READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 25th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

New Report Examines Cattle Market Issues and Solutions

A new report unveiled by the American Farm Bureau Federation provides an in-depth examination of the causes and price implications resulting from extreme market volatility in the cattle industry. It also sets the stage to explore policy solutions. The Cattle Market Working Group, comprised of ten state Farm Bureau presidents, spent more than two months investigating factors that led to market disruptions following the Holcomb packing plant fire and the COVID-19 pandemic. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says of the report, “We must work toward a more stable, resilient food supply chain that can better endure unforeseen challenges.” The report is designed to equip state and county Farm Bureau organizations with deep insight and policy considerations as Farm Bureau leaders debate policy recommendations for 2021. Key topics of the report include mandatory minimum negotiated trade, risk management and education, small capacity meatpacking, and strengthening the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s ability to enforce market rules.

Coalition Seeks CCC Funds for Farm Workers

More than 160 farm groups as part of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition want Commodity Credit Corporation funds to help protect farmworkers. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, the coalition says, “We ask for your help as we continue to promote the health and safety of our farm employees and rural communities.” Pence is head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. As part of the group’s recommendations, they suggest the federal government Help farmers offset COVID-19 mitigation expenses, while maintaining existing farm programs, by increasing Commodity Credit Corporation funds. These expenses include housing, transportation, retrofitting workplaces, testing, and training and compliance activities, among others. Other recommendations include prioritizing PPE and future vaccine distribution for the food and fiber supply chain, ensure COVID-19 testing resources are accessible to agricultural employers, and allow the use of alternate housing structures, such as FEMA trailers or RV’s to facilitate greater social distancing.

California Governor Signs Order to Ban Gas-powered Cars by 2035

California Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed an executive order to phase out gas-powered cars by 2035 in the state. The executive order directs the state to require that, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles. Newsome says, “This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change.” Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. In addition, the Air Resources Board will establish rules to require that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero-emission by 2045 where feasible. Via Twitter, the National Corn Growers Association stated, “Corn farmers agree…that clean, renewable fuels have a major role to play,” adding, “Let’s work together to unlock the substantial environmental benefits that increased blends of low carbon, high octane ethanol can deliver.”

TFI Releases Fertilizer Industry Economic Impact Study

The Fertilizer Institute Thursday released the Fertilizer Industry Economic Impact Study. The study highlights the U.S. fertilizer industry’s importance and economic contributions to the national, state and local economies. The study found that the fertilizer industry contributed over $130 billion and nearly 500,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in 2019. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch responds, “The fertilizer industry doesn’t just help grow the food on your dinner table, we also help grow the U.S. economy.” Deemed an essential industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, fertilizer manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and distributors have a sustained positive impact on communities all across the nation. Additionally, Rosenbusch says the movement of fertilizer alone benefits the economy to the tune of nearly $9 billion annually. The publication of the study, conducted for TFI by John Dunham and Associates, is the culmination of months of compiling data from the entire fertilizer supply chain.

Midwest lawmakers Seek Funding for Missouri River Navigation

Lawmakers from Lower Missouri River states this week penned a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide additional funding for navigation projects along the river. The lawmakers say many farmers, industries and small businesses in the Midwest rely on the Missouri River to transport goods. High water levels and record flooding in 2019 have prevented the Corps of Engineers from completing repairs on water infrastructure projects, which has led to dangerous accidents that have significantly disrupted commerce on the river. The lawmakers write, “there is a critically dire situation related to navigation challenges in several areas along the Missouri River where serious barge traffic accidents have occurred.” The Corps’ Kansas City District has received $20 million in emergency supplemental funds to conduct work along the navigation channel. However, the lawmakers estimate the need at $200 million. The Corps estimates that high water in the last three years damaged 50-75 percent of the 7,000 river training structures that make up the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project.

State and County Fair Support Gaining Momentum in Congress

A bill providing support to state and county fairs is gaining momentum this week. Senator Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, introduced companion legislation to a House bill that would establish funds to offset revenue losses for state and county fairs. The Protecting Fairs During Coronavirus Act, introduced in the House by Representative Josh Harder, a California Democrat, would establish a $5 billion federal grant program for state and county fairs. The fund would offset fair revenue losses during the Coronavirus pandemic and would be available for both 2020 as well as 2021. States could apply for aid from the Department of Agriculture and then distribute the funds to fairs in their state. Senator Jones says, “State and county fairs are not just an important part of our social fabric, they’re also a key part of the agriculture business.” Harder stated, “Working together, we will continue pushing to get our fairs the relief they need to weather this storm.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.