READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, December 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Pelosi Announces USMCA Deal with White House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday morning announced a “win” for workers and Democrats, saying they reached an agreement with the Trump Administration to move the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement forward. Pelosi says the agreement is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.” Representative Richard Neal, a Democrat who helped lead the effort, says Democrats support the new agreement because they crafted the details of the improved trade pact. President Donald Trump says the agreement is “Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions,” adding USMCA has “tremendous support.” The Trump administration now must send implementing legislation to the House. Neal told reporters a vote in the House isn’t likely this week, but adds “we’re close,” saying he’s hopeful for a vote possibly next week. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement “improves virtually every component” of its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Perdue adds, “the House and Senate need to work diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”

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Farm Groups Welcome USMCA Announcement

Agriculture groups applauded the announcement by House Democrats regarding a deal with the Trump Administration on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In a statement, National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross says, “NCGA appreciates the bipartisan efforts between Speaker Pelosi, Ambassador Lighthizer and the House working group to reach an agreement.” While the announcement is a step forward, agriculture groups are calling for quick passage of the agreement. The National Chicken Council in a statement says that after a year of negotiations,” the time to act is now,” adding “We encourage swift Congressional consideration and passage of USMCA before Christmas.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “This is an opportunity for Congress not only to help U.S. farmers and ranchers turn the corner on trade, but also show that Washington can still get things done on a bipartisan basis.” Once the agreement is sent to Congress for a vote, Congress has 90 congressional days, 45 in the House and 45 in the Senate, to consider USMCA.

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December WASDE Report Mostly Unchanged

The monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report offered little to excite or scare markets Tuesday. As the market and trade experts expected, there was little change in the monthly figures by the Department of Agriculture, with no change to corn and soybean production expectations or yields. Trade experts say it’s likely significant updates will wait until the January 2020 WASDE report. The projected season-average farm price for corn was unchanged at $3.85 per bushel. Meanwhile, Total U.S. oilseed production for 2019/2020 is forecast at 107.6 million tons, down slightly due to a decrease for cottonseed. Soybean supply and use projections for 2019/2020 are unchanged from last month. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2019/2020 is forecast at $8.85 per bushel, down 15 cents. The outlook for 2019/20 U.S. wheat is for decreased supplies, higher exports, and lower ending stocks. Wheat imports are lowered 15 million bushels to 105 million on a slower than expected pace to date. And, the season-average farm price for wheat was lowered $0.05 per bushel to $4.55.

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GOA to Review USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The Government Accountability Office will review the Department of Agriculture Emergency Watershed Protection Program. The announcement follows a request by Senators Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican. Bennet and Romney requested that the GAO focus on several specific items, including approval processes under the program, project timelines, opportunities to expand eligible projects, and agency and stakeholder views of the program. Administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Senators call the program an important tool designed to reduce financial strain and help communities across the West address imminent threats following a wildfire. However, communities often face challenges when attempting to use the program to support recovery efforts, including after fires in Colorado and Utah in 2018. The GAO review, which will commence in the coming months, will lead to recommendations to improve EWP and more effectively assist communities recovering from wildfires across the West.

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Farmers Union Urges White House to Replace Aromatics with Biofuels

The National Farmers Union Tuesday sent a letter to President Donald Trump endorsing the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition recommendation to lower air toxic emissions caused by the use of gasoline aromatics. Following the coalition’s position, the organization suggested that aromatics be replaced with biofuels, which NFU says are higher octane, burn more cleanly, and are “far better” in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and public health. NFU is a longtime proponent of replacing toxic aromatics with ethanol, filing comments to that effect on several different rulemakings, including the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule. In a statement, NFU President Roger Johnson emphasized the benefits of doing so and advised the administration to adopt the recommendations. Johnson says biofuels are “substantially cleaner than petroleum-based octane additives,” and cost-effective and readily available. Johnson urged the administration to make the change, that would “reduce health care costs, ease compliance burdens, and provide lower-cost fuel for consumers.”

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Extreme Weather Leads to Silage Mycotoxin Concerns

Given the extreme weather in 2019, producers and users of silage should carefully watch for molds and mycotoxins. In a company news release, Alltech says extreme weather conditions and moisture levels can reduce yields and induce plant stress, and they can also lead to future issues for the crop, including mycotoxins and molds. Mycotoxins are a concern for livestock producers, as they influence feed quality and animal safety. Samples of the 2019 corn silage from across the U.S. submitted to the Alltech mycotoxin analytical services laboratory include high levels of mycotoxins. The samples have included an average of 7.13 mycotoxins, with a range of two to 14 mycotoxins per sample. Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with the Alltech Mycotoxin Management team, says, “These levels of mycotoxins found in the 2019 crop are significantly higher than the average values.” He recommends livestock producers across the U.S. should test their own corn silage to identify the levels of individual mycotoxins and the subsequent risk present to livestock health and performance.

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.