READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 14th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Court Tosses Out Lawsuit on Biofuel Waivers

A federal court dismissed one of the multiple lawsuits challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of small refinery exemptions. The Washington, D.C., District Court of Appeals said in its ruling that the Advanced Biofuels Association didn’t “identify a final agency action” in the lawsuit it filed back in May of 2018. The biofuels group said the EPA was exceeding its authority when it granted a larger number of waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard to small oil refineries. A DTN report says even though the court threw out the case, it did note that the industry concerns raised by the group seem valid. “To be sure, the EPA’s briefing and oral argument paint a troubling picture of intentionally shrouded and hidden agency law that could have left those troubled by the agency’s actions without a viable avenue for judicial review.” The EPA has granted a total of 85 waivers since 2016. Those waivers accounted for 4.04 billion gallons of biofuels that weren’t blended into the nation’s fuel supply. The EPA is currently seeking public comment on its proposal to account for gallons waived in the 2020 RFS volumes proposal, which biofuel and agricultural groups are not in favor of.

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Trump: Trade War is “Good for Business”

President Donald Trump defended his tariff policies during a speech on Tuesday at the Economic Club of New York. Politico says he denied that his erratic trade policies are causing uncertainty for U.S. businesses. Trump doubled down, saying the U.S. would “actually be in much worse shape” over the long term if he wasn’t aggressively challenging China right now. Despite the negative impact on farming, manufacturing, and other economic sectors, Trump has plenty of positive ammunition. Some of the positive economic data include unemployment down to 3.6 percent in October, while consumer confidence surveys remain high. However, Politico points out that economic growth is on a course to slow to about 2.3 percent this year. Growth may even be on track to slow further in 2020. The Port of Los Angeles says Trump’s tariffs are threatening nearly 1.5 million American jobs and over $186 billion in economic activity across the nation. Trump is also claiming that the U.S. and China are closing in on a partial ‘Phase One’ trade agreement, even though the sides are still negotiating over tariff rollbacks after the deal is signed.

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Trump Pressuring Pelosi for USMCA Vote

While the House impeachment hearings got started on Wednesday, Republicans are trying to make the case that the issue is making it difficult to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Speaking Tuesday in New York, President Trump said the existing North American Free Trade Agreement is “disastrous,” even though the agreement made ag trade virtually tariff-free between the three countries. Trump says “nervous Nancy (Pelosi)” and other House Democrats are concentrating on “outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts which are going nowhere.” Trump says there is already enough Democrat support in the House of Representatives to pass USMCA, a sentiment shared by Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said Tuesday that his negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the USMCA are “progressing.” Neal told Agri-Pulse that the two of them will continue to talk this week. Neal says a recent trip to Canada to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, couldn’t have gone any better. Trudeau says “they’ll do what they have to do to get this to the finish line.”

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First CottonU will Show Off New Cotton Trust Protocol

Cotton farmers who want to capitalize on sustainability for their operations should plan to attend the first-ever CottonU on December fifth at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in Texas. It’s a chance to learn about a new pilot program initiated by the National Cotton Council. The NCC is intending to quantify sustainability data through its U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. Craig Brown is vice president of producer affairs for the National Cotton Council and will keynote the Cotton U lunch. The National Cotton Council says the protocol was developed to help the U.S. cotton production sector to reduce its environmental footprint via specific sustainability goals targeted for 2025. The goals include a 13 percent increase in productivity or land used per pound of fiber, as well as an 18 percent increase in irrigation efficiency. Other targets include a 39 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 15 percent reduction in energy expenditures, as well as a 50 percent reduction in soil loss. Before these goals can be met, farmers must enroll and complete self-assessments to provide a baseline of data for the industry.

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Farmers Using Less Water to Irrigate

The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results are out this week, showing that over 231,400 farms irrigated 55.9 million acres. That included 83.4 million acre-feet of water in the United States. By way of comparison, the 2013 survey showed there were just over 229,230 farms that irrigated 55.3 million acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that even though the number of farms irrigating, and the amount of land increased slightly over those five years, the total amount of water used to irrigate land actually declined. The 83.4 million acre-feet of water used to irrigate land in 2018 represent a 5.8 percent drop from 2013. The average acre-feet applied to land was 1.5, which is lower than the 1.6 in 2013. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot. The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the U.S. was dedicated to cropland, including grains and oilseeds, vegetables, nurseries, greenhouses, as well as hay crops. The survey also shows that more acres are irrigated with sprinkler systems than with gravity irrigation.

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NASCAR Drivers Surpass 15 Million Miles on E15

At the Bluegrass Vacations 500 race, NASCAR reached a significant milestone, announcing that their drivers surpassed 15 million miles on the E15 ethanol blend. NASCAR adopted E15 in 2011 across its three national racing series to reduce emissions in their sport, all while maintaining the high-performance standard needed by drivers during every race. Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association representing ethanol producers and supporters, launched its American Ethanol Program in 2011, in conjunction with NASCAR’s decision to adopt E15. “American Ethanol’s partnership with NASCAR has been a fantastic platform to promote the benefits of cleaner-burning ethanol ever since the sport adopted it,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “NASCAR fans have now seen the fuel perform flawlessly for 15 million miles under the most demanding circumstances imaginable.” She says consumers have put E15 to the test for more than 11 billion miles of commutes, road trips, and picking kids up from school. “Whether on or off the track, day after day, mile after mile, E15 continues to be the smart choice for divers who care about their engines, reducing emissions, and saving money at the pump,” Skor adds.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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