READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ross Optimistic U.S. Will Reach Phase One Agreement with China

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross seems confident the U.S. and China will reach a “phase one” agreement this month on trade. Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Ross says the U.S. and China are “making good process,” according to Bloomberg News. He added that Iowa, Alaska, Hawaii and locations in China were all possible places for Trump and Xi Jinping to sign the deal after  Chile canceled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The two leaders were expected to sign the agreement during the event in Chile later this month. President Donald Trump told reporters that if an agreement is reached, it would be signed somewhere in the United States. China Monday offered little comment regarding a location to sign the agreement, only to say the U.S. and China are in constant communication. Meanwhile, Ross wouldn’t say whether the U.S. would halt new tariffs on China planned in December. China has asked the U.S. to suspend the December round of tariffs, as a condition of signing the phase one agreement.

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Pence Presses House Democrats to Hold USMCA Vote

Vice President Mike Pence again called on the House of Representatives to bring the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to a vote. Speaking at an event in Virginia over the weekend, Pence says Democrats in the House “are spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment.” Pence told the event, “The time has come for your congressmen and every Democrat from Virginia to put politics aside and pass USMCA.” House Democrats maintain the impeachment process will not impede progress on the trade agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week hinted she was optimistic they could reach a deal with the White House. Few days remain on the legislative calendar to pass the agreement this year, and the House is on recess this week. Pelosi told reporters last week, “hopefully we can do it sooner,” but she wouldn’t rule out the process stretching into next year. The U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to the accord now more than a year ago, and Mexico ratified the agreement this summer.

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Trump Names FDA Commissioner Nominee

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration offers a bolstered resume in the medical field. Trump recently announced Stephen Hahn of Texas as the nominee to be the next FDA Commissioner. Hahn has been Chief Medical Executive at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, since May of 2018. MDACC is a research-driven patient care organization that has approximately 21,000 employees with an annual revenue of $5 billion and the largest number of clinical trials in the United States. As a radiation oncologist, Dr. Hahn specializes in treating lung cancer and sarcoma. Politico reports Hahn offers a sharp contrast from former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, as Hahn’s last government job was in the 1990s, while Gotleib had a wealth of federal experience when nominated. The nomination passes over acting commissioner Ned Sharpless, who is the former head of the National Cancer Institute. Hahn must be confirmed by the Senate.

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Bill Would Create New USDA Agency Focused on Supporting Innovation

Legislation introduced Monday would create a new research agency in the Department of Agriculture. Introduced by Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and Representative Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat, the legislation would create the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Terra (Latin for land) to invest in innovative technologies that increase economic opportunity for farmers. ARPA–Terra would provide competitive funding to land-grant universities for early stage research on technologies that industry might not undertake due to the long-term and high-risk technological barriers that exist. The agency will enable the United States to develop technologies – and put them in the hands of farmers to enhance export competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and crop resilience to extreme weather. Axne says the bill “will help our researchers continue to lead the way in Agriculture science and development.” Bennet says the legislation will “strengthen American global leadership in agricultural research and development.” The lawmakers point out that the legislation is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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USDA Broadband Investments Continue

Continuing support for rural broadband, the Department of Agriculture Monday announced a $3.8 million broadband investment in Virginia. The announcement creates and improves high-speed broadband connections to more than 1,250 rural homes in Virginia as part of the new ReConnect Pilot Program investments. DJ LaVoy, deputy undersecretary for rural development, says the USDA mission of increasing rural prosperity “cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide rural communities face.” In March of 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the ReConnect program in December, and started receiving applications in May of this year. USDA received 146 applications requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products, a 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis. Additional investments will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Iowa Signs Propane Delivery Relief Emergency Proclamation

Propane delivery issues prompted Iowa’s Governor to sign an emergency proclamation last week. The Emergency Executive Order signed by Governor Kim Reynolds will help “help resolve delivery challenges resulting from increased seasonal propane demands,” according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture. The proclamation exempts drivers of commercial motor vehicles delivering propane from the hours of service requirements during November. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says a late harvest and wet weather has left farmers with higher-than-normal moisture levels in their corn. The propane industry states there is propane available in the Midwest, but there are transportation and pipeline capacity limitations that are creating logistical challenges. The Iowa Department of Agriculture is working with the Iowa Propane Gas Association to monitor the situation and explore options to expedite the delivery of propane to homes, farms and businesses. The industry is tracking potential interruptions to rail or pipeline distribution lines and working with those industries to help facilitate the movement of propane during peak demand periods.

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.