READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wed, Nov 25th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USA Pork Producers Launch “Give-A-Ham” Food Program

The National Pork Producers Council launched the “Give-a-Ham” challenge. It’s a nationwide social media campaign encouraging hog farmers and those involved in the industry to donate pork to organizations that serve people living with food insecurity and then will challenge others to follow suit. The “Give-a-Ham” challenge will run through the end of this year. “With so many Americans struggling with COVID-related financial challenges, this year’s challenge takes on a special meaning,” says NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth (Rowth), a Wisconsin hog farmer. “Giving back to our communities is a core value of hog farmers nationwide; it’s so gratifying to come together as an industry this time of year to serve those in need.” Throughout COVID-19, U.S. hog farmers and their numerous state associations that represent them have donated a collective 15.7 million pounds of pork to local food banks through October 31. That total equals 222.8 million servings of pork. “I’m proud to be part of an industry that has already made significant contributions this year to help those less fortunate and look forward to participating in the ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge, paying it forward with pork,” Roth adds. Participants are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the #GiveaHam hashtag.

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Biofuel Groups Ask Court to Hold EPA Accountable on Improper 2016 Waiver

A coalition of the nation’s largest biofuels and agricultural trade groups filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The motion asks the court to enforce its 2017 decision that required the Environmental Protection Agency to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of biofuel demand in the 2016 Renewable Volume Obligation. The coalition includes groups like Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, and many others. A statement from the coalition after the filing says, “It’s simply unconscionable that EPA would so brazenly ignore a federal court’s order. Our coalition represents millions of American farm families that shouldn’t have to go to court to hold EPA accountable to the law.” The coalition points out that it’s well past time that the EPA restore the 500-million gallons and focus on restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuels Standard. In the motion, the coalition asks the court to require the EPA to issue a 500-million gallon “curative obligation” on obligated parties to make up for the lost gallons, and to require the EPA to do so no more than six months after the court’s order. The groups also want the court to declare it won’t extend those deadlines.

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USDA Forecast for Exports Rises $11.5 billion

The USDA says U.S. agricultural exports in the Fiscal Year 2021 are projected at $152 billion. That’s up 11.5 billion from the August forecast and is driven higher by rising soybean and corn export values. The agency’s projection for soybean exports is up by 5.9 billion dollars to a record 26.3 billion due to higher unit values, strong demand from China, and record volumes. Corn exports are forecast up 4.2 billion dollars to 13.2 billion as a result of reduced competition, higher unit values, and record volumes. The agency says cotton exports are forecast up 300 million dollars to 5.3 billion based on higher values. Wheat exports are projected at 6.2 billion dollars, up by 200 million dollars on higher unit values and slightly larger volumes. The overall major agricultural bulk commodity exports are forecast to increase 24 percent from the previous projection. Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast unchanged at 32.3 billion dollars as lower exports of pork, hides, and skins offset increases in beef and poultry. China is once again projected to become the largest U.S. agricultural market, a spot it last held in 2017. Ag imports are forecast at 137 billion dollars, up one billion from August.

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Unions Endorse Fudge for Agriculture Secretary

Three unions announced they are endorsing Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio for Agriculture Secretary. The unions are the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. In a letter to president-elect Joe Biden, the three unions say Fudge has been an advocate for all workers, including meat processing workers, and she has fought attempts to increase the line speeds in meat plants. As a member of the House Ag Committee, the unions say Fudge has “played a role in the recent farm bill reauthorization and for workers on issues important to farmers, ranchers, and the whole agriculture ecosystem.” The unions say Representative Fudge has consistently shown “her willingness to lend her voice to those who need theirs amplified, who listens to all sides, and who knows how to make informed and balanced decisions.” They also applaud her experience as a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, which has jurisdiction over school meals and other child nutrition programs.

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How to Handle Thanksgiving Food Safely

As Americans enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal, USDA says taking the necessary steps toward safe food handling and sanitation will help protect you and your loved ones. The USDA is offering food safety advice to help reduce foodborne illness, including on Thanksgiving Day. “Our data shows that consumers can reduce their likelihood of foodborne illness by focusing on good hand hygiene and other food safety practices,” says Dr. Mindy Brashears, USDA’s Undersecretary for Food Safety. “As home chefs around the country prepare their Thanksgiving meals, proper handwashing, and avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen are critical to keeping your loved ones safe.” The first step is likely the most obvious, which is washing your hands. Wash them before, during, and after preparing food, especially if it’s raw meat or poultry. Thawing turkeys should never be done on the counter or in hot water, and they must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. The best method for thawing is in the refrigerator. Also, make sure to cook your stuffing outside the turkey to avoid cross-contamination risk. Chat with a live food safety expert at ask.udsda.gov for more tips.

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FFA Members Are Giving Back to Their Communities This Fall

FFA members across the country are working together to make sure their communities have the food they need during the holiday season. It’s a part of the National Days of Service program through the National FFA Organization. Traditionally, members who attend the National FFA Convention and Expo participate in the National Days of Service, which gives back to the community hosting the event. Because the event was virtual this year, the National Days of Service program challenged members across the country to give back where they live. It’s a part of a bigger initiative by the organization to have nationwide community engagement programs for the National Days of Service. Chapters are being encouraged to explore four specific areas, including community safety, hunger, health and nutrition, environmental responsibility, and community engagement. “We know that service is an important part of the FFA experience for our members,” says Michele Sullivan, senior manager of local engagement for the National FFA Organization. “With the convention going virtual, FFA was excited to launch the first-ever National Days of Service set to take place across the country.” She says the National FFA Organization plans to continue the virtual National Days of Service beside the in-person event for years to come.

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.