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Japan says TPP agreements are as far as they will go in US negotiations.

AP News | Posted on April 18, 2019 in Federal News

Motegi told reporters that he told Lighthizer that Japan will not compromise on imports of agricultural products, saying that the conditions agreed in past negotiations are as far as Japan could go. Japan made significant concessions on imports of dairy and other farm products during tough negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim trade deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from shortly after taking office in 2017.“In the area of agricultural products, conditions we have promised in past economic cooperation is as far as we can go.

Trump team readies PR offensive on North America trade deal's economic effects, report says minimal gains

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019 in Federal News

The Trump administration is readying a public relations offensive over the economic impact of its new North American trade deal to counter a crucial report expected on Thursday that economists see as likely to show minimal gains at best.Industry sources familiar with the administration’s plans told Reuters the U.S. International Trade Commission’s analysis of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would be met with a rosier forecast from the U.S.

EU says it is ready to launch U.S. trade talks, but without agriculture

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019 in Federal News

The European Union is ready to start talks on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before year-end. The EU approved two areas for negotiation, opposed by France with an abstention from Belgium. But agriculture was not included, leaving the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Michigan launches hemp pilot program in time for 2019 growing season

Michigan Live | Posted on April 18, 2019

Michigan farmers can plant industrial hemp this year, under a new pilot program announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Michigan is uniquely positioned to grow, process and manufacture industrial hemp. We are one of the nation’s most agriculturally diverse states -- growing 300 different commodities on a commercial basis -- making it a natural fit,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Gov. Ricketts joins veterinarians to voice disapproval of tax increases

WOWT | Posted on April 18, 2019

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts expressed his disapproval Monday morning of legislation that would tax veterinary services.Ricketts toured the Veterinary Centers of American and joined with veterinarians to ask lawmakers not to raise taxes. "We're here today to say keep your paws off of our pet healthcare," he said.The governor addressed proposals in the legislature that supporters said are needed to balance revenue lost if property tax relief is passed.Ricketts said no tax increase would help."I'm against raising all the taxes. We've done this in the past.

Washington lawmakers loosen truck weight rules during harvest

Capital Press | Posted on April 18, 2019

Truck drivers hauling crops will have some leeway before getting a ticket for exceeding weight limits, according to a bill passed Monday by the state House. Senate Bill 5883 will let drivers carrying crops exceed weight limits by up to 5% twice in a calendar year. Farm lobbyists said that rain can make crops heavier than expected.The bill's sponsor, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, said at a hearing this session the legislation will help growers during harvest season."This is about farmers getting their product out of the field," he said.

University of Arizona trying to open the state's first public veterinary school in Oro Valley

Arizona Central  | Posted on April 18, 2019

Arizona students could have a public university option to study veterinary medicine as soon as next year, if the University of Arizona's plan for a new program is approved by accreditors.  A new college for veterinary medicine would open and begin enrolling students by fall 2020 under the university's plan.UA has worked to open a veterinary-medicine program for several years, but so far hasn't convinced the accrediting body, the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education, to bless it.

Idaho Legislature provides $8M for new ISDA lab

Capital Press | Posted on April 18, 2019

The Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little have approved $8 million for construction of a state Department of Agriculture pathology lab. The funding is included in Senate Bill 1198, the $70.35 million appropriation to the state Permanent Building Fund for the fiscal year that starts July 1.Estimated cost of the 20,000-square-foot Agricultural Health Laboratory is $10 million, including $2 million in dedicated revenue from ISDA fees for services such as livestock disease testing.It will accommodate recent and anticipated growth in demand, ISDA said.

Agriculture News

Ag Banks Make Adjustments as Lending Remains Elevated

Kansas City Federal Reserve | Posted on April 18, 2019

According to the National Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers, non-real estate lending continued to increase at a moderate pace in the first quarter. The volume of non-real estate loans increased 9 percent from a year ago (Chart 1). Although the volume of loans to finance operating expenses remained relatively steady, volumes for livestock loans and loans to finance machinery and equipment increased. The increase in livestock lending likely was due, in part, to slightly higher prices for livestock.

A nationwide campaign against tariffs that are hurting American families and communities

Tariffs Hurt | Posted on April 18, 2019

Tariffs are taxes that Americans pay. These taxes are being paid by American farmers, retailers, manufacturers, businesses and consumers.  Based on monthly tariffs on imports Americans have paid thus far, every second the trade war drags on costs Americans $1,155. While that number alone is far too high, it doesn't include the cost of retaliatory tariffs that are causing exports to plummet, or the price of programs that are paying our farmers for the losses they have incurred, or the tariffs’ ripple effects on the broader U.S. economy.

What’s the Latest on a livestock Vaccine Bank?

