READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, October 29th…

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Ethanol Groups Seek Partial Summary Judgment in FOIA Lawsuit

Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association this week filed a motion for partial summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit regarding Small Refinery Exemptions. The motion follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to adequately respond to several FOIA requests, according to the groups. Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association asked a federal district court to order EPA to make public at least the most basic information about the exemptions. The two groups say EPA should not withhold the name of the company submitting an application for an SRE nor the name and location of the refinery for which relief is requested. Additionally, they ask that EPA immediately produce the information that was unlawfully withheld for Renewable Fuel Standard compliance years 2015, 2016 and 2017. Finally, the groups say the EPA should not withhold any of the five data elements identified in the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule.

EPA Considering E15 Label Changes at Gas Pumps

The Environmental Protection Agency is mulling over a potential label change for E15 at gas pumps. The possible move is seen as a way to appease the biofuel industry’s concerns that current labels discourage use of the fuel, according to a report by Reuters. Current labeling warns of possible engine damage to older vehicles. An announcement could come soon, but there’s no detail yet on how the Trump Administration might alter the labeling. President Donald Trump did say via Twitter last month that he would allow states to permit fuel retailers to use their current pumps to sell E15. Expanding the market for E15 is a policy goal for farmers and the ethanol industry, including calls for the national standard to move from E10 to E15. Going from an E10 blend to an E15 blend would increase ethanol production by seven billion gallons and corn demand by over two billion bushels a year, according to Growth Energy.

Dicamba Decision Provides Certainty to Ag Retailers, Farmers

The Agricultural Retailers Association says the Environmental Protection Agency offers certainty to retailers and farmers with the recent five-year registrations for dicamba herbicides. ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock says, “Now farmers and their retailers can make firmer plans for the next five years with this critical question answered.” American Soybean Association President Bill Gordon thanked the EPA in a statement for “the many steps and time invested in coming to this decision.” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler late Tuesday announced the registration for three dicamba herbicides, Bayer’s ExtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and Syngenta’s Tavium. The announcement follows a court case in June that invalidated the registrations for ExtendiMax, Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan. The registration does include a cutoff date for over the top applications for soybeans of June 30 and cotton of July 30. Gordon of ASA points out that dicamba is “one of many tools integral to the success” of farmers facing different crop production challenges.

Consumers Are Stocking up Again Amid COVID, Political Unrest Fears

Americans are again stocking up the pantry over supply chain, coronavirus and political unrest fears. In a report from industry publication Progressive Grocer, research shows more than half of Americans say they’re stockpiling groceries or plan to stockpile. The research cites worries about supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 surges and political unrest amid the presidential election. Industry leaders are urging retailers to prepare for a rise in shoppers. Walmart CEO Doug McMIlion says, “It will be choppy for months to come as we all deal with the volatility and as things change.” Roughly 52 percent of Americans plan to stockpile this fall, according to data from the Sports and Leisure Research Group. Additionally, 38 percent of consumers stocked up at the beginning of the pandemic and would do so again with a new shutdown, while 15 percent of consumers didn’t stock up earlier this year, but would do so if there’s a new shutdown.

USDA Announces More Rural Community and Broadband Investments

Another day closer to the election brings another investment announcement in rural communities by the Department of Agriculture. In a recent string of investments, USDA Wednesday announced another $871 million for rural communities. This time, USDA is funding 256 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The investments will assist communities in building or upgrading schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. The funds will benefit 3.5 million residents in 43 states and Guam. Over the last few weeks, USDA has announced investments in rural communities near-daily, including millions for rural broadband. USDA Wednesday also announced a $1.8 million investment for rural broadband in Iowa, and $5 million for areas in rural Kentucky. That announcement is part of the $550 million allocated by Congress for the second round of the ReConnect Program. Both the Community Facilities Program and the Reconnect Program are administered by USDA Rural Development.

NCBA Moves 2021 Convention to August

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is the latest ag organization to change the 2021 meeting schedule due to COVID-19. In a letter to event participants, the organization announced the Cattle Industry Convention will move to August 2021, delayed from February. NCBA CEO Colin Woodall says, “the limits on the number of people who can gather at an event in Nashville and the travel restrictions facing many trade show exhibitors, makes it impossible for us to put on the world-class event.” Originally scheduled for February 3-5, the convention and trade show will now take place August 10-12, 2021. NCBA will hold some of its traditional business meetings in the January or February timeframe, in accordance with the association’s bylaws. The event is one of many originally scheduled for early 2021 that is changing the meeting landscape for agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation earlier this month announced its annual convention will be virtual, planned for January 10-13, 2021.

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.