READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 11th

White House to Send USMCA to Congress this Fall

The White House will send the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress after September first, setting up a busy fall schedule for lawmakers. While the goal of the move is to set up a vote before the end of the year, lawmakers will also be working on spending bills and nearing election season. Further, House Democrats are still seeking changes to the agreement related to enforcement, and rules regarding labor and the environment. Mexico ratified the agreement last month, and Canada remains in the process towards ratifying the agreement. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to California Wednesday promoting the agreement. A Pence staff member told reporters the administration is optimistic for bipartisan support and passage. The deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement represents 28 percent of all US agricultural exports, according to Department of Agriculture data. Agriculture groups Wednesday called for lawmakers to pass the agreement. The National Pork Producers Council says passage would allow US farmers to send products “duty-free to America’s two largest export markets.”

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US Senators Seek Change in Canada’s Grain Variety Registration System

A group of Senators is urging the Trump administration to negotiate fewer restrictions on US grain exports to Canada under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Senate Republicans Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven of North Dakota, along with Republican Steve Daines of Montana and Democrat Tina Smith of Minnesota, requested the action in a letter to US Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud. The senators wrote, “The ability for our growers to export wheat of domestic origin to Canada has been long sought as a measure to level the playing field.” The group of senators specifically pointed to issues regarding Canada’s Variety Registration System, as the letter states farmers are concerned that access to Canada’s market will continue to be inhibited based on Canada’s requirement that strictly limits the varieties of wheat that can be included in its premium category. Canada calls the Variety Registration System a government oversight to ensure that health and safety requirements are met, and a regulatory tool to prevent fraud in crop sales.

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USDA Extends Crop Reporting Deadline for Flood Impacted States

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday extended the deadline for farmers to report spring-seeded crops. USDA says the new deadline, July 22, applies to producers in states impacted by flooding. USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the deadline extension is part of the agencies effort to “increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers” going through a challenging time. Farmers not in the selected states must file reports or be added to a county register by the original July 15 deadline. The new deadline applies to producers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin for reporting spring-seeded crops to USDA’s Farm Service Agency county offices and crop insurance agents. Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs. Producers filing reports with FSA county offices are encouraged to set up an appointment before visiting the office.

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Tropical Weather System Targeting Louisiana

A tropical weather system is expected to hit flood-stricken Louisiana Friday and Saturday. The National Hurricane Center says what will likely become Hurricane Barry, the storm will produce very heavy rainfall and strong storm surges along the Louisiana coast to the upper Texas Gulf Coast. Farmers in Louisiana have battled flooding for more than 250 days, according to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. Now, the expected hurricane is predicted to drop 10-15 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. The Mississippi River level is expected to reach 20 feet in New Orleans Saturday, a level not seen in roughly 100 years. The storm is expected to continue to produce heavy rainfall into next week. The storm comes as Louisiana farmers are nearing the start of corn harvest, with the Department of Agriculture reporting 41 percent of the crop in dent stage as of Monday. The storm is forecasted to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane Saturday evening near Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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United Soybean Board Project Sets Stage for Mississippi River Dredging

Funding from the United Soybean Board will support research and education regarding dredging and channel improvements on the Mississippi River near the Port of New Orleans. USB chair Keith Tapp says the research on deepening the channel could “improve global competitiveness and capabilities,” which in turn makes it easier to deliver products to export customers. The project sets the foundation needed to improve the draft of the lower Mississippi River from 45 feet to 50 feet. Deepening the channel to 50 feet will allow a load increase from 66,000 metric tons to 78,000 metric tons, saving upward of $20 per metric ton when loading greater volumes onto one ship. The savings are expected to translate to a margin of 13 cents per bushel for barge river elevators exporting soybeans. USB is providing $2 million to help offset research costs related to the project. The American Soybean Association, the Soy Transportation Coalition and several state soybean groups are also funding the research.

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USDA Scientist Win Presidential Early Career Awards

Three USDA scientists with the Agricultural Research Service have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor by the United States government to scientists and engineers who are beginning their research careers. The Agricultural Research Service winners include Heather Allen at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, Jo Anne Crouch at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, and Sara Lupton, at the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Allen is a microbiologist and an international expert on antibiotic resistance gene ecology. Crouch is a molecular biologist whose work has been key to understanding the global diversity of fungal pathogens on plants. And, Lupton, who is a research chemist, is internationally recognized for her research about the fate of chemical contaminants in cattle, swine and poultry as well as their byproducts, waste systems, and feed sources. The awards were announced by the White House last week.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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