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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 30th

USDA Extends Market Facilitation Program Deadline

The Department of Agriculture Monday extended the deadline to May 17 from May 1 for producers to certify 2018 crop production for payments through the Market Facilitation Program. The trade relief program payments will be issued only if eligible producers certify acres before the updated May 17 deadline. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says the deadline was moved because rainfall and snowfall have delayed harvests in many parts of the country, preventing producers from certifying acres. The program helps producers who have been significantly affected by foreign tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports, according to USDA. MFP provides payments to producers of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy, hogs, fresh sweet cherries and shelled almonds. To date, more than $8.3 billion has been paid to nearly 600,000 applicants. Producers can certify production by contacting their local FSA office or through

Trump Promises Ag Focus in Japan Trade Talks

President Donald Trump promises agriculture will be a focal point in trade talks with Japan. Farmers are hoping a deal with Japan will make up for lost market access after the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan and TPP-member countries have signed a new agreement now in place, giving other nations reduced tariffs and improved access to Japan, resulting in a decline of U.S. products flowing to Japan. Before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (sheen-zoh ah-bay) last week, Trump stated the two would be “discussing very strongly agriculture,” according to Politico. Japan will be seeking market access in return, which could include growing markets for its specialty agricultural products. The U.S. and Japan earlier this month agreed to accelerated trade talks in hopes of reaching a speedy deal by focusing on agriculture automobile trade. The benefits seen in a new trade deal with Japan are likely to be similar to those agriculture welcomed during the TPP negotiating process.

Next Two Rounds of China Trade Talks Critical

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hopes the next couple rounds of trade talks with China will bring a deal or a decision to “move on.” He told Fox Business there is a “strong desire” to wrap up the talks, or move on. The negotiations have entered the final stages, according to Mnuchin. The U.S. and China meet again this week in Beijing. Officials from China are scheduled to then revisit Washington to continue the negotiations next week. Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping (Shee Jihn’-ping) may visit the White House in June, in what would be an expected meeting to sign an agreement. Mnuchin believes both sides want to reach a deal. Agriculture groups are seeking an agreement that removes tariffs on U.S. products implemented as part of the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China. However, Trump has previously stated that U.S. tariffs, those China retaliated against U.S. ag products over, may remain following an agreement.

RFA “Strongly Supports” EPA Proposal to Allow Year-Round E15

In comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Renewable Fuels Association Monday said it “strongly supports” the year-round E15 proposal. The proposal would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure waiver for fuels blended with 15 percent ethanol year-round. The waiver currently applies to E10 only during the summer months. According to RFA, the EPA proposal would allow year-round sales of E15 in conventional gasoline markets for the first time, opening the marketplace more broadly to a fuel that provides consumers higher octane, lower cost, and reduced tailpipe emissions. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says, “President Trump was correct when he called the summertime prohibition on E15 unnecessary and ridiculous.” However, just 32 days remain before the start of the summer driving season. Cooper says to honor the President’s commitment, EPA must act quickly to complete the rule. RFA’s comments also discouraged EPA from finalizing any of the four proposed Renewable Identification Number market reforms. RFA is concerned that changes may be counterproductive, undermine the efficient operation of the RIN market mechanism.

Representative Crawford Eyeing Top GOP Spot on House Ag Committee

Representative Rick Crawford of Arkansas is seeking the top Republican seat on the House Agriculture Committee after the 2020 election. Crawford told the Arkansas Farm Bureau last week that if the Republicans win control of the House, he will run for chair of the committee. House Republican rules limit members from serving in leadership positions on a committee for more than six years, preventing current ranking member Mike Conaway from serving as the top Republican beyond the current Congress. Crawford said he believed his biggest competition for the role would come from Representatives Austin Scott of Georgia and Glenn “G.T.” Thompson of Pennsylvania, according to the Arkansas Democratic Gazette. If Republicans regain majority control of the House after the 2020 elections, and Crawford is reelected, he would be running for the Chairmanship of the committee. Democrat Collin Peterson of Minnesota currently chairs the committee. Reelection and winning the top committee seat would put Crawford in the driver’s seat leading up to the next farm bill.

Ag Champion Richard Lugar Passes

A champion for agriculture, former Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana passed away Sunday. Farmers for Free Trade Co-Chair Max Baucus, a former Senator from Montana, says Luger “leaves behind an unmatched legacy of bipartisan achievement” on agriculture and foreign policy. Luger, a Republican, served as U.S. Senator representing Indiana from 1977 to 2013. He twice served as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Upon leaving office, Lugar created The Lugar Center which focuses on global food security,  and other international issues. Former President Barack Obama called Lugar a problem solver, calling him “an example a public servant can make” by focusing on common ground. Vice President Mike Pence of Indiana called Luger a friend, saying his “contributions to the life of our nation are countless.” Luger, 87, was surrounded by family during his passing following a short illness in a hospital.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.