READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Says Trade Deal Good for both China and the U.S.

China calls the Phase One agreement a “win” for both sides, following comments made during the State of the Union address this week by President Donald Trump. During the Tuesday evening speech, President Trump called the trade deal with China a “Win” for the United States, worth billions in new U.S. ag exports. Wednesday, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry responded to the comment, stating, “Sound and steady development of bilateral relations serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and meets the aspiration of the international community.” Trump signed the Phase One agreement in January. However, the benefits of the deal may now be delayed. The Coronavirus outbreak is thought to limit demand and could cause delays at Chinese ports. China offered a different tune, though, Wednesday, saying, “China and the U.S. are in close communication on the situation through diplomatic and health channels.” Earlier in the week, China claimed the U.S. “hasn’t provided any substantive assistance.” China is also seeking flexibility on trade deal rules due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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NCBA Unveils Top Policy Priorities For 2020

Kicking off the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual convention, leaders of the organization approved top 2020 policy priorities. At the annual Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas, NCBA leadership included issues related to international trade, proper regulation of fake meat, and regulatory reform. Although after a series of significant policy victories in 2019, this year’s priority list is focused on implementing and protecting those gains. NCBA President Jennifer Houston says, “Now it’s time to implement and defend those gains and to keep pushing for policies that will help improve conditions for cattle producers.” This year’s priorities include an issue that was a late addition to last year’s list after Congressional introduction of the so-called Green New Deal: climate policy. NCBA plans to “Continue to push back against misguided climate policies while advancing the U.S. cattle industry’s tremendous environmental record.” NCBA also plans to prioritize the importance of cattle markets, and aggressively pursue final regulatory rules, including the Waters of the U.S. Rule, among others.

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Beef Quality Assurance Online Modules Updated

Building on its updated National Manual launched in Summer 2019, the Beef Quality Assurance program, or BQA, has updated its online training modules to make them more realistic and useful. The new modules are now available to those who are first becoming BQA certified online and those who are getting recertified as required after three years. First launched in 2017, the online training modules have been embraced by more than 100,000 in the cattle industry. BQA certifications are also available at in-person training events offered through state beef councils, and other local efforts throughout the country. Funded by the Beef Checkoff, the BQA program touches more than 85 percent of beef produced in the United States today. Bob Smith, chair of the BQA Advisory Board, says, “The new online modules maintain the program’s integrity and make its lessons more real-life and user-friendly.” After registering, participants are taken through an interactive training module that can be completed online, anytime. Learn more at www.bqa.org 

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E15 Sales Reach Record in 2019

A new Renewable Fuels Association analysis found approximately 500 million gallons of E15 were sold nationwide in 2019, setting a new record. RFA says the record proves that the Trump administration’s elimination last summer of an obsolete regulatory barrier is working. However, sales would have been even stronger if not for the RFS compliance exemptions granted by EPA to dozens of refineries. E15 sales in Minnesota—the only state that tracks monthly purchases of higher ethanol blends—increased by nearly a third in 2019, compared to 2018. The review by RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman extrapolated the Minnesota data nationally, finding that 499 million gallons of E15—containing 75 million gallons of ethanol—were sold across the country in 2019. Before 2019, sales of E15 had been prohibited each year during the summer months in areas where conventional gasoline is sold. In May 2019, the EPA allowed E15 to be sold year-round by extending to it the vapor-pressure waiver that was already available for E10 blends.

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CoBank Examines Impact of Wal Mart entering Beef Business

Walmart officially entered the beef business in January when it opened a case-ready beef plant in Georgia after establishing its own Angus supply chain. The facility is the latest step by Walmart in its vertical integration strategy for food, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division. If Walmart’s new beef plant and Angus supply chain succeed, it could lead the retail giant to take another step up the supply chain towards the producer. That could be in the form of harvesting fed cattle or through a joint venture with a current packer. Will Sawyer, animal protein economist with CoBank, says, “We believe their current beef strategy is something of a test, not only for Walmart and its suppliers, but also its customers.” The new plant will cut and prepare steaks and roasts produced by Walmart’s Angus beef supply chain for 500 stores. CoBank doesn’t see the move shifting the price and leverage dynamics of U.S. beef production, adding the move will account for less than .5 percent of U.S. beef production.

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AFBF, INTL FCStone Partner on Risk Management Tools for Farm Bureau Members

The American Farm Bureau Federation is partnering with INTL FCStone to offer Farm Bureau members exclusive discounts on FCStone’s catalog of agricultural risk management tools. Announced Wednesday, the partnership includes access to a range of customized commodity marketing plans to data management solutions and educational seminars and covers an extensive range of agricultural commodities, from grains and oilseeds to dairy and livestock. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the partnership “will give Farm Bureau members access to invaluable education and resources to help them succeed.” Through the partnership Farm Bureau members are eligible for ten free trades each year when opening a new account, discounts on subscriptions and fees to attend conferences, along with access to INTL FCStone’s Market Intelligence expertise at reduced rates. AFBF President Duvall says, “It’s important to take control where we can, and this new member benefit can help us do that.” Farm Bureau members can learn more online, at FB.org/FCStone, or by contacting the state Far. Bureau office.

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.