READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

SBA Opens EIDL to Agriculture

The Small Business Administration Monday announced eligibility for agricultural business in the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal has been closed since April 15. However, the Agency reopened the portal in a limited capacity this week. SBA is reopening the Loan and Advance application portal to agricultural enterprises only. SBA will move forward and process the applications without the need for re-applying for producers that submitted a loan application through the portal before the legislative change in funding. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the move “will make a tremendous difference for America’s agricultural community.” Agricultural businesses include businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising livestock, aquaculture, and other farming and agricultural-related industries. Applicants must have 500 or fewer employees. For more information, visit www.sba.gov/Disaster.

************************************************************************************
USDA Announces $100 million for American Biofuels Infrastructure

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of renewable fuels. The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program offers funding for competitive grants or sales incentives to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. Funds will be made directly available to assist transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment, and infrastructure. Agriculture Secretary Perdue says the grants to expand biofuels availability “will help increase their use during our economic resurgence,” following the impacts of decreased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA plans to make available approximately $86 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol, and approximately $14 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of biodiesel.

************************************************************************************
Baldwin: Order on Meat Processors Puts Food Chain at Risk

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is urging President Trump to take immediate action to amend his Executive Order on meat processing facilities. Baldwin says facilities should be permitted to reopen only after they have met all the health and safety guidelines issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Trump recently used the Defense Production Act to compel meat processing facilities to remain open despite poor safety and health standards at those facilities, which have led to documented COVID-19 infections and worker fatalities, according to Baldwin. In a letter with Senate colleges, Baldwin and others say, “Failure to take action to protect these workers is not only a threat to their lives, but also to the public health of their communities,” the Senators demanded the Trump administration do more to protect these workers, the public health of their communities, farmers and livestock producers, and the nation’s food supply chain.

************************************************************************************
Lawmakers Seek Quick Investigation of Beef Industry

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives urges the Department of Agriculture to provide findings of its beef pricing investigation as soon as possible. Following the announcement of the USDA’s Packers and Stockyard Division investigation in August of 2019. Secretary Sonny Perdue extended USDA’s investigation last month to determine the causes of divergence between live beef and box prices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the first few weeks of the coronavirus crisis, cattlemen saw prices drastically decline, with cattle futures falling 29 percent between January and April, while beef prices increased in stores. The lawmakers, including Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas, say, “When market participants begin to believe that markets are not competitive or transparent, that suspicion has a dangerous industry-wide ripple effect.” The lawmakers say producers want effective, market-based risk management tools. However, volatility during the pandemic has made market participation difficult to manage and capital intensive. Lucas added, “As a policymaker and a lifelong cattleman, restoring faith in our markets is my top priority.”

************************************************************************************
U.S.-U.K. Trade Talks This Week

Trade talks get underway virtually this week between the United States and the United Kingdom. The talks come more than 18 months after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress of the intent to begin talks with the United Kingdom. A video conference Tuesday will start the talks. In March, the U.K. published its objectives for trade negotiations with the United States. The announcement included an uncompromising stand on agriculture and food standards, two big sticking points that have slowed momentum for talks getting underway. U.S. agriculture and trade officials had hoped that the U.K. would loosen up some of their strictest requirements after officially leaving the European Union in January. However, Lighthizer says the two biggest sticking points, which are agriculture and health care, shouldn’t stand in the way of reaching a deal in 2020. Politico reports It’s unclear how quickly the two sides can reach an agreement, since the U.K. first needs to decide many issues regarding its future relationship with the European Union.

************************************************************************************
National Average Gas Prices Increases

Average gas prices rose for the first time in ten weeks, while diesel fell nationwide in the last week. GasBuddy reports the national average price of gasoline has moved higher, rising 1.5 cents over the last week to $1.75 per gallon. The average price of diesel, meanwhile, fell 2.5 cents to $2.43 per gallon. Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says, “a disconnect between low oil prices and rising gasoline prices has emerged at the hands of refineries that have slowed production.” Crude oil prices have rallied significantly in the last week as OPEC’s production cut took effect May 1, and as U.S. demand shows the first signs of a long road to recovery. Data from the Energy Information Administration last week printed a gain of nine million barrels in U.S. oil inventories, ten percent above the five-year average for this time of year. Gasoline inventories, however, posted a drop of nearly four million barrels, signaling that refinery run cuts have fulfilled their purpose of curbing a glut of gasoline.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy

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.