READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 29th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Supreme Court Rejects Petition Against California Prop 12

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied a petition to review California’s Proposition 12. The denial was included in a batch of announcements by the Supreme Court. Earlier this month, the North American Meat Institute supported its petition, stating the law “provides no benefit to consumers and increases breeding sow mortality.” The Meat Institute file the petition in February, challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12: The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. In March, 20 state attorneys general filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the petition. The California law establishes minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens and bans the sale of animals confined to areas below minimum square-feet requirements. The primary issue raised by NAMI and states is that the law extends to producers located outside of California, imposing “crushing burdens on out-of-state farmers and producers who have no political voice to shape the regulations.”

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USDA Amends the National List for Organic Livestock And Handling

The Department of Agriculture announced changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances in organic livestock production. USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service is finalizing three amendments to the National List. Published in the Federal Register Friday, the final rule provides additional options for organic farms and businesses, by adding three substances to the list of substances allowed for organic production and handling. The final rule allows oxalic (ok-sal-ik) acid as a pesticide for use in beekeeping, nonorganic pullulan (pull-you-lan) for use in dietary supplements with “made with organic” claims regarding capsules and tablets, and collagen gel as a casing for organic products like sausages. Once effective, producers and handlers of organic products will be allowed to use these substances in organic production and organic products. USDA says the changes are based on public input and the April 2019 National Organic Standards Board recommendations. The final rule takes effect July 26, 2021.

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House Republicans Sound Alarm on Plan to Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives warn that the Environmental Protection Agency may be returning to the Obama-era Waters of the United States definition. In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced Friday, the members outlined their concerns regarding the intention to rewrite the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The Members wrote, “With all the other crises confronting our nation it makes little sense to unravel a final rule that has taken decades of Agency action, litigation, and legislation to settle.” They urged the EPA and Army Corps not to ignore the input of the general public, small businesses, Federal and state agencies, and the rest of the regulated community to create another rule that provides less regulatory certainty for the involved stakeholders. Representatives David Rouzer, Glenn GT Thompson, Kevin McCarthy, Sam Graves and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, along with Bruce Westerman and Blaine Luetkemeyer and others, signed the letter.

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China Plans Pork Purchases for State Reserves

Chinese officials announced Monday a plan to buy pork for state reserves to support prices, which rebounded sharply after reaching a two-year low recently. Hog prices in China, the world’s top pork-producing nation, plunged 65 percent in the first half of 2021 as disease outbreaks triggered panic selling, according to Reuters. China reports average weekly prices entered an “excessive decline” last week. However, China does not disclose how much pork is in state reserves or how much new purchases will total. A Rabobank analyst told Reuters, “Since the frozen pork inventory is probably already high due to strong imports in the previous months, I don’t think they’ll buy too much.” China last made pork purchases in February and March of 2019, totaling 200,000 metric tons. So far in 2021, China has imported nearly two million metric tons of pork, up 13.7 percent. The purchases followed a record 4.4 million metric tons last year.

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New Beef Processing Facility Announced in Iowa

Cattlemen’s Heritage plans to build a $325 million beef processing plant in southwest Iowa. The facility will employ 750 people with a target to begin operations in late 2023, according to the Des Moines Register. Cattlemen’s Heritage, a newly formed company, plans to build the facility near Council Bluffs to process 400,000 head of cattle annually. Investor Chad Tentinger told the newspaper weak cattle prices, strong consumer demand, and available investment capital that had been sidelined during the COVID-19 pandemic helped drive the decision to build the facility. The facility expects to process cattle from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The facility helps address the issue of cattle processing capacity in the United States, a hot topic in agriculture today. The four largest meatpackers in the United States process roughly 85 percent of the nation’s beef supply. Disruptions in beef cattle markets started in 2019 when a fire halted beef processing at a Tyson Foods facility in Holcomb, Kansas.

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Gas Prices Resume Increase

After declining last week, the nation’s average gas prices have begun to climb again, rising 2.5 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.09, according to GasBuddy. The national average now stands 4.7 cents higher than a month ago and 92.1 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 2.3 cents in the last week and stands at $3.24 per gallon. Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan states, “As we approach July 4, it appears the only way forward is for gas prices to continue to rise as Americans’ demand for gasoline continues to act as a catalyst.” Crude oil inventories saw another plunge last week, falling 7.6 million barrels and now stand six percent under the average for this time of year. Gasoline inventories also dipped, dropping 2.9 million barrels. U.S. gasoline demand fell slightly after reaching new records for consecutive weeks. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 2.1 percent.

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.