Dairy Herd Managment | Posted on April 18, 2019

When the 2018 farm bill passed in December 2018, the inclusion of a vaccine bank against foot and mouth disease “a huge win for the pork industry,” said Mike Haag, an Illinois pork producer and president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. That project was just one part of a larger effort to improve biosecurity and protection from foreign animal diseases, a issue that has only increased in importance as African swine fever continues to spread across parts of Asia and Europe.

Growing urban coyote populations are feasting on pets

High Country News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Once restricted to the western plains, coyote populations are surging in cities across the U.S. They are master adapters who have learned to survive in urban environments – a recent study found coyotes present in 96 out of 105 cities surveyed. But many communities are struggling to figure out new ways to deal with predators in their neighborhoods.One of the most startling findings has been that people’s gardening choices could be contributing to the problem of disappearing pets.

Could Hemp be an Economic Lifeline for Rural Texas Towns?

Texas Observer | Posted on April 18, 2019

As the Legislature considers greenlighting hemp production, a litany of farmers, rural economic development advocates and even conservative Republicans are singing its praises. Now a potential new cash crop — hemp —  could give a much-needed boost to local economies and has folks in Haskell and other farming towns in the state buzzing. Hemp and marijuana are the same plant species, but hemp lacks marijuana’s psychoactive properties and can be used to make goods ranging from clothing and paper to building materials and medicine.

Federal News

Japan says TPP agreements are as far as they will go in US negotiations.

AP News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Motegi told reporters that he told Lighthizer that Japan will not compromise on imports of agricultural products, saying that the conditions agreed in past negotiations are as far as Japan could go. Japan made significant concessions on imports of dairy and other farm products during tough negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim trade deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from shortly after taking office in 2017.“In the area of agricultural products, conditions we have promised in past economic cooperation is as far as we can go.

Trump team readies PR offensive on North America trade deal's economic effects, report says minimal gains

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019

The Trump administration is readying a public relations offensive over the economic impact of its new North American trade deal to counter a crucial report expected on Thursday that economists see as likely to show minimal gains at best.Industry sources familiar with the administration’s plans told Reuters the U.S. International Trade Commission’s analysis of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would be met with a rosier forecast from the U.S.

EU says it is ready to launch U.S. trade talks, but without agriculture

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019

The European Union is ready to start talks on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before year-end. The EU approved two areas for negotiation, opposed by France with an abstention from Belgium. But agriculture was not included, leaving the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

A nationwide campaign against tariffs that are hurting American families and communities

Tariffs Hurt | Posted on April 18, 2019

Tariffs are taxes that Americans pay. These taxes are being paid by American farmers, retailers, manufacturers, businesses and consumers.  Based on monthly tariffs on imports Americans have paid thus far, every second the trade war drags on costs Americans $1,155. While that number alone is far too high, it doesn't include the cost of retaliatory tariffs that are causing exports to plummet, or the price of programs that are paying our farmers for the losses they have incurred, or the tariffs’ ripple effects on the broader U.S. economy.

F.D.A. sends C.B.D. warning letters to three companies

Food Business Network  | Posted on April 18, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration has become more active in regulating cannabidiol (C.B.D.) products. The agency sent warning letters dated March 28 to three companies marketing C.B.D. products with “egregious and unfounded claims that are aimed at vulnerable populations,” the agency said. The F.D.A. also has scheduled a May 31 public hearing to discuss how C.B.D. products may be marketed legally. “As our actions today make clear, the F.D.A. stands ready to protect consumers from companies illegally selling C.B.D.

Rural News

Fire-starting ranchers get a new blessing from BLM

High Country News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Last year, President Donald Trump pardoned the ranchers, ending the jail time they were still serving for lighting wildland fires that endangered federal firefighters. Then, in January, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reissued their grazing permit, and the Hammonds returned to ranching. On April 9, the BLM released a new environmental assessment for grazing on the Hammond Allotment, one of the largest of several the family uses in the high desert of eastern Oregon, where rolling hills are broken by rocky outcroppings.

Petting zoos a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs, study finds

Independent  | Posted on April 18, 2019

Petting zoos could be a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs after a study found more than one in 10 animals carrying at least one strain of bacteria capable of withstanding multiple important antibiotics. Israeli researchers collected samples from 228 animals across eight randomly chosen petting zoos, and concluded they were “reservoirs” for microbes that could easily spread from children to vulnerable relatives.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs bill banning local 'right-to-work' zones

Chicago Tribune | Posted on April 18, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing so-called right-to-work zones, another rebuke to his Republican predecessor, who blocked similar legislation as he battled with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Southern States Slowly Embracing Harm Reduction to Curb Opioid Epidemic

Pew Trust | Posted on April 18, 2019

As a top agent with North Carolina’s Bureau of Investigation, Donnie Varnell had tried everything to stop people from fatally overdosing on opioids, from arresting more low-level drug users to talking with doctors. Nothing worked. In 2014, he heard a former SWAT commander speak to law enforcement officers about carrying the opioid antidote naloxone.“I’ve arrested more people than you can put on a cruise ship,” Varnell said, recalling the speech. “But the message — and the messenger — resonated with me. He spoke cop. But he also had ideas, programs and studies.

