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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 8th

NFU Says Yes to Climate Change, No to Green New Deal

Delegates to the National Farmers Union convention in Washington reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to addressing climate change. However, they’ve said no to a proposal asking the organization to get involved with the Green New Deal supported by many Democrats in Congress. A DTN report says the Farmers Union has long supported addressing climate change. The most Democratic-leaning of the nation’s farm organizations feels that carbon sequestration and other similar farm practices offer opportunities for the nation’s farmers. The NFU has long been the most supportive of the major farm groups when it comes to addressing climate change. However, the group’s rejection of the Green New Deal shows just how much backlash it has created in rural America. The Farmers Union came out with a resolution stating that “The Green New Deal is a bold proposal to transform our society, but as it stands, the resolution appeals to an urban voter base and does not properly take into account the essential contributions of rural America.” Frank MItloehner (MIT-lay-ner), an animal science professor at the University of California-Davis, says, “People from urban areas are leading the discussion. They’re telling farmers what sustainable is, and they’re telling farmers how to farm despite never having had farm dirt on their hands.” He says despite the fact that they’ve most have never been on farms, they’re leading the discussion and it’s driving him “insane.”

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Trump Administration Playing by the Book on USMCA Approval

Politico says the Trump Administration is taking an unusual approach in trying to talk lawmakers into supporting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal. They’re following a “traditional playbook.” White House officials have dozens of meetings with rank-and-file lawmakers as they try to “charm” Democrats into getting behind Trump’s signature trade achievement. The administration wants a vote on the trade deal by this summer. However, there are still large numbers of Democrats who say no to the deal unless several substantial changes get made. There’s also the specter of Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs hanging over the discussions. Tomato growers in Texas and Florida are pushing against each other over a six-year-old tomato deal with Mexico. The Commerce Department wants to scrap the deal, which the Florida growers are in favor of while Texas is pushing back against the idea. Florida growers want to relaunch an anti-dumping investigation against Mexico. The dispute could complicate the administration’s efforts to get the new trade deal ratified. Dozens of border state trade groups wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking him to negotiate a deal that addresses grower concerns but to not withdraw from the six-year-old pact.

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Dairy Margin Coverage Payment Triggered for January

Eligible dairy producers who purchase the appropriate coverage level under the Dairy Margin Coverage program will be getting a payment for January. The Farm Service Agency says the January 2019 income over feed cost margin was $7.99 a hundredweight, triggering the first payment for producers who buy the correct level of coverage. The Dairy Margin Coverage program will replace the Margin Protection Program. DMC is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the sign-up period for DMC will open by mid-June. If producers select a DMC coverage level between $8 and $9.50, they would be eligible for a payment for January 2019. The Hagstrom Report says the announcement appeared to be an attempt to encourage dairy producers to sign up for the program. House Ag Chair Collin Peterson says he’s afraid that producers were so disappointed with the MPP that they won’t sign up for the new and improved program. FSA Chief Richard Fordyce (FOR-dice) says Congress created the DMC program to provide the important financial safety net that dairy producers need, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices.  

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China Buys Over Two Billion Bushels of U.S. Sorghum

The USDA Export Sales Report contained a pleasant surprise for American sorghum farmers. China made its first purchase of the crop since a dispute arose between China and the U.S. over an anti-dumping case in February of 2018. China initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases against the commodity in February and implemented a 25 percent tariff on sorghum and other U.S. commodities in June. Dan Atkisson is the National Sorghum Producers Chair and says the purchase is great news for U.S. sorghum. “We are thrilled to see this on the books going into the 2019 planting season as hopefully the first of many,” he says. “We look forward to returning to trade with our largest export partner, and we are encouraged not only by this sale but the reported 2.2-million-bushel sale to Spain, as well.” He says the group believes the news is a direct result of meetings between leaders of the two nations, and they appreciate both Administrations’ willingness to continue to press forward toward a long-term agreement between the U.S. and China.

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Pork Board Names 2019 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

The National Pork Board named three pork producers as “Pig Farmers of Tomorrow.” Bailee Arnold of North Carolina, Ben Luebbering of Missouri, and Ben Wikner of Iowa were recognized at the 2019 National Pork Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida. “it’s important for the Pork Checkoff to recognize the future leaders of the pork industry,” says National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim. “We are excited for these young farmers to share their unique stories with consumers.” The award recognizes farmer-leaders, ages 18-29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and who are committed to raising their pigs using the pork industry’s WeCareSM ethical principles. The winners will go on to speak at Pork Checkoff events and provide content on #RealPigFarming, which is the pork industry’s social media program. Arnold is a sow farm manager for Goldsboro Milling and manages nine employees who provide care for sows and piglets. Luebbering and his family own Profits Point Farm in Missouri, where they farrow and finish pigs. Wikner is a second-generation farmer whose family operates a farrow-to-wean farm. Wikner says, “It’s important for us to speak up so that our story gets told correctly. The connections we make can help dispel misconceptions about our farming practices.”

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Gray Wolf Soon Endangered Species List Soon

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting a plan in place to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list soon. Agri-Pulse says the announcement drew praise from farmers and ranchers as well as condemnation from environmental groups, who say they’ll take legal action to keep the federal protection in place. The American Farm Bureau Federation is one farm group that’s pleased with the announcement, saying the plan to delist the gray wolf is a triumph of common sense. “There are more than 5,000 gray wolves in the United States and more than 10 times that many in Canada,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “The U.S. population of gray wolves far surpasses the recovery targets called for by the Endangered Species Act. Populations have reached critically high numbers in many states.” In fact, Farm Bureau says the wolves are not just preying on livestock, they’re also pushing elk and deer onto U.S. farms and ranches, which leads to even more destruction. “The administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf is the culmination of a decades’ long battle that’s pitted science-based decision making against environmental activism in the courts,” Duvall adds. “The Bush and Obama Administrations supported delisting the gray wolf. Populations have far surpassed the recovery thresholds set for by recovery plans but too many environmentalists fail to recognize the success.”  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.