READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 18th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S.-UK and EU Suspend Airplane Tariffs

Trade Representative Katherine Tai returned to the U.S. Thursday following a successful trip to Europe. Tai, along with counterparts from the European Union and the United Kingdom, agreed to suspend tariffs caused by disagreements over aircraft. Tai, announcing the agreement with the UK Thursday, says both the EU and UK and the U.S. will establish working groups on large civil aircraft. Each side intends not to impose countermeasures for a period of five years, starting July 4, 2021. Countermeasures in the dispute in the past include imposing tariffs on U.S. agriculture and food products. Regarding the UK, Tai states, “Reaching an agreement with the United Kingdom to finally put the large civil aircraft disputes behind us is a great step forward for our special relationship.” House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, says, “This announcement is welcome and will certainly set the stage for important future bilateral agreements between the U.S. and our European allies.”

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Biden Administration Released New Broadband Coverage Map

A new broadband mapping tool released by the White House Thursday shows the need for rural broadband. The Indicators of Broadband Need map indicates areas of need by marking them red. The tool unsurprisingly marks much of the U.S. land area, particularly rural areas, as in need of broadband. Except for city-centers, states like Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Texas, among many others, are largely identified as areas in need. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (Roh-MUN-doh) says the mapping tool “paints a sobering view of the challenges facing far too many Americans as they try to connect to high-speed broadband.” The map contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, and internet speed testing providers. The data classifies areas of need by locations that lack the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 megabits per second download, three upload.

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Senate Ag Scheduled Hearing on Cattle Markets

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow Thursday announced a hearing titled “Examining Markets, Transparency, and Prices from Cattle Producer to Consumer.” The Michigan Democrat, along with the committee’s ranking Republican John Boozman of Arkansas, scheduled the hearing for the afternoon of Wednesday, June 23. Cattle market transparency is a priority for cattle producers as disruptions in the market, along with pandemic-related issues, developed. Legislation, such as the Cattle Market Transparency Act, seeks to correct the disruptions and improve trade for cattle producers. Introduced in March, Farm Bureau Congressional Relations Director Scott Bennett said at the time the legislation would ease frustration in the market by “creating a contract library for producers to compare the terms of their contracts versus others in the industry.” In May, a diverse group of farm and cattle organizations came together to focus on cattle market transparency concerns. The issue started growing in 2019 when a fire burned a Tyson plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

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U.S. Drought Monitor Update

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update Thursday shows widespread drought conditions across roughly half of the United States. Warmer than normal temperatures continued their hold on the northern tier of the Lower 48, particularly in the northern Great Plains and Upper Midwest. Across the north, widespread degradation of drought conditions occurred in areas where heavy rainfall missed. A few areas that received heavy precipitation and saw localized improvements were coastal Oregon and Washington, western Montana, and eastern Montana and western North Dakota. The most severe drought ratings are found in the West region and North Dakota. For the Drought Monitor’s West region, which covers nine states, the update classifies 55 percent of the region in extreme drought and 26 percent in exceptional drought, the most severe category. The drought extends through northern High Plains states and the upper Midwest to the Great Lakes. With some droughts indicated on the East Coast, the rest of the U.S. is largely free from drought.

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Research Supports Dairy’s Net Zero Initiative with $10 Million Grant

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research recently awarded a $10 million grant supporting U.S. dairy’s Net Zero Initiative. Announced Thursday, the funding will support a six-year project titled “Dairy Soil and Water Regeneration.” The project focuses on building soil health to reduce greenhouse gases and improving water quality, along with enabling new economic benefits. The research will provide measurement-based assessments of dairy’s greenhouse gas footprint for feed production and set the stage for new market opportunities related to carbon, water quality and soil health, according to Dairy Management Inc. The grant will be matched by financial contributions from partners such as Nestlé, the dairy industry, including Newtrient, and in-kind support for a total of $23.2 million. The funds are managed by the Dairy Research Institute. Dairy Management Inc. scientists will serve as the project leads to address research gaps in feed production and manure-based fertilizers that, once filled, will enable new markets, incentives and investments in dairy sustainability.

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McDonalds CEO Expect Dine-in Eating to Bounce Back

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski (Kim-chin-skee) expects dining inside restaurants to bounce back following the COVID-19 pandemic. Kempczinski states, “I think dine-in is always going to be here,” making his comments during a CNBC Evolve Conference panel, adding, “Eating is such a social experience, and dine-in is a part of that social experience.” Digital orders and drive-thru sales surged through the pandemic for the fast-food sector, along with curbside pickup for sit-down restaurants. Dine-in customers make up about a quarter of McDonald’s U.S. sales. The McDonalds CEO says, “I think in the U.S., we may see dine-in take longer to recover,” but adds, “we’re certainly expecting that dine-in is also going to be an important part of the McDonald’s experience.” Other fast-food chains in the U.S. are building new locations with less seating and a focus on the to-go experience, based on how sales shifted during the pandemic. However, most plan to keep some form of seating for dine-in customers moving forward.

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.