READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, Nov 18th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Alliance Publishes Unprecedented Climate Change Recommendations

An alliance of groups that represent farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments, and environmental advocates released an unprecedented list of recommendations to guide Federal climate policy development. The effort is called the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, and it was formed in February by the four groups that co-chair the alliance: the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and the National Farmers Union. The alliance has expanded to include several other groups since February. The group developed over 40 recommendations for federal policymakers, with those recommendations based on three principles: climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities, they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities, and they must be science-based. These recommendations share an overall goal of doing no harm. “We are proud to have broken through historical barriers to form this unique alliance focused on climate policy,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “It was important to me to reject punitive climate policy ideas of the past in favor of policies that respect farmers and support positive change, and our final recommendations do just that.”

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Progressives Fight Against Heitkamp as Possible USDA Boss

Progressives in agriculture appear to be making a push to keep former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp out of the USDA Secretary’s office in a Biden administration. News Break Dot Com says the conflict is ramping up as Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio has begun to campaign for the job. USDA is a $150 billion department that oversees ag policy, supports the farm economy, and feeds millions of low-income households. Heitkamp has been seen as a top contender for the spot because of her moderate politics and friendly relationship with the agricultural sector. However, a coalition is working behind the scenes to eliminate her candidacy before it gets going. They argue that she’s too conservative and far too cozy with the fossil fuel industry and corporate agribusiness. “There will be a big fight on Heitkamp if Biden puts her name forward,” says Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of the food and agriculture program at Friends of the Earth. Most of the nonprofits against Heitkamp are far out on the left flank of even the most-progressive food and ag circles. However, divisions about Heitkamp appear to run deeply. The National Farmers Union, not a member of this coalition, is facing its own questions about whether to get behind the former North Dakota Senator.

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Senate Unanimously Passes Grain Standards Reauthorization

Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan say the Senate has unanimously passed the bipartisan U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020. The act regulates marketing standards for grains and oilseeds and extends the inspection authority through September of 2025. “The Senate has approved the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act, which will allow America to continue fostering a healthy domestic grain market and positive relationships with our trading partners,” says Roberts. Stabenow says as farmers face unprecedented uncertainty and trade instability, it’s vital to maintain the integrity of the grain inspection system. “The bipartisan bill protects the interests of American farmers and ensures our credibility as a reliable producer of high-quality crops,” she says. The bill would include customers and applicants for inspection or weighing services in the list of people that must be notified in writing when a state agency intends to temporarily discontinue official inspection or weighing service. The bill still needs approval in the House and will also require that the USDA conduct a thorough review of the agency’s official geographic areas.

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Dairy Safety-Net Enrollment Ends on December 11

The USDA reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage program for the calendar year 2021 is quickly approaching on December 11. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency opened DMC signup back in October to help producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities. “2020 has been a very challenging year for agricultural producers, and we don’t yet know what next year will bring,” says FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2021 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments.” The DMC program, first created by the 2018 Farm Bill, offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a specific dollar amount selected by the producer. To enroll, producers must certify with FSA that the operation is commercially marketing milk, sign all the required forms, and pay the $100 administration fee unless the farm qualifies for a waiver. Producers can select the $4.00 catastrophic level of coverage with no premium fee. They can also choose to buy-up coverage where the premium is based on margin triggers between $4.50 and $9.50 on five to 95 percent of their established production history.

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New Partnership Highlights Versatility of Corn as a Feedstock

The National Corn Growers Association announced a new partnership with the publication called “Chemical & Engineering News.” The goal is to highlight the many uses for corn, including the opportunities in plant-based packaging, chemicals, and nutraceuticals (Noo-trah-SOO-tih-cals). The NCGA’s Market Development Action Team is funding the effort. “This is a way for us to enter into a conversation with an audience we don’t engage with every day,” says Market Development Action Team Chair Dan Wesely. “This is one of the many efforts we have in the new-uses space. Being able to share corn’s story, that we are an abundant, affordable, sustainably grown, and versatile crop with this audience is important to future corn demand.” CE&N subscribers will get a chance to test their knowledge of corn production and its uses by taking a quiz. Questions will range from “How much corn does the U.S. produce each year?” to “Which organic acid produced from corn is used in shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals?” An infographic will showcase how corn is utilized in several ingredients in items such as packaging and dietary supplements. Chemical & Engineering News is a weekly print and digital publication put out by the American Chemical Society since 1923.

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CommonGround Celebrates 10 Years of Building Trust

CommonGround is a group of women farmers who plant seeds of trust through conversations with consumers about the food they grow. Those women are celebrating ten years of service and impact for agriculture. The farmers of CommonGround serve as a resource to connect with families about food and farming. The organization’s farmers volunteer their time to share personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food. What first began as a handful of volunteers with a shared goal has flourished, growing into a grassroots movement with more than 200 volunteers in 20 states. “I’m proud to be part of something so authentic in this crazy world,” says Lauren Biegler, a CommonGround farmer-volunteer from Minnesota. “All of the women in the program have such genuine love and pride for their families, farms, and the products that come off their farms.” CommonGround was developed by the National Corn Growers Association, in collaboration with various state corn and soy associations. Though ten years have gone by, the mission remains the same; break the barriers between farmers and consumers through direct conversations. To learn more, people can go to www.findourcommonground.com.

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.