READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 13th

Record 19 Million Prevented Plant Acres This Year

The Farm Service Agency reports farmers were unable to plant a record 19 million acres this year. The recent round of Department of Agriculture reports Monday details the prevented plant acres, which are 17.49 million more than last year. Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. The data suggests prevented plant acres total 11.2 million acres for corn and 4.4 million acres for soybeans. Undersecretary Bill Northey says the results show farmers are “facing significant challenges and tough decisions” this year. USDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017.

*************************************************************************************
Crop Production Report Lowers Soybean Production 19 Percent

Monday’s Crop Production report from the Department of Agriculture predicts a 19 percent drop in soybean production from 2018. Meanwhile, USDA expects corn growers to decrease their production four percent from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels. Area for soybean harvest is forecast at 75.9 million acres with planted area for the nation estimated at 76.7 million acres, down four percent from the June estimate, and down 14 percent from last year. Acres planted to corn, at 90.0 million, are down two percent from the June estimate but up two percent from 2018. The figures include the information stemming from a resurvey of planted acres. The data surprised commodity markets, as traders say the numbers are higher than expected for corn production. Meanwhile, the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report, reflecting its data and the Crop Production report, lowered the season-average corn price 10 cents to $3.60 per bushel. The season-average soybean price was unchanged at $8.40 per bushel.

*************************************************************************************
EPA Waivers Anger Ethanol Industry, Lawmakers

The late-Friday announcement of 31 waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard angered ethanol groups. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the small refiner waivers, which exempt refineries from the RFS. However, ethanol and corn and soybean groups say the waivers destroy demand. The Trump administration has now waived granted more than 50 waivers since 2016, representing more than three billion gallons of biofuels. The Renewable Fuels Association says more than 14 ethanol plants in the U.S. have recently shut down, three permanently, as a result of the waivers. House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson says the waivers will “only make things worse” for farmers. He touted the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, which would stop the EPA from “recklessly granting” waivers to oil refineries and undermining the market for ethanol. Meanwhile, the EPA announced further exploration of removing burdens on E85 and flex-fuel vehicles. And, EPA also noted its communication with the National Corn Growers Association, working to expedite the reregistration of atrazine.

*************************************************************************************
Interior Department to Implement ESA Revisions

The Interior Department Monday announced the implementation of revisions to the Endangered Species Act. The Trump administration says the changes apply to ESA sections which deal with listing and critical habitat, threatened species protection, and interagency consultation. The changes direct ESA listings to be determined “solely on the basis of scientific and commercial information,” and clarifies standards for delisting and reclassification. Further, when designating critical habitat, the new regulations reinstate the requirement that areas where threatened or endangered species are present at the time of listing be evaluated first before unoccupied areas are considered. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council welcomed the final rule. Public Lands Council President Bob Skinner says, “commonsense will once again be inserted into the ESA process.” The Natural Resources Defense Council calls the changes a “drastic rollback” of the ESA, which make it “harder to protect plants and animals.” Barring court action, the rules package will officially take effect following a 30-day objection period.

*************************************************************************************
Fake Meat Deserves the Same Regulations, Oversight as Beef

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Director Missy Bonds says imitation meats should be regulated with the same oversight as beef. In an editorial released Monday, Bonds says it’s essential “consumers, cattle producers, and government regulators come together now,” to craft the regulations. With lab grown meats readying for market, she says the industry must “ensure that fake meats are properly vetted and regulated to protect the health and well-being of consumers and prevent false or deceptive marketing.” Bonds alleges deceptive marketing is already a problem, with lab-grown meat producers calling their products “clean meat,” which is not a legal marketing term. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have agreed to a regulatory framework for lab-grown meat. However, Bonds says there are still many details to be determined. Both agencies will likely be creating guidance documents and rules to define the food safety evaluation process. She urged cattle ranchers to stay engaged, and “Demand that regulators clearly and carefully label imitation products.”

*************************************************************************************
Tyson to Pay Employees, Rebuild, Following Fire at Kansas Facility

Tyson Foods is pledging to pay employees and rebuild a Holcomb, Kansas, plant after a fire partially destroyed the facility. In a news release, Tyson officials say they are still assessing the damage and say the plant will be shut down indefinitely but will be rebuilt at the same location. Employees were asked to report to work Monday for informational meetings and have told local reporters the plant is expected to be closed for six to eight weeks. Roughly 1,200 employees at the facility Friday night were evacuated, and no injuries were reported. More than 3,500 employees work at the facility. Tyson says full-time, active team members at the facility will be paid weekly until production resumes. Tyson Fresh Meats group president Steve Stouffer says Tyson has “built in some redundancy to handle situations like these,” and will be using other plants to keep the supply chain full. Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, employing more than 5,600 people, paying $268 million in wages in 2018.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy