READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 31st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 31st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

NASDA: Senate Coronavirus Aid Falls Short for Agriculture

Negotiations to finalize the next coronavirus relief package in Congress are far from the finish line, and so is aid for agriculture, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The Senate Republican proposal includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments for individuals, extends additional unemployment payments by $200 a week through September, and includes substantial funding for schools and COVID-19 testing, and $20 billion for agriculture. The discretionary funding would support agricultural producers, growers and processors. Not included in the Republican plan is additional funding for food and nutrition programs or dedicated funding for state departments of agriculture to respond to COVID-19 impacts. NASDA CEO Barb Glenn says, “This relief package falls short of meeting the needs of the food and agriculture community.” Further, Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says, “Struggling Americans deserve better.” Stabenow says the Republican plan is “a non-starter” without nutrition assistance included.

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Lawsuit Challenges NEPA Rewrite

A coalition of environmental groups is challenging the Trump administration rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The Environmental Defense Fund, along with other organizations, call the rewrite an “attack” on Americans. Leading the legal challenge, an attorney at the environmental group Earth Justice, says, “They want to make it easier to silence people’s voices and give polluters a free pass to bulldoze through our neighborhoods. That’s why we’re taking them to court.” NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions before making decisions. The Public Lands Council says, however, the changes make the process more efficient. The updates establish presumptive time limits of two years for environmental impact statements and one year for environmental assessments. Ranchers who hold federal grazing permits are subject to NEPA reviews for many reasons, including renewal of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements, or to become eligible for participation in Department of Agriculture conservation programs.

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Senator Booker: Current Food System Fundamentally Broke

A former 2020 presidential candidate says the nation’s food system is “fundamentally broken.” Addressing the National Food Policy Conference this week, Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, says, “After this crisis, we simply cannot go back to business as usual.” Booker claims the food system is broken for supply chain workers, farmers, rural communities and from a public health perspective. Booker places blame on multinational corporations and industry consolidation. The lawmaker cited numerous bills he supports to reform the beef supply chain, including the Farm System Reform Act that would allow more bargaining power for ranchers. Booker also cited the Agribusiness Merger Moratorium act that would halt consolidation within the food system, along with the Climate Stewardship Act and the Local FARM Act. Booker, a self-described vegan, says, “We must create a better future where we phase out big factory farms and instead put our faith and support behind independent family farmers and robust local food systems.”

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House Ag Welcomes Two New Committee Members

The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday announced two new members, Chris Jacobs, a New York Republican, and Troy Balderson, an Ohio Republican. Jacobs won a special election in June and will serve the remainder of the term left by retired Congressman Chris Collins. Collins, a Republican, pled guilty to wire fraud and securities fraud last year, and resigned from his position. Jacobs previously served as a state Senator in New York and a county clerk. Balderson of Ohio was elected to the U.S. House in 2018, and takes the place James Comer, who will depart the Agriculture Committee. Balderson also serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and the Small Business Committee. In welcoming the pair to the committee, Texas Republican Representative and Ranking Member Mike Conaway stated, “Both understand the importance of supporting our farm families, and I look forward to working alongside Chris and Troy on behalf of rural America.”

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Dicamba-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Discovered in Tennessee

Researchers from the University of Tennessee report finding dicamba-resistant Palmer amaranth in the state. Results from greenhouse trials and in-field assessment report the level of dicamba resistance is relatively low, about 2.5 times. The level of infestation in any given field ranges from a small pocket where a mother plant went to seed in 2019 to an area covering several acres in a field. This would be comparable to the first documented glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth found in Tennessee back in 2006, where most were still getting relatively good Palmer amaranth control with glyphosate, while others were noticing escapes in their fields. Researchers say it’s not time to panic, however, say “it is time to reassess weed management.” Looking forward to 2021, the university says a pre-applied residual that is effective on Palmer amaranth is now a necessity.  Moreover, timely applications of Liberty must be used shortly after a dicamba application to remove escapes from coverage.

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American Lamb Board Partners with H-E-B

The American Lamb Board has partnered with the nation’s top consumer ranked grocery store, H-E-B, to promote the benefits of American Lamb through the H-E-B Health and Wellness program. The effort provides important visibility for American Lamb in Texas and sets the stage for potential future retail collaborations. With more than 350 locations throughout Texas, H-E-B is a major player in the grocery industry. The first step of the partnership was engaging and educating more than 70 H-E-B registered dietitians about the benefits of American Lamb to support their nutrition education efforts. In June, more than 1,000 H-E-B customers received an American Lamb recipe book sent directly to their homes.  Then, in July, H-E-B stores began an in-store promotion of American Lamb! H-E-B dietitians are including American Lamb on their “Pick Lists,” which feature selected products and a coupon offering $2 off assorted American Lamb cuts. This generated more than 7,600 coupon redemptions in just the first seven days of July. As of July 29, more than 14,300 coupons have been redeemed.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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