READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, October 28th…

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EPA Extends Dicamba Registrations *UPDATED*

The Environmental Protection Agency late Tuesday announced five-year registrations for two dicamba products and the extension of a third. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the registrations include new control measures to ensure the products can be used effectively while protecting the environment, including non-target plants and other crops not tolerant to dicamba. Bayer’s ExtendiMax and BASF’s Engenia received five-year registrations, while Syngenta’s Tavium registration was extended. Corteva’s FeXapan was not included in the announcement. A federal court in June tossed out the registrations for ExtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan, but did not include Tavium. The registrations feature new control measures, including requiring a volatility reduction agent and specific downwind buffers. The federal regulation prohibits over the top application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30. Farm groups have called on the EPA to reregister the products for 2021. However, a staffer at the Center for Food Safety via Twitter called the action “rushed before the election, as a political prop.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and National Cotton Council Chairman Kent Fountain joined Wheeler for the announcement in Georgia.

Wheeler Calls on DOJ to Investigate Environmental Organizations Funding

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler wants the Department of Justice to investigate funding for environmental groups. In a letter to the Justice Department, Wheeler cited concerns the groups were receiving secret funding from foreign countries, specifically China and Russia. The action follows a previous letter by Representative Lance Gooden, a Texas Republican. Gooden requested the investigation earlier this month. Referring to China, Gooden states, “We have reason to believe they are funneling money to certain green groups to influence American foreign policy and our elections.” In Wheeler’s letter, he says foreign investments are not against the law, but says, “foreign influence should not be covert.” Wheeler did not name specific environmental groups. However, Gooden names The Sea Change Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Sunrise Movement in his letter to Wheeler. Administrator Wheeler referred the issue to DOJ, stating, “The DOJ can then determine what appropriate steps to take, if any.”

Ethanol Groups Submit Comments on Flex Fuel Vehicles

Ethanol Groups this week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding emissions standard compliance calculations for Flex Fuel vehicles. The Renewable Fuels Association supports the EPA approach to “maintaining some level of certainty for automakers in the absence of future guidance.” RFA also called on the EPA to provide a long-term floor and “more robust” E85 usage factors for future model years, given expected growth and the benefits provided by ethanol flex fuels. RFA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs states, “it is clear that manufacturers will hesitate to invest in certain technologies, like FFVs, unless there is some assurance that those vehicles technologies will help enable CAFE and GHG standard compliance over multiple model years.” Growth Energy’s comments to EPA state recent trends in government and private investment in biofuels infrastructure, and updated data on E85 availability all lead to growth in higher biofuel blends. Growth Energy says the EPA should “provide appropriate, immediate credit to automakers to continue to produce flex-fuel vehicles to run on these higher biofuel blends.”

Alltech Launches Survey on Gender Equality Within The Food And Agriculture

Alltech Tuesday announced its support of the second annual Women in Food and Ag survey. The survey aims to collect feedback that empowers the agri-food industry to create a more equitable environment. The 2019 Women in Food and Ag survey results revealed specific barriers for women in agriculture and a gap between female and male perceptions but reflected an optimistic outlook. As 2020 ushered in unprecedented challenges for agriculture, new questions have been added to the survey to gauge potential inequalities uncovered by COVID-19. Alltech CEO Mark Lyons says, “Human ingenuity is our Earth’s most valuable resource, and a diverse workforce is essential to building a more sustainable future.” This initiative reflects Alltech’s commitment to the U.N. Global Compact and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal related to gender equality. Women and men in all sectors of the food supply chain are encouraged to contribute to the survey.  The survey results will be published in January 2020.

The survey is available here:

USDA Reports Top Ten Pumpkin Producing States

Pumpkins are one of the most famous symbols of fall, and the Department of Agriculture is highlighting the top ten pumpkin producing states. Just in time before Halloween, in a report by the Economic Research Service, USDA notes production is widely dispersed throughout the United States, with all States producing some pumpkins. However, about 62 percent of pumpkin acres were cultivated in only ten States. By acreage and by weight, Illinois is consistently the Nation’s largest pumpkin producer. Unlike all other States, most Illinois pumpkins are used for pie filling and other processed foods. The lower price associated with pumpkins destined for further processing explains why Illinois was second in the value of pumpkin production at $17.1 million in 2019. Pumpkins from the other states surveyed annually by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service were primarily intended for decorative or carving use. California leads the Nation in terms of value of production, at $22.8 million.

USDA Announces $891 Million Investment in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an $891 million investment in rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 43 states. Funding 220 projects, the investment will help improve rural water infrastructure for 787,000 residents. The projects are being funded through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand says, “Upgrading water infrastructure provides a path to economic growth and protects the health and safety of people who live and work in rural areas.” The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less. Meanwhile, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, among other things, in rural communities.

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.