READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 9th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ethanol Industry Again Urging Trump to Reject Gap Year Waivers

Biofuels advocates Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to “stand up against an urgent threat facing rural communities” and reject oil industry exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard. In a letter, 93 farm organizations and biofuel industry stakeholders told the President, “We’ve seen too many plants shut down, too many jobs lost, and too many farmers deprived of vital markets.” The letter was offered in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing consideration of nearly 100 refinery exemptions, including 67 retroactive ‘gap-year’ petitions. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the so-called gap-year exemptions, “represent a clear attempt to sidestep the law at the expense of rural communities.” The farm organizations call the waivers a brazen attempt to circumvent limits set by the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for which determined that EPA “abused its discretion” over the RFS by granting similar exemptions. This is just the latest in an ongoing effort by the industry to end the waivers.

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July Beef and Pork Exports Rebound, but Still Below Year-Ago

July exports of U.S. beef rebounded from recent lows but remained below 2019 levels, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. pork exports, which are on a record pace in 2020, were also down from a year ago in July but increased compared to June. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says, “With production returning to near-normal levels, we definitely saw an improvement in beef exports.” July beef exports totaled 107,298 metric tons, up 36 percent from June but still nine percent below last year. Export value was $647.8 million, the highest since March but down ten percent from a year ago. July pork exports totaled 222,035 metric tons, down five percent from a year ago, while export value fell 12 percent to $548.3 million. For January through July, pork exports remained 20 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in volume at and 22 percent higher in value.

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Wheat Growers Applaud Relief Request for U.S. Wheat Producers

Last week, a group of lawmakers requested additional coronavirus-related aid for wheat farmers, a move applauded by the National Association of Wheat Growers. A group of 26 lawmakers signed a letter last week to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeking the funds. Specifically, the lawmakers asked Perdue to use existing funds through the CARES Act to begin covering 2020 crop losses and include all classes of wheat. NAWG President Dave Milligan applauded the bipartisan group of lawmakers who signed the letter, “demonstrating the significant price drops experienced this year and the need for 2020 losses to be covered.” The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides assistance for hard red spring and durum wheat farmers, but it does not include other classes of wheat, which represent about 70 percent of 2019 production. CFAP also only provides assistance on 2019 grain that was considered to be at risk in the first quarter of the year. CARES Act funds have not yet been made available for 2020 crop losses.

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NASDA Adopts New Diversity and Inclusion Policy

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture last week adopted a new diversity and inclusion policy during the 2020 NASDA Annual Meeting. According to the organization, the new policy formally incorporates NASDA’s commitment to racial justice into its policymaking framework. NASDA CEO Barb Glenn says, “We believe that the future of agriculture is best served when all of those in the agriculture community are empowered regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and/or religious creed.” NASDA’s policy asserts that diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles of a sustainable agricultural community and necessary to advance the industry. The policy also recommends supporting programs consistent with the new guiding principle and encourages all levels of government to do the same. NASDA recently formed a five-year partnership with the organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences and the NASDA Foundation. The partnership will serve to increase racial diversity in agricultural leadership, provide a deep dive into agriculture policy for students, and advise diversity training for NASDA members and staff.

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Wildfires Threaten Western States

The Public Lands Council Tuesday reported 76 large active wildfires in the United States, impacting roughly 2.2 million acres. Of those, 22 are in California and 11 in Montana. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the West and High Plains regions in classified drought. Many areas of the West were included in a red flag warning, which advises citizens to avoid activities that may spark a fire. In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock last week issued an executive order declaring a state of fire emergency due to extremely hazardous wildland fire conditions throughout the state. The declaration allows Bullock to mobilize additional state resources and to combat wildfires. The emergency order also suspends hours of service regulations for commercial vehicle drivers while providing support to fire suppression activities. Additionally, the emergency order suspends the brand inspection permit fee requirement and the brand inspection requirement before removal, and allows the Montana Department of Livestock to issue transportation permits by phone when necessary to cope with the emergency.

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China Exporting Duck Blood to U.S. Without Inspection Records

The Food Safety and Inspection Service last week issued a Public Health alert over imported duck blood from China that doesn’t include inspection information. Specifically, the investigation focuses on vacuum-packed packages containing “Cooked Duck Blood Curds.” The product does not identify an eligible establishment number on its packaging and was not presented to FSIS for import re-inspection. FSIS has not received an official inspection certificate issued by China to certify the product as eligible. Therefore, the product is ineligible to import into the U.S., making it unfit for human consumption. Retailers who have purchased the product are urged not to sell it. Consumers who purchased the product should not consume it and properly discard it. Consumers are asked to double bag the product when discarding it to reduce the possibility of animals accessing the product because USDA cannot confirm whether the cooked duck blood curds were properly heated to control pathogens of concern to domestic livestock.

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.