READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Biden Administration Announces America the Beautiful Proposal

The Biden administration Thursday announced its so-called 30×30 plan, renamed America the Beautiful proposal. The plan seeks to collaboratively work to conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support and sustain the nation. The recommendation report outlines a locally-led and voluntary nationwide conservation goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The proposal outlines eight principles that should guide the nationwide effort, including a pursuit of collaborative approaches; a commitment to supporting the voluntary conservation efforts of farmers, ranchers, and fishers; and honoring of Tribal sovereignty and private property rights. The American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall responded, stating AFBF appreciates the report address the organization’s concerns and includes input from agriculture. However, Duvall adds, “The report is a philosophical document that emphasizes important principles such as incentive-based voluntary conservation, protecting personal and property rights and continued ranching on public lands, but it lacks specifics.”

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Record-Breaking Performance for U.S. Beef and Pork Exports in March

U.S. red meat exports ended the first quarter on a high note. The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports March beef and pork exports each posted the highest monthly value on record. Pork exports and shipments of beef muscle cuts also set new volume records in March. Beef exports totaled 124,800 metric tons in March, up eight percent from a year ago. Export value broke the $800 million mark for the first time at $801.9 million, up 14 percent year-over-year. March highlights for U.S. beef included record exports to China, Honduras and the Philippines and strong results in South Korea, Chile and Colombia. March pork exports were record-large at 294,700 metric tons, up one percent from last year’s strong total, and set a new value record at $794.9 million, up four percent. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says, “It’s very gratifying to see such an outstanding breakout month for U.S. beef and pork exports.”

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Lawmakers Seek Level Playing Field for U.S. Pork Producers in Vietnam

More than 70 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter this week to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai seeking her support for enhanced Vietnamese market access for U.S. pork. Vietnam represents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. pork exports. National Pork Producers Council President Jen Sorenson says, “Vietnam represents a significant opportunity for U.S. hog farmers, yet we’re hamstrung by unjustified tariff and non-tariff barriers.” Vietnam’s domestic pork production industry is struggling with African swine fever, yet unwarranted tariff and non-tariff barriers restrict the United States from supplying this major pork-consuming nation with pork. The letter states, “Domestic pork producers need a level playing field to compete in this critical market, particularly after being devastated by trade retaliation and the global pandemic.” Last year, Vietnam took an initial step forward in addressing the U.S. pork tariff disadvantage when, from July-December 2020, it temporarily reduced its Most Favored Nation tariff rates from 15 percent to ten percent for frozen U.S. pork products.

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Ag Group Urge Biden Administration to Appeal Chlorpyrifos Court Decision

A coalition of agriculture groups urge the Biden administration to appeal a circuit court decision related to chlorpyrifos (Klohr-PEER-uh-fohs). The court ruling requires the Environmental Protection Agency to either write a new rule to allow for the safe use of chlorpyrifos or halt all food residue tolerances of the insecticide, which would effectively ban its use. The Ag Retailers Association along with dozens of agriculture groups oppose the court ruling because “it will set a bad precedent for EPA’s registration review process for all agricultural chemicals.” The groups say the ruling sets the precedent of allowing petitioners and the federal courts to impose their decision-making process in reviewing the science over EPA’s long-standing regulatory authority as established by Congress. The letter states, “We urge EPA to pursue all available legal review avenues to protect the science-based and risk-based regulatory process.” Chlorpyrifos is a widely used pesticide for use on crops, livestock and buildings to control insects and worms.

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USDA Announces Breakthrough for ASF Vaccine Candidate

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced that an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine candidate has been adapted to grow in a cell line. The announcement means those involved in vaccine production will no longer have to rely on live pigs and fresh cells for vaccine production. The discovery overcomes one of the major challenges for manufacturing of an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine. The newly developed vaccine, grown in a continuous cell line — which means immortalized cells that divide continuously or otherwise indefinitely — has the same characteristics as the original vaccine produced with fresh swine cells. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Manuel Broca says, “This opens the door for large-scale vaccine production.” No commercial vaccines are currently available to prevent the virus from spreading. There have not been any outbreaks in the United States, but it is estimated that a national outbreak could cost at least $14 billion over two years, and $50 billion over ten years.

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Drought Conditions Driving Lowered Missouri River Runoff Forecast

Very dry conditions in April resulted in low runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin. Runoff was 44 percent of average, the 9th driest April in 123 years of record. The updated 2021 upper Basin runoff forecast is 17.8 million acre-feet, 69 percent of average, the 22nd lowest calendar year runoff volume. John Remus of the Army Corps of Engineers says, “The extremely dry April, current drought conditions, and below-normal mountain snowpack has led our office to significantly lower the 2021 calendar year runoff forecast.” Mountain snowpack in the upper Basin has peaked and melting is underway. The mountain snowpack peaked above Fort Peck in late March at 86 percent of normal, and the Fort Peck to Garrison reach peaked in late April at 96 percent of average. Gavins Point Dam releases will provide full-service navigation flow support through July 1. That, in combination with the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, is generally sufficient to provide an adequate channel.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Brian 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.