READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Celebrates 2020 Accomplishments

Agencies within the Department of Agriculture this week celebrated their accomplishments in 2020. USDA highlighted what the department considered its successes this year. At the Farm Service Agency, the department says USDA farm programs helped farmers and ranchers weather a tough 2020.  FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce stated, “We partner with agricultural producers to grow and expand their operations as well as weather the unpredictable, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.” USDA’s farm program agencies – the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, and Farm Production and Conservation Business Center worked to deliver programs to assist producers while also making strides to enhance efficiency and effectiveness to improve service to customers. USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey says, “We continue to admire and support the resiliency of farmers and ranchers during challenging times.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated the year was tough, but “USDA met these challenges with a multitude of programs and services.”

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Industry Groups Call Brazil Decision ‘Devastating’ For U.S. Ethanol

A coalition of agriculture groups says Brazil’s decision to impose a 20 percent tariff on all U.S. ethanol imports is devastating for the U.S. ethanol industry. The group includes the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association. The organizations made the comments in response to the Brazilian government’s decision to let the current tariff rate quota expire, replacing it with a 20 percent tariff on all imports of U.S. ethanol. The statement continues, “Not only does this decision risk destroying the great progress our two nations have made as global leaders in ethanol production, it marks a dramatic turn in our bilateral trade relationship.”  Since May, U.S. exports to Brazil have fallen to less than four million gallons. Over the same time period, Brazil has exported nearly 96 million gallons of fuel ethanol to the United States. A 20 percent tariff will “only further imbalance trade between the two countries.”

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USDA Seeks Public Input on Guidance Defining Nonindustrial Private Forest Land Eligibility

The Department of Agriculture seeks public input on Nonindustrial Private Forest Land related to technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs. The lands make up a large portion of the forested land base in the United States. Forest management decisions on these lands impact the nature and level of benefits derived from the land. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service welcomes input from stakeholders to assist with developing guidance about how to identify land for program enrollment purposes. NRCS must ensure the guidance is consistent with how other USDA agencies identify Nonindustrial Private Forest Land under identical or similar frameworks. The request for input is to improve transparency about how NRCS makes land eligibility determinations of forest lands. The criteria will be adopted after the close of the 30-day period and after consideration of all comments. NRCS requests input on the technical guidance through January 19, 2021. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov.

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NCBA Awards Roberts Top Hand Award

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association this week recognized Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Pat Roberts, with the Capitol Hill Top Hand Award. NCBA awarded the Kansas Republican the accolade in honor of his long career fighting for cattle producers and rural communities in the nation’s capital. NCBA President Marty Smith stated, “Chairman Roberts is a pillar of the cattle industry and there is no one more deserving of this award.” Throughout a career spanning decades, Smith says Roberts has always been committed to helping cattle producers in every way he can. The Capitol Hill Top Hand Award, in its inaugural year, is given to one elected official annually, who goes above and beyond the call of duty to represent cattle producers nationwide. Roberts is retiring at the end of the congressional session, ending a political career that saw him leading both the House and Senate Agriculture committees. Kansas Republican Roger Marshall will take his Senate seat in January.

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AgDiscovery Summer Student Program Now Accepting Applications

The Department of Agriculture this week announced the application period for the 2021 AgDiscovery program. AgDiscovery is a national summer outreach program designed to introduce students in grades 7-12 to agricultural sciences. The program is a unique opportunity for students to gain a first-hand view of the many career paths available in the agricultural sciences field. Those career paths include plant and animal health, wildlife management, biotechnology, environmental science, forestry, entomology, food safety and food production, and managing the business aspects of agriculture. AgDiscovery challenges students to consider the importance of American agriculture, and the role USDA plays in agriculture. The program educates students about career opportunities within USDA, by stimulating and promoting advanced interest in, and knowledge of agriculturally related fields of study. In 2021, 21 universities are hosting AgDiscovery programs. Learn more on USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website, www.aphis.usda.gov/agdiscovery. USDA is accepting applications through March 25, 2021.

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Research Find Avocados Support Gut Health

Eating avocado as part of your daily diet can help improve gut health, according to a new study from the University of Illinois. Avocados are a healthy food that is high in dietary fiber and monounsaturated fat. However, it was not clear how avocados impact the microbes in the gastrointestinal system. The researchers found people who ate avocado every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health. They also had greater microbial diversity compared to people who did not receive the avocado meals in the study. The study included 163 overweight or obese adults between 25 and 45 years old. They received one avocado meal per day to consume as a replacement for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One researcher adds avocados are “a really nicely packaged fruit that contains nutrients that are important for health. Our work shows we can add benefits to gut health to that list.

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.