Saturday, October 28, 2017

Friday October 27 Ag News

LENRD to receive applications for new irrigated acres beginning November 15

Farmers within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, will have an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres for 2018.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “After much debate during their October meeting, the board discussed allowing for the approval of standard variances district-wide, utilizing a map entitled “Classification 4” provided by the Flatwater Group, and only allow consideration for approval of parcels that fall within the top five categories from the Potential for Development map legend.”

The board voted to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Hydrologically Connected or 10/50 Area, and to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Non-Hydrologically Connected or Non 10/50 Area under the district’s standard variance process for 2018.

Bruckner added, “The board suggested an annual limit on the amount of groundwater withdrawal from wells associated with approved variances, determined by board policy, which is subject to future modification if conditions warrant.  In addition, a minimum soil score of 90 must be met for any standard variance to be considered for approval.”

The board established a sign-up period to receive applications for Standard Variances.  The district will receive applications for standard variances between November 15, 2017 and December 15, 2017.

Standard variance requests will only be considered for approval from areas within the district that fall within the top five Potential for Development categories on the Classification 4 Map, as provided by Flatwater Group.  Standard variances will not be available in the Quantity Subareas already defined.  To view the map, visit

In other action, the district is preparing for a public hearing regarding their Drought Mitigation Plan.  The public hearing will be Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The November board meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Husker Beef Nutrition Conference

The 2017 Husker Nutrition Conference will be held on Friday, November 3rd at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. Topics include distillers grains processes, cost of gain vs. feed conversion, Considerations on distillers grains, energy and economics, factors controlling tenderness in beef, what feedlyard nutritionists should know about cover crops, bunk management, and more.  There will also be a research update presented. 

Please register by October 30th via mail, email or phone. Registration fees are $30 per person if preregistered and may be paid on-site. Cost is $50 if not registered.

Complete registration can be sent to: Galen Erickson, P.O. Box 830908, Lincoln, NE 68583-0908, email, or call 402-472-6402.

Webinar: Management of Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems

People are invited to a webinar that will be held on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. Ashley Conway, PhD student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Animal Science department under the direction of Dr. Mary Drewnoski received a SARE Graduate Student Grant. Ashley will discuss "Cattle management and performance in an integrated crop-livestock system" and results of the first year of the study.

Integrated crop-livestock systems offer tremendous potential for backgrounding cattle. Incorporating cereal rye as a winter cover crop and then grazing in the spring is one potential strategy to capture added value to an agricultural system. Year one of a two-year study designed to investigate the impact of cattle and residue management in this type of system specifically looks at the use of ionophore supplementation of cattle grazing cereal rye in the spring.

The link to the webinar is: If you are unable to participate during the live webinar, it will be recorded for future viewing.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Every fall I am asked the question “Is my alfalfa safe to graze?”.  Do you sometimes have that question?

               Is my alfalfa safe to graze?  When I hear that question I can almost imagine the scenarios from which it comes.  Usually corn stalks are ready to be grazed.  It would be convenient and useful to include an adjacent alfalfa field for extra grazing and protein.  Another scenario has grazing ending on summer range but the final growth of alfalfa is still standing in the field.

               Usually the alfalfa is still quite green, despite several nights with low temperatures in the twenties or even teens like last week.  There may be some wilting and yellowing, especially on the top, but most leaves still are attached to the plant stems.

               The real question often being asked is “Can I be sure my cows won’t bloat and die if they graze my alfalfa?”.  To be quite honest, you never can be 100 percent certain that alfalfa won’t cause bloat.  I remember back to my father’s small dairy farm.  Over the years that I helped on his farm, my dad had a couple cows that would bloat even when eating dry alfalfa hay.  Since they were good milkers he didn’t want to cull them.  So those cows were hand fed small amounts of alfalfa hay at a time so their bloat could be minimized.

               Thus, the only true answer to questions about grazing alfalfa safety is ‘probably’.  Bloat risk is much lower a week after a hard freeze that causes wilting.  But always use good animal husbandry methods to reduce the risk further.  Have cows full before turning out to alfalfa.  Wait until mid-day, after frost or dew is gone, before turning out.  Provide other dry, palatable feeds or even bloat retardants.  And keep a close eye on them for the first couple days.

               Alfalfa can be grazed safely.  Just be careful and realistic.

Rural Japanese Entrepreneurs, Leaders To Experience Nebraska Friday & Saturday

To inspire bold, creative thinking and action, rural entrepreneurs and community leaders from Japan are seeking a “rural immersion” in the United States, and to get it they are visiting with experts and innovators in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 27, and Nebraska City, Neb., and Auburn, Neb., Oct 28.

