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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 9th

House Members Call on EPA to End Refiner Exemptions

A bipartisan coalition of 35 members of the House of Representatives says the Environmental Protection Agency should stop issuing small refiner exemptions to large or unqualified refiners. The EPA has approved 54 waivers through the Renewable Fuel Standard, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuels in the past year and a half, and has 40 more waiver petitions pending. In a letter, led by Representatives Cindy Axne of Iowa and Adrian Smith of Nebraska, the lawmakers say the “unprecedented rate of granting waivers is a betrayal of our rural communities.” The National Corn Growers Association and others welcomed the letter, saying the action sends a “strong message to EPA to stop granting unjustified waivers.” The lawmakers say the EPA must halt the process and reallocate waived gallons as intended by law. NCGA has consistently called on the Trump administration to “rein in RFS exemptions” for refiners with large profits, and account for waived biofuels blending and increase transparency in the process.

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Secretary Perdue to Travel to Japan and South Korea

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will travel to Japan and South Korea next week to participate in the G-20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting. The travel itinerary also includes meetings with his counterparts on global agriculture issues. The Secretary will deliver a keynote address at the G-20 Innovation and Agriculture seminar this Saturday and speak at the Cotton Council International’s annual Cotton Day on May 14. As part of his meetings, Perdue will join his counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico to discuss global agriculture issues. The Secretary has planned meetings with U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty, and Japan’s State Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare, along with Korea’s Agriculture Minister. During the trip, Perdue will attend a U.S. Meat Export Federation promotional event highlighting the importance of the Japanese market for U.S. meat, as USDA says Japan is the top overseas market for U.S. beef and pork. Finally, Perdue will attend the U.S.-Japan Agriculture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, as part of his travels.

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History Suggests late Planting Means Lower Corn Yields

Economists from the University of Illinois and Ohio State University say serious planting delays will result in reduced yields this year. Gary Schnitkey of Illinois and Carl Zulauf (Zoo-laff) of Ohio point out that history suggests the odds have increased for lower corn yields in 2019 compared to 2018, and soybean yields will likely not be exceptional. Very little planting has occurred over much of the Corn Belt, as 23 percent of corn was reported planted in the top 18 corn-producing states, compared to a 46 percent average for the last five years at this time in the spring. Late planting does not necessarily mean that 2019 yields will be low. In 2009, much late planting of corn occurred, and national yields were still ten bushels above trend. However, the two economists write that yields have been exceptionally higher across the Midwest recently. With delayed planting, yields are expected to be more towards average. Higher yields kept net incomes high enough for farmers to get by last year, but that may be gone in 2019.

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March Triggers Third 2019 Dairy Safety Net Payment

The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced this week the March 2019 income over feed cost margin was $8.85 per hundredweight. The level triggers the third payment for dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new Dairy Margin Coverage program. The new program replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy and offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. The signup period for the new Dairy Margin Coverage program opens June 17, 2019. Dairy producers who elect a coverage level between $9 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January, February and March 2019. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce says that under certain coverage levels, the amount to be paid to dairy farmers for the months of January, February and March already exceed the cost of the premium. He encouraged all dairy operations to sign up for the program when it becomes available.

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California Moves to Ban Chlorpyrifos

California Wednesday announced a ban of chlorpyrifos (clo-PEER-uh-foss) use within the state. The state Environmental Protection Agency chose to ban chlorpyrifos following what it calls mounting evidence that the pesticide “causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood.” Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used to control many different kinds of pests, such as those found in roughly 50 different crops including corn and soybeans. CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld says the state action to cancel registries for chlorpyrifos “is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers and vulnerable communities.” California is also proposing to use $5.7 million in funding for additional research and technical assistance in research to identify safer alternatives. Just last week, New York lawmakers approved a ban of chlorpyrifos. The California and New York bans follow the first state ban enacted in Hawaii last year.

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North Dakota Small Grains Withdraws from NAWG

The North Dakota Grain Growers Association this week voted to withdraw from the National Association of Wheat Growers. North Dakota farmers cited a belief that the organization is “no longer seeing an adequate return on investment” from membership in the national group. The association says North Dakota has consistently “paid some of the highest dues out of all states” represented by NAWG. The National Association says staff and leadership “did everything possible” to address North Dakota’s Concerns, and President Ben Scholz says the organization “went above and beyond to meet the concerns of NDGGA by giving them a national voice on Capitol Hill.” NAWG charges that over the past two years, North Dakota “put their interests ahead of all wheat growers” across the country by withholding half their dues, making it difficult to carry out the overall mission of the organization. The state organization has been a member of the national organization since 1977. It’s membership contract will expire at the end of June.

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.