READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 8th

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Vilsack Traveling to Nebraska Friday

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack travels to Omaha, Nebraska Friday to make a major announcement, according to the Department of Agriculture. Few details are available, but the White House this week announced President Joe Biden is preparing to address agriculture issues in an executive order. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier this week told reports the Department of Agriculture will engage in a series of rulemakings to increase competition in agriculture to boost farmers’ and ranchers’ earnings. The executive order, according to Psaki, will direct USDA to issue new rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, and new rules defining when meat can bear Product of the USA labels, so consumers have accurate, transparent labels. Additionally, the executive order directs USDA to develop a plan to increase opportunities for farmers to access markets. The executive order will also give farmers the right to repair their equipment, according to the White House.

USTR Meets with USMCA Trade Representatives

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke with officials from Mexico and Canada this week on trade issues. Trade representatives from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are meeting this week to discuss the first year of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. A statement from the USTR office says Tai spoke with her Canadian counterpart about softwood lumber, dairy, and WTO reform. Tai also urged Canada to abandon its proposed unilateral digital service tax. Tai also met with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Economy. This discussion focused on agriculture, including the stalled authorization of biotechnology products by Mexico, which Mexico recently stated the country would outlaw Genetically Modified corn for human consumption. Tai also discussed expanding access for U.S. fresh potatoes and the potential mutual benefits of aligning Mexico and the United States’ policy on ethanol-gasoline blends. Finally, the USTR office says the discussion included implementation of USMCA’s environment chapter.

Broad-Based Growth Drives U.S. Beef and Pork Exports to New Heights

U.S. beef and pork export value shattered previous records in May, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Announced this week, beef exports also reached a new volume high in May, while pork export volume was the third-largest on record. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom states, “The outstanding May performance is especially gratifying when you consider where red meat exports stood a year ago.” May beef export volume soared to a record 133,400 metric tons, up 68 percent from a year ago, and value increased 88 percent. May pork exports totaled 283,600 metric tons, up 16 percent from a year ago and the third-largest on record. Export value exceeded $800 million for the first time in May, climbing 31 percent to $813.2 million. However, Halstrom cautioned that U.S. labor availability remains a major concern and limitation for the industry, and exporters continue to face significant obstacles when shipping product overseas.

NIFA Invests $14 Million in Animal Health and Disease Research

The Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Wednesday announced an investment of $14 million in research to protect agricultural animals from disease. The grants are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Diseases of Agricultural Animals program area priority. NIFA director Carrie Castille says, “This research will help better understand, diagnose, control and prevent diseases in agricultural animals and aquaculture.” Funded projects will focus on developing new and improved vaccines, diagnostics and antimicrobial alternatives, along with breeding disease-resistant animals, and understanding better ways to manage animals to minimize disease outbreaks. NIFA recently awarded 31 projects under the program, including $500,000 to an Iowa State University effort to introduce a new approach to Vitamin A and Zinc supplements to help protect cattle against stress and respiratory disease. NIFA also awarded $500,000 to a University of Florida project to examine ways to improve immunity in pigs that can protect them from lung disease and influenza virus infections.

Zoetis Donating COVID-19 Vaccines to Support Zoo Animals

Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to help protect the health and well-being of more than 100 species living in zoos, conservatories and sanctuaries. The vaccine is authorized for experimental use on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Agriculture and appropriate state veterinarians. The vaccine deployment to dozens of zoos follows Zoetis’ response in January to a request from the San Diego Zoo following confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Alex Herman, of Oakland Zoo in California says, “We’re happy and relieved to now be able to better protect our animals with this vaccine.” Zoetis’ COVID-19 vaccine is uniquely formulated for animal species. Although the virus is the same as in human vaccines, vaccines for animals vary based on the carrier that is used. The unique combination of antigen and carrier ensures safety and efficacy for the species in which a vaccine is used.

Farmers National Company Former CEO Joins Peoples Company

Land brokerage and management firm Peoples Company, announced the hiring of Dave Englund as national accounts director Wednesday. Englund is the former President and CEO of Farmers National Company, retiring in April of this year after 34 years with the company. As President and CEO, Englund oversaw the management of over $9 billion in assets, including over two million farm and ranch acres across 26 states. Englund states, “In the months since retiring from Farmers National Company, I came to realize I still have a strong passion for the business and a desire to continue serving farmers and landowners.” As the director of national accounts, Englund will use his experience and relationships across the country to develop and implement client growth opportunities, elevate Peoples Company’s current performance and strategy, and build and maintain long-term relationships with business prospects, partners, and affiliates. Peoples Company says the addition of Englund “adds tremendous value for our clients.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Tucker 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.