Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 27th

Trump: Impeachment effort Hindering USMCA Would “Be a Shame”

President Donald Trump told reporters this week it “would be a shame” if The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement doesn’t pass through Congress. Speaking during a White House Press Conference, Trump said the fate of USCMA is “going to be a very interesting question.” The White House earlier indicated this week that the impeachment effort by House Democrats “destroyed any chances of legislative progress.” House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson warned the effort will be a “failed process,” and worried about the chances of USMCA getting through Congress. However, some now say the impeachment effort may give the Trump administration more reason to work with Democrats on the agreement. Further, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer indicated earlier this week he was confident the trade agreement could rise above the toxic political climate. Lighthizer told Bloomberg News, “On the merits, this is demonstrably good for the people of the United States. And I think, for that reason, it will pass.” Lighthizer was scheduled to meet with House Democrats Friday.

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Tester Introduces Mental Health Bill for Farmers

A bill introduced by Senator John Tester seeks to bring mental health resources and awareness to rural communities. The Montana Democrat this week introduced the Seeding Rural Resilience Act to help reduce stress and suicides in rural America. While Tester says, “there is no silver bullet,” he says the bill “provides better tools and resources for folks in rural communities to manage and reduce stress.” Data from the Center for Disease Control shows the suicide rate is 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas. Tester says Americans in rural communities deal with substantial isolation, significant travel times for basic health services, lack of broadband access that would enable tele-health services, and stigmas against receiving counseling. The bill would provide Department of Agriculture employees voluntary stress management training, and for a partnership with Department of Health to create a $3 million public awareness campaign, and direct the Agriculture Secretary to work with stakeholders to identify the best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.

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House Passes Bill Allowing Cannabis Industry Access to Banks

The House of Representative this week passed a bill allowing banks to work with the cannabis industry. Known as the SAFE Banking Act, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act of 2019 passed 321 to 103. However, with a mostly party-line vote in the Democrat-led chamber, the legislation faces an uncertain future in the Republican-led Senate. Sponsored by Representative Ed Perlmutter, (pearl-mutter) a Colorado Democrat, the bill allows marijuana-related businesses in states with some form of legalized marijuana and strict regulatory structures to access the banking system. Perlmutter notes that 47 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, representing 97.7 percent of the U.S. population, have legalized some form of recreational or medical marijuana, including CBD oil. The bill was co-authored by Representatives Denny Heck, a Washington Democrat, and Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican. Mike Crapo (cray-poh), a Republican Senator from Idaho who serves as the Senate Banking Chairman, told reporters he wants the Senate to vote on the measure in the coming month. However, Crapo says he does not support the bill.

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Kind Introduces CURD Act to Protect Quality of Cheese

A bipartisan bill introduced by a dairy country lawmaker would create a formal definition of “natural cheese” to ensure consumers are fully informed when purchasing cheese.  Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin, this week introduced the bipartisan Codifying Useful Regulatory Definitions Act, called the CURD Act. Kind says the bill “will give customers the information they need to continue buying the quality Wisconsin cheese their families have used for generations.” The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association says the legislation “preserves our industry’s ability to use this term to describe cheese made naturally with fresh milk and dairy ingredients.”  Cheesemakers have been using this term for decades to differentiate “Natural Cheese” from “Pasteurized Process Cheese” in the grocery store.  The term “natural cheese” is historically used to identify cheeses made directly from milk and distinguish those products from pasteurized process cheeses. It describes cheese that is made from milk to which salt, enzymes, and flavorings can be added, and is the result of the fermentation of milk by adding starter culture.

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Grocery Manufacturers Association to Rebrand in 2020

The Grocery Manufacturers Association announced this week it will become the Consumer Brands Association, effective January 2020. The new identity is part of a sweeping overhaul of the 110-year old trade organization, led by President and CEO Geoff Freeman and the GMA board of directors. Leaders of the organization say GMA’s new advocacy agenda represents the broader interests of a modern consumer packaged goods company by focusing on four core pillars, enhancing packaging sustainability, championing smart regulation, creating frictionless supply chains and building trust, while also advancing a narrative about the industry’s social and economic impact. The organization faced controversy during the GMO labeling debate, along with labeling issues regarding added sugars. In 2017, several high-profile member-companies left the organization because of those issues. The trade organization has already begun to advance its strategic priorities. This summer, it released the industry’s first-ever economic study, which found the industry supports more than 20 million American jobs and contributes $2 trillion to the country’s GDP.

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Farm Bureau Extends Rural Ag Innovation Challenge Application Deadline

Rural entrepreneurs have until mid-October to apply for the Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, will accept applications for the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge through October 14. 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. The funds for the challenge are provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere, Bayer Crop Science, Farm Bureau Bank and Country Financial. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “It takes faith, courage and creativity to start a business,” adding that the funds in the challenge can help entrepreneurs “take their businesses to the next level.” Ten semi-finalist teams will be announced on November 22 and awarded $10,000 each. The ten teams will at the 2020 AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, in January. Competitors can apply online at www.fb.org.

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.