READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 30th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

La Nina Fueling Western Drought

More than half of the United States is experiencing a drought as La Nina favors warmer and drier weather across much of the country. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the drought west of the Mississippi River and extends into Illinois and Indiana, as well as the Northeast. Drought conditions cover 91 percent of the 11 states in the West as determined by the Drought Monitor, with extreme drought conditions covering 40 percent of the region. That drought area expands into west Texas and the Plains states. Drought conditions cover 98 percent of the High Plains states, and 35 percent of the Midwest. The southeast, including Louisiana, are largely spared from drought conditions, but at the cost of an active hurricane season. Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported the ongoing La Nina is expected to expand and intensify drought across the southern and central Plains, eastern Gulf Coast, and in California during the months ahead.

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Gray Wolf Delisted from Endangered Species List

The Department of the Interior this week removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list, signaling a successful recovery under the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf spent more than four decades on the list, but the population is now thriving in the lower 48 states. State and tribal wildlife management agencies will now be responsible for the management and protection of the gray wolf. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the action shows “careful management and partnerships between federal and state agencies can result in the successful recovery of a once-threatened species.” A National Cattlemen’s Beef Association representative states, “The road to recovery and delisting has been fraught with purely political lawsuits that promoted emotion over fact, and the facts are clear: the gray wolf population is recovered.” National Association of Conservation Districts President Tim Palmer adds, “Its delisting is a credit to the hard work of locally-led conservation.” The gray wolf has been federally protected under ESA since 1967.

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Cattle Groups Discuss need for Beef Industry Reforms

Cattle groups met in Florida this week to discuss reforms to the beef industry. The meetings included the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the Organization for Competitive Markets, and R-CALF USA. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the nation’s largest cattle group, was invited but did not participate. NCBA President Marty Smith stated, “NCBA will not participate in events with organizations litigating against NCBA or the Beef Checkoff, nor will we engage in events that lend a voice to anti-agriculture activists.” Smith claims the Organization for Competitive Markets is “solely a front for animal rights activists.” OCM is spearheading a petition calling for a referendum vote on the Beef Promotion and Research Order, or the beef checkoff. OCM claims checkoff dollars managed by NCBA “through questionable if not illegal ways…often wind up in the pockets of industrialized agriculture.” The groups included in the Florida meetings support beef checkoff reforms, country of origin labeling, and a breakup of the “big four” meatpacking companies.

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NMPF: FDA Must Enforce Fake-Dairy Rules

The National Milk Producers Federation wants the Food and Drug Administration to ensure imitation dairy product rules are properly enforced. The organization Thursday made the ask to the agency’s ombudsman, citing little indication of promised action. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “The FDA’s Office of the Ombudsman must intervene to break the bureaucratic logjam.” The FDA ombudsman, based in the agency commissioner’s office, “serves as a neutral and independent resource for members of FDA-regulated industries when they experience problems with the regulatory process,” according to the agency. NMPF urges the office to take appropriate action to remedy the FDA’s lax approach to enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients. The organization says unlawfully labeled plant-based imitation foods “poses an immediate and growing risk to public health.” NMPF last year released its own road map offering solutions to how public health, product integrity and free speech could be protected through updated regulations.

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Report: Net Zero Trucks Ready in North America

A new report by the Environmental Defense Fund shows manufacturers are readying to meet demand for zero-emission trucks in North America. The report finds that that manufacturers, through their investments and product plans, recognize that the future of the commercial vehicle industry is zero-emissions. The study identifies that at least 125 zero-emission truck and bus models are in production, development or demonstration. Over the past five years, sales of zero-emission commercial vehicles have shot up by nearly a factor of ten. There are models for each of the distinct major segments of the heavy-duty vehicle market, including transit and school buses, delivery vans, box trucks and combination trucks. Every major truck and bus manufacturer is developing at least one all-electric vehicle model or is part of an industry collaboration to bring zero-emission vehicles to market. Jason Mathers of EDF says, “Leading manufacturers are ready to make these trucks and fleets are eager to drive them,” adding, “Now we need bold policy to accelerate the market.”

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Radio Tag Leads Researchers to Asian Giant Hornet Next

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists, using a radio tag, have located and eradicated the first Asian giant hornet nest ever found in the United States. The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supplied the radio tag. Researchers tied the tag to a hornet, which led them to the nest in a dead tree. Two days later, a team of entomologists plugged the nest with foam, wrapped the tree in plastic, and vacuumed out the hornets. To complete the eradication, they injected carbon dioxide into the tree to kill any remaining hornets. In a recent press conference, a WSDA official noted that, given the radio tag’s strength, “I’m pretty confident as long as we can get live hornets, we can follow them back.” Now that they’ve shown that it’s possible to find and eradicate a nest, the hunt continues for any other nests that might be in the area.

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.