Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 8th

U.S. Tariff Bill Spikes to $6 Billion Monthly

Tariffs are now costing the U.S. up to $6 billion a month, according to Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. The trade group says American businesses and consumers paid $6 billion in tariffs in June 2019, one of the highest tariffed months in U.S. history. The June figure is up 2.5 billion, or 74 percent, from the same month last year. The data, compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, is the first look at the impact of the escalation of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent in May. The data comes days after President Trump announced yet another round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods, which are set to take effect September 1. China responded to by stopping purchases of U.S. ag products. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold says the tariffs are “costing American jobs, raising prices, hurting farmers and derailing U.S. economic growth.” In total, American taxpayers have paid over $27 billion in extra import tariffs since the trade war began.

Texas Dem Says No USMCA Vote Until November or December

A Texas Democrat says Congress won’t consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement until November or December. Speaking at the International Sweetener Symposium, Representative Filemon Vela (fill-e-mon Vay-la) says he is confident a vote won’t happen in September or October, as Republicans have demanded, according to the Hagstrom Report. Vela noted there are still concerns regarding the agreement among House Democrats. Vela is chairman of the House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. While Republicans say there are enough votes to pass the agreement now, Vela disagrees. Agriculture groups have called on Congress to pass USMCA, to return some certainty to the global trade climate. Mexico has already ratified the agreement and Canada is in the process of ratifying USMCA. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Wednesday penned an editorial promoting the agreement. Grassley says USMCA will preserve duty-free trade with Canada and Mexico, and establish stronger enforcement tools to verify origin. Grassley says he will continue to advocate for the passage of USMCA.

Schumer-Backed Funding to Create Hemp Seed Bank

Funding supported by New York Senator Chuck Schumer will help Cornell University create the first hemp seed bank in the United States. Schumer says work will soon begin at the nation’s only Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository located at Cornell University. The program will be rebuilt with an initial $500,000 investment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The funding for the repository is targeted towards re-establishing a national public industrial hemp seed bank. The seed bank will help breeders and scientists develop new cultivars, while also helping to identify genes for pest and disease resistance. While there was previously a national industrial hemp seed bank, it was destroyed along with the industrial hemp seed collection when the crop was designated a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, changes in the 2018 farm bill removed the designation. Schumer says the funding and new seed bank will help “scientists at Cornell to help boost industrial hemp entrepreneurship.”

Florida Tomato Growers Accuse Mexico of Blackmail

Florida tomato growers are accusing Mexico of trying to blackmail the U.S. into backing away from President Trump’s commitment to strong and aggressive enforcement of U.S. unfair trade law. Mexico claims the U.S. Department of Commerce isn’t negotiating fairly in talks for a new Tomato Suspension Agreement, and that they are being forced into an unreasonable agreement. However, the Florida Tomato Exchange in a news release says Mexico is leaving out the fact that they are an equal party in the negotiations. The group says the negotiations are the result of a preliminary finding that the Mexican industry is dumping tomatoes in the U.S. market. Mexico’s tomato growers are now demanding the Mexican government retaliate against U.S. ag products exported to Mexico, if the U.S. Commerce Department doesn’t eliminate part of its proposal. The proposal includes border inspections of Mexican tomatoes under a new suspension agreement. However, the U.S. group agrees with the proposal, saying border inspections will ensure that the provisions of any new suspension agreement are enforced.

California Approves Storage of B20, Opening Biodiesel Market

California has cleared the way for storing biodiesel blends of up to 20 percent in underground storage tanks, removing the last major barrier to biodiesel. Through an effort lasting more than ten years, the National Biodiesel Board and the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance provided the State Water Board with data showing B20 compatibility in underground storage tanks. NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen (don-NELL Ray-HAY-gen) says the change is “a major victory towards biodiesel’s mainstream integration into the California fuel supply.” The California State Water Resources Control Board amended storage regulations on August 6. The regulations now say that diesel containing up to B20, “shall be recognized as equivalent to diesel for the purpose of complying with existing approval requirements.” The language reverses the previous wording of the regulation, which required tank owners to prove that every component of the tank was compatible. The California Air Resources Board says biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases by at least 50 percent, and often by as much as 81 percent compared to petroleum.

Farm Bureau Announces 2020 Ag Innovation Challenge

The American Farm Bureau Federation has opened online applications for the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. In its sixth year, the Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition for U.S. food and agriculture startups. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Launched in 2015 as the first national competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs. The competition continues in its sixth year to provide an opportunity for U.S. startups to showcase business innovations in food and agriculture. Startup funds for the Challenge are provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere, Bayer Crop Science, Farm Bureau Bank, Country Financial and Farm Bureau Financial Services. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says AFBF is “very interested to see how entrepreneurs will use startup funds provided by the Challenge to take their businesses to the next level.” To apply for the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge, competitors can apply online at www.fb.org by midnight Eastern Standard Time on September 30, 2019.

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.

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