READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 24th

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R-CALF: Concentration and Globalization Behind Cattle Market Issues

As the Senate Agriculture Committee focused on potential cattle market manipulation Wednesday, R-CALF USA says concentration and globalization are the core problems. Separate from the committee hearing, R-CALF submitted comments to USDA this week responding to a request for input on transforming America’s food system. R-CALF, short for The Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, points out four multinational beef packers control 85 percent of the fed cattle market and 80 percent of the boxed beef market. The comments explain, “they have now consolidated their control over both the supply side and demand side.” To address this, R-CALF’s first recommendation for reversing the effects of globalization is to require all beef sold in America to be labeled with a country-of-origin label. Doing so, R-CALF says, consumers can begin making purchasing choices between foreign beef and domestic beef. The comments include nearly 30 separate recommendations to strengthen the domestic cattle and beef supply chains.

Republicans Launch Conservative Climate Caucus

House Republicans Wednesday launched the Conservative Climate Caucus. The caucus includes more than 50 representatives from every committee with jurisdiction over climate policy and various ranking members. Utah Representative John Curtis chairs the caucus, stating, “We do care about climate – and we already have solutions and plan to find more.” The goal of the Conservative Climate Caucus is to bring members of the Republican party together to educate each other on climate policies that will make progress on reducing emissions through American innovation and resources. In a news release, Curtis says proposals to reduce emissions and be good stewards of the earth do not have to hurt the American economy, adding, “There is a way to lower global emissions without sacrificing American jobs and principles.” A webpage describing the caucus states that with innovative technologies, fossil fuels can and should be a major part of the global solution, adding, “reducing emissions is the goal, not reducing energy choices.”

Senators Introduce the Define WOTUS Act

Senate Republicans from Iowa, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Indiana’s Mike Braun introduced the Define WOTUS Act this week. The bill legislatively defines “waters of the United States,” and makes a definition of the term permanent. Grassley and Ernst recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to express concerns over the Biden administration’s decision to roll back the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule. Grassley states, “Adding more federal red tape for home builders during construction or to a farmer’s day-to-day decisions on the farm is government overreach.” Braun of Indiana says, “Farmers and families need a reasonable, practical definition for WOTUS, and that’s why Congress should do its job and define the law.” The EPA earlier this month announced intent to rewrite the Navigable Waters Protection rule. American Farm Bureau’s Don Parrish said at the time, “this is not a fight about protecting water quality, because the Navigable Waters Protection rule does that, this is a fight over land use.”

USDA Invests $185 Million to Improve Rural Community Facilities

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced funding for rural facilities and essential services in rural America. USDA is investing $185 million to equip, rebuild, and modernize essential services in rural areas of 32 states, benefiting three million rural residents. Specifically, USDA is investing in 233 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. Of these, 74 awards, totaling $4 million, will help communities with their long-term recovery efforts following natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. USDA Rural Development undersecretary Justin Maxson says, “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital.” More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. To learn more about Community Facilities Program funding opportunities, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.

Britain Begins Talks to Join CPTPP

Britain is negotiating to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. Talks began earlier this week to join the trade deal Britain sees crucial to its post-Brexit pivot away from Europe, according to Reuters. The CPTPP agreement removes 95 percent of tariffs between its members, including Japan, Canada, Mexico and others. While joining the agreement won’t significantly increase exports for Britain, it will lock in market access, and increases market influence. Reuters points out Britain will need to demonstrate it can meet the existing members’ standards on tariff removal and trade liberalization, and provide clear details on how and when it will do so. The United States left the trade agreement, then known only as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, during the Trump administration. However, during his campaign, President Joe Biden expressed the possibility of renegotiating and rejoining the CPTPP, but has yet to announce any plans to do so.

Farmers Union Opposes Longer Mail Delivery Times

A proposal to permanently slow down First-Class Mail delivery would be “catastrophic” for family farmers, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU submitted comments this week to the U.S. Postal Service on the proposal. Currently, First-Class mail is supposed to be delivered within a one- to three-day time frame. However, in an effort to cut costs, USPS has proposed extending that range to five days. NFU contends that because rural areas often lack both services like banks, pharmacies, polling places, and supply stores as well as access to broadband internet and private delivery services, residents disproportionately depend on USPS to receive medication, vote, communicate with friends and family, cash checks, and conduct business. NFU says the delay would be particularly detrimental for packages containing time-sensitive materials such as live animals, perishable foods, ballots, and prescription medications. The proposal, according to the NFU filed comments, could put “rural businesses and livelihoods at risk.”

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.