READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 29th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

US-UK Trade talks Progressing

The United States and the United Kingdom wrapped up the fourth round of trade talks this month, with another round planned for mid-October. The UK Department of International Trade says, “Significant progress has been achieved since launching negotiations in May 2020, and most chapter areas are now in the advanced stages of talks.” Chief Ag Negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, Gregg Doud, spoke Monday during an Agri-Pulse and Kansas City Agribusiness Council event. Doud told attendees, “I’m confident here that we are going to get an opportunity to engage with them and work on these issues,” the issues being tariffs, biotech and market opportunity. Doud noted tariffs on U.S. products will be high when the UK leaves the European Union, upwards of 25 percent. However, for beef, pork and poultry, the UK imports $4.5 billion of meat from the European Union. Doud says, “if we can get things right, I think we will have a fair shot at that,” giving U.S. meat producers a new market.

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Beijing Asks Frozen Food Importers to Shun Countries with Severe Coronavirus

Beijing has asked frozen food importers to not import products from counties with severe coronavirus. The Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said in a statement issued to import companies, “Customs and local governments have repeatedly detected the coronavirus in imported cold chain food, proving it risks contamination,” according to Reuters. The Bureau urged importers to “proactively avoid importing cold chain food from areas heavily hit by the coronavirus,” while also asking importers to improve warning and reporting mechanisms related to testing products for the virus. This month, China suspended seafood imports from producers in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia for a week or more, because of coronavirus contamination. Earlier this summer, China also halted imports from a U.S. Tyson Foods plant. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and other world health organizations say the risk of contracting coronavirus from food is low. However, China has reportedly stamped out much of the virus, and is on high alert for any possible re-contamination.

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NPPC, AFBF Seek to Cancel California Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation seek to terminate California’s Proposition 12. The two groups recently jointly filed their opening brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike California’s Proposition 12 as invalid. AFBF and NPPC say Proposition 12 imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, according to the court brief. Beginning in 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S. pork production meets Proposition 12’s requirements. To comply with Proposition 12, U.S. hog farmers need to start making investment decisions today to be ready by the implementation date.

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USDA Releases Annual Report Showing GMO Planted Acres

The Department of Agriculture says more than 90 percent of U.S. corn, cotton and soybeans are produced using genetically engineered seeds. Through an annual report on GE planted crops, USDA’s Economic Research Service says most of these GE seeds are herbicide-tolerant, insect-resistant, or both, known as stacked traits. The share of U.S. soybean acres planted with herbicide-tolerant seeds rose from seven percent in 1996 to 68 percent in 2001, before plateauing at 94 percent in 2014. Insect-resistant soybeans are not yet commercially available. Adoption rates for herbicide-tolerant corn grew relatively slowly at first, but then plateaued at 89 percent in 2014. The share of insect-resistant corn acreage grew from approximately eight percent in 1997 to 82 percent in 2020. USDA says increases in adoption rates for insect-resistant corn may be due to the commercial introduction of new varieties resistant to the corn rootworm and the corn earworm. Meanwhile, herbicide-resistant cotton acres in 2019 reached 95 percent, and insect-resistant cotton was 88 percent of total planted acres.

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Bayer XtendFlex Soybeans Gain Final Approval

Bayer announced Monday that the European Commission has authorized XtendFlex soybean technology for food, feed, import and processing in the European Union. The milestone represents the final key authorization for XtendFlex soybeans. With the approval, Bayer can now look forward to a full launch in the United States and Canada in 2021 and expects to be in a strong position to supply 20 million U.S. soy acres when the selling season arrives. XtendFlex soybeans, Bayer’s newest soybean technology, are built upon the high-yielding Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean technology with the additional tolerance to glufosinate herbicides. That means XtendFlex soybeans are resistant to three herbicides, glyphosate, dicamba and the newly added glufosinate. XtendFlex soybeans will be Bayer’s second major product launch in soybeans in the last five years. Lisa Safarian, President of Crop Science North America at Bayer, says, “XtendFlex soybeans are the latest example of Bayer developing innovative products to help farmers meet challenges on their farm.”

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European Company Raises Funds for Large-scale Cultured Meat Production

Mosa Meat, the European food technology company which introduced the world’s first cultured beef hamburger in 2013, announced the first closing of $55 million as part of a larger Series B funding round. The company will use the funds to extend its current pilot production facility, develop an industrial-sized production line, expand its team, and introduce cultivated beef to consumers. While no date has been announced for an introduction to consumers, the company will work with regulators to achieve approval to serve consumers in Europe. The Series B funding round is led Blue Horizon Ventures, a food technology fund that aims to support and promote a positive global impact on the environment, human health, and animal welfare. Company CEO Maarten Bosch says the funding supports efforts to “make progress towards a cleaner, kinder way of making real beef, and ultimately increase the resilience, sustainability, and safety of our global food system.”

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.