standardized dairy foods.” The petition also points to long-standing rules that provide for using the words “substitute” or “alternative” in conjunction with a dairy term when such products are deemed nutritionally equivalent to the dairy products they reference.

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Farm Groups Submit Joint Comments on Canadian Clean Fuel Standard

Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and Renewable Fuels Association last week jointly submitted comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada, supporting their goal of reducing the carbon intensity of Canada’s fuel stream through the Clean Fuel Standard. The comments offered recommendations on how biofuels, like ethanol, can help reach Canada reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 megatons by 2030. The comments state the groups “believe that by using low carbon biofuels such as ethanol, Canada can succeed in its own greenhouse gas reduction goals.” The comments suggested expanding the current minimum blending requirement for biofuels from five percent to ten percent nationwide. They also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the biofuels regulations put in place focus on promoting economic growth and securing a pathway to meeting Canada’s climate goals. These include improving upstream fossil fuel protocols on exports, limiting abuse of compliance flexibility, and allowing public comment and review of carbon intensity models.

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NCBA Applauds Dietary Guidelines Committee Appointees

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauds the appointments to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. NCBA President Jennifer Houston says the committee members and the process is “firmly grounded in the best available science and will ultimately result in nutritional policy that can measurably improve the health of Americans.” Houston notes members of the committee are “leading experts in their field.” The committee members use and evaluate scientific evidence to make recommendations on what constitutes a healthy diet. The Department of Agriculture announced the appointments of 20 scientists to serve on the committee last week. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the committee will “evaluate existing research and develop a report objectively, with an open mind.” The committee’s work will kick off at a public meeting to be announced in the coming weeks. The list of members appointed to the expert committee can be found at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

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Study Shows Value to Corn Producers Through Meat

A new study from the National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Meat Export Federation shows the value of red meat exports to domestic U.S. corn growers. The original study was conducted in 2015. In 2018, the study showed beef and pork exports used a combined total of 14.9 million tons of corn and DDGS, which equates to an additional 459.7 million bushels of corn produced – an increase of 29 percent over the 2015 projections. The study also found that since 2015, one in every four bushels of added feed demand for corn is due to beef and pork exports. Also, red meat exports’ impact on the price of corn is 39 cents per bushel, based on the annual average price of $3.53 per bushel. Dan Wesely, Chairman of NCGA’s  Feed, Food, and Industrial Action Team, called the animal ag industry the largest customer of U.S. corn, adding that the study shows that impact to the corn producer is “extremely beneficial as we continue to help these markets expand.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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