READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 17th

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Senates Sets Vote for Vilsack Confirmation

The Senate will vote to confirm Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary next week. The exact time is uncertain, but the Senate calendar has the vote planned for Tuesday, February 23. The Senate will debate the nomination for 20 minutes before voting, with the majority and minority parties receiving equal time. Expect smooth sailing for Vilsack, who breezed through the Senate Agriculture Committee nomination hearing earlier this month. If confirmed next week, Vilsack will rejoin the Department of Agriculture just a few days over a month since the Biden administration took over the White House. During his confirmation hearing, Vilsack stated the world and nation are different from his previous stint leading USDA. Vilsack says, “Today, the pandemic, racial justice and equity, and climate change must be our priorities.” If confirmed, Vilsack will return to USDA after serving as Agriculture Secretary during the Obama administration, and most recently as President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Philippines Continues Debate to Raise Pork Import Quota 

The Philippines’ government moved one step closer to expanding the quota for pork imports last week. Specifically, the government is proposing to raise the minimum access volume to 400,000 metric tons to address shortages and higher prices for the preferred protein. The current minimum access volume is 54,000 metric tons, and the country’s initial proposal increased the figure to 164,000 metric tons. The proposal will need to be approved by a management committee before submitted to the Philippines President for approval, and then ratified by Congress. This latest proposal comes on the heels of a recent meeting between the National Pork Producers Council and the Philippines Ambassador to the U.S. NPPC has been working with the Philippines’ government for more than a year to negotiate an expansion of the quota and lower pork import tariffs. In a statement, the organization says, “NPPC welcomes the government’s proposal, as the Philippines holds tremendous market opportunities for U.S. pork exports.”

Students Set to Celebrate National FFA Week

Next week, more than 760,000 FFA members across the country will share the story of agriculture as part of National FFA Week. National FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses February 22, George Washington’s birthday. This year, the week kicks off on February 20 and culminates on Saturday, February 27. The National FFA Board of Directors designated the weeklong tradition, which began in 1948, recognizing Washington’s legacy as a farmer. During FFA Week, the six national FFA officers will connect virtually with chapters across the country. National FFA Week is also a time for alumni and supporters to advocate for agricultural education and FFA. Alumni and Supporters will celebrate Alumni Day on Tuesday, February 22, and on Thursday, February 25, the National FFA Foundation will celebrate Give FFA Day, a 24-hour campaign encouraging the public to support various needs impacting FFA members. Friday, February 26, all FFA members and supporters are encouraged to wear blue and show their FFA pride.

Baldwin to Chair Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee

Senator Tammy Baldwin will chair the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. Announced last week, the Wisconsin Democrat says, “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support farmers, ranchers, and producers.” Senator Baldwin has served on the Senate Appropriations Committee since 2015, and she will also serve as a member on three other appropriation subcommittees in the Senate. Baldwin says she seeks to “build a stronger and more secure agriculture economy, and get the job done on rural economic development for communities that too often feel they are being left behind by Washington.” In addition to serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. However, Baldwin is not a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

USDA Announces Monica Rainge as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced Monica Armster Rainge as deputy assistant secretary for civil rights for the agency. Rainge is an agricultural lawyer and mediator. She has worked in the public and private agricultural sectors for more than 25 years. She recently served as the Director of Land Retention and Advocacy for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives-Land Assistance Fund. There, she led the development and management of outreach and technical assistance programs that support regional land retention and advocacy initiatives for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Rainge also directed the Federation’s Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center, which provides USDA-certified mediation services in Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Katharine Ferguson, chief of staff in the office of the secretary, stated, “She has dedicated her career in law and advocacy to fighting for underserved and marginalized communities in food, agriculture and natural resources management.” Rainge will help USDA efforts to ensure equity across the Department.

Former U.S. Ambassador Gregg Doud Joins Aimpoint Research

Aimpoint Research announced Tuesday Former U.S. Trade Ambassador Gregg Doud joined their team. Doud serves Aimpoint Research as its vice president of global situation awareness and chief economist. Doud most recently served as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and is one of the primary architects of the U.S.-China “Phase One” trade agreement. Aimpoint Research specializes in providing intelligence to the agri-food value chain, and Doud brings “an unparalleled global perspective and economic expertise to the team.” He will work closely with members of the Executive Intelligence Network and play a major role as the organization tackles its thought leadership priorities, including Farmer of the Future, Next Gen Consumer, Mobility of the Future, and more. Before his role with the U.S. Trade Representative, Doud served as President of the Commodity Markets Council, the leading trade association for commodity futures exchanges and their industry counterparts.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.

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