READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 31st…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

CFAP Deadline is Approaching

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency is reminding farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is September 11. The program is designed to provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. “FSA offers several options for farmers and ranchers to apply for CFAP, including a call center where employees can answer your questions and help you get started on your application,” says Richard Fordyce, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency. “As we get closer to the deadline, now is the time to check out our resources on our website and contact the call center or your local office for your last-minute questions.” Over 160 commodities are eligible for CFAP, including certain non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy, wool, specialty crops, eggs, aquaculture, and nursery crops and cut flowers. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found online at farmers.gov/cfap. Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee who can offer general assistance. This is the recommended first step before producers talk to the team at their local FSA county office.

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Top Ag Negotiator Tones Down Approach to Phase One Trade Deal

The United States’ top agricultural negotiator appears to have toned down his rhetoric on the Phase One Trade Deal between the U.S. and China. During a speech given to the U.S. Soybean Export Council, Gregg Doud didn’t talk about the binding nature of the deal, its enforcement mechanisms, or the ability to reimpose tariffs. When asked about the sanctions for non-compliance, he stressed the fact that the deal is a two-year commitment. Investing Dot Com says the speech was in sharp contrast to some other appearances by the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief agricultural negotiator. At the USDA’s annual forum back in February, he said both nations would meet every month to discuss progress, while also noting that a lack of compliance could allow each of the nations to impose tariffs equivalent to the size of the damage. During his appearance with USSEC, he said, “Everyone wants to measure month to month, how we are doing there. At least from my perspective, we have to give this some time.” American farm exports to China have been running behind the pace needed to reach the $36.5 billion commitment this year. Shipments for the first six months of 2020 totaled just 23 percent of the overall target.  

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Grassley Applauds Lower Taiwan Barriers for Beef and Pork

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley applauded Taiwan’s announcement of lower trade barriers for U.S. beef and pork. “Taiwan is taking steps to improve market access for American beef and pork producers by trying to bring its measures in line with international standards,” says Grassley, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “I welcome this progress because our farmers have been kept out of this market for far too long.” He says Taiwan’s leadership will need to work with the legislature to finalize this process, but that’s expected since Taiwan is a vibrant democracy. “I’ll be following this matter closely and look forward to an improved agricultural and economic relationship between Taiwan and the American people,” he adds. At a press conference last week, the President of Taiwan said she’d instructed the government to ease regulations to allow imports of American pork containing trace amounts of an animal-feed additive used by some U.S. farms, as well as U.S. beef products from cattle age 30 months and older. U.S. officials have long regarded these restrictions as the main barrier to closer trade links with Taiwan.

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SD Governor Merges Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Departments

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced the merger of the state’s Departments of Agriculture and the Environment and Natural Resources. She says the merger will make for a streamlined South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Hunter Roberts, the current Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, will oversee the new department. Beginning on September 8 and until the merger is complete, Roberts will serve as the interim Secretary of Agriculture while also continuing to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Lieutenant Governor Rhoden has stepped up to guide the Department of Agriculture through this important transitional period, and I really appreciate the hard work and leadership,” Noem says. “Agriculture is our number one industry, and under Secretary Roberts’ leadership, this department will serve producers better than before.” Roberts also says that “South Dakotans know our farmers and ranchers are the best conservationists, and this department will promote our number one industry while we simultaneously protect our natural resources.”

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Conservation Compliance Final Rule Falls Short

The American Farm Bureau says farmers will remain powerless in the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Final Rule made public last week by the USDA. Farm Bureau advocated for clear rules and safeguards to ensure fair treatment of farmers in conservation compliance, but the final rule does not remedy unfair enforcement by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. “After decades without a finalized rule in this area, we finally have one, but it, unfortunately, falls short,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers and ranchers are some of the strongest advocates of conservation, as demonstrated by the 140 million acres they’ve voluntarily committed to federal conservation programs.” Duvall also says that’s not what this is about. “This is about unfair treatment, which we’ve clearly laid out for USDA in previous comments and many meetings, backed by court rulings,” he adds. The AFB says farmers deserve a fair process and clarity, including an understanding of the exemptions authorized by Congress. They also deserve to be protected from repeated, unjustified, costly decisions by the NRCS. “Although we appreciate recent actions by USDA to rectify historic wrongs, this was a missed opportunity to ensure fairness going forward,” Duvall says. “We will continue to examine this rule and our options to address its shortcomings.”

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Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes

The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by COVID-19. President Trump recently announced another $1 billion will be added to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program while the economy continues to reopen. “The delivery of 75 million food boxes has helped an incredible number of Americans in need,” says Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. “I couldn’t be prouder of the great job done by the food box program staff and the many farmers, distributors, and non-profits that helped to get this program off the ground for the American people.” Perdue also says the program is almost finished with its second round of deliveries and they’re working harder than ever to continue to build on their success of the program. The third round of purchasing starts on September 1, when USDA plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products. Additional box types will be considered on an as-needed basis.

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.