READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, February 10th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Corteva Dropping Chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos (Klor-PEER-uh-fos) is a pesticide that’s been sprayed on crops like strawberries, corn, and citrus, for many years to kill pests. Corteva (Kor-TEV-ah), the largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, says it will stop manufacturing the product by the end of the year. The insecticide has been linked in certain studies to neurological problems in children and has been called a threat to wildlife. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has resisted banning the product from the market, while saying that additional safety tests are needed. Some states haven’t waited for the EPA to make a decision and acted on their own. California is a state that says farmers can’t use the insecticide after December 31st of this year. Hawaii was the first state to ban chlorpyrifos, with that ban to take effect in 2022. The European Union has also banned using the insecticide. Corteva spokesperson Gregg Schmidt says demand for the product has “declined significantly” over the last twenty years. That’s what drove the decision to stop manufacturing the product, not safety concerns. Corteva tells Reuters that the company will continue to back chlorpyrifos during the EPA’s review. Environmental groups are happy with the move, but they caution that other companies are still manufacturing the product, which is allowed on imported food.

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Commerce Department Continues Argentina Biodiesel Anti-Dumping Duties

The U.S. Commerce Department responded to a U.S. Court of International Trade ruling requiring it to explain how it found cause for anti-dumping duties on biodiesel from Argentina. In a recent filing with the court, the Commerce Department made “certain changes” to its calculations. However, the anti-dumping duty rates would remain the same for the two Argentine producers and exporters involved in the case. However, things could eventually be changed when it comes to imported biodiesel from Argentina. The Commerce Department is conducting a “changed circumstances review” that was requested by the Argentine government. Depending on what the review determines, it could potentially lead to lower countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. The U.S. imported about $1.2 billion worth of biodiesel from Argentina in 2016, before duties were imposed in a case brought by the National Biodiesel Board and 15 domestic biodiesel producers.

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China to Cut Tariffs on U.S. Imports

The Chinese Finance Ministry says it will cut tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products. The cuts begin on February 14th and will include ag commodities like soybeans, asparagus, pork, and more. However, a Wall Street Journal article says there likely won’t be a big impact. An Agri-Pulse report says the move will cut tariff rate increases in half, somewhere between five and 10 percent, that China put into effect late last year in response to U.S. tariffs. The 30 percent punitive tariff on soybeans will drop to 27.5 percent on February 14, which will be seen largely as a goodwill gesture by China that won’t have a big effect on trade between the two countries. The “Phase One” trade deal between China and the U.S. calls for increased Chinese purchases of American agricultural commodities but neither side did away with the tariffs that have been a staple of the trade war since it began. China points out that the next step in tariff reduction depends on how much progress the two countries make in their relationship. U.S. and government officials say they expect China to boost purchases by granting targeted exemptions to the tariffs currently in place. All recent Chinese soybean buys took place in spite of the punitive tariffs in place and were due to the Chinese government giving targeted exemptions to importers.

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Pork Board Commits Half-Million Dollars to Fellowships

The National Pork Board has opened up applications for a new series of swine research fellowships to help provide a pipeline of highly-skilled employees for the pork industry. The checkoff is investing a hefty sum of $500,000 for the fellowships. The money will fund education and training in critical areas of impact, such as animal science, feed science and management, engineering and human resources, along with many others. “Labor supply is critical to the entire pork industry,” says David Newman, President of the National Pork Board. “This fellowship program will develop highly-trained professionals who possess the skills and abilities with direct application to pork production both now and in the future.” Fellowships will be awarded for a maximum of two years and can be used for multiple advanced-degree programs. Fellowship funding will be capped at $30,000 over two years. Second-year funding will be contingent on the submission and approval of a progress report at the end of the first year. Go to www.pork.org/rfp for more information. Application materials must be submitted by February 25th.

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NCBA Researches Confusion about Plant-Based Fake Meat

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released survey results that show widespread consumer confusion about plant-based fake meat products and the ingredients they contain. Less than half of the 1,800 respondents understood the labeling term “plant-based beef” was intended to describe an entirely vegetarian or vegan food product. One major source of confusion for one-third of consumers is the mistaken belief that plant-based meat products contained at least some real beef. “The fact that so many consumers look at these labels and think that the products include meat or any other animal by-product is a clear sign that the misleading labeling and deceptive marketing practices surrounding plant-based fake meat has caused real consumer confusion,” says NCBA President Jennifer Houston. Among other mistaken beliefs is 44 percent of consumers thought plant-based products were lower in sodium. In reality, leading plant-based fake beef is between 220 to 620 percent higher in sodium than the same-sized serving of real beef. “We need to do a better job of educating consumers on the differences,” Houston says.

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Broin Named American Biofuels Visionary by Growth Energy

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor recently named POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin as the American Biofuels Visionary award winner. Tom Buis (BUY-us), previously the CEO of Growth Energy, joined Skor onstage during the 11th Annual Executive Leadership Conference. Growth Energy presents the award in tribute for a lifetime of leadership that has fueled the growth of America’s entire biofuels sector. “Jeff Broin’s unwavering leadership and transformative vision for U.S. biofuels have touched the lives of every American, from farm families in South Dakota to drivers in New York,” Skor says. “As founding chair of Growth Energy, he followed in the footsteps of other great American founding fathers, building an enduring legacy that will shape the future of homegrown energy for generations to come.” Broin says he’s honored and humbled to be recognized by Growth Energy. “Helping to found and grow this organization has been a true labor of love for me, going back to my roots on the family farm. While we have won many battles, the war over biofuels is far from over.” Broin says he will continue to work with the biofuels industry and agriculture to drive biofuels to new heights in the years to come. POET Biofuels is the world’s largest ethanol producer.

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.