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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 19th

Wheat Farmers Angry About Trump Comments

President Donald Trump’s recent comments on wheat exports to Japan have generated some negative press among one of his biggest groups of supporters. The Hagstrom Report says when the president was speaking in Pennsylvania, one of the topics was the U.S. trade deficit with Japan. Trump said, “They send thousands, even millions of cars to us. We send them wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re okay.” The National Association of Wheat Growers responded quickly via Twitter. “Mr. President, Japan is the number one market for U.S. wheat exports on average, where we hold just over 50 percent of the market. They don’t buy our wheat because ‘they want us to feel okay.’ They buy it because it’s the highest-quality wheat in the world. That’s not fake news.” The negative reaction to Trump’s statement followed farmers venting about the administration’s policies when Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue appeared at Farmfest in Minnesota.

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Democrats Hitting Trump Over Ag Policies

The Democratic National Committee had a lot to say last week about the Trump Administration’s trade policies and the impact those policies are having on U.S. farmers. Politico says this was the fourth time in recent months that the Democrats went after the administration’s stance on agriculture and trade. In an email blast, the DNC says, “Farmers are suffering, and Trump and his administration continue to make it worse.” The email listed several instances in recent weeks that have led to building tension in agriculture. Some of the stories included wheat growers who were furious about Trump’s dismissive comments about wheat exports to Japan, as well as a joke that Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told about farmers whining. The DNC also mentioned ag groups shooting down White House adviser Peter Navarro’s statement that trade aid is “making farmers whole again.” A Trump campaign spokeswoman says the administration is confident farmers will stick with their support of the president. The president talked about his confidence last week on Twitter, saying “Our great farmers know how important it is to win on trade. They will be the big winners.”

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China Makes August U.S. Pork Purchase; More to Come After ASF Outbreak?

The world’s biggest pork consumer bought just over 10,000 tons of U.S. pork sometime between August 2-8. Reuters says that was the biggest purchase of American pork in almost two months. The pork purchase is due for shipment this year as African Swine Fever continues to ravage the world’s biggest pork herd. The Chinese Commerce Ministry had said on August 5 that Chinese companies stopped buying U.S. farm commodities after yet another escalation in the trade war with America. Reuters says it’s not clear if the pork was bought before or after the August announcement. Analysts say the sales are seen as a sign that China needs meat from the United States to help offset the death loss of millions of pigs. Steve Meyer is an economist with the commodity firm Kerns and Associates, who says, “It’s a new booking, which is positive.” China’s duty on American pork sits at a whopping 62 percent. President Trump backed off last week on part of his plan for 10 percent tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports starting on September 1. Late last week, China says it would counter the latest U.S. tariffs.

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Ethanol CEO Tells Industry to Not Stand Quietly

The American Coalition for Ethanol held its annual conference in Omaha, Nebraska, last week. A DTN report says ACE CEO Brian Jennings made an interesting proclamation to the rest of his industry, which is currently on the ropes. Jennings asked members of the ethanol industry to look to the future and to not stand on the sideline while the Environmental Protection Agency continues to grant small refinery waivers to Renewable Fuels Standard requirements. The EPA has now granted enough waivers to total more than four billion gallons of lost ethanol demand in just three years. While all that is happening, a potential 3-billion-gallon export market in China is closed to U.S. producers. That’s going on while doubt about the future of the RFS continues to grow outside the ethanol industry. Jennings says the ethanol industry isn’t doing enough in response to quell some of those concerns. “We have to turn up the volume,” he says. The president directed USDA and EPA to review the waiver program this year, making ethanol believe Trump was aware of the problem. However, the EPA recently announced it had granted another 31 small-refinery exemptions and denied only six for 2018. Jennings says now is the time for the industry to “get angry” and speak up about the harm the EPA is doing to an industry that would be in a much better place without the EPA’s actions.

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Mississippi Companies “Knew” Workers Were Illegal

The recent immigration raids at Mississippi poultry plants are bringing new scrutiny on the processors who employed the 700 arrested workers. An Agri-Pulse report says the Department of Homeland Security wrote in court documents that the companies were ”fully aware” that the workers were undocumented immigrants. In fact, some of the same workers that were arrested had already been detained for being in the country illegally and were wearing ankle bracelets to track their whereabouts. Court affidavits were unsealed and detailed numerous arrests of illegal immigrants over the years who had worked at the seven facilities that were raided. One of the companies had a history of employing undocumented workers up through June of this year. The affidavits also say companies had failed in many cases to verify the eligibility of workers through E-Verify. One affidavit showed a company had employed 25 workers who had not been searched for in the E-Verify System. The National Chicken Council fired off a letter to President Trump saying that the industry uses “every available tool” to find out if workers can legally be employed in the U.S. However, they say the government hasn’t given employers a reliable way to prevent identity fraud and false documentation.

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Center for Consumer Freedom Takes on Alt-Meat Ingredients

The Center for Consumer Freedom is taking on the idea that plant-based meat products are healthier than traditional meats from animals. The CCF began running full-page ads in two of the nation’s biggest publications, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. The ads highlight the processed ingredients in meat substitutes. The ads are part of a larger campaign to educate the public on what’s in plant-based meat. The headline for the watchdog group’s ads says“Fake Meat, Real Chemicals.” The ad then goes on to list the primary ingredients for pork sausage and a non-meat sausage, or bacon and an alternative product. “Despite what the name leads people to think, plant-based meats are not made in gardens, but rather in industrial facilities,” says CCF Managing Director Will Coggin. “Fake meat companies are trying to promote a ‘health halo’ over their products, but consumers should know that imitation meat is highly processed. In some cases, fake meat has more calories and sodium than the real thing.” CCF describes itself as “devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices.”

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.