READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 3rd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EPA and Army Corps Announce Next Steps on Writing “WOTUS”

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army announced plans for community engagements to let people know about their efforts to revise the definition of “WOTUS,” or the Waters of the U.S rule. The goal of the rewrite is to better ensure clean and safe water for everyone. The EPA and the Army say they are committed to developing a reasonable, effective, and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries. “We will craft an enduring definition of WOTUS by listening to all sides so that we can build on an inclusive foundation,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Uncertainty over the definition of WOTUS has harmed our waters and the stakeholders and communities that rely on them. I look forward to engaging all parties as we move forward to provide the certainty that’s needed to protect our national resources.” The agencies will revise the WOTUS definition by following a process that includes two rulemakings. “It’s vital that farmers and rural Americans have a seat at the table and a voice in this process so that the rule responds to concerns and realities on the ground,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “All stakeholders should share their experiences and views to help shape future policy.”

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NCBA Pleased with Southern Border Legislation

Late last week, Texas Republican Representative August Pfluger (FLOO-ger) introduced the bipartisan RAPID Act. “RAPID” stands for Reimbursing Agriculture Producers for Immigration Damages. Other members of the Texas Congressional delegation signed on to the bill to help create a reimbursement program for producers that incur losses caused by illegal border crossings. Under the bill, producers could be reimbursed for livestock losses, damage to fences or physical structures, or property losses, all of which currently occur at the border due to those crossing the border illegally. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is grateful to the lawmakers who are supporting policies that protect cattle farmers and ranchers that are simply trying to raise not only their livestock but their families on the land. “Texas ranchers are facing significant hardships amid a flood of illegal border crossings and must continually fix cut fences and damaged infrastructure,” says Hughes Abell, president of the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. “As stewards of large sections of the Southern Border, ranchers suffer a disproportionate share of the burden associated with illegal border crossings,” says Ethan Lane, NCBA VP of Government Affairs. “Not only do the crossings damage property and livestock, but they also endanger ranchers and their families.”

**********************************************************************************************    NBB Campaigns for Commitment to Renewable Fuel Standard

The National Biodiesel Board launched an ad campaign calling on President Biden to maintain his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The ads will air on more than 200 radio stations. “As a candidate last August, Joe Biden called the Renewable Fuel Standard ‘our bond with our farmers and our commitment to a thriving rural economy.’ But now there are reports he’s considering handouts to oil refiners at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers,” the ad says. “Contact your member of Congress and let them know that it’s time for the president to make good on his promise to support Midwest farmers and biodiesel producers.” Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President for Federal Affairs, says, “The Renewable Fuel Standard is a vital policy for the biodiesel industry and soybean producers. Instability in the program creates economic uncertainty for the communities where biodiesel production generates jobs and economic growth.” As members of Congress return to their home states this summer, Kovarik wants them to hear the message and encourage the president to maintain his commitment to the RFS program and our rural communities. The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry support 65,000 jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity every year.

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Groups Petition to Relist Gray Wolf as Endangered Species

Last week, a coalition of 70 groups filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf on the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf has been protected under the Act since 1978, and since then, wolf populations have risen in several states, including California, Illinois, Minnesota, and many others. On January fourth of this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the gray wolf had recovered to the point that it was no longer an endangered species. That means management of wolf populations would return to the states. The Sierra Nevada Daily says the petition calls for the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wolves in the Western U.S. as a “Distinct Population Segment.” The groups say that wolves remain completely absent from suitable habitats or perilously close to extinction in many western states, and the handful of states surrounding Yellowstone National Park are now driving the larger populations toward extinction. The petitioners also point out that, “The American West has vast tracts of public lands that offer the ideal habitat for gray wolves. To return the wolf and restore the balance of nature, it is necessary to apply federal protections that supersede anti-wolf state politics that push wolf populations toward extinction rather than recovery.”

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Brazil Corn Crop Yield Hits Ten-Year Low

Poor weather caused second-corn crop yields in south-central Brazil to drop to the lowest level in ten years. Reuters says after drought and frost combined to spoil much of the crop, Brazilian farmers are now expecting to harvest 51.6 million tons, almost 19 million tons below the 70.5 million they brought in during the last harvest. “Failure of the 2021 corn crop, planted with much delay due to the later soybean harvest, was the result of the lack of rain in most of the producing areas in April and May,” says Brazilian agribusiness consultancy AgRural. “The frost starting at the end of June and lasting until now reduced yields and also caused quality problems.” The spoiled second-corn crop hurt Brazil’s export prospects and increased the need for corn imports. The cold and damp weather over the previous weeks also limited farmers’ harvesting pace, with growers collecting just 46 percent of their corn in south-central Brazil through last Thursday, below the 61 percent they’d harvested at the same point in 2020. Second corn is planted after soybeans are harvested and is the country’s main corn crop. It accounts for approximately 70-75 percent of all production in a given year.

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CHS Expanding E15 Availability

CHS Incorporated is expanding access to higher ethanol blends by offering E15 at 19 additional terminals beginning this month. CHS is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as an E15 manufacturer and sells E15 as an approved fuel-grade through its many retail locations. CHS will offer E15 at terminal locations ranging from Minnesota to Nebraska, North Dakota to Iowa, as well as in Missouri. “As the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, expanding options for ethanol-blended fuel is important for our Cenex brand retailers and our farmer-owners,” CHS says in a release. “We have always been committed to offering ethanol-blended flexible fuels through our network of 1,450 Cenex brand retail facilities.” The company continues to demonstrate that commitment by working with its terminal partners to offer higher ethanol blends in a broader geography across its retail network. To make E15 more accessible, CHS removed barriers for its Cenex brand retail locations by establishing an EPA-approved misfuelling mitigation plan, becoming the only E15 refiner to do so, and establishing E15 as a qualifying grade of fuel.

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.