NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for January 5, 2023

United States and Taiwan to Hold Trade Negotiations This Month

The United States and Taiwan will hold an in-person negotiating round for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in Taipei. The negotiations are under the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. The next round of talks is scheduled for January 14-17. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will lead the U.S. delegation through Assistant United States Trade Representative Terry McCartin and include representatives from several other U.S. government agencies. The negotiation process started in June 2022, launching the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The initiative is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses, including through new trade agreements. The two sides last met in November, holding two days of discussion in New York.

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USDA Announces Conservation Stewardship Program

The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program applications to be considered for funding this year is February 10, 2023. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of new technologies and management techniques. Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from 2020‒2023 and makes additional improvements to the program. NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. Higher payment rates are available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations. NRCS now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities through CSP. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure they are considered for 2023 funding.

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Esteban Sworn-in as USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack welcomed the swearing-in of Jose Emilio Esteban as the Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture. Vilsack says, “Dr. Esteban has a long and well-documented commitment to food safety and public health.” Esteban was appointed Chief Scientist of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in August 2018. Esteban joined the Office of Public Health Science at FSIS in 2002. In 2008, he was appointed as the FSIS Science Advisor for Laboratory Services, where he harmonized the operation of all three FSIS laboratories. Before joining FSIS, Esteban worked in several positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Esteban received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Mexico’s National University. Vilsack adds, “I am confident that Dr. Esteban’s leadership and experience is the right combination to advance our commitment to maintaining public health and reducing foodborne illness.”

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Bureau of Land Management Seeks Input on Solar Energy Program

The Bureau of Land Management this week announced a public meeting to solicit feedback on utility-scale solar energy planning. The Bureau of Land Management is considering updates to its 2012 Western Solar Plan that included six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. BLM is seeking comments on expanding its solar planning to include five more states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The first meeting, scheduled January 18 in Sacramento, California, is one of a series being held in January and February in various western states. BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning says, “The BLM is committed to expanding renewable energy development on public lands.” The public comment period will remain open for 15 days after the last public scoping meeting, or February 6, whichever is later. The Notice of Intent to update the BLM’s 2012 solar programmatic environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2022. Learn more about the meetings at www.blm.gov.

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Clean Fuels welcomes Eight New Members

As interest in low-carbon fuels gains momentum, Clean Fuels Alliance America continues to grow stronger and more diverse by adding new members. As Clean Fuels prepares for the Clean Fuels Conference in Tampa later this month, the association welcomes eight new companies that joined the association the last year. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen says, “The addition of these members demonstrates the value they see in being part of our trade association and the ongoing expansion of this industry.” The list of new members includes DSM – a purpose-led science-based global company specializing in human and animal health and nutrition solutions. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. Another new member is the National Oilheat Research Alliance, authorized by Congress in 2000 to provide funding that would allow the oil heat industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to American Consumers.

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AM/FM Radio in Vehicles: A Pay to Play Feature?

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Steve Koenig of the Consumer Technology Association showcased new potential trends to the media before the start of the show. One potential trend, according to Koenig, is automakers charging extra for AM/FM radios in cars. Koenig says automakers may move to a Features as a Service offering for AM/FM radios, allowing automakers to enable or disable features based on whether the car owner is paying for the services. Automakers claim AM radio signals face electromagnetic interference generated from electric cars. Radio Ink reports, “Automotive companies are salivating at the opportunity to capitalize on car features as services that will be subscription based.” In December, Senator Ed Markey, A Massachusetts Democrat, urged automakers to maintain free broadcast radio in future electric vehicles. Markey said, “AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency.”

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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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