READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Mississippi River Reopens to Shipping

The U.S. Coast Guard said there were over 1,000 barges backed up along the lower Mississippi River late last week. The Coast Guard stopped all traffic on the river near Memphis, Tennessee, after a fracture was discovered in a bridge that carries traffic over the river. The good news is barge traffic was allowed to resume last Friday. The U.S. Coast Guard issued a statement saying that “Based on the information provided to us by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard has determined that transit under the I-40 bridge is safe for maritime traffic,” says USCG Captain Ryan Rhodes, the Captain of the Port of Memphis. Mike Steenhoek (STEEN-hook) of the U.S. Soy Transportation Coalition says, “This is obviously good news. We look forward to seeing barge traffic on the Mississippi River back to normal conditions soon.” Steenhoek also notes that the U.S. can be increasingly described as a spending nation, not I hope that this situation will spur efforts to produce a comprehensive infrastructure investment strategy that addresses the needs of both urban and rural America.”

**********************************************************************************************  

Bronaugh Confirmed as USDA Deputy Secretary

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s grateful for last week’s confirmation of Dr. Jewell Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the USDA. “Dr. Bronaugh’s confirmation is historic, as she will serve as the first black woman and woman of color to be named Deputy Secretary,” Vilsack says in a statement. “Dr. Bronaugh has a long, distinguished career as an educator and champion for farmers and rural communities.” She most recently served as the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where she worked to expand opportunities for small and midsized farmers and ranchers to obtain infrastructure and processing capabilities. Bronaugh also developed strategies to meet environmental and water quality goals for Chesapeake Bay. “She speaks respectfully of producers and rural Americans, and believes that as a public servant, her job is to find a way to help those who need it,” Vilsack adds. “I look forward to working with Dr. Bronaugh to help ensure that USDA lives up to its calling to be a department that serves all people equally and fairly.”

**********************************************************************************************  

Land Grants, Extension to Teach Rural America About Vaccines

The USDA says that land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System will step up educational efforts to improve COVID vaccine confidence in rural America. The announcement comes as the Centers for Disease Control says that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks for most outdoor and indoor activities. The new educational effort will use a $9.95 million CDC grant given to the Ag Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Cooperative Extension agents are recognized and trusted messengers in their communities and can help deliver fact-based information on the COVID-19 vaccine and other adult vaccines,” says Jay Butler, CDC deputy director for infectious diseases. NIFA Director Carrie Castille (Cas-STEEL) says, “Cooperative Extension has a century of experience as change agents and educators in communities across America. NIFA is proud to be the federal partner with such a trusted education resource, but especially in this effort to deliver science-based vaccine education.” The Hagstrom Report says a “Facts Not Fear” website, developed by Extension staff, contains a curated collection of culturally appropriate resources from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins, and USDA.

**********************************************************************************************

Effort Underway to Stop Iowa’s E15 Mandate

A new effort is underway in Iowa to stop a proposed fuel mandate from becoming law. KCCI-TV in Des Moines says beginning in 2026, Governor Kim Reynolds’ mandate will require E15 to be sold at every gas station in the state. A group against requiring gas stations to sell E15 is trying to get drivers to rally behind them in the fight against the bill. The group calls itself The Fuel Choice Coalition, and it’s plastering stickers on pumps at many convenience stores and gas stations. The stickers say, “Iowa lawmakers are taking up a law that will result in higher gas prices,” and they also feature a QR code that helps drivers send an email against the move to legislators. The opponents say the bill will force gas stations to make expensive upgrades to their tanks, which will cause fuel prices to “skyrocket.” They note that 1,500 sites in the state would have to spend anywhere from $300 million to $800 million, a cost that will have to be “passed on to consumers.” However, farmers support the legislation, saying it will help improve the ag economy that Iowa depends on.

**********************************************************************************************  

Kansas City Southern Makes New Railroad Deal

Canadian National Railroad outbid Canadian Pacific in its attempt to buy the Kansas City Southern Railroad. Global News says Kansas City Southern determined that CN’s revised bid of $33.6 billion was better than the $25 billion it had already gotten from Canadian Pacific. The new CN offer includes $200 in cash for each KC Southern share, but Canadian National upped its offer of 1.129 shares of its stock. The transaction also includes about $3.8 billion in Kansas City Southern’s debt. Canadian National’s President says the combined railroad will connect Canada with the U.S. and Mexico and take advantage of the expected growth in trade between the three nations in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. KC Southern had been reviewing both bids and holding talks with both potential buyers since CN got involved with the bidding last month. So far, Canadian Pacific has declined to up its offer for KC Southern. CP officials say the Canadian National deal will have trouble getting approved by regulators concerned about the deal’s impact on competition. CP says combining KC Southern and Canadian National would hurt competition because they both have rail lines that compete for business between the Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Canadian Pacific’s network connects to KC Southern near its headquarters, but the two railroads don’t overlap elsewhere.

***********************************************************************************************

Lamb Board Launches Outdoor Cooking Adventures Campaign

The great outdoors and grilling are favorites of many people across the country. The American Lamb Board wants to help consumers make the most of their outdoor adventures by launching the American Lamb Outdoor Cooking Campaign. The recipe contest challenges outdoor enthusiasts to showcase their outdoor cooking prowess with American lamb in short videos. The board also partnered with chefs, pitmasters, and outdoor cooking experts to develop and share a variety of American Lamb recipes and videos for grilling, smoking, and over-the-fire cooking. “We’re so excited about all the opportunities this campaign has to put the spotlight on our great American-raised meat,” says Gwen Kitzan, ALB Chair. “Earlier this spring, our consumer poll earned an exceptional amount of media coverage, and now we’re implementing the recipe collection that adds video excitement to the mix.” The new campaign section is available on the American Lamb Board website at www.americanlamb.com. Consumers can also download or order copies of the new Outdoor Cooking Adventures recipe booklet that features six new lamb recipes for everything from ribs to burgers to kabobs.

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.