READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 8th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

House Ag Chair Unhappy with Brazil Regarding U.S. Ethanol

The Brazilian government’s tariff rate quota that placed a 20 percent duty on American ethanol imports exceeding 198 million gallons ended on August 31. Government officials there have yet to announce plans for the future of the U.S.-Brazil trade relationship. If the government doesn’t take further actions, all U.S. ethanol coming into Brazil faces a 20 percent tariff. The Chair of the House Ag Committee, Collin Peterson, is not happy about the situation. “American corn and ethanol producers are struggling to access domestic markets because of the coronavirus and the Environmental Protection Agency’s reckless implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Peterson says. “Brazil’s move to increase tariffs on American ethanol is more bad news for producers.” He wants the administration to continue working with Brazilian officials to restore the duty-free access that was in place from 2012 to 2017. “Tariff wars have consequences, and our biofuels producers are seeing that firsthand,” he adds. Brazil has been a major buyer of U.S. ethanol, importing 332 million gallons worth $493 million in 2019. Peterson and 19 other members of Congress recently sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking him to pressure Brazil’s leaders to restore zero-tariff ethanol trade between America and Brazil.

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WTO Says Ag Trade Faring “Better” During COVID; Producers Feeling Pressure

A new report from the World Trade Organization says agricultural trade has performed “better” than other economic sectors during COVID-19. However, Western Producer says the report notes that farmers and ranchers are still feeling pressure from lower food prices. “Overall merchandise trade fell sharply in the first half of this year, but agricultural and food exports increased by 2.5 percent during the first quarter of 2020 when compared to 2019,” the report says. The news is not all good as the WTO points out that the crisis has put downward pressure on food prices, and therefore on producer revenues. At the same time, the number of hungry people is continuing to climb around the world. “Initial measures focused on guaranteeing the immediate availability of food have been followed by a second phase of policies seeking to mend broken supply chains and to help agricultural producers cope with the situation,” the report continues. The impact on trade varied in different regions of the world. Asia’s agricultural exports declined in March, while Europe and North America saw declines in April. South America saw significant increases because of bigger demand in Asia. The WTO says food prices will remain at low levels, putting more pressure on producer revenues.

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NCGA Working to Move the Ethanol Industry Forward

The National Corn Growers Association is working on building out the infrastructure needed for future mid-level blends of ethanol. For three years, the NCGA and state partners have been working with Wayne Fueling Systems to make and sell fuel pumps certified to deliver fuels containing up to 25 percent ethanol. This partnership helps NCGA support the sale of more than 50,000 new fuel pumps across the country, building out the infrastructure needed to support future mid-level blends of ethanol. “This lays the groundwork for growing ethanol demand and moving the industry forward,” says NCGA Vice President of Market Development Jim Bauman. “Corn farmer support of NCGA’s multi-year fuel pump infrastructure program supports the introduction of higher-octane fuels delivered by low-carbon, affordable, corn-based ethanol.” NCGA also partnered with the Renewable Fuels Association to help assist retailers in applying for the USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The program included $86 million to expand the availability of higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85. Corn farmer support helped deliver program awareness and technical assistance for applications representing more than 1,100 fuel dispensers in 21 states with 222 locations that combine to sell more than 250 million gallons of gasoline annually.

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CFAP Part Two Announcement Coming This Week

As recently as September 1, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA was finishing up writing the rules for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Late last week at a stop in Iowa, the secretary said the rules have been written and they’ll be announced this week. The Bismarck Tribune says the first $16 billion in funding during the first round of the program was geared to the first quarter of 2020. The idea was to just get the aid out the door as quickly as possible to whoever needed it. Round two of the program will factor in more producer feedback to make it a program that works best for the people who truly need it. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says payments in the second round will compensate producers for any losses they had from April 15 through the end of 2020. The deadline for applying during the first round of CFAP is this Friday, September 11. He says round two payments will go to the same commodities they did in the first round. There won’t be any money for ethanol producers and other agricultural commodities seeking aid because of COVID-19. Perdue says he doesn’t have the necessary authority from Congress to make those particular payments.

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USGC Working on Expanding Ethanol Demand in Asia

The U.S. Grains Council says a boom in demand for hand sanitizer in South Korea since COVID-19 began is likely not a surprise. However, the related jump in U.S. ethanol imports into the country to meet that need might be more of a surprise. The rising demand is opening doors for the U.S. Grains Council to build new partnerships to expand demand potential for ethanol across Asia, both for industrial uses and fuel. The USGC Director in South Korea says COVID-19 has altered ethanol markets around the world. The demand for U.S. ethanol in South Korea for industrial use has increased significantly due to the high demand for sanitizers in South Korea and throughout the region. Despite the short-term impact, fuel ethanol demand remains viable for expansion in the future, and USGC says the council is working to increase market access in individual countries across the Asian region. South Korea imported 58.9 million gallons of U.S. ethanol for industrial use during the first six months of 2020, equivalent to 20.9 million bushels of corn. That’s up 53 percent year-on-year. The total constitutes 55 percent market share. USGC recently met with KC&A, the largest ethanol importer and distributor in Asia to discuss the obstacles and opportunities for ethanol expansion in the region.

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National Sorghum Producers and BASF Partner to Offer Scholarship Opportunity

The National Sorghum Foundation and BASF announced a joint scholarship offer for the 2020-2021 academic year. “The National Sorghum Foundation is excited to continue to partner with BASF in supporting students who excel in academics, leadership, and service to their communities and universities,” says NSF Chairman Larry Lambright. “We look forward to providing deserving students with the financial assistance necessary to continue their education and success.” Two $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to deserving students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agriculturally-related curriculum. Undergraduate applicants must be entering at least their second year of study during the 2020-2021 academic year. Applicants must also have a parent or grandparent who is a member of the National Sorghum Producers. Potential applicants can find more information at SorghumGrowers.com/Foundation-Scholarships.

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.