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

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senate and House Coronavirus Aid Packages Similar in Amounts

Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota told the Hagstrom Report this week that he thinks the Senate coronavirus aid package will be similar to the House HEROES Act. The two packages will contain similar amounts of money for agricultural assistance, but Hoeven says that the nutritional provisions will likely be up to Senate leadership. Hoeven is chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. He says USDA will start with the $14 billion that was previously allocated to the Commodity Credit Corporation but notes that Congress will push that number higher so that USDA will have as much as $35 billion in additional assistance for farmers. Hoeven thinks the HEROES Act has roughly $68 billion set aside for agriculture and nutrition and that $33 billion of that is for aid to farmers and ranchers. USDA won’t be able to use the $14 billion in CCC money until July first. However, they can now use that money to pay out the rest of the $16.5 billion promised to farmers and ranchers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The Senate bill gives the USDA the ability to make payments to ethanol plants and aid to livestock producers who had to dispose of animals they couldn’t get slaughtered.

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Ranchers Call House Legislation a “Reckless Land Grab”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called Wednesday a “sad day for public lands and the American taxpayer.” Kaitlynn Glover, the Executive Director of Natural Resources for NCBA and the Public Lands Council Executive Director. She says House passage of the Great American Outdoors Act shows representatives “have chosen to willingly relinquish their responsibility to engage in important land conservation decisions far into the future.” The NCBA says the bill will allow for virtually unrestricted spending for lands and waters across the U.S. that will be added to a federal estate that is already in disrepair. “The 310 members of the House that supported the bill sentenced these lands to a bleak future, complete with the expectation that these lands will be added to the deferred maintenance backlog in a not-so-distant future,” says Glover. “The ranching community is asking President Trump to veto this reckless excuse for a land management bill.” The GAO Act gives government agencies free rein to spend a minimum of $360 million every year in Land and Water Conservation Fund money to acquire new private land without any oversight from Congress. The Senate passed the GAO Act in June of 2020.  

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More Reaction to USDA Beef Investigation Report

The USDA released a report on its investigation into price upheaval within the U.S. beef industry, specifically as it relates to a fire in Holcomb, Kansas, as well as disruptions caused by COVID-19. Brooke Miller, President of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, says, “The top-line considerations detailed in this report provide a roadmap for returning transparency and true price discovery in the cattle marketplace. USCA is advocating for making these changes through a reauthorization of Livestock Mandatory Reporting, which is set to expire on September 30.” Miller also says his group co-authored a letter to Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts and asked for a hearing on the state of the U.S. cattle industry. The letter was “met with silence,” something he calls unacceptable. The National Farmers Union says price-fixing in the meat industry is nothing new. While they welcome the USDA report, the group says it must be accompanied by real reforms. “Radical and immediate action is needed to create a fair and balanced food system,” says NFU President Rob Larew. “We’re asking USDA and other federal agencies to strengthen protections for farmers, enforce existing regulations, and prevent undue market power in the future.” Larew says the agency must continue to conduct a thorough investigation, saying the NFU “intends to hold them to account.”

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The Fertilizer Institute Applauds Extension of Chemical Facility Safety Measures

The Fertilizer Institute is happy that President Trump and Congress extended the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) for three years. “A long-term extension of the CFATS program is what the fertilizer industry supported and wanted to see,” says TFI President Corey Rosenbusch. “This provides the industry with the ability to properly plan and invest in measures that promote security at our facilities.” The secure and safe handling of fertilizers is the highest priority for the Fertilizer Institute and its members. “The numbers speak for themselves,” Rosenbusch says. “The fertilizer industry is twice as safe as our chemical industry peers. We actively participate in and sponsor numerous safety initiatives.” He says voluntary, industry-driven programs like the ResponsibleAg Program help to enhance compliance by the agricultural retailers with a variety of federal regulations, including those administered by the Department of Homeland Security. “Fertilizers are necessary to grow the crops that feed the world,” Rosenbusch adds. “Half of all food grown in the world today is made possible through the use of fertilizer. We’re committed to ensuring the world has the food, fuel, and fiber it needs, and that fertilizer facilities are secure.”

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U.S. Wheat Associates Select New Officer Team

The U.S. Wheat Associates Board of Directors chose new officers during their virtual annual meeting on July 17. The new officers for 2020-2021 are Chairman Darren Padget of Oregon, Vice-Chair Rhonda Larson of Minnesota, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Peters of Oklahoma, and Past Chairman Doug Goyings of Ohio. USW officers were elected to those one-year positions during the board of directors’ meeting last January. The USW is the export market development organization representing U.S. wheat farmers. “We are all very disappointed that we couldn’t hold our meeting in Ohio as originally planned,” says Chairman Padget. “We had wanted to publicly thank Chairman Goyings, his family, and the team from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Board for their dedicated leadership over this past year.” Padget added that Goyings did a wonderful job as chair and that he “hopes to meet his example with his help.” The new USW Chair is a fourth-generation farmer from Oregon, with dryland wheat and a summer fallow rotation currently producing registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres every year. He previously held positions on the Oregon Wheat Growers League board of directors and the executive committee for seven years.

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Lamb Board Launches a “Glamburger” Contest

The American Lamb Board launched its newest online promotion contest earlier this month, looking to keep up the momentum of getting more consumers to try lamb. They call it the “Glamburger.” The board says it’s a burger that features ground lamb that is “glamorous, fancy, extravagant, and whatever else makes it special for your meal with your friends and family.” This year, the Glamburger contest is expanding to include both at-home and restaurant components. The challenge is encouraging consumers to try out a delicious lamb burger during the summer months. The American Lamb Board is promoting burger recipes, sharing videos of how to craft a delicious lamb burger, and offering a free spice blend for consumers who want to spice up their Glamburger creation at home. South Dakota producer Gwen Kitzan, the ALB Chair, says, “Since kicking off the promotion, we’ve seen many entries and great engagement, with people commenting on their favorite lamb burgers from their local restaurants and their own home-cooked ideas.” The board also launched Project Glamburger, which connects restaurants in target markets with local producers who’ve accepted the challenge to craft a burger that could be featured on their menus. Target markets so far include Denver, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

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.