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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 25th

China Purchases U.S. Sorghum, Corn  as Trade Talks Continue

The Department of Agriculture reports China last week made another 2.6-million-bushel purchase of U.S. sorghum, to the delight of the National Sorghum Producers. China also announced significant purchases of U.S. corn last week. The purchase occurred as China confirmed continuing the ongoing trade talks with the United States. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin will meet with Chinese constituents in Beijing later this week. President Trump has also made comments saying he is pleased with positive direction U.S.-China trade negotiations have taken. Concerns remain, however, after President Trump said last week he would keep tariffs in place on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods until it is clear Beijing is complying with any trade deal that is reached. That could be further concerning if China doesn’t agree to remove trade tariffs on U.S. agricultural products implemented as part of last year’s tit-for-tat trade war. Still, signs remain that the trade talks are progressing and could be finalized by early this summer.

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Growth Energy Calls on DOT to Provide Rail Assistance During Midwest Flooding

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor is calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to help expedite rail delivery of biofuels amid historic flooding. Flooding in a four-state area has delayed transportation of critical supplies of biofuel, which in turn, could impact consumer fuel costs. Rail lines in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri remain closed with many washouts reported from the flooding. Those rail lines are critical for the daily operation of biofuels facilities in the Midwest to receive and distribute its products. In her letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Skor said: “Further delays could not only impact our industry, but could also ultimately increase fuel costs for American drivers.” Ethanol plants report some damages, delays or even closures as flood waters inundated Nebraska and the Missouri River bottom grounds, home to ethanol facilities and critical rail lines for the region. President Trump issued a federal emergency declaration for Nebraska last week.

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USDA Assisting Producers in Flooded Areas

The Department of Agriculture is offering assistance to farmers and ranchers affected by the devastation caused by historic flooding in the Midwest. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA staff in the regional, state, and county offices are responding and providing a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to residents, producers, and communities. Perdue encouraged farmers to contact their local USDA Service Center, as USDA will “do everything in their power” to assist producers. USDA can help producers with the Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Assistance payments, along with resources through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and others. The department can also assist rural communities in removing debris, and offers technical assistance, loans, grants, and loan guarantees to rural communities and individuals to assist with the construction or rehabilitation of utility infrastructure including water and wastewater systems, community infrastructure, and housing.

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Dairy Producers Enrolled in Livestock Gross Margin Program Eligible for 2018 MPP

Dairy producers who participated in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program now can participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy for 2018 coverage. The Department of Agriculture announced the eligibility last week. Producers enrolled in 2018 LGM-Dairy, administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency under 2014 Farm Bill, were ineligible for coverage under MPP-Dairy, a safety net program available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce says changes in the 2018 Farm Bill “includes the ability for producers with LGM coverage to retroactively enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018.” The MPP-Dairy program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producers in a dairy operation. LGM-Dairy is an insurance product that provides protection when feed costs rise, or milk prices drop. This retroactive sign-up is only for dairy producers with 2018 LGM coverage who produced and marketed milk in 2018 but did not obtain full year MPP-Dairy coverage.

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Canada Expanding Detector Dog Program for ASF Defense

Canada, like the United States, is increasing its defense against African swine fever. Canada recently announced it would more than double the total number of detector dog teams at Canada’s airports within five years. The plan includes new funding of up to $31 million to add 24 Food, Plant, and Animal Detector Dog Service teams for a total of 39. Canada says the new teams are being deployed to help prevent illegally imported meat products from entering into Canada. Canada, like the U.S., is bolstering its efforts to detect potentially illegal animal products from entering its borders as African swine fever remains a threat. Detector dogs in the U.S. recently discovered one million pounds of pork illegally imported from China, where African swine fever is wide-spread. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says in a news release that meat and meat products from countries affected by African swine fever “present one of the greatest risks for introducing this animal disease to Canada.”

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MillerCoors Suing Anheuser-Busch of Corn Syrup Commercials

MillerCoors has filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch over its series of commercials on the use of corn syrup in the brewing process. Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup, and MillerCoors does. The lawsuit filed last week alleges the ads are false, misleading and part of a plot to frighten drinkers of Miller Lite and Coors Light to favor of Bud Light, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. MillerCoors says that contrary to what the ads suggest, there is no corn syrup in the final product, as corn syrup is used only as a fermentation aid and is completely turned into alcohol by the time it is finished. The brewer alleges Anheuser-Busch is deliberately playing on consumers’ ignorance that ordinary corn syrup is different from the controversial high-fructose corn syrup. Anheuser-Busch started the conflict with a Super Bowl commercial, which prompted anger amongst corn farmers. MillerCoors is asking a federal court to halt the ads and force Anheuser Busch to launch a new campaign “to correct the false and misleading impressions.”

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.