READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 6th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 6th

Congress Once Again Taking Up Disaster Aid

The U.S. House is set to work on a disaster aid bill that includes financial help for Midwestern and Southern Farmers. The Hagstrom Report says House Majority Leader Steny (STEN-ee) Hoyer made the announcement last week as the House adjourned until tomorrow (Tuesday). Hoyer says the House will consider H.R. 2157, which is the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019. “The legislation would provide relief and recovery assistance to Americans that have been affected by recent natural disasters,” Hoyer says. “It includes an additional $3 billion to address serious needs that resulted from flooding in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South.” Meanwhile, Senate Republicans say they have a plan put together that includes $300 million in additional aid to Puerto Rico, which Democrats want. They also say that President Trump has agreed to support the bill. Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia says that Trump is “on board.” Perdue also told the Washington Post that, “I hope the logjam in Congress is breaking. I honestly think both sides are trying right now.”

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Trump, Republican Senators Talk Tariffs

Republican Senators met with President Donald Trump to discuss steel and aluminum tariffs and the effect they’re having on possible passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Bloomberg says the senators talked about economic and political concerns on the tariffs, the negotiations with China, as well as new tariffs that Trump is threatening to impose on auto imports from the European Union. The group emphasized just how important it is to get Trump’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico passed through Congress. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley told the president they want to work with him to “get past the steel and aluminum tariff issue so USMCA can become law.” However, Bloomberg says the appeal didn’t seem to work. Trump followed up the meeting with a Twitter post declaring that “the tariffs are working for Pennsylvania,” one of the key states that helped him to get elected. Grassley’s most pointed attack on the president’s tariffs came in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece. Grassley wrote that Trump’s signature trade agreement is “dead-on-arrival if he decides not to lift the tariffs on steel and aluminum.”

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Stay Strong Nebraska Initiative Helping Producers Rebuild

A new initiative in Nebraska is keeping farmers top of mind as they rebuild their lives after massive flooding this spring. The initiative is called Stay Strong Nebraska. A new website, Stay Strong Nebraska Dot Com, provides easy access to the Nebraska Farm Disaster Relief Fund and the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Disaster Relief Fund. All donations given through the website will stay right in Nebraska. Officials estimate severe flooding caused $1.4 billion in damages across Nebraska. The damage assessment includes livestock and crop loss, as well as infrastructure damage. However, it doesn’t reflect personal property losses like homes and farm buildings. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson has met with dozens of families who say that while there is insurance to cover some cattle and crops, it doesn’t come close to covering all the losses. “Because of the severity of the flooding, many farmers will likely be unable to plant all of their lands this year, while many livestock producers face reduced production as a result of the disaster,” Nelson says. “People helping people, either through donations of resources or money, makes a big difference.” Pete McClymont, Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Cattlemen, says the response from the community has been “generous and heart-warming.”  

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USGC Promotes Ethanol, DDGs, During Recent Trade Mission to Taiwan

Taiwan is a consistent importer of U.S. agricultural products, particularly coarse grains and co-products, for more than four decades. The U.S. Grains Council thinks there is even more potential in what it calls a “reliable, long-standing trade market.” That’s why USGC members and staff took part in a recent trade mission to Taiwan. The organization’s goal was to connect targeted Taiwanese buyers with U.S. suppliers and help them capture additional demand for U.S. products. USDA Foreign Ag Service Administrator Ken Isley led the trade trip, saying Taiwan and the U.S. have a long-standing and favorable business relationship. Taiwan is a perennial top ten importer of U.S. corn and the U.S. maintains a 75 percent market share. During the current marketing year, Taiwan has purchased 43.3 million bushels, more than three times the amount during the same period last year. The United States also accounts for 95 percent of the DDGs imported by almost all large feed mills in Taiwan. While Taiwan is considered a “mature market,” there is still new demand potential existing in Taiwan for U.S. ethanol imports.

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Oklahoma Meat-Labeling Bill Now Law; Alabama Introduces Similar Measure

Companies making plant-based or cell-cultured proteins can’t use the term “meat” on their product labels in Oklahoma. The industry website Meating Place Dot Com says that’s because a bill limiting the use of the term is now law. The Oklahoma Governor signed a bill that prohibits “persons advertising or selling food plans or carcasses from engaging in certain misleading or deceptive practices” on product labels. The Oklahoma legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill last week. It defines “meat” as the “edible portion of livestock, poultry, or captive cervid (SER-vihd) (deer) carcasses, or any part thereof.” The bill’s sponsors see it as a way to protect the state’s cattle ranchers, as well as the consumers who might not understand the difference between meat from animals and other forms of alternative proteins with the label “meat” on their packaging. Oklahoma is one of several states that have passed or at least are considering similar legislation covering labeling practices. Alabama is the latest state to introduce similar legislation. A bill was introduced recently in the Alabama state house that would prohibit food containing animal tissue produced from cell cultures from being labeled as meat or a meat food product.

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Pork Checkoff Ag Marketing Fellowship Application Period Now Open

The National Pork Board is accepting applications for its Agricultural Marketing Fellowship. The application period ends on May 22. Students who are accepted for full-time enrollment in a graduate/professional school program for the 2019-2020 academic year are encouraged to apply. Up to three students will be selected for fellowships of $20,000 spread across two academic years. The fellowship requires students to pursue coursework and research in the livestock and meat marketing areas. “Land-grant universities have provided valuable educational services to pork producers for more than 100 years,” says Steve Meyer, economist for Kerns and Associates. “I believe making livestock marketing coursework and research more attractive will draw more students to the diminishing field of study.” The guidelines and application form for the fellowship can be found at www.library.pork.org. Applicants are asked to send all submission materials by May 22 to the National Pork Board, Attention Bill Winkelman. The address is 1776 NW 114th Street, Clive, Iowa, 50325.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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