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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 21st

Midwest Flood Damage Total Approaching $1 Billion

The federal government may have to step in with extra resources to help states like Nebraska and Iowa recover from flood damage. Floodwaters are still receding in the wake of the “bomb cyclone” that hit Midwest states hard and left behind large-scale damage. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue tells the Fox Business Network that the existing safety net programs probably won’t be enough to cover the catastrophic damage. “Hopefully, we’ll have a supplemental disaster bill out of Congress very soon,” Perdue says. “This may be included in that as well.” Nebraska Agriculture Director Steve Wellman says, “It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, approaching a billion dollars of impact straight to agriculture.” Politico says the damage totals could exceed $400 million in livestock losses and $440 million for crop farmers, who could be forced to delay or even cancel planting entirely. Craig Head of the Nebraska Farm Bureau says, “Those are very early estimates. They don’t even account for the damage done to roads, bridges, barns, fences, and other infrastructure.” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she’s seeking federal aid as soon as possible, citing ruined grain bins and lost livestock. The Des Moines Register says it’s too soon to know the scope of the damage. “Some farms have been completely destroyed,” Wellman said. “We’ll rebound as best we can.”

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Brazil Opens Up to More U.S. Wheat Imports

U.S. wheat growers are thrilled about a joint announcement from Washington and Brazil that says the South American country will establish a 750,000-ton quota for tariff-free wheat imports. A Small Grain Dot Org article says U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers welcome the announcement because it fulfills a longstanding obligation under Brazil’s World Trade Organization commitments. U.S. Wheat Associates Chairman Chris Kolstad says they’re grateful to the Trump Administration for championing the interests of U.S. farmers. “Specifically, we say thank you to Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud and USDA Under Secretary Ted McKinney for prioritizing Brazil’s WTO commitments,” he says. “This new opportunity gives us a chance to build stronger relationships with Brazilian millers and a more consistent market there for U.S. wheat.” Brazil was the largest importer of wheat in Latin America, as well as the fourth-largest in the world during the 2017-2018 marketing year. The move could bring some relief to U.S. farmers who have lost export sales after President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and slapped tariffs on major trading partners, which prompted retaliation against U.S. farm goods.

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Jury Finds Roundup Caused Plaintiff’s Cancer

A second California jury found that a man likely developed cancer after being exposed to the Roundup weed killer he used in his yard. The Wall Street Journal says it’s the second case to go to trial over the alleged harm of the popular Bayer product. The six-person jury in the San Francisco-based U.S. District Court will now begin hearing evidence to separately weigh whether Bayer’s Monsanto unit should be held liable. That’s a decision that could bring substantial financial damages against the company as Monsanto will now have to disclose internal documents related to the case. It’s a blow to Bayer, which took over Monsanto’s Roundup product portfolio when it bought the agrichemical giant last year. In a statement after the verdict was announced, Bayer says credible science doesn’t support the plaintiffs’ case and that it plans to “vigorously defend” glyphosate-based products used by both farmers and consumers. The jury will have to decide whether Bayer will have to pay damages to Edwin Hardeman, the 70-year-old plaintiff. His attorneys say they “look forward to presenting this evidence and holding Monsanto accountable for its bad conduct.”

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ASF Outbreak Spreading Throughout Asia

The African Swine Fever virus is continuing to march through parts of Asia and Europe. A National Pork Board update says it’s causing increasing disruption to the world’s pork production. Much of the ASF concern centers on China, for good reason, because it’s number one in global pork production. The World Organization for Animal Health now says nearly all of China’s provincial-level administrative units have reported one or more ASF outbreaks. That means all but the far western portion of China now has at least some level of ASF exposure. Official reports now say China has had to cull approximately one million pigs since the outbreak got going last August. However, there are unofficial reports say the actual number of lost animals may be ten times the official number. Economist Steve Meyer with Kerns and Associates, says China’s breeding herd is down 19 percent from a year ago. Total market hogs are down 16 percent from 2018. Non-governmental reports from U.S. pork industry visitors are calling China’s ASF outbreak “endemic,” which means there is little hope of containing the disease or getting rid of it any time soon. Good evidence of this designation is the fact that ASF has now been confirmed in neighboring Vietnam, where 17 provinces in the northern part of the country have confirmed cases of the disease.

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DFA Sales Drop More Than $1 Billion in 2018

The largest dairy cooperative in the nation had a “challenging” 2018 and lost a lot in net sales numbers from the previous year. The Dairy Farmers of America cooperative held its annual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, and reported that net sales fell by $1.1 billion during 2018. That’s a 7.5 percent decrease over 2017. Net sales in 2018 came in at $13.6 billion, while the previous year’s total was $14.7 billion. As most industry folks expected, the decrease is primarily due to lower milk prices. The all U.S. milk price was 8.2 percent lower than the previous year. Prices averaged $16.20 per hundredweight in 2018 compared with $17.65 per hundredweight the previous year. The cooperative’s net income came in at $108.5 million for 2018. That’s an $18.9 million dollar drop from 2017’s income total of $127.4 million. DFA President and CEO Rick Smith says the past year was challenging for many in the dairy farmer community. “However, DFA remains focused on bringing value to our members,” Smith says. “From marketing members’ milk and offering valuable farm services, to expanding our global presence and making strategic investments to strengthen our commercial portfolio, we’re committed to ensuring a strong and sustainable cooperative.” Despite facing challenges in domestic demand, DFA invested in a new cheese and whey processing facility in Michigan during 2018.

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Georgia Student Wins National Collegiate Discussion Meet

Kylie Bruce of Georgia is the winner of this year’s American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet. The announcement took place at the Farm Bureau’s FUSION Conference. Bruce was awarded the top prize after a discussion on technology as a driving force for innovation in agriculture. Bruce is studying agriculture education and poultry science at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and will receive her associate of science degree in May. For those who don’t know, the Collegiate Discussion Meet is designed to replicate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. Contestants are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information on an agricultural topic and find answers or solutions related to it. Bruce qualified for the national competition after winning the Georgia Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet. As the national winner, she gets a $3,000 scholarship from the CHS Foundation, which sponsors the competitive event. A total of 35 contestants took part in this year’s Collegiate Discussion Meet. The Young Farmer and Rancher Program’s goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers, and realize their full potential as future agricultural leaders.

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.