READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tue, Dec 1st

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China Purchases of U.S. Commodities Still Lagging

China’s purchases of U.S. farm commodities still lag behind targets set in the Phase One Agreement, according to research by the Peterson Institute. Through October 2020, China’s year-to-date total imports of covered products from the United States were $75.5 billion, compared with a prorated year-to-date target of $137.3 billion. Over the same period, U.S. exports to China of covered products were $70.3 billion, compared with a year-to-date target of $125.4 billion. Through the first ten months of 2020, China’s purchases of all covered products were thus only at 56 percent for U.S. exports or 55 percent of Chinese imports of their year-to-date targets. Through October 2020, China’s imports of covered agricultural products were $15.6 billion, compared with a year-to-date target of $27.1 billion. Over the same period, US exports of covered agricultural products were $17.5 billion, compared with a year-to-date target of $24.6 billion. The data is based on October 2020 statistics released last week.

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EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluation for Glyphosate

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a draft biological evaluation for glyphosate. EPA’s draft biological evaluation for glyphosate includes an effects determination for listed species and designated critical habitats and finds that glyphosate is likely to adversely affect a significant percent of endangered species and critical habitats. If EPA determines glyphosate may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the agency will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service as appropriate. Of more than 1,700 species considered, EPA claims roughly 93 percent were likely to be adversely affected by glyphosate, with more than half the species being plans. EPA followed its March 2020 Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides to conduct this biological evaluation. The assessment could mean further restrictions and controls on glyphosate. Glyphosate is used on about 298 million acres of agricultural cropland annually.

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USDA Announces Expansion, Other Improvements to Hemp Crop Insurance

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced the expansion of the pilot Multi-Peril Crop Insurance plan for hemp. The expansion and other improvements to the plan, will begin in the 2021 crop year. USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre says, “Hemp offers exciting economic opportunities for our nation’s farmers, and we are listening and responding to their risk management needs.” The program expansion allows for additional states and specific counties to be included in the program. The changes also allow broker contracts for hemp grain and adjust program reporting and billing dates. Sales closing, cancellation, production reporting and termination dates were adjusted to match dates of similar crops. Meanwhile, USDA adjusted Acreage Reporting Dates based on regional final planting dates. The premium billing dates for all states changed to August 15. For more information on USDA risk management programs for hemp producers, they are encouraged to visit farmers.gov/hemp.

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USDA to Conduct 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct the 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, beginning this month. First conducted in 2015, the Census of Agriculture special study will look at local and regional food systems and provide new data on how locally grown food in the United States are marketed and sold. The results will be available in November 2021. The 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is part of the Census of Agriculture Program and is required and protected by law. Federal laws require producers to respond and USDA to keep identities and answers confidential. Farmers and ranchers who receive the survey may complete it securely and conveniently online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The deadline for response is February 16, 2021. The survey will ask producers about their production and local marketing of foods during the 2020 calendar year, including the value of food sales by marketing channels such as farmers markets, restaurants, and roadside stands.

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Peterson Requests Delay in Nation-wide 5G Network Implementation

Outgoing House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and others on the committee seek a delay in deploying a terrestrial nationwide network to provide 5G services. In a letter last week to the House Appropriations Committee, Peterson says, “There is no room for error when discussing safety and reliability of service for GPS signals.” In July, a group of lawmakers led by Peterson expressed serious concerns surrounding the FCC’s decision, questioning the reliability of GPS for millions of Americans, especially farmers and ranchers who rely on the technology for precision agriculture. Peterson was joined by Republicans Glenn GT Thompson of Pennsylvania and James Comer of Kentucky. Specifically, the lawmakers want the FCC to delay an order granting Ligado Networks 5G development. Representative Comer states, “critical tools like GPS technology must not be disrupted, as our farmers are essential workers who must have the tools they need to do their jobs.” The lawmakers hope appropriation bills will include the delay.

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FCC Chair Pai to Step Down January 20

Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai (Uh-JEET Pie) will step down January 20, 2021, the day President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in. In a statement released Monday, the rural Kansas native said, “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission.” Pai was appointed to the commission in 2012 by President Barack Obama, and made chairman by President Donald Trump in 2017. Pai used his time at the FCC focusing on rural broadband issues, among other things. Pai’s term was set to expire in June 2021. The now outgoing chairman mentioned successes in his time, such as closing the digital divide, promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space, protecting consumers, and advancing public safety. Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas and attended Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School. Pai was the first Asian-American to chair the FCC, which he calls a “particular privilege.”

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.