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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 11th

NAFTA Withdrawal Coming to Pressure Congress on USMCA?

The Congressional Research Service is looking into whether or not President Trump can legally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement on his own. Politico says it’s a question the trade world would like an answer to sooner rather than later. Can the president withdraw without Congressional support? Politico says the answer is not clear. Congresses’ research arm says, if you look solely at international law, it looks like the Trump Administration would be able to act on its own. However, it’s quite likely that the president would have problems based on domestic law. It’s difficult to say how a court case would get resolved if affected companies pursued litigation. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the original NAFTA agreement as a way to put pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. Administration aides have told Politico that there are no immediate plans to back out of the existing deal. One factor that might increase the possibility of legal action is if Congress signals disapproval of any attempt to withdraw from NAFTA. In the past, the Supreme Court typically says presidential power to act unilaterally is at its weakest when the White House takes action that Congress doesn’t agree with.

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Regulation Framework in Place to Regulate Cell-Grown Meat

Two separate government agencies will come together to regulate the new market of lab-grown meat. The Washington Examiner says the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service will share regulation of the products. Scientists will create products by multiplying animal cells to mimic traditional chicken, pork, beef, and fish. The products will have to be approved by both agencies before they’ll be allowed in stores. Under the new regulatory agreement, the FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth. FSIS will step in after that to oversee food production and how it’s labeled. The Trump Administration had to hold several meetings to talk about how the emerging market and its products should be regulated. They don’t fit neatly under the jurisdiction of either agency. In a statement from the FDA, the agency says, “Collaboration between the USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many technical and regulatory considerations that arise with the development of animal-cell cultured food products for human consumption.” The traditional meat industry was concerned about the impact the new products would have on their industry and lobbied the Trump Administration to have the cultured foods be regulated by both agencies.

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NPPC Elects New President, Officers

The National Pork Producers Council elected a new president at its annual business meeting. The National Pork Industry Forum took place last week in Orlando, Florida. Pork Business Dot Com says David Herring, a hog farmer from North Carolina, is the new president. Herring is Vice President of Hog Slat, which supplies equipment to pork operations, as well as the VP of TDM Farms. He and his two brothers started the farm as a feeder pig operation in 1983. It’s now a sow farrow-to-finish operation, with farms in North Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana. Herring takes over for Jim Heimerl, an Ohio pork producer who now becomes the immediate past president and chair of the NPPC Trade Committee. Howard A.V. Roth, a Wisconsin hog farmer, was elevated to the president-elect position with the organization. The fifth-generation farmer owns and operates Roth Feeder Pigs. Jen Sorenson, Iowa Select Farms communications director, was elected vice president by the NPPC Board of Directors. “David, A.V., and Jen all have a lot of good experience and leadership that will benefit NPPC and our producers greatly,” says NPPC CEO Neil Dirks. “With the additions to our Board of Directors, NPPC again has a strong team guiding our work of protecting the livelihoods of America’s pork producers.”

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Pork Producers Set Resolutions on 2019 Important Issues

The annual business meeting of the National Pork Producers Council took place last week in Orlando, Florida. In looking ahead to the rest of 2019 and beyond, delegates at the Pork Industry Forum adopted several important policy issues they’ll be working on. African Swine Fever was top-of-mind for delegates. They adopted a resolution on strengthening the pork industry’s efforts to prevent foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S. One of the many ways they’ll do this is working with USDA and the Food and Drug Administration on restricting imports of soy-based animal feed from countries with a high risk of transmitting foreign animal diseases. They’ll also continue to work on changing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Hours of Service Rules. Haulers must remain in their trucks when animals are loaded, which the NPPC says should not count towards their “on-duty” time. They also passed a resolution calling for the USDA and FDA to be transparent in their regulation of cell-cultured meat products. “These resolutions reflect the concerns of the U.S. pork industry and the efforts we need to take to protect the livelihoods of producers,” says NPPC President David Herring. “NPPC will work with Congress, the Trump Administration, and others to tackle these and other issues important to our industry.”

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U.S. Beef Exports Reach New Heights in 2018; Pork Hurt by Tariffs

USDA export numbers compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show U.S. beef exports in 2018 topped both volume and value records that were set in 2017. Pork export volume came up just shy of the 2017 record and the value also fell one percent. Strong demand in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the Asian region helped drive beef exports seven percent higher in 2018, coming in at 1.35 million metric tons. Export value climbed to $8.33 billion, 15 percent higher than in 2017. “There may have been no greater success story than U.S. beef exports to Korea,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF CEO. “Less than a decade removed from the street protests opposing the reopening of the market, Koreans now consume more U.S. beef per capita than any international destination.” Korea drove half the $1 billion surge in beef exports. Exports to Japan climbed seven percent in volume and 10 percent in value. However, Halstrom says that the U.S. position as the number one beef supplier in Japan is tenuous because of the widening tariff rate gap between America and its main competitors. 2018 pork exports totaled 2.44 million metric tons, .5 percent below the 2017 record. Pork value dipped one percent to $6.39 billion. Retaliatory tariffs in place because of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum hurt pork exports in the second half of 2018.

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Hemp Industry Looking at Establishing a Trade Association

A coalition of hemp farmers, farm service companies, processors, crop insurance agents and lenders, as well as other stakeholders, are looking at possibly establishing a trade association group. The Hagstrom Report says the goal is to have an organization that represents the hemp industry in Washington, D.C. Hemp is currently used to make textiles, paper, paint, oil, biodegradable plastics, and many more items. The coalition is working with three veteran Washington lobbyists, including Scott Graves, Christopher Thorne, and Matthew Valesko. “Hemp has enormous potential in the United States as a source of fiber, seed, and oil,” Graves says. “it’s a high-value crop that needs fewer inputs and fewer acres, and it’s resistant to both drought and cold.” The coalition notes that the 2018 Farm Bill “includes language permitting the growth of industrial hemp, but leaves it to each state to determine its own rules for cultivating, transporting, and selling hemp. Graves adds, “There are estimates that the U.S. hemp market could double in the next five years, going from $800 million to nearly $2 billion,” Graves adds. “That would be a major shot in the arm for American farmers.”

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.