READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 15th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S., EU Reach Deal to End Trade Dispute Over Subsidies

President Biden and European Union leaders reached an agreement to halt the long-running trade dispute over subsidies for Boeing and Airbus. The Hill says the announcement comes as the president participates in an EU-U.S. summit in Brussels as part of his first trip overseas as president. The two sides hope it will improve relations between America and Europe as both are collectively trying to counter the rising power of China. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says the announcement resolves a long-standing “irritant” in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union. “Instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat,” she says. As part of the deal, both sides will suspend the tariffs related to the dispute for five years, including tariffs on wine, spirits, tractors, and cheese. The Hill points out that Biden still hasn’t announced plans to lift tariffs on European steel and aluminum imposed by the Trump administration, which may still be a continued source of tensions. A senior administration official says the negotiations are ongoing, describing them as constructive, but did note that they will take time.

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

NPPC Asking Congress to Address Bottlenecks at Nation’s Ports

America’s hog farmers are the leading suppliers of high-quality pork, annually shipping more than $7 billion to overseas destinations. However, recent shipping delays at U.S. ports are disrupting exports. If these delays are addressed soon, they could lead to serious bottlenecks for pork and other agricultural exports. National Pork Producers Council President Jen Sorenson says, “Compounding the situation is the fact that carriers are failing to provide accurate notice to exporters of arrival/departure and cargo loading times, and then impose financial penalties on exporters for ‘missing’ those loading windows,” Sorenson said while testifying before Congress.
“These costs are ultimately passed down the supply chain to farmers.” In discussing potential solutions to the bottlenecks, Sorenson urged for expanded operating hours for U.S. ports, and expedited Federal Maritime Commission enforcement preventing unreasonable financial penalties for exporters. All U.S. ports are experiencing shipping delays, but the West Coast is the most heavily impacted as it sends products to Asian-Pacific destinations, one of U.S. pork’s top export markets.

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

USDA Announces Additional Aid for Producers and Business

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional aid intended for agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. Earlier this year, the secretary announced plans to use available pandemic assistance funds to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of aid. As part of the Pandemic Assistance initiative announced in March, USDA pledged to continue Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments and to provide aid to producers and businesses left behind. Implementation of the assistance announced this week will continue within 60 days to include support to timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost share, and grants for PPE. “USDA is honoring its commitment to get financial assistance to producers and critical agricultural businesses, especially those left out or underserved by previous COVID aid,” says Vilsack. “These investments through USDA pandemic Assistance will help our food, agriculture, and forestry sectors get back on track and plan for the future.” Since January, USDA has provided more than $11 billion worth of assistance to producers, as well as food and agriculture businesses.

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

USDA Announces Dates for CRP and Grasslands Signup

USDA set a deadline of July 23, 2021, for all agricultural producers and landowners to apply for the Conservation Reserve Program General Signup number 56. Also, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept applications for CRP Grasslands from July 12 to August 20. This year, USDA updated both signup options to provide greater incentives for producers and increase its conservation benefits, including reducing the impacts of climate change. The signups are competitive and will provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes. “We are excited to roll out our new and improve CRP General and Grassland signups,” says FSA Administrator Michael Ducheneaux (DOO-sheh-no). “The bottom line is CRP now makes more financial sense for producers while also providing a bigger return on investment in terms of natural resource benefits.” Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators to protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. For more information or to sign up for these programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.

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

Farm Groups Differ over USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Changes

Several of America’s leading farm groups differ on the USDA’s proposal to consider three new rules to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew told the Hagstrom Report that, “Shielding farmers from corporate abuse was one of the main objectives for Farmers Union since it was established. The publication of these planned administrative actions is a step in the right direction. Family Farm Action Alliance President Joe Maxwell says, “Past failures to adequately strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act left the regulatory environment a haven for consolidation. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is less than enthusiastic. “As we did in 2010 and again last year, NCBA will fight hard to ensure that any regulations created or revised under the Packers and Stockyards Act do not reduce cattle producers’ ability to realize higher profits and make the decisions that are best for them” North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts points out that the concepts in the three USDA proposals were rejected by eight federal appellate courts. “They were a bad idea in 2010, in 2016, and a bad idea in 2021,” she says.

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

Produce Industry Returning to In-Person to Washington Conference

Members of the produce industry will come together face-to-face at the 2021 Annual Washington Conference on September 20-22 in Washington, D.C. “After a year of virtual events, we’re thrilled to bring our industry back together in person for one of the most important events of the year,” says United Fresh Chairman Danny Dumas. “It’s our opportunity to explain our challenges and voice our concerns with the nation’s top elected leaders.” For more than 25 years, the conference has brought industry leaders to meet with members of Congress and Cabinet officials throughout the Administration. “From Bill Clinton to Joe Biden, every president’s administration has heard directly from produce leaders during this annual event,” says United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. The 2021 conference will once again include face-to-face Congressional meetings as permitted in September, as well as a series of online meetings that will follow the conference. The Washington conference also includes a Produce Advocacy Bootcamp for those attendees new to communicating with Congress, workshops detailing the most critical public policy issues facing the produce industry, general sessions with the nation’s top leaders, and networking opportunities throughout the industry.

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.