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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 20th

Former Ag Secretaries Join in Support of USMCA

A group of former Agriculture Secretaries joined current Secretary Sonny Perdue in backing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The group signed a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to pass the trade agreement to “provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy.” The group included former Agriculture Secretaries John Block, Mike Espy, Dan Glickman, Ann Veneman, Mike Johanns, Ed Shafer and Tom Vilsack. Secretary Perdue says the letter shows support for USMCA “crosses all political parties, specifically when it comes to the agriculture community.” USDA says the agreement will create new market access opportunities for U.S. exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs. In exchange, the U.S. will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products. Canada and Mexico are the first and second-largest export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in exports last year, supporting more than 325,000 American jobs.

(Press conference audio available https://nafb.com/node/505)

Dairy Margin Coverage Enrollment Deadline Extended

The Department of Agriculture is giving dairy producers an extra week to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program. USDA’s Bill Northey told lawmakers Thursday the deadline will extend to September 27. Northey made the comment during a House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing. The Farm Service Agency later announced the deadline extension. More than 21,000 dairy farmers have signed up for the program. Authorized by the 2018 farm bill, the program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost, known as the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium. USDA encourages dairy producers to visit their Farm Service Agency office to learn more and enroll.

Study Confirms ASF Survives in Animal Feed

Researchers at Kansas State University say African swine fever can survive in feed grains, prompting greater concerns of the disease spreading. The research confirms the virus can survive a simulated 30-day transoceanic voyage in contaminated plant-based feed and ingredients. Detailed analysis shows the half-life of African swine fever in feed ranges from 9.6 to 14.2 days after exposure to varying temperature and humidity conditions simulating transoceanic shipment. This means it would take approximately two weeks for the total viable virus concentration to decay by half its original count during shipment. Over the last year, African swine fever has emerged on new continents and spread to historically negative countries. Surviving shipments overseas provides an opportunity for the virus to infect swine in the United States and other countries through imported feed. African swine fever is now considered endemic in China, where pork production is forecasted to fall 25 percent by the end of the year. The disease has also spread to several other Asian countries and recently to Western Europe.

AFIA: Japan Trade Agreement a Boon for Animal Food Industry

The American Feed Industry Association says a trade agreement with Japan will allow America’s animal food and ingredient manufacturers greater access into Japan’s marketplace. President Donald Trump recently notified Congress of his intent to sign an agreement with Japan. AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman says the organization is hopeful the agreement “will show progress” in bringing the U.S. animal food industry closer to tariff levels offered to U.S. competitors in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan represents the United States’ third-largest export market behind Canada and Mexico for feed, feed ingredients and pet food products at a value of $986 million in 2018. The agreement is expected to be signed along the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month. Agriculture has welcomed the agreement because it will remove market access barriers for U.S. exports to Japan. Top U.S. agricultural exports to Japan currently include beef, corn, pork, soybeans and wheat, totally $13 billion last year.

Health Groups Propose Recommendations on Drinks for Children

Leading medical and nutrition organizations recommend staying away from added sugars in drinks for children five and under. The groups say breast milk, infant formula, water and plain milk are part of the new set of beverage recommendations for children. They caution against beverages with added sugars, including flavored and low-calorie sweetened beverages. The new guidelines add to recommendations to avoid other drinks on the market targeting children such as toddler formulas, caffeinated beverages, and plant-based/non-dairy milks which provide no unique nutritional value. The recommendations were developed as part of a collaboration by experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association. The groups say research shows that what children drink from birth through age five has a big impact on their health, both now and for years to come. Spokesperson Megan Lott says the recommendations “represent a clear set of objective, science-based recommendations for healthy drink consumption.”

USDA Highlights 2018 Food Spending Habits

U.S. consumers spent $1.71 trillion on food and beverages in 2018, according to the Department of Agriculture. USDA’s Economic Research Service says spending at food-away-from-home establishments, restaurants, school cafeterias, sports venues, and other eating places, accounted for 54.4 percent of expenditures. The remaining 45.6 percent took place at grocery stores, supercenters, convenience stores, and other retailers. However, USDA says a 54.4-percent share of food expenditures does not equate to 54.4 percent of food quantities, as food purchased away from home is generally higher priced than food prepared at home. Food-away-from-home outlets incur costs for the workers required to prepare and serve food, as well as for buildings, equipment, and utilities. The away-from-home market, which accounted for about one-third of total food expenditures 50 years ago at 33.8 percent, has grown through the decades, except in some recession years. During most of the 2007–09 recession, food away from home spending stayed at or just below 50 percent before rising to 50.1 percent in 2009 and continuing to grow.

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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