In partnership with Japan Society and Japan NPO Center, the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska is hosting a free, public forum entitled, “A Thriving Rural Future in Japan and the United States,” at 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, 1505 S Street. The forum will be live streamed at

On Oct. 28, RFI will take the visitors to Nebraska City and Auburn where hosts will include: Kimmel Education & Research Center, Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard, Nemaha County Hospital, BCom Solutions and Peru State College.

Guests from Japan include:
-    Atsuhisa Emori, Taberu Journal League in Hanamaki, Iwate
-    Kenji Hayashi, FoundingBase in Tsuwano, Shimane
-    Ryoko Sato, Ehime University in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
-    Tsuyoshi Sekihara, Kamiechigo Yamazato Fan Club; Joestu, Niigata Prefecture
-    Junichi Tamura, Next Commons Lab in Tono, Iwate Prefecture

This visit is part of a two-year funded project received by Japan Society, based in New York City, N.Y., and Japan NPO Center, based in Tokyo. Through RFI, the University of Nebraska is the only higher education institution in the United States involved.

Overall, the project seeks to build leadership capacity and consolidate lessons and learning from efforts to revitalize small towns and rural areas in the U.S.-Japan context. Specific topical areas of exploration include:
-    Economic revitalization and rural entrepreneurship
-    Sustainable agriculture
-    Leadership opportunities for younger generations
-    Meeting the needs of the elderly in smaller communities
-    The role of arts and culture in regional revitalization
-    Creating an ecosystem conducive to engaging new community members

Senate Confirms Greg Ibach as USDA Under Secretary

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“As I’ve stated before, Greg Ibach is an outstanding choice to serve in the role of USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. I want to publicly thank Greg for all the work that he has done for Nebraska Agriculture over the years. He has been a strong advocate for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and the members of our organization appreciate his efforts.”

“Greg is very much a farmer. He’s worn that hat and brought that voice throughout his service as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture and that won’t change when he heads to Washington, D.C. We look forward to working with him in his new position and are confident he will be an asset to USDA and to American agriculture.”

Sasse Statement on Ibach

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse released the following statement after Nebraskan Greg Ibach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“Greg Ibach earned this USDA spot utilizing the honesty, determination, and smarts that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are known for. Whether it’s emphasizing the importance of agriculture or working hard to expand Nebraska’s trading partners, Greg has a proven track record of public service bringing common sense and innovative solutions to his work. Our agriculture communities will be served well.”

Nebraska Cattlemen Congratulates Greg Ibach on U.S. Senate Confirmation

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) is pleased to congratulate Greg Ibach, former Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director, and NC member, on his confirmation for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  The U.S. Senate confirmed Ibach's nomination today by a unanimous vote.

In his new role, Ibach will supervise the policy development and day-to-day operations of three federal agencies within USDA: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which facilitates the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program; the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which implements livestock mandatory price reporting (LMR); and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which oversees the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products.

"APHIS, AMS and GIPSA all have tremendous impact and importance to Nebraska's livestock producers and Nebraska Cattlemen looks forward to working with Under Secretary Ibach in his new role," said Troy Stowater, NC President.

NC also thanks Ibach for his 18 years of service with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).  After spending 6 years as the Assistant Director, Ibach transitioned into the Director role in June 2005.  Under Ibach's watch at NDA, nearly every sector of Nebraska agriculture experienced growth and expansion, including the state's livestock industry. He has championed the state's Livestock Friendly County program, and the number of counties receiving the designation continues to grow.  He also is a strong supporter of the Nebraska Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix, and has tirelessly promoted the expansion of Nebraska beef into multiple foreign export markets, including Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea and China.

Ibach continues to maintain a cow/calf and grain operation near Sumner.  He holds a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska, with majors in animal science and agricultural economics.

Nebraska Corn Growers Association Offer Statement of Congrats to Ibach

Leaders of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association offered their support and congratulations to Greg Ibach, former director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, after he was confirmed this week in Washington, DC as the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Dan Wesely of Morse Bluff, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, said, “We offer our congratulations to Greg Ibach following his confirmation as the new Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and wish him the best in this new endeavor. We thank Greg for his tenure as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. We’re very pleased to have a Nebraskan leading the marketing and regulatory programs for American agriculture.”

NPPA:  Senate Confirms Ibach For Top USDA Job

The National Pork Producers Council applauded yesterday’s Senate confirmation of Greg Ibach for a key position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was approved by voice vote.

Ibach, who is director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, was picked by President Trump to be undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

“Director Ibach will be a great asset at USDA for American agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “Farmers and ranchers couldn’t ask for a better person to lead this key USDA department.”

