READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senate Fails to End Debate on Coronavirus Aid Package

On Thursday, the Senate failed to end debate on the coronavirus aid package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The vote was 52-47, while the measure needed 60 votes to end the debate. Republican Kevin Cramer of North Dakota says, “The message from Senate Democrats is clear; they would rather let people be hurt than give people help because they think it will give them an advantage in November.” Cramer says Democrats seem to think if they don’t get “everything they want,” then the American people will get nothing at all. Senate Democrats say the package, which has been described as “skinny,” was too small to provide any meaningful help. The Hagstrom Report says the package included $20 billion for farmers and ranchers but no increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a key demand of Senate Democrats. The failure to end debate and go to a vote means that the current Senate proposal is dead. That means the likelihood of passing another coronavirus aid package before Congress leaves at the beginning of October is low.

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AEM Asking Congress to Extend the FAST Act

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers and several industry partners sent a letter to Congressional leadership, asking for a one-year extension of the current surface transportation law. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is set to expire on September 30. “As our industry and our country continues to navigate the lasting effects of COVID-19, we need congressional leaders to rise to the occasion and help keep the wheels moving on critical infrastructure projects around the country,” says Dennis Slater, President of AEM. “As states and local governments continue to see budget shortfalls due to COVID-19, ensuring that the much-needed repair and modernization of our surface transportation system can continue will create American jobs and boost demand for construction equipment.” AEM and dozens of industry partners want members on both sides of the aisle to work together on a long-term, fully-funded reauthorization that will better prepare America’s roads, highways, bridges, and public transit systems to meet the demands of a “globally-competitive 21st-century economy.” The letter to congressional leaders asks for a “turn-key, one-year extension of the current surface transportation law with increased investment levels” in the nation’s infrastructure.

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USDA Looking for Input on Ag Innovation Agenda

To further the USDA’s work on its Agricultural Innovation Agenda, the agency is asking for public-and-private-sector input on the most innovative technologies and practices that can be readily deployed across the country. USDA is looking for ready-to-go technologies and practices that will help achieve its goal of increasing agricultural production by 40 percent to help meet global population needs in 2050. At the same time, they also want technologies and practices that help cut the carbon footprint of U.S. agriculture by 40 percent. “Across America, we’ve seen significant advances in agricultural production efficiency and conservation performance during the past two decades,” says Bill Northey, Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We want to keep the momentum going and help farmers access new approaches through our Agricultural Innovation Agenda.” To help identify and accelerate the adoption of ready-to-go innovations, USDA is accepting public comments and written stakeholder input. A ready-to-go practice, technology, or management approach includes those that are fully developed, have been field-tested, and have completed independent research trials. Based on the input, USDA will develop a comprehensive agriculture innovation strategy for its customer programs, all of which will be found on their AIA website.

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FFA Giving Back to Indianapolis

The city of Indianapolis won’t get to experience a sea of blue jackets this fall because the National FFA Convention and Expo are going virtual. However, that doesn’t mean FFA won’t be giving back to the Indianapolis community. As a part of helping the host city, the National FFA Organization announced it is donating $10,000 to the Indiana Hospitality Relief Fund through the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The Indianapolis hospitality industry always rolls out the red carpet for us each October,” says FFA CEO Mark Poeschl (PESH-uhl). “This unprecedented time has created hardships for many people. While we won’t see many of our friends around the city in-person, we want them to know we’re thinking about them.” The national convention and expo typically bring in more than 65,000 people to the city and have an annual impact of more than $35 million on the city. FFA members typically give back during the convention through National Days of Service. As this year’s convention is a virtual one, FFA will be giving back through National Days of Service in locations around the country. The National FFA Convention and Expo are scheduled for October 27-29.

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#Glamburger Introducing More Consumers to American Lamb

The American Lamb Board’s #Glamburger campaign inspired consumers, influencers, and chefs to help create unique lamb burgers in celebration of summer. The checkoff promotion focused on enticing consumers to try ground American Lamb because of its affordability, delicious flavor, and ease of preparation. The campaign included two components: #ProjectGlamburger and the #Glamburger Challenge. The #Glamburger Challenge contest asked consumers to share a picture of their favorite lamb burger on social media, with a chance to win a $1,000 gift card. #ProjectGlamburger is a series of virtual competitions involving local restaurants and food influencers in key geographical markets. Influencers were invited to craft a new lamb burger to be added to a local restaurant’s menu. The first stop was in Boulder, Colorado, at the Rooted Craft Restaurant. After a stop in San Francisco, California, at a restaurant called Son’s Addition, the #ProjectGlamburger event is on its third stop in Washington, DC. Food influencers in the nation’s capital are working on creating their burger concepts in hopes of seeing theirs added to the menu at the Little Sesame restaurant.

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ISU: U.S Ready to Meet China’s Increasing Import Demand

China’s demand for U.S. corn is surging, and Iowa State University’s Center for Agriculture and Rural Development says the U.S. is ready for that demand. “The recent derecho storm caused a great deal of damage to Iowa’s corn and soybeans, but total predicted national corn production for the 2020-2021 marketing year is still the largest ever,” says Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics at Iowa State University. China’s surging corn demand isn’t the only good news for U.S. farmers. Hayes updated a recent study he co-authored called “China’s Agricultural Imports Under the Phase One Trade Deal: Is Success Possible?” The most recent data says China will now import $21.63 billion in agricultural products from the United States in the first year of the phase one deal, an increase of almost $3 billion from the first prediction in May. The study’s co-authors say while the prediction is still behind the $36.5 billion target set by the deal, the recent market signals are showing that China has record demand ahead for U.S. corn, poultry, and pork. China’s increased demand for corn and pork relates back to the outbreak of the African Swine Fever Virus that started in 2018 and decimated China’s hog industry.

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.