Rural America Growing Again Due to Migration Gains

Carsey School of Public Policy | Posted on April 18, 2019

For the first six years of this decade, rural America experienced overall population loss for the first time in history. New Census Bureau estimates suggest that last year overall growth accelerated in nonmetropolitan America where 46.1 million people reside. The population gain was small, just 37,000 (.1 percent), but it contrasts with a loss of 32,000 just two years ago and to a modest population gain last year. Population growth was fueled by renewed net migration coupled with a surplus of births over deaths, though this natural increase is dwindling.

Energy News

U.S. EPA chief defends big energy projects, says climate not top priority

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will unveil a proposal to speed state-level permitting decisions for energy infrastructure projects soon, the agency’s chief told Reuters, blasting states that have blocked coal terminals and gas pipelines on environmental grounds.

Puerto Rico governor signs 100% renewable energy mandate

Utility Dive | Posted on April 18, 2019

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday signed into law a 100% renewable energy mandate that the hurricane-battered island must meet by 2050. The Public Energy Policy Law of Puerto Rico, passed last month by territory legislators, directs the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to source 40% of its power from renewables by 2025 and cease burning coal in 2028 on its way to 100% renewables. The signing comes days after a Department of Energy official recommended the installation of a large gas generator in San Juan, but admitted it "may be at odds" with the 100% goal.

Washington 100% clean energy bill gets one step closer to Inslee's desk

Utility Dive | Posted on April 18, 2019

Washington's House of Representatives on Thursday approved a 100% clean energy bill, following Senate approval on March 1, making it the fourth state in the country to commit to such a goal. Senate Bill 5116 passed the House 56-42, and will require the state to power 100% of its electricity from carbon-free resources by 2045. The legislation phases out coal entirely by 2025 and requires all electricity sales to be carbon-neutral by 2030.The bill was amended in the House so will still ​need to be reconciled in the Senate. Then, the bill will move on to Gov.

Homegrown energy can't tame U.S. pump prices

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on April 17, 2019

Once upon a time, stormy politics in the Mideast routinely inflicted pain on Americans at the pump. Recently it was storms in the Midwest as infrastructure issues in a region known for corn, not petroleum, made it difficult for some refiners to get the ethanol needed for gasoline. America’s energy renaissance didn’t help one bit.  Almost all U.S. gasoline is blended with 10% ethanol thanks to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Michigan revisits policy that limits solar development on farmland

Energy News Network | Posted on April 11, 2019

As states consider the compatibility of utility-scale solar projects on farmland, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is revisiting a state policy that the industry says has acted as a barrier. Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program provides tax incentives to landowners who keep land under contract for agricultural practices for decades. In 2017, under former Gov.

Food News

World Health Organization drops its high-profile endorsement of the EAT-Lancet diet

The New Food Economy | Posted on April 18, 2019

the World Health Organization (WHO), the arm of the United Nations charged with monitoring global health, has dropped its endorsement of the EAT-Lancet Commission’s planetary health diet—a much-ballyhooed, well-publicized attempt at saving the planet through the food we eat.Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Italy’s ambassador to the United Nations, questioned the diet’s impact on public health.

Del Taco launching meatless tacos with Beyond Meat

Biz Journals  | Posted on April 18, 2019

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. is teaming with Beyond Meat to add meatless tacos to its 580 locations beginning April 25. Lake Forest, California-based Del Taco (Nasdaq: TACO) said the launch makes it the first national Mexican fast food chain to offer plant-based meat on its menu The nationwide launch of the new menu item dubbed, Beyond Tacos, comes after Del Taco tested it in selected cities.

Will Hormel suit outcome signal end of ‘natural’ label?

Watt Ag Net (free registration required) | Posted on April 18, 2019

The overuse of labels on meat and poultry products has been the topic of many discussions, and the consensus reached in most of those discussions I have heard is many of those labels are meaningless.

USDA, EPA, and FDA Unveil Strategy to Reduce Food Waste

FDA | Posted on April 11, 2019

As part of the Trump Administration’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of a federal interagency strategy to address food waste. The agencies held an event at EPA headquarters to hear from state, local and community leaders and other stakeholders on how all levels of government can work together to reduce food waste.

Do happier cows make for happier consumers?

Edairy News | Posted on April 11, 2019

Today’s consumers and especially many young consumers have a desire to know more about the products they buy, including food products. Driven by an increased awareness of and empathy toward the care of production animals, products aimed at enhancing the quality of food and/or improving the quality of life on farm animals are becoming more common. This is evident in the increased prevalence of marketing of organic, non-GMO foods, cage-free eggs, free-range chicken and the reduction of use of hormones in dairy production.