READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 3rd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

New Study Shows Health Benefits of Biodiesel

A new study sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board shows switching to biodiesel will result in several health benefits, including decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths, and reduced asthma attacks. The research got conducted at 13 sites across the U.S. that get regularly exposed to high rates of petroleum diesel pollution. Researchers found that switching to 100 percent biodiesel in the home heating oil and transportation sectors would provide immediate community health benefits that can be measured in reduced medical costs and health care benefits, such as preventing 340 premature deaths every year. Other benefits include a 45 percent reduction in cancer risk when heavy-duty trucks like semis use B100 and an 86 percent reduced risk when biodiesel is used for home heating oil. Other yearly health benefits include 203,000 fewer asthma attacks, 46,000 fewer sick days, and $3 billion less in health care costs after switching to B100. “This study quantifies the health benefits and shows that by using renewable fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel, we are bringing positive change to people’s lives, the nation’s health, and the economy,” says NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen.

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California Court Rules on Chlorpyrifos

A federal court in California gave the Environmental Protection Agency two choices on the insecticide chlorpyrifos (Klor-PEER-ah-fahs). The agency has 60 days to write a new rule to allow for the safe use of the insecticide, or it can halt all food residue tolerances of chlorpyrifos, which would basically ban most uses of the product. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco says the EPA has had long enough to respond to a 2007 petition by environmental groups to ban the chemical. The court says, “The EPA has had almost 14 years to publish a legally sufficient response to the 2007 petition.” The court’s ruling also says that, during that delay, the EPA has exposed a generation of America’s children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos. “By remanding back to the EPA one last time, rather than compelling the immediate revocation of all chlorpyrifos tolerances, the court is being more than tolerant. But the EPA’s time is now up.” In a statement to DTN, the agency says it’s reviewing all its options. “As the agency pursues its mission to protect human health, including that of children and the environment, EPA is committed to ensuring the safety of pesticides and other chemicals,” the agency says.

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U.S., E.U. Ag Groups Ask for End to Retaliatory Tariffs

A total of 88 U.S. and European organizations representing a wide range of industries are asking for an end to trade tariffs between the U.S. and E.U. The groups sent a letter to leaders on both sides of the Atlantic asking for the permanent removal of the tariffs on sectors unrelated to the ongoing Trans-Atlantic trade dispute. The Hagstrom Report says the organizations range from agricultural products to consumer goods. The letter opens by thanking the U.S. and E.U. for the four-month suspension of tariffs imposed in connection to the World Trade Organization dispute concerning civil aircraft subsidies. “We are hopeful that this suspension will help reset the vital transatlantic trade relationship and lead to the permanent removal of all additional and retaliatory tariffs on products which are unrelated to the sectors subject to ongoing transatlantic trade disputes,” the groups say in the letter. “It’s important for our members, already hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19, to be able to rely on the continued suspension or complete removal of these tariffs after July 2021.” They say the transatlantic relationship is of enormous economic importance to their sectors and are eager to see it protected and nurtured.

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Ag Groups Respond to USDA Climate Smart Solutions

The National Association of Conservation Districts submitted a letter to the USDA in response to the agency’s request for comments on climate smart solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. “Climate-smart agriculture and forestry need significantly more government investment and action to meet the need of oversubscribed programs,” says NACD President Michael Crowder. Among the suggestions, the NACD Climate Action Task Force reiterated its request for at least $1.2 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022 discretionary funding for conservation operations to bolster local technical assistance. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says carbon markets represent a great opportunity for farmers to help in the effort to mitigate climate change, but they do come with risks. Larew calls on the USDA to minimize those risks and provide more certainty for farmers by creating a “public third-party verification system,” facilitating access to information about the markets, and working to “prevent consolidation in agricultural carbon markets and the corporate purchasing of farmland for the generation of carbon credits.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor submitted comments pointing out that plant-based biofuels like ethanol are a readily available, renewable energy solution that reduces carbon emissions today. “Recent studies demonstrate that biofuels can immediately contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing our transportation sector,” Skor says.

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Poultry Supply Chain Slowing Down as Demand Rises

Chicken is in such high demand that U.S. restaurants and processing companies are having trouble keeping up. Supply challenges are hitting all sorts of chains that serve chicken, including bone-in chains, burger joints that sell chicken sandwiches, pizza chains selling wings, as well as traditional wing restaurants. The problem has led to higher chicken prices, especially for chicken wings. Restaurant Business Dot Com says prices will stay at record levels for the foreseeable future. “We believe these higher prices are likely to continue in 2021 as suppliers are struggling to hire enough people to process chicken, thus placing unexpected pressure on the number of birds that can get processed,” says Charlie Morrison, CEO of Wingstop. “That’s negatively affecting the supply of all parts of the chicken in the U.S. and not just wings.” Prices for bone-in wings on the spot market are up more than 50 percent year over year. KFC introduced a new chicken sandwich earlier this year and is having trouble keeping up with demand. While there are multiple challenges facing chicken supplies, a lot of the challenges are based on demand. Chicken sandwich demand has risen dramatically, while chicken wings have seen even greater demand increases.

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Topsoil Moisture is Lacking in Half of the Midwest

Large parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are abnormally dry, and most of Michigan is in moderate drought due to limited spring precipitation. Last week’s Drought Monitor shows arid conditions covered 48 percent of the Midwest, the heart of U.S. corn and soybean production. That’s compared to 32 percent a week earlier. “Much of the Ohio Valley states, as well as Iowa to lower Michigan, had little to no precipitation over the past week,” the drought monitor reports. Almost all of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and the eastern third of its Upper Peninsula were in moderate drought. Precipitation deficits over the last 90 days have been building, streams are low, and soil moisture continues to dry in the Lower Peninsula. The USDA rated topsoil moisture as short or very short in half or more of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Several Colorado counties were asked to voluntarily conserve water.

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.