READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, January 24th

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EPA Announces WOTUS Change

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, announced a new “clear definition for Waters of the United States.” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides “much needed regulatory certainty and predictability for American farmers.” The rule recognizes the difference between federally protected wetlands and state protected wetlands, and adheres to the statutory limits of the agencies’ authority. The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters, perennial and intermittent tributaries, certain lakes, ponds and impoundments, and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters. The final action also details what waters are not subject to federal control, including features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, groundwater, many ditches, including most farm and roadside ditches, prior converted cropland, farm and stock watering ponds, and waste treatment systems.

Ag, Environmental Groups, React to EPA WOTUS Announcement

The Waters Advocacy Coalition applauds the new Clean Water rule that brings clarity and certainty to enforcement of the Clean Water Act. The coalition is a broad cross-section of small businesses, farmers, ranchers and builders, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the WOTUS replacement Thursday. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says AFBF supports the new rule, as it allows “farmers to understand water regulations without having to hire teams of consultants and lawyers.” National Pork Producers Council President David Herring says the previous WOTUS rule was “a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands.” Now, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the new rule removes “undue burdens and strangling regulations” from farmers. The response from agriculture was expected, as was the response from Environmental groups. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the Trump administration is “stripping protections” from streams and wetlands, adding “It’s a blatant disregard for science, and for public health.”

Farmers Optimistic Despite Challenging 2019

A new poll finds farmers are optimistic for 2020, despite a challenging 2019. The DTN/Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index rose to 164.1 in December 2019, significantly higher than the Index of 110.2 in March and the December 2018 level of 109.2. The long, drawn-out, challenging crop year, along with trade battles, didn’t dampen their mood for the future, or their feelings about the Trump administration. About 75 percent of farmers said that if the 2020 presidential election was held at that time, they would vote to reelect the current administration. About a quarter said they would likely not vote for the current administration. Farmers were surveyed in mid-to-late December, when President Donald Trump announced a phase one trade agreement with China, and the House of Representatives approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, sending the trade deal to the Senate. The DTN/Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index is conducted three times a year, before planting, before harvest, and before the end of the year.

Export Exchange 2020 Scheduled For October

The U.S. Grains Council announced Export Exchange 2020 this week, scheduled for October 7-9. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, uniquely focuses on connecting international grain buyers with U.S. suppliers. Export Exchange 2020 will take place at the Loews Kansas City hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. More than 200 international purchasers and end-users of U.S. coarse grains and related products are expected to join an estimated 300 U.S. producers, agribusinesses and representatives at the event. In addition to business-to-business meetings and an exhibit hall, the conference will address critical issues facing U.S. exports to build awareness of the benefits of U.S. corn, sorghum, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other products. The grain buyers from 35 countries who attended Export Exchange 2018 in Minneapolis reported purchasing approximately 2.1 million metric tons of coarse grains and co-products traded either at the conference or immediately before or after, valued at an estimated $403 million.

Climate Change and Other Issues Move Doomsday Clock: 100 Seconds to Midnight

The metaphorical Doomsday Clock set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was set at 100 seconds until midnight this week, as the organization says, “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change.” Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, says, “We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.” Regarding climate change, the organization says governmental action still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand. The Doomsday Clock has now moved closer to midnight in three of the last four years. While the Doomsday Clock did not move in 2019, its minute hand was set forward in 2018 by 30 seconds, to two minutes to midnight. The clock was adjusted in 2017 to two and a half minutes to midnight from its previous setting of three minutes to midnight.

Americans to Eat Record 1.4 Billion Chicken Wings for Super Bowl

The National Chicken Council Thursday released its annual Chicken Wing Report, projecting Americans to consume a record-breaking 1.4 billion wings during the upcoming Super Bowl weekend. Americans’ love for wings continues to grow. This year’s wing consumption estimate is a two percent increase over 2019, meaning Americans will eat 27 million more wings during this year’s big game weekend versus last year’s. To put that in perspective, if Kansas City Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid ate three wings per minute, it would take him about 900 years to eat 1.4 billion wings. Council spokesperson Tom Super says when it comes to Super Bowl menus, wings rule the roost.” The Council asked wing-eaters about their habits, and roughly two thirds of Americans, 65 percent, who eat chicken wings, claim they like to do so while watching a major sporting event like the Super Bowl. Half, 51 percent, claim that they believe chicken wings should be the official food of the Super Bowl.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.