READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 8th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 8th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

House Democrats in Mexico for USMCA Considerations

House Democrats are wrapping up a two-day trip to Mexico to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, the visit comes as the Democratic Working Group on NAFTA 2.0 “continues to engage in productive discussions with the U.S. Trade Representative regarding important improvements to the agreement,” according to Neal. Representative Neal also leads the working group on USMCA. The lawmakers are meeting with representatives from the Mexican Government as well as local workers, focusing on enforcement of the agreement regarding labor standards in Mexico. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week maintained “we are making progress” on reaching an agreement to pass the trade deal. The group forwarded a counterproposal to the White House just over a week ago. Lawmakers Joining Neil on the trip include Representatives Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Jimmy Panetta of Jimmy Gomez of California. The group maintains a commitment to reaching an agreement with the White House to pass the trade agreement.

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Meat Institute Challenging California Prop 12

The North American Meat Institute Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12, The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The Meat Institute opposes the law because the organization claims the law will “hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers.” The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, asks the court to halt implementation of the law by granting a preliminary injunction. The Meat Institute alleges that Prop 12 violates the commerce clause and the federal structure of the United States Constitution. The Constitution prohibits states from discriminating against interstate and foreign commerce, regulating commerce outside of their borders or imposing undue burdens on interstate and foreign commerce. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts says if the law is allowed to stand, “California will dictate farming practices across the nation.” Enacted in November 2018, Prop 12 imposes space requirements regarding breeding pigs and veal calves within California, and obligating out of state producers to comply.

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AFIA Awarded Funds to Conduct Market Assessment of Vietnam

The American Feed Industry Association has received funding from the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to conduct a market assessment in Vietnam. The goal and focus of the assessment will be to identify how to improve the availability and transparency of distribution channels. The effort will address sanitary and phytosanitary issues and other non-tariff barriers, thereby increasing prospects for U.S. trade and investment. Once the market assessment is completed, AFIA will work with USDA on implementing and addressing the recommendations from the assessment. AFIA, with the support from experienced, reputable consultants and in collaboration with FAS and existing resources in Vietnam, will implement the market assessment over the next six months. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, maintaining an average six percent annual GDP growth over the past ten years. In recent years, Vietnam has also risen as a leading agricultural product importer. The key driver of the local feed industry has been the Vietnamese hog industry.

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AEM: Manufacturers Welcome Biofuels Reallocation

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers joins corn belt farm groups in applauding the Trump Administration for reallocating biofuel demand displaced by waivers. President Donald Trump’s plan to reallocate biofuels lost to small refinery waivers announced last week will reopen the rulemaking process to account for the volumes waivers displace. The National Corn Growers Association points out the latest round of waivers increased total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration. In addition to the commitment to redistribute waived gallons, the Trump administration is also proposing to take further steps supported by farmers, including removing other barriers and supporting infrastructure to help grow demand for higher blends of ethanol. AEM says reallocating the ethanol gallons lost through small refinery waivers will directly benefit the 1.3 million employees in the equipment manufacturing industry. AEM President Dennis Slater says the organization is “grateful the President recognizes the importance of the RFS to farmers, equipment manufacturers and the entire agriculture community.”

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NCBA Opens 2020 Cattle Industry Convention Registration

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently opened registration and housing for the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. NCBA encourages attendees register early, as convenient housing will fill quickly. The event, held in San Antonio, Texas February 5-7, 2020, includes annual meetings of NCBA, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. U.S. astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain Scott Kelly will share his lessons from space during the Opening General Session, and other noted speakers will be on hand to inform, energize and motivate audiences. The convention will again be preceded by 27th annual Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for sessions that can help generate high returns for cattle operations. NCBA President Jennifer Houston of Tennessee says the convention represents an important annual get-together for cattlemen and women from around the country, adding “there are valuable education, information, entertainment and engagement opportunities” at the event. To register and secure housing, visit www.beefusa.org.

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USDA Invests $152 Million to Improve Broadband Service in 14 States

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced $152 million in rural broadband development funding. The funds support developing and improving rural broadband service through 19 projects across 14 states. USDA rural development deputy secretary Donald LaVoy says the effort will expand access to essential health, educational, social and business opportunities. USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. USDA says investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge. As part of the investments, a $34 million loan will upgrade fiber connections in Kentucky, benefitting 5,300 customers. A $3 million loan will help enhance broadband in southwest Virginia, and another $850,000 loan will help develop a fiber network in Morton County, North Dakota. The funds are part of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity effort by President Donald Trump. A complete list of funded projects is available online at visit www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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