Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 5th

Ag Getting Attention in Democratic Debates

Agriculture seems to be breaking through as a piece of the environmental puzzle for Democratic presidential candidates. Several of the candidates are putting out their plans to combat climate change as they continue through the debates. For example, Politico says front-runner Joe Biden has proposed taking American agriculture down to net-zero emissions. The former Vice President in the Obama Administration says he wants to “dramatically expand and fortify” a voluntary USDA program that pays farmers to adopt certain practices throughout a five-year contract. He wants the program to be part of potential carbon markets by allowing corporations, individuals, and foundations to help offset their emissions. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont wants to provide grants, technical assistance, and debt relief to support farmers in a transition to more sustainable practices. As a part of his $5 trillion climate plan, former Rep Beto O’Rourke says he would create grants for farmers to secure better soil management and new technologies. Politico says farmers have gotten as many mentions in the context of climate change as they have from the trade war.

*********************************************************************************************

Senate Passes the Family Farmer Relief Act; Ag Groups React

The Senate passed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 late last week. It’s a bill that will expand family farmers’ access to relief under Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy rules by increasing the debt limit from $4.2 million to $10 million. The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier last week and it now moves on to President Trump’s desk for his signature. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says, “Chronic overproduction, an ongoing international trade war, and a series of extreme weather events have created a perfect storm. Farm debt is at a record high, with too many operations being pushed to the brink financially. The Family Farmer Relief Act will give them a chance to stay in business.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says passing the bill sends an important message to American farmers and ranchers. “It shows that elected officials are willing to act in these challenging times,” Duvall says. “The bill allows more farmers an opportunity to qualify for financial restructuring, which means they can keep their lands and livelihoods.” Duvall says his group is anxious for the President to sign the bill. “We also want to thank Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and all the cosponsors for their support of America’s farmers and ranchers,” Duvall added.

**********************************************************************************************  

FCC Approves Order to Help Close Broadband Gap

The Federal Communications Commission approved an order late last week to help better identify gaps in broadband coverage throughout rural America. An Agri-Pulse report says the agency will identify those gaps with a new data collection process. The Commission had previously established a new process to gather data for broadband deployment maps. However, that process has drawn criticism for its inaccuracies. The agency will try to collect more accurate broadband deployment data by communicating with internet service providers and also getting comments from the public on the accuracy of the service maps. FCC Commission Chair Ajit (ah-JIHT) Pai (Pie) says the agency will no longer count everyone in a census block as served by broadband if just one person in a census block is served. A census block in an urban area could be one city block in an urban environment. However, a census block in a rural area could be hundreds of miles. Rural broadband advocates, Congress, as well as Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue, have all criticized the FCC’s broadband access maps as inaccurate. The agency’s most recent report shows that more than 21 million people have no access to high-speed broadband internet.

**********************************************************************************************

Senators Introduce Legislation to Redefine WOTUS

Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Braun of Indiana introduced the Define WOTUS Act last week. Feedstuffs Dot Com says the legislation will codify a definition of the Waters of the U.S.Rule and reassert Congressional authority to define the term. Ernst says the Obama-era rule threatened Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses by giving the federal government authority to regulate water in 97 percent of Iowa. “President Trump has taken tremendous steps to roll back this overreaching regulation and provide more certainty with a new, clearer definition of WOTUS,” Ernst says. However, the Iowa Senator says it’s the job of Congress to make a new, reasonable definition permanent. The definition of WOTUS in the legislation also makes substantial improvements over various administrative attempts to define the term by clearly outlining what is, and is not a federally-regulated waterway. “It gives landowners clear guidelines by which they can go out on their land and clearly determine what is and isn’t regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

**********************************************************************************************

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Responds to Latest Tariff Threat

The Trump Administration’s latest tariff threat is an additional 10 percent duty on $300 billion in Chinese goods. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a nationwide campaign against tariffs, responded to the latest threat. The group spokesman, Jonathan Gold, says, “The Administration is doubling down on a failing strategy. Nobody wins in a trade war and raising tariffs further on American businesses and consumers will only result in slower economic growth, more farm bankruptcies, fewer jobs, and higher prices.” Gold says the new tariffs will target the products American families buy every day, ranging from shoes and apparel to toys and electronics. “We all agree that China is a bad actor,” Gold says, “but an unprecedented tax hike on hardworking Americans is not the answer. It’s time for the administration to come up with a real strategy, put a stop to harmful tariffs, and finally deliver the trade deal Americans have been promised for some time.”

**********************************************************************************************

ASA Accepting Applications for the Conservation Legacy Awards

Farmers are invited to share their stories about how conservation is a part of their everyday operation and could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. The American Soybean Association is currently accepting applications for the Conservation Legacy Award. The award recognizes farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. Reduced tillage, cover crops, or increasing energy efficiency and water quality are just a few of the conservation practices that help farmers produce sustainable U.S. soybeans. All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management, and sustainability. One farmer each from the Midwest, the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and the South will win an award and be recognized at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio. At the classic, one farmer will be named the National Conservation Legacy Award recipient. The award is sponsored by the ASA, BASF, Bayer, the United Soybean Board, and Valent USA. For more information, go to the American Soybean Association’s website.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy

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.