READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, January 14th

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Lawmakers Ask Trump Administration to Deny Biofuel Waivers

A group of lawmakers is asking the outgoing Trump administration to deny biofuel wavers. A letter signed by the House Biofuels Caucus follows a report the Environmental Protection Agency was readying to approve three small refinery exemptions. The letter calls the exemptions illegal, adding they are “contrary to legislative intent and hurt rural economies.” In September, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler rejected dozens of waiver requests from refiners. But now, with 66 more exemption requests pending, and news the Trump administration is preparing to approve three waivers, the lawmakers say the reversal is “a betrayal to Rural America.” The lawmakers say it would be inappropriate to grant any waiver petitions inconsistent with the law and the Tenth Circuit Court decision, currently pending litigation and review by the Supreme Court until the review is finished. The approvals would be one of the Trump administration’s final efforts and could be announced yet this week, applying to the 2019 compliance year.

Meat Worker COVID-19 Cases Five Times Lower than June

A new analysis of independent data for 2020 shows that new COVID-19 infection rates amongst meat and poultry workers were five times lower in December than in May. Meanwhile, rates in the general population rocketed up nine times in the same period. According to data from the Food and Environment Reporting Network, the meat and poultry sector was reported to have an average of 19.91 new reported cases per 100,000 workers per day in December. That compares to an average of 98.39 new reported cases per 100,000 workers per day in May. The New York Times reports that during the same period, the average new case rate for the U.S. population rose from 7.11 cases per 100,000 people per day in May to 63.01 cases in December. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts says, “This new data further demonstrates that the more than $1.5 billion spent on comprehensive protections implemented since the spring reversed the pandemic’s trajectory.”

Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Launches Updated Training

The Masters of Beef Advocacy program Wednesday updated advocacy training modules – called MBA NextGen. The updates to the popular training modules make it easier for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to share their story and advocate knowledgeably for the beef industry. Updated information and resources to help answer consumer questions are all accessible within the program. MBA NextGen continues to be a free, self-guided online course that provides farmers, ranchers, service providers, students, consumers, and all members of the beef community the tools and resources to become a beef advocate and answer tough questions about beef and raising cattle. A National Cattlemen’s Beef Association spokesperson says the program “is one of the most effective tools we have to teach a wide audience the core principles of the cattle industry.” The program started in 2009, and to-date, there are more than 15,000 graduates. To enroll or find out more about the latest Masters of Beef Advocacy Program, visit

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Announces U.S. Leadership Transition

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Wednesday announced the appointment of Randolph Legg as its U.S. President. He succeeds Everett Hoekstra, who retired in December. Legg will remain head of the Company’s U.S. commercial business while serving as president. Legg held various commercial leadership roles in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Human Pharmaceutical division before moving to its Animal Health business in 2019 to lead the U.S. Pets Commercial team. He is based at the U.S. headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in Duluth, Georgia. Hoekstra retired after holding a variety of leadership roles at Boehringer Ingelheim. As president of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in the U.S. for the last two years, he oversaw the final integration activities after Boehringer Ingelheim acquired Merial in 2017 to become the world’s second-largest animal health company. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health also is transitioning a key global manufacturing role from its global headquarters in Ingelheim, Germany, to the United States.

U.S. Soy Turf to Cover More Ground Than Ever in 2021

The Indiana Soybean Alliance, with support from the United Soybean Board and SYNLawn Indiana, is kicking off a new partnership with the Indianapolis Colts. The partnership features soy-backed SYNLawn artificial grass to be used during 2021 pre-game and traveling educational exercise programs, which will be held once COVID-19 limitations end.  The partnership helps further the educational efforts on the many benefits offered by U.S.-grown soybeans, as well as the soy checkoff’s positive impact on building new markets for the industry, according to USB. Participating children and adults will have the opportunity to learn about soy while enjoying the Colts’ popular “Touchdown Town” 40-yard dash across SYNLawn. Use of soybean oil and other plant-based renewable materials qualifies multiple SYNLawn products for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Biobased Product label. According to a report USDA released in July 2019, biobased products contributed $459 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016. Additionally, SYNLawn’s soy-backed grass is recyclable and conserves water.

European Crop Protection Association Renamed CropLife Europe

The European Crop Protection Association announced this week it will now operate as CropLife Europe. The rebranding also changes the association mandate to include digital and precision farming, plant biotech innovation and biopesticides alongside conventional pesticides. The launch of CropLife Europe comes as EU policymakers and governments are increasingly calling on the agriculture and the food system to transition to a more sustainable model. A CropLife Europe spokesperson says, “an agile association representing a host of technologies under one roof will be better equipped to represent the integrated solutions needed to deliver sustainable agriculture.” Another representative says the European Commission’s Green Deal is “a real game-changer,” adding it provides “a great opportunity to deliver more sustainable agriculture.” The expanded organization will encompass a wider range of topics, including pesticides, conservation efforts, and precision agriculture. Finally, the organization will focus on plant biotech traits that enable crops to thrive in difficult conditions using less resources or provide greater benefit in diets.

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.