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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, August 30th

Trump Says Farmers will be Happy with Ethanol Package

President Donald Trump says “the farmers will be so happy” when they see what the White House is doing for ethanol. On Twitter, Trump says “it will be a giant package, get ready.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Farm Progress Show this week said President Trump would announce details within the next couple of weeks. Perdue declined to offer any details, other than he pushed for easier access to higher blends of biofuels. Trump says that while the package will be welcomed by farmers, it also saved “the small refineries from certain closing.” Ethanol groups have charged that small refinery waivers are killing demand for biofuels, because they exempt refiners from complying with volume requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced 31 waivers for small refineries in 2020. In the last year of the Obama administration, the EPA issued seven waivers. Trump has held several White House meetings with cabinet members over the last two weeks, working a mitigation package.

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Weekly Ethanol Production Increases as More Plants Close

Weekly ethanol production increased 1.6 percent this week, according to the Energy Information Association. The slight increase comes as ethanol producers say they are struggling due to small refinery waivers that are diminishing demand for ethanol. POET, the world’s largest biofuels producer, announced last week it has reduced production at half of its biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, numerous jobs will be consolidated across POET’s 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri. This week, the leadership of the Minnesota Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago announced its closure. The plant was expected to halt production as early as this week. The shareholder-owned plant is laying off about 40 employees. The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy both say the waivers are causing the closures are harming rural America’s economy. The Trump administration fix to the ethanol market is expected in the next couple of weeks.

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USDA Plans Foreign Animal Disease Exercise in September

The Department of Agriculture and the pork industry will hold a foreign animal disease exercise next month. The industry is working on a “full function” exercise that will be conducted the week of September 23. The effort will focus on a fictional outbreak of African swine fever and the subsequent response by federal and state authorities, along with the rest of the pork industry. Industry leaders say the exercise should better prepare the U.S. pork industry and its stakeholders in the event of an outbreak. The drill will focus on exercising plans, policies, procedures and staff members involved in management, direction, command and control functions. National Pork Board senior vice president of science and technology, Dr. Dave Pyburn, says, “We’re trying to create a realistic scenario of a confirmed foreign animal disease in this country to see how each stakeholder reacts and to find the gaps that need more work.” To find out if your state is participating, contact your state pork association office.

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FAPRI Releases U.S. Baseline Outlook Report Update

Excessive spring rain, trade disputes and African swine fever have disrupted agricultural markets in 2019. Despite reduced 2019 United States corn and soybean production prospects, prices for many commodities are under downward pressure because of the many factors that have weakened demand. Economists with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri just released an update to its baseline price report. Assuming a return to more normal weather conditions in 2020, “projected corn and soybean production should rebound,” according to researcher Pat Westhoff. Projected 2020-21 marketing year average prices for corn fall to $3.39 per bushel and soybean prices fall to $7.94 per bushel. This year’s update was prepared the week of August 19. Policies in place at that time, including China’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans and other farm products, are assumed to remain in place. The update uses 2019 acreage, yield and production estimates included in United States Department of Agriculture’s August 2019 Crop Production report.

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American Dairy Coalition Seeks Scientific Review of EPA Nitrate Study

The American Dairy Coalition wants a scientific review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 nitrate report. In a letter to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, the coalition says the 2013 report never received a proper scientific review, and is a “flawed and damaging” report. The EPA Yakima Nitrate Report began in 2010 and was published in 2012 and 2013. The coalition says the report has been proven false by fifteen national agricultural science experts, and was developed without the peer-review required on “influential science information” as the study was categorized. Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition, says, “It is vital that the administration demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the integrity and transparency of science.” The coalition is concerned for farmers that have already been severely affected by the report and believes EPA must stop a “dangerous precedence” from being set which could impact other farmers throughout the United States. Usage of the study led to highly disciplinary enforcement and threats of federal litigation, which has devastated four large dairy farms.

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Deere Appoints New CEO

Deere & Company announced the appointment of John C. May as CEO. May, who has served as Deere’s president and chief operating officer since April 2019, will assume the CEO role on November 4, 2019. May will take the place of Samuel Allen, who will continue as chairman after he steps down from the CEO role. Allen says May’s experience in precision agriculture, information technology, and overseas operations “will be instrumental in driving the company’s digitalization journey and extending its success in agricultural and construction equipment.” May becomes the 10th chief executive in the company’s 182-year history. The 50-year-old May joined Deere in 1997 and became part of the senior management team in 2012 as president, agricultural solutions and chief information officer. Last year, he was named president, of the Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division. Earlier in his career, May headed the company’s China operations, served as factory manager at an Iowa Deere facility and was vice president of the turf and utility platform.

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.