READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 16th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

WTO Rules Against U.S. Sanctions on China

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was unhappy with a World Trade Organization report that says U.S. actions to combat China’s widespread theft of American technology were inconsistent with WTO rules. Lighthizer says the WTO panel report confirms what the Trump Administration has been saying all along. “The WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices,” Lighthizer says. “Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the U.S. regarding intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct.” He says the U.S. must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices, and the administration won’t let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. The Ambassador adds that it’s important to note that the WTO report doesn’t have an effect on the Phase One Agreement between the U.S. and China, which includes enforceable commitments by China to prevent the theft of American technology. The report covers the $34 billion tariffs announced in June 2018, and the $200 billion trade action announced in September 2018.

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Asian Countries Ban German Pork; the U.S. to Benefit

Japan, South Korea, and China have suspended imports of pork and live pigs from Germany, which reported its first case of African Swine Fever in a wild boar. The Pig Site Dot Com says the import bans will be a major economic hit to German producers and will also push pork prices to new highs around the world. That price increase will also hurt China, where meat supplies continue to tighten. China is the world’s largest meat buyer and Germany is its third-largest supplier. The supply interruption comes as China is grappling with its unprecedented pork shortage after its ASF outbreak. The Asian bans on German pork are expected to benefit other major exporters like the U.S., Spain, and Brazil. Joe Schuele (SHEE-lee), a spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, says the U.S. is “well-positioned” to ship more pork to China. Spain’s International Director of Trade says the country’s white pig sector is fully prepared to continue its growth trend in sales of safe and quality pork products to the Chinese market. Unlike other European countries, Spain hasn’t had to shut down any of its pork processing plants recently due to coronavirus outbreaks.

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CBB Approves 2021 Checkoff Plan

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board will invest approximately $39,380,000 into programs designed for beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications during the Fiscal Year 2021. At the end of its September meeting, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee approved checkoff funding for a total of 13 “Authorization Requests,” also known as grant proposals, brought by nine contractors. Those nine contractors brought a total of more than $47,700,000 worth of funding requests to the BPOC, almost $8 million more than what’s available in the budget. “Producers drive all the decisions that the BPOC makes during these meetings,” says CBB and BPOC Chair Jared Brackett. “Cattlemen and women from across the country and importers carefully consider every proposal to determine where we should send these checkoff dollars.” With every decision they make, Brackett says the members’ main goal is to increase beef demand. The committee consists of ten producers from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and 10 producers from the Federation of State Beef Councils.

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Pork Industry Makes Gains in Sustainability

A new study released by the National Pork Board shows that despite the challenges of 2020, America’s pig farmers continue to make strides in overall sustainability. The report looked at sow, nursery, finish, and wean-to-finish data over three years. The results reconfirmed long-term trends of increasing efficiency, which has the additional benefit of reducing production costs, especially good news after the economic challenges of 2020 have taken a toll. “One of the greatest benefits of this Pork Checkoff-funded study is the benchmarking ability it offers producers who always want to improve their efficiencies,” says Chris Hostetler, Animal Science Director for the National Pork Board. “It’s also a great way to show today’s consumers that America’s pig farms are getting more efficient all the time and that pork is a sustainable choice when it comes to choosing a protein.” Hostetler also says the goal of the study’s production analysis is to aid the pork industry in improving profitability, which has to be a part of the sustainability equation. “We hope producers will dig into the specific parts of the study and use it to help improve their own farm businesses,” he adds. “It’s all about getting a little better every day.”

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USDA Encouraging Ag Producers to Prepare for Hurricane Sally

The USDA wants to remind communities, farmers, ranchers, families, and small businesses in the path of Hurricane Sally that they have programs standing by to help in the aftermath. USDA staff in regional, state, and county offices are ready to help deal with any destruction in the wake of the hurricane. The USDA partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster-relief organizations to create the Disaster Resource Center. The website and web tool now provide an easy access point to find USDA disaster relief information and assistance. USDA also developed a disaster assistance discovery tool specifically targeted to rural and agricultural issues. The tool walks producers through five questions that generate personalized results identifying which USDA disaster assistance programs can help them recover from a natural disaster. Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above normal livestock deaths due to specific weather events, as well as disease or animal attacks, may qualify for help under the USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of land damage, farmers and ranchers needing to help rehabilitate their farmland can apply for help through the Emergency Conservation Program.

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USB CEO to Discuss Challenges, Positives to Women in Agribusiness Summit

United Soybean Board CEO Polly Ruhland (ROO-land) will be one of several future-focused keynote speakers during the Women in Agribusiness Summit taking place virtually this week on September 16-18. She says there is no “sugarcoating” the first three quarters of 2020. “These past few months have been exhausting, confusing, heartbreaking, and frightening,” Ruhland says. “At the same time, when I look to the future of U.S. soy, the broader agriculture industry, and the society it supports, I find substantial reasons for optimism.” At the center of many upcoming opportunities for agriculture are the women in agribusiness playing key roles in shaping the future of the industry. “Women play an increasingly important role leading the growth and development of U.S. agriculture, and we should continue to be front and center in our efforts to strengthen farmers’ bonds with the general population,” Ruhland adds. “I’m incredibly proud to speak with the many women who will attend the WIA Summit who have stepped up to lead our industry to cultivate inclusivity and innovation.”

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Requirement to Remove Livestock Prior to First Freeze Date for CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing has been Waived

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Colorado announced that producers no longer have to remove livestock 30 days prior to the first freeze date on acres approved for emergency haying or grazing. This requirement has been waived for the 2020 program year in response to the critical need due to extreme drought.  Producers approved to hay or graze their CRP acres may continue to do so according to their approved conservation plan with no requirement to implement a 30-day rest period on the cover.    

Conditions in Colorado have been progressively dry with deteriorating rangeland and wildfires plaguing millions of acres. As a result, producers have been faced with difficult decisions about how to manage their livestock in these tumultuous times. The requirement for producers to remove livestock for 30 days would impose an extreme hardship.  Emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres has been a tool used by farmers and ranchers to provide relief. As drought conditions persist, emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres provides an option to graze and feed their livestock to avoid marketing their herd prematurely. 

All other policies regarding emergency haying and grazing remain in place. It is important for producers approved for emergency haying and grazing to understand the requirements and to follow their conservation plan to ensure long-term damage to the cover is avoided and minimum stubble height to ensure plant thermal cover is adequate.

Questions regarding this waiver and any other issues pertaining to CRP emergency haying and grazing, should be directed to your local FSA office. 

Questions? Please contact your local FSA Office.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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