READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S. Implementing Tariffs on EU Products

The U.S. will place tariffs on European Union food products. Following a World Trade Organization win, the U.S., announced the new tariffs, expanding a trade war with the European Union. The U.S. won the largest arbitration award in WTO history of $7.5 billion in a dispute over illegal subsidies to Airbus. Countermeasure tariffs will be applied to a range of imports from EU Member States, with the bulk of the tariffs being applied to imports from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom – the four countries responsible for the illegal subsidies. The U.S. announced this week it will impose a 25 percent tariff on food products, including wine, scotch and cheese. The U.S. will also place a ten percent tariff on large civil aircraft products, and another 25 percent tariff on coffee, and some tools and machinery from Germany. USTR has the authority to apply a 100 percent tariff on affected products, and the authority to increase the tariffs at any time, or change the products affected.

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DMC Payments Top $300 Million

More than 22,000 dairy farmers enrolled in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, paying out more than $300 million this year. The National Milk Producers Federation says none of the assistance would have occurred under the old Margin Protection Program. The DMC program replaced MPP in the 2018 farm bill. Monthly milk price/feed cost margins so far in 2019 have been above the $8 per hundredweight coverage cutoff that existed under MPP, but below the new $9.50 per hundredweight coverage limit under DMC. An analysis of the program found that under the old MPP rules, the total paid out under the entire program so far this year would have been $75,000, about $3 per farmer and a net loss after premium costs. Wisconsin signed up the largest number of farmers, while California enrolled the highest production volume of any state. NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern says, “The Dairy Margin Coverage program has proven its worth.” Enrollment into the program for 2020 begins Monday.

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Senators Call for Financial Certainty for Rural Counties

A group of Senators request any end-of-year legislation include reauthorization of programs to help counties with federal lands. The group seeks at least a two-year reauthorization of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act programs. The programs help rural counties containing tax-exempt federal lands to cover typical tax-funded services. Led by Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, the bipartisan group of 31 Senators penned a letter to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlining the request. The group says, “a short-term reauthorization of at least two years is critical to provide fiscal certainty for counties containing federally-owned lands.” The Senators say Congress has an obligation to ensure counties with large swaths of federally-owned, tax-exempt forests and rangelands can adequately provide essential services for their residents. Nearly 1,900 counties rely on the funding to cover basic services, including law enforcement, mental health programs and libraries. The Payments in Lieu of Taxes program expires at the end of this year, while the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expired last year.

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Study Finds Hydrologic Models may be Inaccurate

A new study by the University of Illinois finds hydrologic models that simulate and predict water flow can be difficult to interpret correctly. The study focuses on the Soil and Water Assessment model, which simulates water circulation by incorporating data on land use, soil, topography, and climate. The models are typically used to estimate how natural systems respond to different scenarios, such as changes in climate, land use, and soil management. The input from the models can inform policy and regulatory decisions regarding water and land management practices. Model accuracy is important to ensure policy decisions are based on realistic scenarios. A researcher involved in the study says if the model is not representing reality, “you are going to draw the wrong conclusions.” And, wrong conclusions will lead to wrong policies, “which can greatly affect communities that rely on the water supply.” The researchers recommend using a combination model, which integrates two different processes to limit variability in results. Funding for the research was provided by the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

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USDA Invests $11M in Research That Will Support Specialty Crop Farmers

The Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Thursday announced $11 million in research funds for specialty crop farmers. The funding will focus on applying innovative solutions to pest management problems “that often are otherwise not available to specialty crop farmers,” according to a USDA statement. The investment is made through the Minor Crop Pest Management Program known as the Interregional Research Project. The program enables crop protection technology often designed for field crops, but equally safe, effective and economical for growers of specialty crops. As part of the funding investment, four universities across different U.S. growing regions will lead regional programs to generate additional data for registration of conventional and bio-based crop protection technology for specialty and minor crops. The efforts require effective collaborations among grower organizations, federal agencies, the private sector, and land-grant colleges and universities. A list of the four universities and their research projects is available on the NIFA website, https://nifa.usda.gov/.

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Smithfield Foods Collects 130,000 Pounds of Food for Feeding America

Employees of Smithfield Foods collected more than 130,000 pounds of food in support of Hunger Action Month, the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks’ awareness campaign. Smithfield announced the donation this week, stating, “We’re proud to have our employees go above and beyond to support their neighbors in need.” The campaign from Feeding America seeks to raise awareness of the fact that 37 million Americans, including more than 11 million children, are food insecure, and inspire action. For 11 years, Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner food pantries, has dedicated the month of September to re-igniting its commitment to ending hunger. In addition to employee efforts during Hunger Action Month, Smithfield works with Feeding America throughout the year for the company’s hunger-relief initiative Helping Hungry Homes. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Smithfield has donated more than 140 million servings of protein across all 50 U.S. states.

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.