NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

U.S., Britain to Start Trade Talks Next Week

The United States will begin trade talks with the United Kingdom next week in Baltimore, Maryland. Reuters says cementing a trade deal with the U.S. was one of the main goals of the push to get Britain out of the European Union. The two sides say the negotiations will be on March 21 and 22, followed by another meeting in Britain later in the spring. U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai says the talks “will explore how the United States and the United Kingdom can collaborate to advance mutual international trade priorities rooted in our shared values while also promoting innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.” The countries will discuss collaborating on easing supply-chain congestion, decarbonizing their economies, promoting digital trade, and supporting each other’s domestic workforces and labor rights. The UK government says it looks forward to deepening the already-thriving $153 billion relationship.

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CP Railroad to Lock Out Workers on Sunday

Canadian Pacific, one of the largest railroad companies in Canada, will bring operations to a halt this weekend after the company didn’t reach a labor deal with its workers. The company issued a notice to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference that it will lock out employees early Sunday if the two sides can’t agree to a settlement or binding arbitration. Bloomberg says the two sides are discussing a new agreement but “remain far apart.” A disruption would create even more uncertainty in fertilizer markets just as farmers need nutrients for spring planting. Canada is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of potash that’s used in crop nutrients. Sanctions on Belarus and Russia after the Ukraine invasion have already caused a shortage in supplies and a rapid rise in prices. CP is the primary rail transportation provider for delivering potash mined in Saskatchewan to overseas markets, according to the provincial government.

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U.S. Ethanol Stocks Hit Pandemic High Numbers

America’s inventories of ethanol are at their highest level since the early days of the pandemic. The U.S. hasn’t had this much ethanol on hand since April 2020. In its latest report, the Energy Information Administration says ethanol inventories totaled 25.95 million barrels during the week ending on March 11. Market Watch says that’s up from 25.27 million barrels reported during the prior week. The EIA says inventories of more than 26 million barrels back in April of 2020 were the previous high-water mark. The stockpiles are well above the forecasts of industry analysts surveyed by the Dow Jones during the week. Their forecasts predicted stocks would be between 25.25 to 25.5 million barrels. Meanwhile, daily production only dropped off slightly, averaging 1.026 million barrels a day, down from 1.028 million a day during the prior week. The Midwest, which produces the most barrels of any region in the country, dropped output to 971,000 barrels a day.   

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Prohibited Pork, Poultry Seized at Border

Over 120 pounds of prohibited pork and poultry meat were found in a minivan trying to cross the border from Mexico into Texas. The Kansas City Star says federal officials and agricultural specialists at the border seized the prohibited meat at the Laredo (Lah-RAY-dough) Port of Entry. A news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection says pork and pork products are always banned from entering the U.S. through Mexico, and other meats are either prohibited or restricted. The regulations are in place to make sure that harmful pests or diseases don’t make it into the country through imported food products. Authorities say the driver didn’t declare having any meats when arriving at the border. “This significant seizure shows the importance of CBP’s agricultural mission to prevent the spread of potential animal diseases that could risk public safety and inflict harm on the nation’s agricultural economy,” says Alberto Flores, Director of the Laredo Port.

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USDA Updates Eligibility for Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program

The USDA clarified the definition of a spot market sale and hog eligibility under the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program. SMHPP is designed to help producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale from April 16, 2020, through September 1, 2020. Hog producers will also now be required to submit documentation to support information provided on their application, including the number of hogs sold through a spot market sale and how the price was determined. The only direct to packer sales eligible for the program are those moved through a negotiated sale. The payments will get calculated by multiplying the number of eligible hogs, not to exceed  10,000 head, by the payment rate of $54. USDA will distribute payments after the application period to help ensure the funding is distributed equitably to all eligible producers. Producers can go to farmers.gov/smhpp for examples of supporting documentation, information on applicant eligibility, and more information on how to apply.

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Clean Water Act Not Strong Enough

A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project calls for eliminating agricultural exemptions for the Clean Water Act. They want the Act fixed because it’s missed the original goal of getting 100 percent of American waters fishable and swimmable by 1983. DTN says farmers and ranchers have had many of their practices exempted from the CWA, basically assessing ag runoff as non-point sources of pollution. “Congress should strengthen the Clean Water Act by closing its loophole for agricultural runoff and other non-point sources of pollution,” the EIP report says, “which are by far the largest sources of impairments in U.S. waterways.” The report also says “factory-style animal production” should get regulated like other industries because of its “massive waste disposal problem,” and that government agencies should get more power to enforce total maximum daily loads or TMDLs. The Biden administration is currently rewriting the definitions of the “Waters of the U.S. Rule.”

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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.

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