READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

FACA Recommends USDA Use Pilot Projects to Build Toward a Carbon Bank

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, or FACA, delivered recommendations Monday to the Department of Agriculture regarding a potential carbon bank. The more than 70 members of the alliance, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, says USDA should first develop a series of pilot projects. The focus areas include scaling climate solutions to help increase adoption of climate-smart practices, removing barriers to adoption, improving carbon account standards and ensuring equitable opportunities. The alliance says information gained from the pilots will serve two critical purposes. First, it will help USDA build a durable foundation for a carbon bank that earns long-term bipartisan congressional support. Second, it will help USDA build confidence in how to verify the climate benefits delivered by specific practices and management approaches. Read FACA’s full carbon bank recommendations and see a full list of member organizations at agclimatealliance.com.

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More Farmers Suing USDA Alleging Discrimination

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty last week filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the alleged race discrimination in the American Rescue Plan. Specifically, the organization targets a provision to offer loan forgiveness based on racial categories. The organization filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of five plaintiffs from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio.  The American Rescue Plan Act provides billions of dollars of debt relief to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. But the law’s definition of socially disadvantaged includes explicit racial classifications: farmers and ranchers must be Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Hispanic or Latino, or Asian American or Pacific Islander. Other farmers are ineligible for the program, according to the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges discrimination, calling the program “illegal and unconstitutional.” The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction and a declaratory judgment that the racial classifications in the farmer loan forgiveness program are unconstitutional.

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Farm Bureau Launches Farm State of Mind Resource

The American Farm Bureau Federation just launched a comprehensive online directory of resources for farmers, ranchers and their families who are experiencing stress and mental health challenges. In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, the directory provides users with stress and mental health resources in every state. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “It is so important to spread the word that no one has to go it alone.” The directory, which is on the Farm State of Mind website at farmstateofmind.org, features listings for crisis hotlines and support lines, counseling services, training opportunities, podcasts, videos, published articles and other resources. National research polls conducted and published by AFBF in 2019 and 2021 showed that a number of factors including financial issues and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting farmers’ mental health, highlighting the need to identify local resources that can help farmers and ranchers cope with chronic stress and mental health concerns.

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Dairy Groups Welcome U.S. Callout of EU Food Name Protections

The Consortium for Common Food Names, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council recently commended U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tia for announcing an opinion on geographic indicators. USTR’s Special 301 Report, an annual publication tallying global challenges pertaining to intellectual property issues, called out the EU’s policy of blocking fair competition through the pursuit of geographical indications. The dairy groups say geographic indicators restrict the use of common food and beverage terms, which create barriers to trade in products relying on common food names. The Consortium for Common Food Names Executive Director Jaime Castaneda says, “USTR has accurately diagnosed the problem,” adding, “Now the task before the U.S. is to take the necessary steps to effectively curb this scourge to U.S. food and agricultural producers.” The Consortium for Common Food Names filed extensive comments with USTR outlining geographic indicator-related developments, foreign governments’ roles in driving those policies and the impacts on U.S. farmers and food producers.

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Kind Joins Organic Caucus in Introducing Legislation to Improve Organic Standards

Wisconsin U.S. Representative Ron Kind and a group of bipartisan House members last week introduced the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act. The legislation seeks to improve the federal process for the oversight of organic food standards. Kind is co-chair of the bipartisan House Organic Caucus, stating, “This legislation will take necessary steps to ensure our organic farmers can continue to succeed and innovate for generations to come.” The Wisconsin Democracy says the bill will establish a new framework for advancing organic standards and improve oversight and enforcement of new rules and guidance. Illinois Republican Representative Rodney Davis, also co-chair of the House Organic Caucus, says, “Our bipartisan legislation will clear the backlog of rule recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.” The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 directed USDA to establish national standards and assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard.  However, the lawmakers say USDA inaction has stifled innovation.

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Illinois’ Bustos Not Seeking Reelection

Illinois Democrat Cherri Bustos announced she will not seek reelection after completing her current term in the House of Representatives. In a video posted on Twitter, Bustos says, “I feel it’s time for a new voice.” Bustos represents Illinois’ 17th District, a largely rural district, and has served on the House Agriculture Committee since first being elected in 2013. This Congress, Bustos chairs the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over policies, statutes and markets relating to commodities like corn, soybeans, wheat, pulse crops and more. It also oversees the Commodity Credit Corporation and crop insurance programs. Congresswoman Bustos also serves as a member of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit. Bustos made the announcement on Friday. The Illinois Dem County Chairs’ Association thanks Bustos for her service, adding, “Her commitment to her district is unparalleled, particularly to the hard-working middle class and rural communities.”

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.