READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 8th

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China, U.S., Strike Tariff Rollback Agreement

The U.S. and China will roll back tariffs if they strike a preliminary deal, a move requested by China before signing a phase one trade agreement. The signing of the agreement may be now delayed until next month, but the two sides continue to wrap up the talks, according to the South China Morning Post. A spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry says, “top negotiators have had serious and constructive discussions on resolving issues of core concerns” over the last two weeks. China’s Agriculture Ministry announced it will consider removing restrictions on the import of U.S. poultry. China says the U.S. and China should remove tariffs simultaneously, as part of reaching the agreement. If reached, the agreement would be welcome news to U.S. agriculture, as it’s thought to include $40-50 billion of U.S. ag exports to China over the next two years. U.S. agricultural exports to China dropped roughly $10 billion annually, half the usual amount since the trade war began.

U.S. Democrats Tell Trudeau USMCA Negotiations Near Completion

A delegation of U.S. House Democrats this week told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement negotiations are nearly complete. Led by Representative Richard Neal, the group met with Trudeau and other top officials from Canada. Neal says of the talks, “Significant progress is being achieved” on the agreement. Trudeau says the group talked about jobs and opportunities USCMA will create and how they will “work together to keep strengthening the long-standing relationship between Canada and the United States.” Few U.S. legislative days remain to pass the agreement in 2019, with Congress mired by the House impeachment inquiry and the need to quickly pass spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week appeared optimistic the White House and her chamber could reach an agreement to pass USMCA. However, she suggested the process may linger into 2020. Neal says House Democrats continue to engage in productive discussions with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to “achieve their priorities” in the agreement.

NPPC Launches USMCA Campaign

The National Pork Producers council Thursday launched a campaign to highlight the importance and benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The “It’s Pork O’ Clock Somewhere,” campaign focuses on pork and the many ways it’s enjoyed across North America. NPPC president David Herring says, “Ratification of USMCA is the top priority for U.S. pork producers, and there is no better way to highlight its importance.” Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. The campaign thanks lawmakers for making USMCA ratification this year a priority and highlights the history behind pork-related dishes in the United States, Mexico and Canada. For example, tacos al pastor from Mexico have origins in the Lebanese method of cooking meat on a spit, referred to as shawarma. The tacos are a staple in Mexico City, where taco shops and stands line the streets. Last year, the United States sent more than 770,000 tons, worth $1.3 billion, of pork to Mexico. To learn more about NPPC’s campaign, visit

EPA Seeks Nominations for Farm/Rural Federal Advisory Committee

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler Thursday asked for nominees to serve on the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee. EPA is seeking 20-30 nominees to serve on the committee that provides independent policy advice, information and recommendations to EPA’s Administrator on environmental issues and policies important to agriculture and rural communities. Members will be selected from a variety of sectors and may represent allied industries and stakeholders, including farm groups, rural suppliers, marketers, processors, academia/researchers, state, local, and tribal government, and nongovernmental organizations. The previous charter for the committee was scheduled to expire and was renewed in 2018. However, the committee currently has no members. EPA is specifically seeking 20-30 members for two-three-year terms, and the committee expects to meet approximately twice a year. Applications must be received by EPA by December 31, 2019. Full details about qualifications and how to apply will be published in the Federal Register Notice, and on the EPA’s website.

USDA Finds Genetic Path to Double Sorghum Yield

Scientists with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have discovered genes in sorghum that can double the amount of grain the plant produces. Their findings, spelled out in a series of papers, are based on years of research that initially focused on a search for the genetic underpinnings of high yielding strains of sorghum. They also lay out a potential strategy for increasing the yields not only of sorghum but of other grain crops, such as corn, wheat and rice. Sorghum is drought tolerant and is an important crop for farmers worldwide. Increasing production is considered a key to addressing the threat of food shortages in the years ahead with changing climates, growing populations overseas and the loss of arable land in many parts of the world. Their results show that the gene, known as MSD1, is a major regulator of a cascading series of events along a genetic pathway. They found two other genes in the genetic pathway, and say mutating any of the three genes causes a similar increase in grain yield.

Hemp Farmer Says New York Police Mistook Hemp Shipment as Marijuana

Police in New York last week intercepted and seized a shipment of organic hemp, allegedly mistaking it for marijuana. Vermont’s NBC-5 reports Fox Holler Farms of New Haven, Vermont, took a 106 lbs. shipment of organic hemp to FedEx, and “made clear what it was,” adding the shipment was legal. However, police acted on an apparent tip and seized the shipment, and arrested a CBD shop owner who arrived to pick up the boxes. The farm owners allege detectives seemed unaware of the difference between hemp and marijuana. While hemp and marijuana look similar, the farm owners say paperwork and testing information was included in the shipment. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp production, but it must be tested to be sure it meets federal guidelines of low THC levels. Vermont agriculture leaders say they have contacted New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball, to make him aware of the situation, hoping he might help sort out the confusion. Meanwhile, New York police continue their investigation.

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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