Ibach has been with the Nebraska agriculture agency for the past 12 years. He also operates a cow/calf and row crop farm near Sumner, Neb.

In his job at USDA, Ibach will supervise policy development and oversee day-to-day operations of the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Registration Open for ISU Women in Ag Leadership Conference

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference will be held Nov. 27-28 at the Iowa State Center – Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa. The cost to participate in the intensive leadership workshops on Monday evening is $20. The cost to participate in the full-day conference on Tuesday is $30 for students with college/university identification and $60 for all others. Online registration is now available.

Three intensive leadership workshops will be offered Monday evening, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner during the workshops is included in the cost of registration. The three-hour interactive sessions will give women practical leadership advice and tools as well as inspire women to lead successfully at all levels of experience.

Additional networking activities are also available on Monday. Conference attendees can sign up to take a free campus tour from 3 – 5 p.m. and enjoy a hospitality room at the Best Western University Park Inn and Suites from 8:30 – 10 p.m.

The full-day conference on Tuesday begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Lunch as well as morning and afternoon refreshments are included in the registration cost. Keynote speaker Roxi Beck, member of the advisory board for Iowa State’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and past president of the National Agri-Marketing Association begins the day with her presentation, “Winning in Complex Conversations.”

Capstone speaker Jeanne Bernick, agricultural consultant and business specialist for the national accounting and finance firm K·Coe Isom, brings her expertise associated with 20 years as a Farm Journal Media editor to her presentation, “How Remarkable Women Lead with Confidence.”

Throughout the day, more than 20 general session and concurrent session speakers will enlighten and energize attendees with a variety of leadership topics ranging from establishing mentorships to starting new businesses to mapping your leadership journey.

Highlighting the conference will be the recognition of seven inspiring women from across Iowa who are being honored as the 2017 "Women Impacting Agriculture."

A full conference agenda and other details is available at the ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag website....

Deadline to Seed Cereal Rye Cover Crop Extended Additional 2 Weeks in Iowa

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and State Conservationist Kurt Simon with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs now have an additional two weeks to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance.

The seeding date is extended following the announcement that only 61 percent of Iowa’s soybeans and 23 percent of corn were harvested as of Sunday, Oct. 22. “The crop report indicated both corn and soybean harvests are behind the five-year average,” said Naig. “Extending the deadline an additional two weeks will allow additional farmers to get a cereal rye cover crop planted, benefitting water quality.”

“Late seeded cereal rye provided adequate spring growth for erosion control in the past when allowed to grow to at least eight inches tall before termination,” said Simon.

The revised cover crop seeding dates for cereal rye are:
Zone 1 (Northern Iowa) Nov. 4 – 18
Zone 2 (Central Iowa) Nov. 11 – 25
Zone 3 (Southern Iowa) Nov. 19 – Dec. 3

Guidance from Iowa State University confirmed cover crops planted within these dates still have the potential to provide a substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion.

The following applies to cover crops planted during the extension period:
·         Seed cereal rye as soon as possible after harvest of the principal crop.
·         The cover crop will be no-till drilled into crop residue.
·         Allow the cover crop to grow until at least 8 inches before spring termination.
·         It is recommended the seeding rate of cereal rye be increased to 75 pounds Pure Live Seed (PLS) per acre to adjust for reduced tillering.
·         The extension does not apply to all federal programs. Contact your local NRCS office if you have questions.

Farmers approved for cost-share assistance who are still unable to plant cover crops should contact their local NRCS office.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week released guidance to assist livestock farmers in reporting air emissions from manure on their farms. The guidance follows a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which rejected the EPA’s petition to maintain the farm exemption for these emission reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

While disappointed with the court’s ruling, the National Pork Producers Council worked with the EPA to develop effective guidance that minimizes the compliance burdens for U.S. pork producers. Under the court’s order, farmers are currently required to report emissions to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center and EPA regional offices beginning Nov. 15. NPPC plans to request that the court delay the reporting deadline to provide more time to educate producers on their responsibilities under the law.


National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom attended this week’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System meeting to address a method proposed by the Food and Drug Administration to measure livestock antibiotic use. The FDA’s method uses antibiotic sales figures and estimates for the size of animal populations to approximate use. During the meeting, Dr. Wagstrom noted that antibiotic sales figures are not accurate, making any calculation based on this method inaccurate. Instead, she said, “We need to be looking at data from individual farms. NPPC is very supportive of the projects that FDA has funded to look at individual farm data.”

