READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 21st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 20th

USDA Moves Cover Crop Harvest Date for Prevent Plant Fields

Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres can hay, graze or chop those fields earlier than November this year. The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date from November 1 to September 1 to help farmers who were prevented from planting because of excess rainfall this spring. RMA says silage, haylage and baleage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing this year. Producers can hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage and hay on prevented plant acres on or after September 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson welcomed the announcement, stating farmers “are in need of options and common-sense flexibility.”  The Farm Service Agency will also extend the deadline to report prevented planting acres in select counties, and USDA will hold special sign-ups for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to provide cost-share assistance in the planting of cover crops on impacted land.

*************************************************************************************
Mexico Passes USMCA, Canada, U.S. Next

Mexico this week became the first country to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. As expected, Mexico’s Senate quickly approved the agreement this week with an overwhelming majority. Canada is likely next of the three member countries to consider and approve the trade deal that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited with congressional leaders and President Trump in Washington this week, pressing the U.S. to approve the deal. Multiple trade hearings in Washington D.C. probed the issue this week as well. Canada is expected to approve the measure before September, possibly sooner than later. The U.S., which prompted the trade talks in 2017, faces roadblocks. Republicans expect to pass the agreement and are calling on Democrats who lead the House to call for a quick vote. However, Democrats want to thoroughly review the agreement to ensure enforcement. President Donald Trump wants the U.S. Congress to ratify the agreement before leaving for an August recess, but the timeline to passage is unclear.

*************************************************************************************
Group Says USDA Relocation to Cost Taxpayers

An organization representing agricultural economists says a relocation effort by the Department of Agriculture will cost taxpayers. The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association claims the plan by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue would cost taxpayers $83 to $182 million dollars, instead of saving them $300 million as USDA claims. Secretary Perdue is planning to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture away from Washington, D.C. and to the Kansas City area. Three AAEA member economists reviewed USDA’s cost-benefit analysis. The review found that USDA overstated the cost of keeping the agencies in Washington D.C., and that USDA had failed to take account of the value of research and data lost through resignations and retirements. Additionally, the organization says a rushed, unplanned move will “undermine the quality of USDA agricultural economic information at a critical time for the nation’s agricultural and rural economy.”  Given the economy, AAEA president David Zilberman says, “This is the worst possible time” for such a much by USDA.

*************************************************************************************
Small Pockets of Drought in U.S., Large Drought in Canada

While Corn Belt farmers face a soggy, wet crop year, small pockets of the U.S. and much of Canada is facing a drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows small pockets of moderate drought in southern Texas, the Southeastern seaboard, and in Arizona. Northern U.S. states are included in a drought that covers much of Canada, including Washington and Oregon, along with parts of Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. During the past 60 days, northwest North Dakota has received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall. However, a majority of the Midwest remains excessively wet with precipitation averaging 150 to 200 percent of normal dating back 180 days, and soil moisture remains above the 99th percentile across much of the Corn Belt. Meanwhile, the most recent drought report for Canada shows moderate to severe drought in all territories west of the Great Lakes, and an extreme drought in part of northern Alberta. Long-term forecasts predict an active wildfire season and worsening drought conditions for much of Canada this summer.

*************************************************************************************
USDA Announces Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program

Funding from the Department of Agriculture will help landowners control feral hogs. USDA Thursday announced $75 million in funding for the eradication and control of feral swine through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. The 2018 Farm Bill included the new pilot program to help address the threat feral swine pose to agriculture. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will direct up to $33.75 million of the allocated funds toward partnership efforts to work with landowners in approved areas. Pilot projects will consist broadly of three coordinated components, including feral swine removal by APHIS, restoration efforts supported by NRCS, and assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners. Applications are being accepted through August 19, 2019 for select states. Eligible states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. APHIS has determined these states have among the highest feral swine population densities and associated damages.

*************************************************************************************
Activist May Have Incited Abuse at Fair Oaks

An activist who uncovered animal abuse at Indiana’s Fair Oaks farm may have incited employees to harm the animals. The Animal Recovery Mission recently released the undercover video depicting animal abuse at the facility. Newark County, Indiana prosecutors told a local newspaper “a third-party witness has come forward to corroborate the allegations made by a suspect that the ARM employee encouraged or coerced the behavior.” The Animal Recover Mission responded with a statement, calling the claims by prosecutors “unfounded and bogus information” that is “not only unprofessional, but irresponsible.” Animal Recovery Mission describes itself as an investigative animal welfare organization. Three former Fair Oaks employees are facing animal cruelty charges because of the incident. Fair Oaks has pledged changes, including installing video cameras at its facilities and additional training for workers, in taking responsibility for the actions found on video. A lawsuit by a consumer also claims also associated company Fairlife committed fraud, citing the company promoted “the extraordinary care and comfort” of its cows on its milk labels.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy