READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

American Trust in Farmers Remains Strong

A majority of adults in the U.S. view farmers’ sustainability practices positively, and an overwhelming majority of them trust farmers. Those findings are the results of a new public opinion poll taken by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The poll found that 58 percent of the respondents are positive about the sustainability practices of America’s farmers, and that agreement comes from a majority of adults across different demographic groups. Almost nine in ten adults (88%) trust U.S. farmers, which is a four percent increase from Farm Bureau’s June polling. That likely comes from evidence that the public recognizes that the food supply chain challenges brought on by COVID-19 were not within the control of farmers and ranchers. The survey also looked into public attitudes about the environmental sustainability achievements of farmers and ranchers, as well as the future direction for advancing to climate-smart farming. Overall, the public agrees farmers shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden alone. More than eight in ten Americans were impressed to find out that the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA both have data showing that farmers have put 140 million acres of land into conservation programs. “Americans have a high level of trust in farmers, and they understand that we’re committed to protecting the soil, air, and water,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

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EU-UK Trade Deal Likely Will Miss the Deadline

Trade negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom seem likely to miss the mid-November deadline for a new Brexit deal. Reuters reports that after Britain left the European Union in January, a status-quo transition period will expire at the end of the year. The talks on new trade rules that begin in 2021 haven’t yielded results yet. “By moving into next week, the timelines will start to get tight,” says Irish Foreign Trade Minister Simon Coveney. “There aren’t many days left in the year, and if we don’t get a deal next week, we may have some real problems.” Now that the stakes are running even higher, an EU diplomat tells Reuters that, “The deadlines are increasingly tight. But the EU cannot make the timetable take precedence over its priority interests.” If the two sides don’t agree, trade rifts will develop between the world’s biggest trading bloc of 450 million consumers and the sixth-biggest economy. That would only deepen the economic damage caused by the coronavirus in Europe during 2020. “it’s quite possible this could fall apart,” Coveney says, “but if you’re asking me to call it, I think we are more likely to get the deal than not.”

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U.S. Commercial Wheat Sales Ahead of Last Year’s Pace

USDA estimates that the U.S. will export 26.5 million metric tons of wheat in the 2020-2021 marketing year, which is one percent ahead of the pace in 2019 if realized. However, four months into the marketing year, total U.S. wheat commercial sales are 12 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 16.8 million metric tons and 15 percent ahead of the five-year average. To date, sales of hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, and soft and hard white wheat are significantly ahead of last year’s pace. Sales of soft red winter wheat and durum lag behind the pace set in the 2019-2020 marketing year. Successes in individual markets like China and Brazil brought on by policy changes and follow-on trade and technical service by the U.S. Wheat Associates are supporting overall sales. Competitive pricing for U.S. wheat earlier in the current marketing year helped to fuel a faster import pace, even by traditionally strong U.S. wheat customers like the Philippines and South Korea. Total hard red winter wheat sales are 12 percent ahead of last year at 6.12 MMT, helped out by export sales to Brazil that are almost two times greater than they were at the same time last year. Total HRS export sales are 15 percent higher than last year.

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Fudge Won’t Pursue House Ag Chair; Would Accept Ag Secretary Position

Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge endorsed Georgia Democrat David Scott’s bid to chair the House Agriculture Committee, shooting down speculation that she wanted that position. However, Cleveland Dot Com says she would be honored to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture in Joe Biden’s administration. Fudge frequently appears on a list of potential ag secretaries along with prospects like former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, current Democrats Chellie Pingree of Maine, and Cheri Bustos of Illinois, as well as the state ag secretaries in California and Delaware. Fudge decided to back Scott for the Ag Committee’s top spot because he’s second in seniority behind the outgoing chair, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who lost his re-election bid. Fudge is fourth in seniority on the Ag Committee and currently chairs the Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Affairs subcommittee. She’s also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, as is Scott. Committee assignments and chairmanships in Congress get reshuffled after every election to replace departing members and accommodate new ones. Because Democrats will remain in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats will continue to chair all the committees.

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CFAP Program Deadline is a Month Away

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency is reminding farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 is December 11. The program provides direct relief to producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs due to COVID-19. “Producers have one more month to get their applications in for this important relief program,” says Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency Administrator. “Applying is simple and our staff is available to assist every step of the way.” CFAP 2 will provide up to $14 billion to eligible producers of certain row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, aquaculture, and more. All of the eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found at www.farmers.gov/cfap. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of the program and interested producers must complete a new application to be eligible for payment under CFAP 2. Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee that’s ready to offer general assistance.

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NACD Sends Letter to Biden Transition Team

The National Association of Conservation Districts sent a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden on behalf of America’s conservation districts, state and territory associations, and the district officials that lead them. “Our nation’s conservation districts serve diverse communities across the country and work in partnership with federal government agencies,” says NACD President Tim Palmer and President-Elect Michael Crowder, who co-authored the letter. “Together, we strive to better-manage the nation’s soils, waterways, and habitats, and to address a wide range of natural resource concerns, including soil health, wildfire, and mitigating the effects of a changing climate.” NACD and its members serve as the connection between the local level and federal agencies charged with natural resources protection. They say it’s vital for any incoming administration to recognize this trusted conservation delivery model, so conservation districts have the best opportunity to continue addressing our nation’s natural resource concerns on public and private lands in rural, suburban, and urban communities. “We look forward to working with you and the members of your transition team in the weeks and months ahead,” they say.

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.