READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 9th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Bureau Supports Infrastructure Legislation

The American Farm Bureau sent a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators expressing its support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says modernizing the country’s transportation infrastructure continues to be a priority for their members. “That’s why we are supporting this bipartisan legislation,” Duvall says. “The investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and inland waterways are not just necessary, but they are long overdue.” He also says this legislation provides critical investments that will expand broadband internet access and repair and upgrade aging western water infrastructure that is, in many cases, 50 to 100 years old and not adequate to meet today’s needs. “Our nation’s infrastructure gives America’s farmers and ranchers a competitive advantage and helps us move products from fields to consumers around the world,” he adds. “These investments will ensure we continue to safely and efficiently transport the agricultural and food products that our nation and world rely on.” Duvall is also grateful that the senators didn’t place the burden of these investments on American farmers and ranchers through increased tax rates or by eliminating the stepped-up basis. “We encourage the Senate to pass this investment in America’s future,” Duvall says.

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More Groups Say CAFÉ Standards Must Include Biofuels

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation proposed greenhouse gas standards to decarbonize light-duty vehicles. Those vehicles will include passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The proposed rule would require automakers to meet more stringent fuel efficiency standards. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says for the proposed CAFÉ standards to effectively address climate change, the rule needs to include a pathway to increase the use of low-carbon, sustainable biofuels like ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. “We will be providing the Biden Administration a pathway forward that allows biofuels like ethanol to help us meet our climate goals,” Skor says. “Liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector, even as alternative technologies continue to flourish.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew points out that the transportation sector is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. “That makes it the central focus in climate mitigation efforts,” he says. “That’s why NFU is advocating for the use of high octane, low carbon fuels, including higher-level blends of ethanol.”

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Groups Want Biden to Restart Trade Talks with China

Some of the most influential business groups in America want the White House to restart trade talks with China. The New York Times says they also want tariffs cut on goods imported from China. Those duties have been in place since the beginning of a trade war between the two nations. The groups represent diverse business interests, including potato farmers, microchip companies, and pharmaceuticals. In a letter to the Biden administration, they’re asking the president to work with the Chinese government to make sure it carries out commitments made in the Phase One Trade Agreement that China signed with the Trump Administration. The letter was addressed to the Treasury Department and the U.S. Trade Representative, and it comes as the relationship between the two largest economies in the world remains contentious. The administration is more than seven months into a review of the Phase One Trade Deal, as well as other national security measures put into place by the Trump Administration. Officials haven’t yet announced the results of the review. The January 2020 agreement between the U.S. and China kept U.S. tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in place. Some provisions of the deal expire at the end of this year, but much of the agreement will stay in effect.

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Coffee Prices Continue to Climb Due to Frost, Shipping Costs

Coffee prices are on the way up. Top coffee producer Brazil was hit hard by frost, and the record cost of freight brought on by COVID-19 causing massive shipping logjams will push prices to multi-year highs in the weeks to come. The worst cold snap in Brazil since 1994 sent the price of green coffee beans to the highest level in almost seven years. That increase will pass through the chain to consumers when they buy roasted beans or ground coffee in their local grocery stores. Reuters says crops in Brazil are wilting after the worst dry spell the country has seen in almost a century. The extent of the damage isn’t fully known yet, but in areas where coffee trees didn’t survive, it may take as many as seven years for production to fully rebound. The shipping problems are partly brought on by demand for consumer goods and not enough available ships as people stayed home during COVID. That’s led to a sharp rise in the cost of transporting beans to the major coffee-consuming countries in North America and Europe. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average ground coffee prices rose to a peak of $4.75 per pound in April, 8.1 percent higher than last year and the highest level since 2015.

**********************************************************************************************    Groups Call for Climate-Smart Investments, Including Broadband

The National Milk Producers Federation and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives led a coalition of 12 agricultural and conservation organizations in a letter on investments. They’re advocating for significant new funding for climate-smart agricultural practices that can help farmers to build on their environmental stewardship leadership. The groups say much more can be done to enhance practices that can yield meaningful environmental benefits, such as climate-smart manure and feed management on dairy farms. “Bolstering conservation investment and focusing on climate-smart practices better positions dairy farmers to fulfill the dairy sector’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals as envisioned in the Net Zero Initiative,” says NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern. In addition to increased spending on conservation incentives, the organizations also support new rural broadband resources in pending infrastructure legislation. The letter also brings up the major concerns that many of its signers have already voiced regarding several proposed changes to tax policy that would undermine the transfer of family farms from one generation to the next. Other organizations signing on to the letter include the Ag Retailers Association, the American Seed Trade Association, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and many others.

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.