READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 13th

Agriculture Pleased with WOTUS Repeal

Agriculture groups Thursday celebrated the Waters of the U.S. repeal by Trump administration as a victory. The rule greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts says the action to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule will “alleviate regulatory burden” on farmers and ranchers. The repeal reverts regulations to those in place before 2015, while the Trump administration works to craft a new rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation called the repeal a victory for farmers and ranchers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says Farm Bureau will now “work to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.” Last month, a U.S. District Court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency must redraft the rule, stating the 2015 rule violated the Clean Water Act, and that the procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

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USDA Lowers Corn and Soybean Production Estimates

The monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report released by the Department of Agriculture lowered corn and soybean production. Markets responded closing six to seven cents higher for corn, and soybeans up 26-30 cents Thursday. This month’s corn outlook is for reduced production, lower corn used for ethanol, and slightly higher ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.799 billion bushels, down 102 million from last month on a lower yield forecast, and supplies were lowered, as well. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.60 per bushel. USDA projects Soybean production at 3.6 billion bushels, down 47 million on a lower yield forecast of 47.9 bushels per acre, and soybean supplies are down two percent. Ending stocks are projected at 640 million bushels, down 115 million from last month. The season-average soybean price is forecast at $8.50 per bushel, up ten cents. The wheat supply and demand outlook is unchanged this month. The projected season-average farm price is $4.80 per bushel, down $0.20.

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Lighthizer Submits USMCA Proposal to House Democrats

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has sent the House of Representatives the latest White House proposal for addressing Democrats concerns in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Democrats are now reviewing the proposal, according to Reuters. House leadership holds the key to passing the agreement that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement. Democrats have argued for stronger labor, environmental and enforcement standards within the trade agreement. While little details have emerged as to how the White House proposes to address those concerns, optimism is growing that Congress can pass the agreement before the end of the year. Ag organization leaders and farm-state lawmakers attended a rally outside the Capitol Thursday morning, in support of USMCA. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says passing the agreement would “bring certainty to our already-positive trade relationship with our closest neighbors.” The rally included House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson and the committee’s top Republican Mike Conaway. Lighthizer is expected to meet with the House working group on USMCA next week.

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Organic Trade Association Launches Fraud Prevention Program

The Organic Trade Association this week announced the development of three online training courses to bolster its Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program. The training courses are designed for organic businesses, accredited certifiers and organic inspectors, with one of the courses a pre-requisite for businesses pre-enrolled in the program. The Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program was launched by the Organic Trade Association earlier this year, and almost four dozen organic businesses have joined. The new anti-fraud courses will analyze where opportunities for crime in the organic supply chain most commonly occur, and offers education on the Organic Fraud Prevention Plan and how to put it into real on-the-job practice. A spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association says the effort “will strengthen our ability to protect against fraud and maintain the integrity of organic.” The three online courses will be available in late 2019 and early 2020. Enrollment and program information is available on the association’s website, OTA.com.

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FFA Announces Record Student Membership

The National FFA Organization announced this week a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from nearly 670,000 in 2018. National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl (Peh-shl) says the membership growth “reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education.” The top six student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership continues to increase. This year, the organization has more than 100,000 Latino members, 45 percent of the membership is female with 52 percent of the membership being male. Females hold more than 50 percent of the leadership positions. FFA chapters can be found in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters. The organization is also supported by more than eight million alumni and supporters.

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NASDA Elects North Dakota’s Goehring as President

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture this week elected a new slate of officers for the coming year. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring (Gore-ing) will serve as NASDA’s 2019-20 President and will host the 2020 NASDA Annual Meeting in Medora, North Dakota next August. Goehring says, “Now is the time to leverage NASDA’s nonpartisanship to get things accomplished in Washington D.C.” to help struggling farmers and ranchers. Also elected to NASDA’s Board of Directors were Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles as Vice President, and New York Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball as Second Vice President. The organization held its annual meeting this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A top policy amendment for the group passed during the meeting supports voluntary, incentive-based climate-smart agricultural programs. During the meeting, the organization adopted new climate resiliency policy. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross introduced the policy amendment. The policy asserts that addressing climate resiliency in agriculture requires a comprehensive approach.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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