Under Secretary McKinney to Lead USDA Trade Mission to India

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney will lead an agribusiness trade mission to India Oct. 30-Nov. 3. Making his first international trip as Under Secretary, McKinney will head a delegation of approximately 50 business, trade association and state government leaders who are seeking to grow U.S. agricultural exports to the world’s second-most-populous country.

“U.S. agricultural exports to India have grown nearly 250 percent over the past decade, but the country’s barriers impede exports of many of our products,” McKinney said. “On this trip, I look forward to not only promoting U.S. farm and food products, but also to meeting with my Indian government counterparts to build relationships and address key trade policy issues in an effort to improve American access to this important market.”

Mission participants will travel to New Delhi and Mumbai, connecting with potential customers and learning first-hand about local market conditions. In-country staff from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service will arrange meetings between U.S. delegates and more than 150 Indian companies, as well as with importers from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who will travel to India for the mission. Participants will also meet with government and industry officials and visit local processing facilities and retail outlets.

U.S. agricultural exports to India totaled nearly $1.3 billion in 2016, with tree nuts, cotton, pulses, fresh and processed fruits, and prepared foods accounting for more than 80 percent of those exports. India is also a major market for U.S. ethanol exports. The United States is India’s top ethanol supplier, with sales totaling nearly $176 million in 2016.

Farm Bureau Communications Boot Camp Grads Recognized

The American Farm Bureau Federation recognized 15 farm and ranch women leaders as graduates of the organization’s eleventh annual Women’s Communications Boot Camp. The group of agricultural leaders was recognized after completing an intensive three-day course featuring sessions on working with the media, public speaking, testifying and messaging.

“Women’s Communication Boot Camp is the experience of a lifetime,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “Graduates of this program are persuasive and effective advocates for agriculture, with a passion for connecting with influencers at the local, state and national levels.”

This year’s Boot Camp graduates are: Magen Allen, Arkansas; Andrea Brossard, Wisconsin; Danielle Burch, Ohio; Jodi DeHate, Michigan; Gimmie Jo Jansonius, Kansas; Sine Kerr, Arizona; Bonnie LaTourette, Pennsylvania; Renee McPherson, North Carolina; Paula Peterson, Nebraska; Cindy Ramsey, Indiana;  Ruth Scruton, New Hampshire; Cala Tabb, Mississippi; Laura Vaught, Tennessee; Andi Vincent, Washington state; and Sara Wayne, West Virginia.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for Women’s Communications Boot Camp. This is the eleventh year of the program, which has more than 165 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau. An application process is used to select the participants.

Updated ID Required for U.S. Breeding Cattle to Canada

Effective February 1, 2018, the identification requirements for export of U.S. breeding cattle to Canada will change. After this date, Canada will require an 840 radiofrequency identification (RFID) tag AND a USA tattoo in the right ear.

U.S. regulations require special procedures for applying an 840 RFID tag to an animal already tagged with official identification. Veterinarians/exporters may refer to the IREGS website for further information at the following link:

The USDA metal tag will no longer be accepted as an option for identification of cattle for export to Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has begun issuing import permits for breeding cattle to reflect these new requirements. The protocols and certificates for breeding cattle are updated accordingly on the APHIS IREGS website and Veterinary Export Health Certificate System.

This change will significantly reduce time during inspection at the Canadian border, as well as eliminate the need for U.S. animals to be retagged with Canadian identification upon reaching their destination in Canada.

Environmental and Economic Rewards of Genome Project Still Emerging 20 Years Later

Two decades ago today, the corn plant got a huge boost with the announcement of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The historic research effort to map the corn genome - supported and shepherded by the National Corn Growers Association - has resulted in significant economic and environmental dividends for farmers and society at large.

The gene mapping effort, which ran parallel to the mapping of the human genome, opened up a new frontier for corn that is still being explored today, according to Pam Johnson, a Floyd, Iowa farmer who served as the Chairperson of NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team and later as NCGA president.

“The NPGI didn’t just build a bridge between scientific discovery and real-world solutions for corn, it laid the groundwork for a new interstate highway of discovery,” Johnson said. “Corn continues to be one of the most important crops for our nation and this will likely continue given the vision of early NCGA leaders and the large coalition they helped forge.”

NPGI has funded more than $1.5 billion of genomic research to date and the undertaking continues to send ripples through the scientific community and agriculture.

“Corn became the primary focus of the broader plant genomics project because of its economic significance and because of its complexity. The theory is if we could crack the secrets of corn, the knowledge gained could be applied to many other plants,” said Rodney Williamson, director of research and development for Iowa Corn Growers Association. “The idea of sequencing the corn genome was considered an immense and daunting task because it has one of the of the most complex genomes of any known organism. But we continue to see the payoff.”

