READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 22nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Program to Increase Capacity, Access in Meat and Poultry Inspection Operations

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced $55.2 million in competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states through the program, “We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country.” USDA encourages grant applications that focus on improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency and developing new and expanding existing markets. Further USDA seeks applications that increase capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand along with maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards. Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises. MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection project is for processing facilities currently in operation and are working toward Federal inspection. Whereas, MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment Compliance project is only for processing facilities located in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service program.

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Led by USDA, U.S. to Join Global School Meals Coalition

Led by the Department of Agriculture, the United States is joining a global coalition focused on improving the nutrition, health, and education of children. The coalition, called “School Meals: Nutrition, Health and Education for Every Child,” will officially launch at the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit in September. U.N. member states lead the coalition with support from the U.N.’s World Food Program. The coalition’s goal is to promote, strengthen, and expand school feeding programs across the globe to make nutritious meals available for all children by 2030. The coalition will advocate for multisector coordination, stable funding sources and ongoing research to improve program quality and efficiency. Specifically, the coalition aims to ensure that, by 2022, all countries restore school meals programs for the 370 million children who lost access during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reaching 73 million additional children living in extreme poverty and hunger who were not receiving school meals pre-pandemic.

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House Ag Chair Scott Comments on USDA Discrimination Lawsuits

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott calls lawsuits against aid for minority farmers “shameful.” Congress provided the Department of Agriculture funds to provide debt relief to Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American or Pacific Islander farmers. However, several farmers, including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, are suing USDA over the aid program included in the American Rescue Plan relief package. Scott says, “This shameful lawsuit is racial discrimination at its worst against our nation’s Black farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers.” His comments were directed at a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. A federal judge this month ordered USDA to temporarily stop the program, and USDA says it will forcefully defend the debt relief program. The Department of Justice argues the farmers behind the Wisconsin lawsuit “have failed to show irreparable harm and the government is well within its constitutional rights to provide the debt relief,” according to Politico.

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CNH Industrial TO acquire Raven Industries

CNH Industrial Monday announced an agreement to acquire Raven Industries for $2.1 billion. The transaction will be funded with available cash on hand of CNH Industrial. Closing is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to approval of Raven shareholders and regulatory approvals. CNH will pay $58 per share, representing a 33.6 percent premium to the Raven Industries four-week volume-weighted average stock price. CNH CEO Scott Wine says, “This acquisition emphasizes our commitment to enhance our precision farming portfolio and aligns with our digital transformation strategy,” adding, the acquisition “will provide our customers with novel, connected technologies, allowing them to be more productive and efficient.” Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Raven Industries is organized into three business divisions, including Applied Technology, Engineered Films and Aerostar. The company is a global technology partner for OEMs, agriculture retailers and dealers, with consolidated net sales of $348.4 million for the twelve months ended January 31, 2021.

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Vilsack Issues USDA Proclamation Recognizing National Pollinator Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday proclaimed this week as National Pollinator Week. Vilsack states of the proclamation, “The health of these agricultural contributors is critical to the vitality and sustainability of U.S. agriculture, food security, and our nation’s overall economy.” Pollinator species play an important role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States. The proclamation states a variety of practices to protect pollinators can often be incorporated in USDA’s focus on climate-smart agricultural solutions, such as growing pollinator-attractive flowering trees and plants that also sequester carbon. Honeybee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually and are critical to ensuring our diets are plentiful with fruits, nuts, and vegetables. USDA recognizes the role pollinators play in agriculture and supports pollinator health through research, data collections, diagnostic services, monitoring, pollinator habitat enhancement programs, and pollinator health grants. Learn more about USDA pollinator work at www.usda.gov/pollinators.

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EPA Orders eBay to Stop Selling Unregistered, Misbranded Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a stop-sale order to eBay regarding 170 unregistered or misbranded pesticide products. The action amends a 2020 order to include the additional products. EPA’s Larry Starfield states, “Unregistered pesticides can pose a serious hazard to human health and the environment.” The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act makes it unlawful to distribute or sell a pesticide that is not registered with the EPA or a pesticide with false or misleading labeling. Among the pesticide products subject to the amended order is a highly lethal anticoagulant poison and DDVP, an insecticide with various restrictions and prohibited uses in the United States due to the dangers it presents to human health. Also included in the amended order are pesticides that eBay failed to stop selling after the June 10, 2020 order, such as Virus Shut Out, a purported spatial disinfection card that claims to protect the wearer from the novel coronavirus.

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.