Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 26th

USDA Announces MFP Payments, Sign-up Begins Monday

The sign-up period begins Monday for the next round of trade aid payments to farmers. The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced details of the Market Facilitation Program payments as part of a $16 billion trade aid package. USDA will begin mailing payments to producers in late August. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of “unjustified trade retaliation” in that county. Most payments for Corn Belt states average between $60 and $80 an acre. Meanwhile, producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible. Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history. Hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019. For more information, visit farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office.

Broadcasters: Find your state county-by-county payments at the bottom of this page:
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/market-facilitation-program/index
You do not have to sort by county to see results.

Long-form audio of the press conference available here: Long-Form Audio & Video Links

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Farm Groups React: MFP Needed, Urge Free and Fair Trade

Farm groups welcomed the Market Facilitation Program payments announced Thursday but urge the Trump administration to restore trade markets quickly. With a depressed farm economy, and agitated global trade stemming from President Trump’s trade agenda, farm groups say U.S. agriculture desperately needs help. However, farmers would rather receive help through fair and free trade, not a government check. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says U.S. farmers are “grateful for the continuing support,” but says its “critically important to restore agricultural markets.” National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson says, “farmers need all the support they can get,” but calls for “meaningful dialogues that lead to long-term solutions” with China. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson followed the trend, stating a “sense of confusion and insecurity will likely persist,” until a long-term solution is reached. NFU expressed disappointment the program doesn’t include efforts to reduce production, and questioned the fairness of the county-by-county basis of the payments. Meanwhile, China and the U.S. meet again next week to continue trade talks.

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Food Purchases Planned Through MFP Payments

As farmers learn more about the payments planned through the Market Facilitation Program, the $16 billion package also includes up to $1.4 billion in commodity purchases. The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service will purchase surplus commodities to be distributed to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals. Specifically, USDA will spend up to $432 million to purchase U.S. poultry products, $208 million of pork and $200 of processed fruit and vegetable products. Additionally, USDA will buy $151 million of beef, $104 million worth of citrus products, $88 million of U.S. apples and $68 million of dairy products. The Agricultural Marketing Service will buy affected products in four phases, starting after October 1, 2019, with deliveries beginning in January 2020. The products will be distributed to states for use in food banks and food pantries that participate in The Emergency Feeding Assistance Program, elderly feeding programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Foods Program, and tribes that operate the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

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Farmers See Hemp as Alternative Crop, But Need Support

A Kentucky farmer tells lawmakers hemp is a potential alternative crop, but not without its own issues. During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday, lawmakers heard the needs of what a U.S. program should address. Kentucky Farmer Brian Furnish says hemp farmers struggle to plant a crop that can emerge, as hemp seed needs very specific conditions for germination and initial growth. He also says weeds are hard to control in hemp because there are currently no crop protection products certified for use on hemp. The Department of Agriculture is set to release guidelines regarding hemp sometime next month. USDA undersecretary Greg Ibach told lawmakers at the hearing the guidelines address testing standards, disposal, land use, and law enforcement compliance, along with licensing requirements for products and farmworkers. There remains concern, giving the interest, that the hemp market may overpopulate quickly. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue earlier commented he is “concerned farmers may overproduce.” The U.S. currently lacks processing and marketing infrastructure for wide-spread hemp production.

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Pork Checkoff Vigilant as African Swine Fever Marks One Year in China

The National Pork Board says the U.S. is in a better position to defend against African swine fever. The one-year anniversary of AFS in China, August 3, also marks a year of preparation and border solidification in the United States. NPB President David Newman says the U.S. is in a better position, but notes “we can never be too prepared” with devastating diseasing like African swine fever. Industry-wide collaboration, led by the Pork Checkoff, has helped North America develop improved biosecurity measures, and increased border inspections, to keep the disease out. Primary partners in the effort include the Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Institute, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center. However, NPB stresses the ASF situation in China and other Asian countries “won’t likely get better in the near term,” implying the need for continued preparedness. Data from China shows pork production fell 5.5 percent in the first half of this year because of ASF.

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Beyond Meat Developing So-called Bacon Product

Plant-based food company Beyond Meat is developing a “bacon alternative.” The effort from the growing company, already mastering plant-based burger and sausage alternatives, is part of Beyond Meat’s recent focus on the breakfast table. There’s no launch date for the fake bacon, but company CEO Ethan Brown told Bloomberg news the product is improving as it goes through development. Doughnut shop Tim Hortons now serves plant-based sausage on breakfast sandwiches from Beyond Meat in nearly 4,000 locations. Beyond Meat also announced a breakfast sandwich partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts earlier this week. The company is also developing plant-based steak alternatives. Since the public stock offering of Beyond Meat in May, company stock has soared almost 700 percent. The company is continuing to expand its reach as its products are now sold in more than 30,000 supermarkets and restaurants around the world. The company claims it’s providing a solution to four “growing issues” in livestock production, being human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare.

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.