Farmers who rely on dicamba herbicides are finally getting some clarity from EPA – but only short-term relief. 

On Monday evening, the agency announced it is canceling registrations for dicamba formulations in line with a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. 

EPA says farmers and commercial applicators can still spray dicamba on crops, but only if they had the chemicals in their possession on June 3, the date of the ruling. The chemical can only be used until July 31. 

“At the height of the growing season, the Court’s decision has threatened the livelihood of our nation’s farmers and the global food supply,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. 

Canceling the registration and allowing farmers to use existing stocks “is consistent with EPA’s standard practice following registration invalidation, and is designed to advance compliance, ensure regulatory certainty, and to prevent the misuse of existing stocks,” Wheeler said. 

Read our story on the developments here

No give from UK on chicken, beef restrictions

Some U.S. ag sectors have had high hopes for a trade deal with Britain now that it has left the European Union. But a letter to British lawmakers from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Environment Secretary George Eustice is dampening expectations. 

British trade negotiators won't lift restrictions that ban most U.S. beef and chicken – the same restrictions that limit U.S. exports to the European Union, Truss and Eustice pledged in the letter, a copy of which was tweeted by Truss.

“These import standards include a ban on using artificial growth hormones in domestic and imported products and set out that no products, other than potable water, are approved to decontaminate poultry carcasses,” the letter reads. “Decisions on these standards are a matter for the U.K. and will be made separately from any trade agreement.”

The U.K. is currently negotiating separate trade pacts with the U.S. and the EU.

CFAP payments top $1.4 billion

USDA’s latest weekly report on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program shows farmers have now received $1.4 billion of the $16 billion in payments the department eventually expects to distribute. 

Nearly half the money, $676 million, has gone to livestock producers, primarily beef cattle and hogs. Corn, soybeans, cotton and other row crops have received $368 million, while $337 million in payments have gone to dairy farms. Growers of fruit, vegetables and other specialty crops have received less than $25 million. 

Producers in Iowa lead the nation with $112 million in payments roughly divided between row crops and livestock. Wisconsin has received $108 million, with most of that – nearly $80 million – going to dairy producers. Nebraska farmers have received about $99 million.

Senate advancing land conservation funding

The Senate is moving a landmark conservation bill, the Great American Outdoors Act, that would provide permanent funding of $900 million a year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which in part pays for federal land acquisitions. The money comes from oil and gas revenues. 

The bipartisan measure would simultaneously provide $1.9 billion a year over the next five years for maintaining public lands. Critics of providing long-term funding for the LWCF have long argued that maintenance needs should take precedent over acquiring new lands. 

The Senate voted 80-17 Monday evening to bring up the bill for debate. 

Take note: Getting the bill on the Senate floor was a victory for two vulnerable Senate Republicans, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana.

But the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Public Lands Council and many of their state affiliates strongly oppose the bill. They argue that it would guarantee at least $360 million a year for purchasing new federal land at a time when the government can’t maintain the land it has. 

“If passed, the GAO Act sentences hundreds of millions of acres of American land and water to a poorly-managed future,” the groups say in a letter to Senate leaders. 

Mexico latest to end glyphosate use

The use of glyphosate will be gradually phased out in Mexico, the country’s secretary of environment and natural resources has told a Mexican news outlet.

Víctor Manuel Toledo Manzur told Aristegui Live, however, that he is open to dialogue with the agricultural community. "We cannot say that this is a closed case. On the contrary, it is an open discussion," he said.

In November, Mexico prohibited the import of a shipment of 1,000 tons of glyphosate into the country, citing the “precautionary principle.” 

Farm, biofuel groups press EPA on exemptions

Biofuel advocates are asking EPA today to provide more information on requests for retroactive exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Citing an appeals court ruling, the Renewable Fuels Association and several other organizations argue in a letter that EPA can’t extend exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed.

“Backfilling SREs to circumvent a court decision would exacerbate market uncertainty at a time when rural communities already face unprecedented economic challenges,” reads the letter, obtained by Agri-Pulse,

Other organizations that signed the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association, and National Biodiesel Board to name a few.

Meanwhile: A bipartisan group of over 40 House members is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to not reduce volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard in an upcoming annual proposal. 

“We need to make sure that our rural economies are in the best possible position to recover from this crisis and any move to weaken the RFS would only put us further behind," says the letter signed by 22 Democrats and an equal number of Republicans. 

The lawmakers represent districts in Iowa, Kansas Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kentucky, Indiana, California, Arkansas, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

He said it. “In my 35 years of polling, I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.  … The consequences politically, economically, and socially are too great to fit into a tweet. This is big. This is ‘Beatles on Ed Sullivan’ big.” – GOP pollster Frank Luntz on the dramatic shift in public opinion about race and policing. 

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