READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 30th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 30th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Governors Want EPA to Reject Retroactive Refinery Exemptions

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (gnome) and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator regarding small refinery exemptions. They’re asking the agency to reject all of the 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuels Standard for past compliance years. Governor Noem and Governor Walz are the chair and vice-chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. “We are concerned that EPA is considering exemptions for prior years that were specifically submitted to evade the court of appeal’s decision by allowing refineries with lapsed SREs to establish a continuous chain of exemptions,” the governors say. “Approving prior-year SREs in this manner ignores the court’s decision and congressional intent, and it will severely impact farmers and rural communities that support the biofuels industry. Since 2017, the EPA has granted 85 SREs, undermining farmers and biofuel producers throughout the nation.” In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Tenth Circuit ruled that the EPA could not legally award exemptions to refiners that didn’t receive any waivers in previous years and had failed to demonstrate hardship in any way related to the RFS. If all 52 applications get approved, the coalition says it will cost the market more than two billion gallons worth of demand.
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ASA Names Brian Vaught as Temporary CEO

The American Soybean Association announced late last week that Chief Financial Officer Brian Vaught will replace Ryan Findlay as a temporary CEO of the organization. In a statement, the ASA says the group’s board of directors is “appreciative of Ryan Findlay’s hard work and dedication to the soybean industry.” With the organization now in transition mode, ASA says it remains confident in its staff members, both in St. Louis and in Washington, D.C., as well as in the value that they bring to the soybean industry. ASA’s governing body continues to support the organization’s growth, including in the independent policy office in D.C., and the internal management structure established throughout the organization by the now-former CEO. Findlay joined the organization in 2018. He was named to the top post after Steven Censky, who held the post for more than 20 years, headed to D.C. to become the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Findlay is a veteran of U.S. agriculture, holding jobs at Syngenta, Michigan Farm Bureau, and as a staff member in the Michigan legislature.

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Food Exporters Unhappy with China Clampdown on Imports

China’s General Administration on Customs is asking some exporters to sign forms guaranteeing their products are free from COVID-19 contamination. Politico says that’s not sitting well with many U.S. food producers, who say they’re hesitant to sign off on the new safety protocols when they say it’s highly unlikely their food can even carry the virus. Western Growers CEO Dave Puglia (POO-glee-ah) says the new requirements from Beijing “are not based on any legitimate food safety concern,” citing international food safety guidelines that have found no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food or packaging. The pushback follows a rare joint statement from the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration that says, “Efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission.” Instead of signing the form issued from the Chinese government, some exporters are sending their own “commitment statements” with their cargo. The Ag Transportation Coalition sent its members three examples of statements they could use. “While China Customs hasn’t confirmed these statements are acceptable substitutes for the official form, we are hearing that exporters sending these statements have not encountered any issues so far with their customers clearing cargo in China,” the group says in an email.

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Not All “Meatless” Meats Good for Health/Environment

A Forbes article says science-backed claims that plant-based meats are healthier for both humans and the environment have sparked a wave of veganism. However, all may not be as it appears. Sarah Galetti, the founder of vegan frozen food brand Tattooed Chef, says that many of the vegetarian meat products aren’t as clean as consumers think. Some of the brands that make an effort to mimic meat using scientifically engineered textures, smells, and flavors. Among those ingredients is soy hemoglobin, which is made from genetically modified yeast, which is used in the product to look like blood. The Burger King Whopper only has 30 more calories than the Impossible Whopper, the company’s “meatless” alternative. The Whopper also as one more gram of saturated fat and is 270 milligrams lower in salt than the Impossible Whopper. Research from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology indicates that “Among meat substitutes, veggie burgers are associated with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, coming in at 4.1 kilograms per kilogram of the product.”

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Court Says No to Reversal on Dicamba

Late last week, a panel of judges in the Ninth Circuit Court said no to a BASF motion to stay and recall their June 3rd ruling that vacated three dicamba registrations. The move puts dicamba registrations and product users back where they started the month: with three or four over-the-top dicamba herbicides no longer federally approved for use. For now, farmers and applicators can still apply any existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3rd, according to the cancellation order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency on June 8th. They have to follow directions on the former labels, as well as any state rules that are already in effect, including state cutoff dates that may have already taken place. Looking past 2020, a DTN article says the future of three dicamba registrations is in limbo. BASF had asked the judges to recall their mandate based on several reasons. For example, BASF says it wasn’t made aware that its Engenia herbicide was at stake in the case before the June 3rd decision. That meant they didn’t get a proper opportunity to defend the product in court.

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No Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days in 2020

The Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days have been going strong for 65 years as a place that farmers can go to find out about new products and tools to boost productivity. But, for the first time ever the shows won’t happen. Farm Progress made the difficult decision to cancel both shows due to the rapidly changing conditions related to COVID-19. Show management had initially said the shows would go on with different health and safety requirements in place. State and local officials had come out in support for both shows taking place. But Farm Progress officials said it became apparent in a very short time that the situation across the U.S. is changing. While state and local officials had expressed support for the shows, Farm Progress said it became apparent in a very short time that the situation in the U.S. is changing. “We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events,” says Senior Vice President Don Tourte. “They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the events this year but feel confident this is the right decision for our community.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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