D BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Vilsack Already Thinking About Next Farm Bill

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke before the House Agriculture Committee last week and brought up the next farm bill. The Hagstrom Report says he wants the committee to use the next bill to help him move rural America from an “extractive economy” to a “circular economy.” He says a circular economy is one where the wealth stays as the opportunity and jobs are all created in rural areas. Some of the many ways to move rural communities into a circular economy include increasing processing capacity in rural America, encouraging biobased manufacturing, and finding ways to convert agricultural waste into renewable energy and fuel. “Lagoons of animal waste will become a thing of the past when that waste gets converted to energy,” he says. House Ag Chair David Scott of Georgia said during the hearing that after the next congressional break, the committee will then begin working on the 2023 Farm Bill.

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China Didn’t Meet Phase One Commitment

China wound up $16 billion short of achieving its obligations under the Phase One Trade Deal with the U.S. A DTN report says the Biden administration is looking for ways to keep China buying agricultural products. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Ag Committee that the administration is “putting them on notice that we want them to live up to the agreement.” The secretary told committee members that the U.S. has unfinished business when talking about the two-year trade deal which ended on January 1. Vilsack says China committed to buying $40 billion a year in ag products in 2020 and 2021. The Asian nation missed the goal by $13 billion in 2020 ($27 billion) and missed the goal by $3 billion ($37 billion) in 2021. Vilsack also says China didn’t yet revise its import rules for crop biotechnology approvals, dried distillers’ grains, ethanol purchases, and many other already agreed-on obligations.

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Senators Talk Pesticide Registration Struggles with Regan

Four senators from farm country talked with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan about recent agency decisions that will restrict farmer access to crop protection products. The EPA has issued several decisions that will hinder farmers’ ability to control weeds and pests, which can cripple plants and severely undermine crop yields. The senators pointed out that will adversely impact farmers’ ability to efficiently and effectively produce the commodities that feed the world. The senators were Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Dr. Roger Marshall of Kansas. “Crop protection products play a crucial role in food production, yet they’re a common target of the Biden administration,” they said in a joint statement after the meeting. The four say that EPA isn’t sufficiently engaged with USDA, the product registrants, and growers to fully understand what the implications of their decisions can be. They include decisions on biological evaluations, Dicamba, and Chlorpyrifos.

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South Korea Lifts Temporary Ban on Canadian Beef

South Korea is lifting its temporary suspension of Canadian beef imports. Reuters says the ban began after Canada detected a case of BSE, or “Mad Cow Disease,” in December. Canada’s Agriculture Minister Marie Claude-Bibeau (BEE-boh) says South Korea halted the shipments after Canada last month reported its first BSE case in six years. China and the Philippines issued their own suspensions soon after that. On social media, Canada’s agriculture department says it’s “great news for our cattle sector.” Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is a fatal disease of the nervous system in cattle. Canada is the eighth-largest beef and veal exporter. December’s BSE case took place in an eight-year-old beef cow in Alberta. Canada’s newest BSE case is atypical, meaning it’s a form of disease that can occur naturally in older cattle. That’s opposed to classical BSE, which can be caused by an animal that unsuspectingly eats contaminated feed.

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NCGA Director Named to Board of America’s Watershed Initiative

The America’s Watershed Initiative recently named its 2022 Board of Directors Executive Team. Rachel Orf, the National Corn Growers Association Director of Stewardship and Sustainability was elected as the board’s Secretary. “It’s an honor to serve on the board and be a part of an organization that works across so many sectors and states,” says Orf. “The health of the Mississippi River Watershed is critical to ensuring the river remains productive and healthy for future generations.” In announcing the new board, America’s Watershed Initiative says, “We are made up of public, private, and nonprofit leaders working together voluntarily to improve the health of the Mississippi River Watershed by informing, advocating, and leveraging improved decision-making about the watershed’s natural resources.” AWI is built on support and guidance from industry and commerce, conservation, local communities, government, and academia. Interested people can learn more about AWI and NCGA’s involvement at AmericasWatershed.org.

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Iowa Plant Converting Corn Stover to Natural Gas

One of Iowa’s most plentiful resources is corn stover. The Iowa State Extension website says that stover is now being used to create renewable natural gas that heats Iowa homes and businesses. The Verbio North America Plant in Nevada, Iowa, has been converting chopped corn stalks into natural gas since December 7. Once converted, the natural gas enters an Alliant Energy pipeline that traverses central Iowa. Using anaerobic digestion, eight large digesters combine the corn stover with the bacteria of livestock manure, which results in the conversion of corn residue into biomethane gas that’s equivalent to the natural gas found in fossil fuels. The plant is in its early stages and plans to expand in the next several months, and the goal of the expansion is to provide enough renewable gas to heat up to 5,000 homes. Iowa produces the most corn in the United States, and the stover is what’s left behind on the ground after harvest.

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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.