NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

CA Judges Halts Enforcement of Prop 12 on Pork

A California judge ruled that enforcing Proposition 12 regulations on whole-pork sales should be halted due to the state’s lack of rules. The state’s Department of Agriculture is over two years late in finalizing regulations for pork producers, and the ruling delays enforcement until 180 days after the final rules take effect. Successful Farming says ag groups like the American Farm Bureau and National Pork Producers Council applauded the decision. “Farm Bureau is pleased that the court recognized that California rushed the implementation of Proposition 12 without clear enforcement rules,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. Prop 12 bans the sale of pork from hogs that aren’t raised according to the state’s production standards. Any meat from hogs born of sows not housed in conformity with the state law can’t be sold in California, even if the animals got raised outside the state. The organizations say, for that reason, Prop 12 unconstitutionally restricts interstate commerce.

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Iowa Trying Again for Higher Ethanol Blends

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is taking another shot at higher ethanol blends. She wants the state to require gas stations to offer fuel with higher ethanol blends. The Des Moines Register says a more wide-reaching proposal stalled out last year after disagreements between fuel retailers, renewable fuel providers, and transportation groups. “Iowans deserve access to fuel that’s less expensive, cleaner-burning, and grown and made right here,” Reynold says. Her new legislation recently passed the House Ways and Means Committee after hearing objections from transportation groups and gas stations, as well as praise from renewable fuel producers. Despite the disagreements, key lawmakers say they’re much closer to an agreement that both sides could accept. That’s compared to the wide gap that kept the legislation from passing in 2021. Lawmakers say the work they began a year ago, spending a lot of time in meetings, and trying to build a consensus may pay off in 2022.

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Farmers are the Real Key to Environmental Mitigation Work

An Ohio corn farmer told officials from a federal interagency working group that the Environmental Protection Agency should look to farmers as it works to mitigate pesticide issues. “We respect the EPA’s responsibility to protect the environment, including endangered species,” said Patty Mann, a farmer from Jackson Center, Ohio. “We ask that the agency work closely with growers, the ones who often know the land the best, in developing and enacting mitigation measures.” Mann’s remarks came before the IWG, which is made up of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior, and the EPA. Mann cautioned the officials against making a one-size-fits-all approach to the mitigation efforts. “The EPA must understand the real-world, on-farm implications of mitigation measures,” she says. “Every farm and landscape has its differences, so you must give some flexibility for the success of both farmers and the at-risk species.”  

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Farm Labor App Announces College Ambassadors

AgButler announced it chose ten collegiate ambassadors who are committed to being advocates for the agricultural industry. The application serves in the connections business and as a solution to labor shortages in rural America. The AgButler Ambassadors are tasked with helping connect laborers and employers within the app using their own agricultural networks. “Our goal for the AgButler Ambassador program is to encourage the next generation of young people passionate about agriculture to stay invested in production agriculture and their rural communities,” says Kevin Johansen, Founder and CEO of AgButler. The 2022 ambassadors come from states like Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. “We are excited about each of the young people we selected and believe they are already top-notch advocates for the agricultural community.” Like well-known “ride-sharing” technology, farmers, ranchers, ag businesses can connect with available labor through AgButler. The labor is filtered by location, ratings, work experience, and availability.

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Japanese Equipment Maker Kubota Developing Vineyard Robots

Japanese farm equipment manufacturer Kubota is trying to take vineyard farming in a brand-new direction. Nikkei (Nih-KAY) says Kubota is working with Tesla co-founder Ian Wright to make farming robots controlled by artificial intelligence. The partnership is working initially on robots that will help producers grow grapes. The grape-growing machines will move through vineyards on their own, with the AI analyzing camera images to select which branches to trim and how well the grapes are growing. The company plans to have the grape robots eventually handle harvesting too. Kubota says it anticipates demand from West Coast farms in the U.S. currently using conventional equipment. The company says it’s undertaking the project because global demand for food will rise 70 percent above the 2010 level while the number of farmers is declining in the world’s industrialized nations. Kubota already sells autonomous tractors to rice growers, and those units can run by themselves under human supervision.

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RMA Extends Crop Insurance Flexibilities to June

Because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the USDA is extending program flexibilities to Approved Insurance Providers and agricultural producers until June 30 or later. These flexibilities had been scheduled to expire this month. “Our priority is to keep our producers and partners as safe as possible, while, at the same time, continuing to provide the best service we can,” says Marcia Bunger, administrator of the Risk Management Agency. “These unique times call for everyone to be as cautious and flexible as possible. Flexibilities include allowing notifications to get sent electronically, including policy-related information over the phone or by other electronic methods to select policy elections by sales closing, acreage reporting, and production reporting dates, including options, endorsements, and their forms. Producers may choose to sign forms electronically or do so within 60 days. Producers may also submit a request for a written agreement after the sales closing date.

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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.