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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, August 2nd

Trump Plans Tariff Increase Against China

President Donald Trump plans to begin enacting additional tariffs on China to pressure negotiators to reach a trade agreement. Talks between the U.S. and China are scheduled again in September, according to the White House. President Donald Trump took the trade war to Twitter again Thursday afternoon, announcing additional tariffs against China starting in September. Trump says the U.S. will start “putting a small additional tariff of ten percent on the remaining $300 billion of products coming from China” starting September 1. The comments follow a recent meeting this week between the U.S. and China. Earlier in the week, Trump said the talks were productive, but China has yet to follow through on its alleged commitments to purchase U.S. agricultural products. The move is undoubtedly a tactic aimed at forcing China to commit to a trade agreement. When the U.S. first threatened this new round of tariffs earlier this year, China struck back with a threat to raise tariff rates on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

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USDA Releases Proposed Amendments to Sage Grouse Management Plans

The Department of Agriculture Thursday proposed changes to how it manages greater sage grouse in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. The changes, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, “strive to improve the clarity, efficiency, and implementation of the current sage grouse plans.” The proposal is the result of stakeholder input. Key changes include allowing for greater flexibility and local control of conservation and management actions related to sage grouse. The plan also seeks to align state and federal conservation standards, so ranchers and land users have one set of standards instead of dealing with multiple, complex layers of restrictions. The plan would also maintain the goal of preventing any net-loss to critical sage grouse habitat, but no longer require the unreasonable standard that every action increase conservation, according to USDA. Secretary Perdue says the 2019 plans have been adapted to consider site-specific conditions to ensure ranchers, permittees, and industry can adapt to their local conditions rather than be forced to conform to a one-size-fits-all, national approach.

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Coalition Seeks Court Fix to EPA Waivers

A coalition of biofuel supporters has asked a federal court to take action against the Environmental Protection Agency’s small refinery waivers. The petition filed earlier this week asked the federal appeals court to lift a stay it placed on a 2018 petition asking the court to protect the renewable fuels industry from undue harm caused by the waivers. The group includes Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Farmers Union and others. The coalition says EPA’s current regulations factor in only future small refinery exemptions granted prior to the compliance year, despite most of the exemptions granted in recent years have been for compliance periods that had already ended. The coalition had asked for the stay to give EPA time to review its request to reconsider its current regulations. EPA’s response never arrived, but “EPA’s statements and actions over the past 13 months indicate that EPA has effectively denied the request.” Not content to wait further, the coalition asked the court to step in and restart proceedings.

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Rabobank: ASF to Halve China Hog Herd

A new report from Rabobank says China’s hog herd could be cut in half by the end of the year. China, home to the largest hog herd in the world, has lost an estimated 40 percent of its hog herd already due to African swine fever. Official estimates have guessed the losses between 15 and 25 percent, but many fear the data coming from China is inaccurate. Reuters reported earlier this month that as many as half of China’s breeding pigs have either died from ASF or been slaughtered because of the spreading disease. Rabobank last year estimated China’s hog herd at 360 million head, but says as many as 200 million pigs could be culled. Meanwhile, U.S. pork production is expected to rise throughout the third quarter of 2019, driven by a large breeding herd and improvement in productivity. The report notes that exports are struggling ,but trade terms with Mexico and Canada should boost exports, and the resumption of trade negotiations with China is positive.

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Veterinarians Call for Action on Medicine Loan Repayment Program Act

A group of veterinarians took to Capitol Hill Thursday to ask lawmakers to pass the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act. The group says the bill will help close veterinary access gaps by placing additional food animal and public health veterinarians in designated veterinary shortage areas. The bill was introduced in April in the Senate by Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. More than 170 members of the American Veterinary Medical Association met with lawmakers, conducting more than 200 meetings in congressional offices. They also asked lawmakers to pass the Association Health Plans Act of 2019, which they say would expand the AVMA-sponsored association health program for members to ensure more veterinarians are able to access high-quality, reliable health insurance. The events were planned in advance of the AVMA 2019 Annual Convention, scheduled over the weekend. The organization is self-described as the nation’s leading representative of the veterinary profession, representing more than 93,000 member veterinarians across the United States.

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Remains Found in Missing Wisconsin Ranchers Case

Human remains were found this week on a Missouri farm where two Wisconsin ranchers went missing. Authorities say identifying the remains may take “a long time,” but the discovery will advance the investigation. Nicholas and Justin Diemel (Dee-mull) of Wisconsin went missing two weeks ago during a series of farm visits related to their cattle business. Suspect Garland Nelson of Braymer (Bray-murr), Missouri, Thursday postponed his bond hearing until next week, to allow his attorney to attend, after a judge previously denied his bond. The 25-year-old remains jailed on a tampering with a motor vehicle charge after admitting to driving and abandoning the victims rental truck. The remains were found on Nelson’s 74-acre farm. In 2016, Nelson was sentenced to two years in prison for cattle fraud. Nelson admitted he engaged in a scheme to sell at least 114 mortgaged head of cattle that were pledged to the Farm Service Agency, without notifying FSA of the sales. He was ordered to pay more than $262,000 in restitution.

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.