At 2.5 billion base pairs covering 10 chromosomes, this genome's size is comparable to that of the human genome which explains why the data generated from the gene mapping will keep scientists sorting and exploring for decades to come, says Williamson, who was part of the group in 1997 that threw down the gauntlet challenging the scientific community.

The new, emerging picture of corn helps researchers better understand its evolution and history. The crop was domesticated from a Central American grass called teosinte some 10,000 years ago. Much of the genetic diversity of maize, however, reaches nearly five million years back.

“Today we are still investigating what each of the genes does with a new initiative called Genomes to Fields. It’s a big puzzle that we don’t have a complete map for yet, but the potential benefits and advances are mind-boggling,” Johnson said. “The data we have contains answers like the best way to adapt corn to different climates, develop more efficient corn plants, use less energy growing it, sequester more carbon and increase the supply of food and feed.”

Williamson says the people in the nondescript hotel meeting room in 1997 contended the completion of the maize genome sequence would change agriculture and it has. Things such as increased breeding efficiency, streamlined delivery of new traits, discovering enhancements of properties such as drought tolerance, and a better overall understanding of the crop has enhanced corn's position as the ideal crop for food, feed, fuel and industrial uses.

According to the USDA, corn production in the U.S. has grown from roughly 9 billion bushels in 1997 when NPGI began to more than 15 billion bushels today. At the same time, the value of the U.S. crop has grown from $25 billion to more than $51 billion.

CWT Assists with 91,492 Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted two requests for export assistance from members that have contracts to sell 41,888 pounds (19 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 49,604 pounds (23 metric tons) of butter to customers in the Asia and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from November through December 2017.

So far, this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 57.936 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.752 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 22 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 641.674 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

China's Ethanol Production to Grow on Demand, Policy

China's total ethanol production will likely grow in 2018 on strong demand and policy support, according to the US Department of Agriculture. China has significant corn stockpiles, much of which is thought no longer suitable for food, and an increase in ethanol production could reduce these, taking away a factor weighing on prices. It adds that state media reports that by 2025, China will shift renewable fuel production to commercial scale cellulosic ethanol. "If realized, this plan, taken with China's ongoing corn sector reform, will fundamentally transform the coarse grains, distillers' dried grains, and ethanol markets in China." 

China Continues to Move Toward Accepting GM Crops

China continues to slowly move towards the commercialization of genetically modified seeds in the country over the next 3-4 years, says BMI. "Because of an entrenched reluctance to use GM crops for food among the population, we believe China will first adopt the commercialization of GM seeds for feed purposes, mainly corn." It adds the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by state-owned China National Chemical is an important step in moving toward GM crops as it gives the country access to the technology. "China has been investing heavily in recent years to develop its own research on GM seeds but results have been limited," BMI notes.

National Farmers addresses farmer concerns for NAFTA negotiators

As news about NAFTA negotiations raises concerns, National Farmers Organization is calling for caution, highlighting the potential fallout on America’s farmers and ranchers if NAFTA was cancelled.

“Canada and Mexico are two of the largest export markets for U.S. agricultural products, quadrupling since NAFTA began in 1994,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “Simply revoking the NAFTA agreement would be disastrous for agricultural commodity prices here at home,” Olson emphasized.

Whether it’s corn, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, red meat or dairy, Mexico and Canada constitute a significant share of America’s agricultural sales.

The organization has long been an advocate of supply management in the U.S., but farmers continue to produce more than domestic markets can absorb. “It’s important to be reminded that farmers rely on export markets to absorb additional production not used here at home, and if Canadian or Mexican markets were significantly disrupted, it would depress prices farmers receive,” Olson said.

 “Agriculture is not an isolated industry, either,” he added. “Our American farmers create jobs.” In 2015, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service, the agricultural and food sectors accounted for 21 million full- and part-time jobs. That’s 11.1 percent of total U.S. employment. “That means NAFTA’s agricultural aspects aren’t only about farmers,” Olson said.

The organization supports fair trade as equally as important as free trade, and emphasizes the following issues including:
·        Adequately addressing labor and environmental issues.
·        Allowing for country-of-origin labeling.
·        Providing avenues for dispute resolution.
·        Managing currency fluctuations.
·        Properly reporting agricultural import and export data.
·        Upholding food safety standards.

“We hope the NAFTA renegotiation process recognizes that farmer interests are vital.

Let’s protect and not compromise the overall success of the trading relationships we have, while we work to establish a new agreement,” Olson said.

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