READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 3rd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EPA Once Again Affirms Safety of Glyphosate

Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency once again found that the weed killer glyphosate does not cause cancer. Glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer in the U.S. The Daily Mail reports that the agency’s regulatory review again reaffirms its stance on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup. The EPA findings come in spite of recent decisions by U.S. juries that found using the weed killer was to blame for causing plaintiffs’ cancer in some trials. In a statement, the EPA says, “There are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.” Bayer, which bought Monsanto, the original maker of Roundup, was pleased with the agency’s findings. The company has long said that glyphosate and Roundup are safe and do not cause cancer. Liam Condon, Bayer’s global president for crop science, says, “Glyphosate-based herbicides are one of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind, which is a major reason why farmers around the world continue to rely on these products.” Back in 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

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China Asks Food Producers to Step Up Production Despite Coronavirus

The Chinese Agriculture Ministry is asking the country’s feed producers and slaughterhouses to resume their production as quickly as possible. Reuters says the goal is to add to supplies during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. China’s factories typically shut down during the Lunar New Year holidays. Those holidays have been extended to at least February 2nd to curb the spread of the virus that’s killed 170 people in China and infected close to 8,000 more people. The virus outbreak has led to a quick jump in food prices, as well as low food supplies in some cities due to panic buying and transportation disruptions. In spite of the Coronavirus outbreak, China’s transportation authority is also asking their local authorities not to cut off highways and main roads to try and limit the spread of the disease. Coronaviruses manifest differently in different hosts. The virus often causes severe respiratory disease in humans, such as pneumonia. It likely jumped from animals to humans and is transmissible between human beings. The virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a large city with connections both inside and outside of China.

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NBB Supports Biodiesel in USDA Infrastructure Program

The National Biodiesel Board released comments in response to the USDA’s request for information on the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The NBB says it’s grateful that biodiesel is included in the program. The infrastructure needs for biodiesel, renewable diesel, Bioheat, and sustainable aviation fuel are different from those of other biofuels. In its comments, the group asked USDA to focus the program on investments in strategic terminals, pipeline storage, and rail expansion to create a broader downstream capacity to sell more gallons. “Investments would be best served on opportunities that would afford the greatest additional volumes of biodiesel to enter the marketplace,” the group says in its comments. “The greatest barriers to biodiesel distribution are at the terminal and pipeline terminal level, as well as railways to reach distribution centers.” Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, says they’re grateful to the USDA for following through on a pledge to support infrastructure projects that facilitate higher biofuel blends. “American consumers are increasingly demanding access to clean, low-carbon, advanced biofuels, like biodiesel,” Kovarik says. “We look forward to working with the USDA to strengthen the market for higher blends of biodiesel.”

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Farm Bankruptcies Rose in 2019

Farm bankruptcies jumped by almost 20 percent last year. That is the big takeaway from court data put together by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Overall, there were almost 600 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies in 2019, up from almost 100 filings the previous year. Wisconsin was hit the hardest, with 57 family farms filing for bankruptcy in 2019, while Georgia was second with 41. Almost half of the nation’s filings took place in the Midwest, which totaled 46 percent of the bankruptcies. 22 percent of the filings took place in the Southeast U.S. In spite of the numbers, last year’s filings didn’t come close to the all-time high of a 33-percent increase back in 2010, the year after the Great Recession. Over the past ten years, there have been more than 5,000 farm bankruptcies. That number represents a quarter of one percent of all farm operations. Given that there are just over two million farms in the U.S., the 2019 bankruptcy rate is about 2.95 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms. On a year-over-year basis, Chapter 12 filings have increased for five consecutive quarters.

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Seasonal Farm Trade Tensions Brewing Between the U.S. and Mexico

In spite of the goodwill generated after the U.S. and Mexico approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, there could be more tensions between the two countries surrounding produce. The Financial Post says Mexico responded to a letter from the top U.S. trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, pledging protectionist measures on seasonal farm trade for producers in the politically important states of Florida and Georgia. Mexico says if the U.S. takes action in any way against Mexican agricultural imports, it will respond in kind. The Deputy Trade Minister of Mexico says, “If the U.S. government takes any steps of this kind against Mexican agricultural exports, the Mexican government will apply similar measures to U.S. products.” The head of the Mexican National Farm Council says he thinks the U.S. measures would likely target the more “successful” Mexican exports like tomatoes, berries, and mangos. Those exports are worth $12 billion every year and support about 1.4 million jobs in Mexico. The council president says this potential move is about U.S. politics and Mexico’s private sector is extremely concerned. In the January 9th letter, Lighthizer pledged to explore new protections for farmers in Florida and Georgia.

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RFA, NCGA Co-Sponsor the 2020 Crappie Masters Fishing Tournament Events

The 2020 season of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail begins later this week, with the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association signed on as co-title sponsors. It’s the fourth consecutive year that the two major farm groups are sponsoring the events. “We’re thrilled to be representing the Renewable Fuels Association and American Ethanol by sharing the truth about ethanol and educating our anglers, listeners, viewers, and followers,” says Crappie Masters President Mike Valentine. “For five straight seasons, all winning teams with Crappie Masters have been running E10 fuel in their boats with no problems.” This year’s competition will include stops in states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and several more. NCGA Ethanol Action Team Chair Mark Recker says, “Nearly one-third of America’s corn crop goes into the production of ethanol, an environmentally friendly fuel additive that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, keeping the waterways clean for fishing.” RFA President of Industry Relations Robert White says, “We’re looking forward to another great year on the water with an expanded schedule of tournaments.”

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.