READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, October 8th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Coronavirus Relief on Hold

President Donald Trump dashed hopes lawmakers could reach an agreement on another catch-all Coronavirus relief package. Trump said the talks were suspended until after the November election. Trump claimed House Democrats “were just playing games” with Republicans and his administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed walking away from the talks is another example of Trump, “putting himself first at the expense of the country.” Yet, late Tuesday evening, the President suggested Congress pass stand-alone packages for airline relief, the Paycheck Protection Program and $1,200 stimulus checks. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew responded, “Americans need help, and they need it now,” adding Trump, “must reverse course and work with Congress to preserve our economy and the wellbeing of every American.” The $2 trillion House-passed HEROES Act included several agriculture provisions, such as payments to poultry and dairy farms, and funding for ethanol plants and textile mills. However, a month before the election, it seems any aid is nothing more than a talking point.

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Group of Ag Leaders Endorse Biden-Harris

A group of agriculture and farm leaders offered their support for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in an open letter. The leaders say agriculture is threatened by both environmental and economic challenges. The letter states, “America needs strong leaders who will tackle these challenges and shape policies that encourage agriculture to flourish.” The letter adds, “These reasons are why we, a diverse community of scientists, farmers, and agricultural professionals…support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States.” The letter includes former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, former chief ag negotiation Darcy Vetter, and former National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. Additionally, various farmers, former state officials from Department of Agriculture offices and others, signed the letter. The Hagstrom Report points out that Sarah Garland organized the letter, a scientist in the post-doctoral research program at the Earth Institute of Columbia University. Garland was an intern at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama administration.

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R-CALF Only National Cattle Organization Opposed to RFID Tags

R-CALF USA is the only national cattle organization opposed to a proposal to mandate radio frequency identification eartags starting January 2023. The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposal would require RFID tags as Official Identification in cattle and bison. R-CALF USA requested APHIS withdraw its proposal because it “unlawfully amends substantive federal law that expressly grants America’s cattle farmers and ranchers the option of using various forms of animal identification.” The group’s comments also point out that the RFID mandate disadvantages cattle producers who reside in states with insufficient packing capacity because those producers will have to incur the costs of higher-priced RFID tags. In its concluding remarks, the group states that APHIS misinterprets the Executive Order by President Trump that the agency claims gives it authority to mandate RFID without a formal rulemaking process. Instead, “the agency is attempting to issue its mandate with a simple notice.”

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AgCareers Releases Compensation During COVID-19 Report

A special report from AgCareers highlights agriculture’s workforce and compensation during the Coronavirus pandemic. The special report provides a hyper-focus on the most critical components facing agribusinesses during COVID-19. The topics include workforce planning, wellness/benefit programs and compensation practices related to salary administration for 2020 and 2021. The report finds 81 percent of agribusinesses did not have to make staff changes during the pandemic, and nearly 20 percent increased hiring of permanent and temporary employees. Most agriculture organizations were able to provide consistency regarding salary increases for 2020. Roughly a third of organizations had already implemented 2020 increases before the pandemic. A combined 30 percent of organizations did report being undecided, delaying or canceling previously planned increases. Looking ahead to 2021, companies continue to plan for increases, only 17 percent indicating it was not likely for salaries to increase. The prevalent estimated salary increase budgeted was 2.6 to 3.0 percent.

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Nobel Prize to CRISPR Scientist Shows U.S. Falling Behind in Gene Editing

The National Pork Producers Council says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stalled the development of emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture. The FDA has claimed regulatory jurisdiction over gene-edited livestock and has stalled the technology in the U.S. for more than two years, according to NPPC. However, the scientists who invented one of the most promising forms of this technology, the “CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors,” were just awarded the Nobel Prize. NPPC President Howard A.V. Roth states the Nobel Prize award serves notice that “If we don’t move oversight of gene-edited livestock to the USDA, we will have ceded this promising technology to global competitors at the expense of American jobs and our nation’s global agricultural leadership position.”  The National Pork Producers Council has repeatedly called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be granted gene-edited livestock regulatory oversight. NPPC says gene editing accelerates genetic improvement that would occur naturally over time by making changes to an animal’s own genome. 

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National Dairy Traceability Program Launches in Canada

Lactanet Canada this week announced the launch of DairyTrace, the national dairy cattle traceability program for dairy farmers in Canada. Designed and built to be a centralized national system for the management of all dairy cattle traceability data, DairyTrace will provide protection, prosperity and peace of mind to the Canadian dairy industry in the event of an animal health emergency. Alongside the traceability module of Dairy Farmers of Canada’s proAction initiative, DairyTrace will support the dairy industry by protecting the economic livelihood of dairy producers and bringing peace of mind to consumers in the event of an emergency. DairyTrace includes a mobile app and on-line database portal, that will streamline and simplify the recording and reporting of animal identification and movement. Under federal regulations and/or proAction requirements, everyone who owns or has the possession, care or control of dairy cattle must record and report animal identity, movement, location, and custodianship information.

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.