National Ag News for March 16, 2023

Surface Transportation Board Approves CP, KCS Merger

The Surface Transportation Board Wednesday approved the Kansas City Southern Railway Company acquisition by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, with conditions. The decision includes an unprecedented seven-year oversight period and contains many conditions designed to mitigate environmental impacts, preserve competition, protect railroad workers, and promote efficient passenger rail. The Board also anticipates the merger will result in improvements in safety and the reduction of carbon emissions. The companies filed a merger application in October of 2021 with the Surface Transportation Board. The combination of the two railroads, known as Canadian Pacific Kansas City, will create the first railroad providing single-line service spanning Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Yet, the merged company will continue to be the smallest Class I railroad, with a network that is a few thousand route miles shorter than the next smallest Class I and half the size of the Western railroads.

Mexico Voices Concern over Product of US Label

Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry recently voiced concerns regarding the proposed voluntary “Product of USA” label effort. Announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, the label claim would be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry claims the proposal, “even when it is a voluntary claim, could have implications for discriminating against Mexican exports of live animals and meat products.” Mexico is the second largest supplier of beef and beef products to the U.S., representing 24 percent of total U.S. imports. Congress repealed mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for meat products in 2016, after the World Trade Organization approved trade retaliations by Canada and Mexico over the issue. USDA says petitions, thousands of stakeholder comments, and data support its proposal. A comprehensive review in 2021 by USDA “shows there is a clear need to revise” the “Product of USA” label claim.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Provide Clean Drinking Water for Rural Americans

Senators Tommy Baldwin and Susan Collins Wednesday introduced the bipartisan Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, or The Healthy H2O Act. Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat and Collins, a Maine Republican, say the bill will provide water testing and treatment technology grants directly to individuals and non-profits in rural communities. Currently, nearly 43 million households, primarily in rural communities, rely exclusively on groundwater delivered through private wells for their drinking water. These sources are not subject to the same oversight and testing for contamination of public water sources. Water quality improvement systems installed at the faucet or within a building can provide immediate and ongoing protection from known and emerging water contaminants, like PFAS, lead and nitrates. The bill follows a proposal to create standards for PFAS chemicals in drinking water Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation would allow the Department of Agriculture to provide grants for testing and removing contaminants from drinking water.

Fertilizer Institute Welcomes Lower Energy Costs Act

President of The Fertilizer Institute, Corey Rosenbusch, this week welcomed the introduction of the Lower Energy Costs Act. TFI says the legislation will provide a streamlined and simplified permitting process for hard rock mining, including phosphate and potash mining. Rosenbusch says, “Delays are measured in years and in the millions of dollars, with those paying the price being consumers who are already struggling with the rising costs of everyday goods.” The delays Rosenbusch referenced include a permit to mine phosphate in Florida that took nearly ten years and tens of millions of dollars in expert fees, studies, legal analysis, and legal fees, and a mining expansion permit for an existing mine that has been in limbo for over 12 years at a cost of over $25 million that has yet to be approved. The fertilizer industry is asking Congress for a reliable and predictable permitting process to ensure mining projects have a clear path toward compliance and approval.

Bills Providing Permanent E15 Fix Introduced in House and Senate

The National Corn Growers Association this week applauded legislation that would provide permanent, nationwide market access for E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88. NCGA reports 35 bipartisan Senate and House members introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. NCGA President Tom Haag says, “There’s no reason for market access to a safe, clean and affordable fuel option to remain in question.” Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15. Temporary action by the Biden administration allowed E15 sales last summer, but access is in question for 2023. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed implementing a plan from eight Midwest governors to require lower-volatility gasoline in their states to ensure year-round E15. However, EPA has proposed to delay implementation until 2024. NCGA encourages the Biden administration to again provide temporary access for the 2023 summer driving season.

Registration Open for World Pork Expo 2023

Registration for the 35th annual World Pork Expo opened this week. The 2023 World Pork Expo, organized by the National Pork Producers Council, will be held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 7-9. This year marks a major milestone for the world’s largest pork-specific trade show. NPPC president Scott Hays says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating the Expo’s incredible legacy this year with an impressive schedule of events.” The 2023 World Pork Expo will feature three days of programming and educational seminars that showcase the pork industry’s latest product and process innovations. Additionally, industry professionals will have networking opportunities to meet and connect. Registration is available online and includes entry to the World Pork Expo for all three days. Until June 1, discounted rates are available during pre-registration, including $10 per adult. On-site registration will be $20 per adult. Attendees can register to attend at


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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