READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, July 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

House Passes Ag Appropriations Bill Despite White House Opposition

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a minibus of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, which included the agriculture bill. However, the Hagstrom Report says the White House is opposed to the overall bill and cited some specific provisions as the reason for its opposition. The final vote was 224-189. Seven Democrats, including House Ag Chair Collin Peterson, voted with Republicans in voting against it. Another 17 Republicans didn’t vote. The Senate hasn’t yet acted on appropriations bills. It’s not clear if the House and Senate will finish the appropriations process or pass a continuing resolution that will fund the government either until after the election or next year. In a statement of administration policy, the Office of Management and Budget says the Trump administration is concerned about provisions like those that would “stop historic welfare reforms at USDA.” OMB also says that such provisions would degrade the ability of USDA to move more families forward, provide equitable treatment across state lines, and effectively target program resources to those most in need. “The OMB statement didn’t threaten a veto of H.R. 7608, instead saying, “The administration looks forward to working with Congress to address our concerns as the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations process moves ahead.”

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China Continues to Buy More U.S. Soybeans

China is continuing to ramp up its purchases of U.S. soybeans despite the uncertainties regarding the Asian nation’s ability to fulfill its Phase One Trade Agreement commitments with the U.S. Last Thursday made it eight consecutive days that the USDA announced additional export sales of soybeans to China and other locations. The USDA says private exporters filed reports of agricultural export sales totaling 132,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery during the 2020-2021 marketing year, which will begin on September 1. John Baize is an analyst with the U.S. Soybean Export Council. He says as Chinese buyers rush to fill deliveries that crushers will need over the next few months, U.S. soybeans coming from the Pacific Northwest are $6 cheaper than Brazil’s, giving American soybeans a competitive edge. USDA also reported export sales of 211,300 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2020-2021 marketing year. Baize says these are likely headed to somewhere in the European Union.

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USGC Tech Talk Series Expanding DDGS Sales Opportunities in Asia

The U.S. Grains Council recently held two technical webinars intended to help with expanding future export opportunities for Dried Distiller’s Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in Southeast Asia. Caleb Wurth, USGC’s Assistant Director of Southeast Asia, says, “Southeast Asia will be one of the strongest performing markets for U.S. DDGS this marketing year, despite COVID-19 challenges.” The Council calls Southeast Asia a “trader’s market” thanks to expansive geography and a mix of nationalities. The extensive technical education and trade servicing done by USGC staff members are expanding the footprint of DDGS in countries across the region. Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and New Zealand all rank among the top ten buyers for the American ethanol co-product. Other markets like the Philippines and Malaysia are also showing increasing interest and purchases of U.S. DDGS, as well as other corn co-products. “Southeast Asia is now the destination for one-third of all U.S. DDGS exports,” Wurth adds. “The strong performance comes despite the challenges of movement restrictions, a lack of available containers, and new trade agreements signed between major markets and U.S. competitors.” Wurth also says the council is maintaining a high level of engagement in the region despite the constraints of COVID-19.

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Florida Growers Urged to Comment on Unfair Produce Trade with Mexico

The Florida Ag Department and Commissioner Nikki Fried (Freed) are strongly encouraging producers to submit comments for the upcoming field hearings on unfair produce trade with Mexico. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative recently announced virtual field hearings will take place on August 13 and 20. Growing Produce Dot Com says these hearings will allow the Commerce Department and the Trump Administration an opportunity to hear from Florida’s seasonal produce growers on the urgent need for federal action on unfair foreign trade. “The concerns of Florida’s farmers with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement remain the same as when NAFTA was renegotiated two years ago,” says Fried. “The deal lacks protections against unfair trade practices that devastated our state’s produce growers.” With the USTR hearings scheduled for August, Commissioner Fried says now is the time for Florida’s growers and others affected by unfair foreign trade to make their voices heard. “Our farmers are the best in the world and deserve a level playing field to compete on,” she adds. A Florida Department of Ag report shows that imported Mexican produce has caused more than $3.7 billion in losses for U.S. producers since 2000. Mexico has expanded its share of the U.S. domestic market by 217 percent in that time.

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Ag Groups File Appeal on California’s Prop 12

Back in 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of 2022. A Protect the Harvest release says the bill increases regulations on the egg, pork, and veal producers both in the state of California as well as any out-of-state producers that want to sell products in the state. Proposition 12 was written, funded, and marketed by the Humane Society of the United States and their “Prevent Cruelty California” coalition. Right now, just one percent of pork producers comply with the housing requirements of Prop 12. When it goes into effect in 2022, a majority of the nation’s pork farmers won’t be allowed to sell their products in California. The American Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council have jointly filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to ask that Prop 12 be ruled invalid. The appeal says that Prop 12 is unconstitutional and seeks to allow California to regulate states outside its governance by requiring producers to abide by the state’s own regulations to do business there. Protect the Harvest says it is “extremely hopeful” that the NPPC and the Farm Bureau are successful in their appeal.

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NCGA Hosted a “Virtual Fly-In” to Washington, D.C.

Even during COVID-19, the National Corn Growers Association is working to help improve the economic situation for U.S. corn farmers. Shortly after the group held its first Virtual Corn Congress, the organization also hosted a virtual fly-in to Capitol Hill on July 22-23. NCGA typically hosts a fly-in for corn growers to Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Corn Congress that normally takes place in July. The NCGA fly-ins allow farmers to provide members of Congress and their staffs first-hand accounts of how policies from Washington impact their farms. While coronavirus restrictions prevented producers from traveling to Capitol Hill for face-to-face meetings, the virtual fly-in allowed members to still share their stories and weigh in on current policy discussions. Growers talked about a wide range of topics, such as assistance for producers impacted by COVID-19, the benefits of ethanol and a strong RFS, along with the push for a Low Carbon Octane Standard. 42 corn growers and NCGA state staff took part in 109 virtual meetings with Congressional members and their staffs.

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.