READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, October 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EPA Biofuels Proposal Comes up Short for Ethanol Industry

The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday released its plan to change the Renewable Fuel Standard regarding small refinery exemptions. However, biofuels proponents don’t approve of the changes. The National Biodiesel Board says in a statement the notice “contains a never-before-discussed proposal to estimate small refinery exemptions, with no assurance that the estimate will come close to actual exemptions.” The EPA says the notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy. However, Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper called the terms of the announcement baffling, because the proposal uses “the very same DOE recommendations that EPA blatantly ignored over and over.” The EPA will hold a public forum on October 30, 2019.

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China Wants More Phase One Talks

Optimism over a trade breakthrough with China is fading as China wants more talks this month to work out the details of the “phase one” agreement. Bloomberg News reports China may send another trade delegation to Washington, to finalize a written agreement. A statement from China’s Commerce Ministry noted “substantial progress” in the talks last week on agriculture and other provisions. However, China wants President Donald Trump to cancel plans to increase tariffs in December. The phase one agreement could be signed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this week suggested work in the coming weeks to ready the agreement, adding, if not, the U.S. will impose the December tariff increase. As part of the agreement, President Trump says China will purchase $40-50 billion of U.S. agricultural goods over the next couple of years. Trump said this week, “They’re going to have to buy more land fast and lots of tractors,” regarding the economic impact of the agreement for farmers.

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Manufacturing Groups, Businesses, Ask Congress to Pass USMCA

A group of business organizations wants Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Led by the National Association of Manufacturers, the group of more than 350 associations and businesses sent a letter to Congress urging approval of the agreement. The groups support the call by saying, “Canada and Mexico alone, despite representing less than four percent of the global economy, buy more U.S.-manufactured goods than our next 11 trading partners combined.” Mexico’s government has ratified the USMCA. It now awaits approval from lawmakers in Canada and the United States. Canada is expected to ratify the agreement following its national elections later this month. The coalition says USMCA would spur economic growth and provide much-needed certainty for manufacturers across North America. The letter also says the deal includes “best-in-class” intellectual property rules, and would expand U.S. manufacturing access to Canada and Mexico, while providing a level playing field. Signatories on the letter include international agribusiness and food companies, along with animal feed and food manufacturing associations.

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Study Shows Pig Farmers Improving Their Environmental Footprint Through Efficiencies

A new environmental study shows that pig farms are generating less manure nutrient content associated with odor. Data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at 182 North Carolina farms shows significant reductions in ammonia levels and manure nutrient content. The improvements are attributed to gains in feed efficiency, which means it takes less feed to raise a pig. The Pork Checkoff, which funded the study, announced the findings Tuesday. The study found that North Carolina pig farmers have significantly increased feed efficiency over the past 17 years. Long-term, continuous improvement has resulted in trending reductions in nutrient content in manure lagoons at the farms. Specifically, data gathered from the participating North Carolina pig farms showed a reduction of 35 percent to 78 percent in the nutrient content from hog finishers in primary lagoons, and a reduction of 17 percent to 68 percent in primary lagoons for sow farms. Also, the study showed a reduction of 22 percent to 54 percent in ammonia levels.

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Growth Energy Announces New Chairman of the Board

Following a year of milestones for the biofuels industry, Growth Energy this week announced the election of Dan Sanders as the association’s new chairman of the board of directors. Sanders is the vice president of Front Range Energy, a 48 million gallon ethanol production facility located in Colorado. Front Range Energy joined Growth Energy in 2008, when the organization was founded. As chairman, Sanders succeeds Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, LLC, who held the position since the association’s inception in 2008, and through the successful campaign to achieve year-round E15, the original goal on which the association was founded. Upon reaching the industry milestone, Broin announced in September he would step down as chairman, but plans to remain an active member of the Growth Energy Board. Sanders previously served as vice-chair of the board, which will now be filled by Mitch Miller. Miller is the chief executive officer and managing director for Michigan’s Carbon Green BioEnergy.

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Illinois Ag Department Announces New Dicamba Restrictions

The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently announced additional label restrictions for the 2020 growing season for dicamba. Agriculture Director John Sullivan announced the rules due to a dramatic rise in the number of off-target complaints received during the 2019 growing season, adding “the department is taking action to reduce those numbers.” The new restrictions halt the use of dicamba after June 20, 2020. The new regulations also prohibit the application of dicamba if the air temperature at the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day of application exceeds 85 degrees. Applicators also must maintain the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site. In addition to these provisions’, applicators must follow the federal guidelines when it comes to applying dicamba, including taking an annual certified applicator training course.

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.