READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 19th

USMCA: Trudeau Heads to Washington

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Washington, D.C. this week, as part of an effort to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The trade deal has the least path of resistance in Mexico, where lawmakers are expected to ratify the agreement this month. The trade deal also faces a quick route to passage in Canada, leaving passage in the U.S. the toughest battle to fully ratify the agreement, Canada expects final consideration of the agreement before September. Trudeau is scheduled to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with a planned meeting Thursday with President Donald Trump, according to Reuters. Trump, along with agriculture groups, have pushed for quick passage of the agreement. However, House Democrats want more time to review the agreement, pressing for potential changes. The agreement must first pass the U.S. House before the Senate can consider the agreement. Nearly 1,000 agriculture groups together last week urged Congress and the Trump administration to finish the agreement.

*************************************************************************************
WTO Members Say U.S. Farm Trade Relief May Violate World Trade Rules

The European Union and China, along with five others, are criticizing President Trump’s $16 billion trade relief program, claiming it may violate world trade rules. Specifically, the assistance program could exceed the nation’s WTO subsidy commitments and influence U.S. planting decisions, according to Bloomberg News. Last month, USDA announced new Market Facilitation Program funds, up to $16 billion, after the U.S. and China failed to reach an expected agreement in trade negotiations. Retaliatory tariffs from China and others have caused harm to U.S. farmers, focusing on U.S. farm products. However, the U.S. has not officially notified the WTO of the relief program, and will now have the opportunity to respond to the questions from other nations. The European Union has questioned the timing and eligibility criteria of the program, and whether the measures would qualify as WTO-permitted subsidies. The U.S. may be able to craft a WTO-compliant program, if subsidies don’t exceed the U.S.-WTO commitment to cap trade-distorting subsidies at $19 billion per year.

*************************************************************************************
Organic Farmers Association Announces 2019 Policy Priorities

The Organic Farmers Association seeks increased support for beginning farmers and market development, as part of its 2019 policy platform. Announced Tuesday, the organization’s policy platform also includes seeking streamlined crop insurance requirements, and dedicated funding for organic public seeds and breeds research. The policy platform sets goals for the organization regarding federal policy changes. The association will also advocate for the publication and immediate implementation of a Final Origin of Livestock Rule, governing the transitioning of a non-organic dairy herd to organic, incorporating changes to eligibility, strengthening organic accountability for dairy animals, and outlining prohibited activities. The organization also wants Congress to implement policies that “encompass the vision of a Green New Deal that recognize the role of organic agriculture in mitigating climate change.” The organization is seeking Immigration reform that provides” just options” for organic farmers and farm workers that legalizes the existing farm labor force, retains the current H-2A program, and introduces an agricultural work visa program.

*************************************************************************************
Agriculture Celebrating National Pollinator Week

Agriculture groups, including the National Corn Growers Association, are celebrating this week as National Pollinator Week. Twelve years ago, the U.S. Senate approved the designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week. NCGA is working cooperatively with numerous groups like The HoneyBee Health Coalition, Farmers for Monarchs, and the Environmental Defense Fund to expand pollinator awareness through education. NCGA also has tools available to assist in identifying and implementing pro-pollinator best management practices. NCGA urges farmers to be proactive by being more aware of bees and getting to know local beekeepers. Proactive communication between growers, applicators, and beekeepers is essential to protect honeybees from unintended pesticide exposure. Meanwhile, Syngenta is using the week to bring awareness to “efforts to continuously improve pesticide product stewardship,” and how stewardship can protect pollinators. When it comes to seed treatments and pesticides, Syngenta says “the importance of observing best-management practices – including reading and following the product label – cannot be overstated,” especially for pollinator protection.

*************************************************************************************
National Peanut Board Wins 93 Percent Approval in Referendum

Peanut producers voted overwhelmingly to continue the Peanut Promotion, Research, and Information Program, administered by the National Peanut Board. A vote conducted by the Department of Agriculture this spring found 93 percent of producers voted “yes” to continuing the National Peanut Board research, marketing and promotion program. Growers who paid assessments on peanuts produced during the representative period from June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018, were eligible to vote. 2019 National Peanut Board chairman Dan Ward says the referendum results “are an excellent endorsement” of the work by the organization. In the last five years, the National Peanut Board says peanut per capita consumption is at an all-time high, and research shows millennials prefer peanuts over other nut choices. Since its inception, the National Peanut Board has invested a total of $34.5 million toward production research. USDA conducted the last referendum for peanuts in 2014, which is a requirement of The Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.

*************************************************************************************
Registration Open for Second Pig Welfare Symposium

The National Pork Board announced its second Pig Welfare Symposium Tuesday. Planned November 13-14, in Minneapolis, the biennial forum is designed to help improve the well-being of pigs. The forum debuted in 2017, and showcases recent research findings and recommendations, and raises awareness of current and emerging issues, along with identifying potential solutions. The symposium will provide presentations from experts on past, current and future animal welfare issues, including looking at the evolution of animal welfare in the supply chain and understanding consumer choices. Event speakers will offer their perspectives on how the pork industry can continue to evolve to meet the needs of animals, producers and consumers. Ashley DeDecker, Smithfield Foods and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s Animal Welfare Committee, says the event “doesn’t just ‘talk’ about pig welfare, it provides hands-on experiences to take back to the farm.” Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about low-stress pig handling, foreign animal disease preparation, and other topics. Registration and further information are available online at www.pork.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy