READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USMCA Trade Officials Meeting in Mexico City This Week

Trade representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada meet this week to commemorate the first anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai, and Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade will attend the meeting. The officials meet Tuesday in Mexico City to exchange views on the achievements reached during the agreement’s first year and discuss opportunities to ensure the long-term growth and competitiveness of the region. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says in a statement the meetings are an opportunity to continue the productive dialogue established during the first Free Trade Commission meeting in May. Further, USTR says the meeting shows how the United States, Mexico, and Canada are working together as friends, neighbors, and allies to build a more competitive, inclusive and resilient North American economic partnership. USMCA replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement and went into force on July 1, 2020.

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Federal Court Reverses EPA Rule on Year-round E15

A federal appeals court late last week reversed a 2019 rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that lifted restrictions on the sale of E15. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers vs. EPA challenged the rulemaking that allowed the year-round sale of E15. Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Corn Growers Association say in a joint statement, “We disagree with the court’s decision to reject EPA’s move to expand the RVP waiver to include E15, a decision that could deprive American drivers of lower carbon options at the pump and would result in more carbon in the atmosphere.” Last August, the groups filed a brief as intervenors in the lawsuit. The brief provided support for EPA’s position that parity in RVP regulations for E10 and E15 is consistent with the provisions of the Clean Air Act and the congressional intent behind those provisions. The groups participated in oral arguments for the case in April of this year.

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Growth Energy Applauds New Legislation to Clarify Oil Refinery Exemptions

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor last week applauded the introduction of the Small Refinery Exemption Clarification Act of 2021 in the house of Representatives. Randy Feenstra, an Iowa Republican and Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, introduced the legislation. The legislation seeks to clarify who is eligible under the Renewable Fuel Standard SRE program. Skor states, “We firmly believe that refiners have had 16 years to adjust their operations to comply with the RFS, and that EPA’s SRE authority was meant to steer them toward compliance rather than provide a never-ending excuse to avoiding their blending obligations.” Growth Energy also supports the House and Senate versions of the RFS Integrity Act, which would add deadlines for refinery SRE petitions so EPA can properly account for them in future year RVOs. In addition, Growth Energy supported letters led by lawmakers in both chambers who wrote the White House, EPA, and USDA on the market implications of SRE authority abuse.

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NCBA, NFU Welcome USDA Product of USA Action

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Farmers Union support the top to bottom review of the Product of the USA label. The review, announced last week by the Department of Agriculture, follows a vote to strengthen the regulation by the Federal Trade Commission. NCBA President Jerry Bohn says, “NCBA members have voiced concerns about the potentially misleading use of the label and we thank USDA for responding to those concerns.” National Farmers Union has long been concerned about the label, which is legally applied to beef and pork that was born, raised, and slaughtered in another country but processed in the United States. The organization recently urged FTC and USDA to strengthen voluntary U.S. origin claims on labels and penalize those who incorrectly label products. NFU President Rob Larew says, “This isn’t just a problem for consumers – it hurts farmers and ranchers, who can’t differentiate their product or earn a premium for offering a local option.”

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CAST Report: USDA Can Offer Tools to Stem Climate Change

A new report shows agriculture can provide 10-20 percent of the additional sequestration and emissions reductions needed for the nation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Released last week by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, the report summarizes the different ways agriculture can provide mitigations to climate change and sequester carbon dioxide. The scientists say agriculture and forestry are the only sectors that have the potential to be a net sequestration sink for fossil-fuel generated greenhouse. The paper addresses several key topics, including nutrient and pest management, animal systems, ag technologies, the food supply chain and carbon markets. The report says USDA can partner with producers to reduce greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration. Additionally, USDA can help reduce emissions from rural energy cooperatives, bolster private working lands, public forests and grasslands, promote sustainable bioenergy wood products, contribute to the scientific understanding of climate change, and invest in climate-smart economic development in rural communities.

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Applications Open for Operation Lifesaver Rail Transit Safety Education Grants

Operation Lifesaver Inc. is accepting applications for competitive Rail Transit Safety Education Grants. Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization. Its work is dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. The grants offer a total of $220,000 in funding for transit agencies and governments that provide transit service to conduct rail transit safety education and public awareness initiatives. OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh (mall-leigh) states, “We are grateful to the Federal Transit Administration for the agency’s support that helps make these grants, as well as our ongoing rail safety education and outreach efforts, possible.” Maleh noted that grant amounts are capped at $20,000 and require non-federal matching funds of at least 25 percent of project costs. Projects must be focused on safety education or public awareness initiatives. All applications are due by July 31, 2021. Learn more at oli.org.

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.