August 10, 2020
Join Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant for a free educational webinar to discuss Rural Broadband Challenges, sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the American Soybean Association.
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Citrus greening is making inroads in commercial groves
Researchers have detected the first sample in a commercial grove of an Asian citrus psyllid that tested positive for the bacteria that causes Huanglongbing (HLB). In its advisory, CDFA said while the detection is cause for serious concern, the disease itself has not been found in a commercial grove.
The report came from a grove in the Woodcrest area of Riverside County. CDFA staff have been taking samples and conducting surveys across the perimeter of the site. Growers within a 250-meter radius are being encouraged to apply insecticides to stop the psyllid. The area is under quarantine to prevent the spread of the pest and disease.
Farm groups urge USDA to extend CFAP deadline, ease rules
Farm groups are appealing to USDA to relax payment rules and extend the sign-up deadline for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. They cite the lagging pace of payments to farmers.
In a letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Perdue on Friday, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Agricultural Retailers Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers and numerous commodity groups also said that USDA needs to increase its outreach to growers.
Last week USDA reported paying out $6.8 billion of the $16 billion budgeted for CFAP. The department started taking applications in May. USDA initially provided farmers with 80% of their eligible payment to make sure there would be enough money to go around. Officials have said recently that producers should be getting the remaining 20% that they are due.
Rep. Glenn Thompson
Top Republican: Writing new farm bill would ‘open Pandora’s box’
A senior Republican on the House Ag Committee says he’s not sure that the extra $20 billion negotiators are considering providing to USDA in the next aid package is enough to meet farmers’ needs in 2021. But Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson says it would be a mistake to reopen the farm bill next year to improve the safety net for producers.
“You open it up, you open Pandora’s box, and I think we would probably wind up with much less support” for farmers, Thompson said in an interview with Agri-Pulse.
Given the liberal bent of the House Democrats, “you’d see a vast expansion in burdensome, unnecessarily regulatory requirements. You would certainly see a carte blanche expansion” of food assistance programs, Thompson said.
His two challengers for the top GOP spot on the Ag committee, Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford and Georgia Rep. Austin Scott, have both said that the 2018 farm bill has proven inadequate and needs to be overhauled before 2023, when it’s due to expire.
Ag is left out of latest US-Canada trade spat
Canada says it will retaliate against the new U.S. tariffs on aluminum, but the Canadians are not hitting back on U.S. ag and food products like they did the last time the U.S. taxed metal imports.
The U.S. tariffs are scheduled to go into place on Aug. 16. The Canadian government has published a list of potential targets for retaliation, which mostly includes aluminum and products made from aluminum, such as bicycles.
Canada said its retaliatory tariffs, which are guided by USMCA agreements, will go into place on Sept. 16.
Executive orders add new twist to COVID-19 aid fight
The game of chicken between the White House and congressional Democrats goes on. As promised, President Donald Trump issued executive orders over the weekend aimed at among other things restoring lapsed jobless benefits, suspending payroll taxes and stopping evictions.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on ABC’s This Week blasted the orders as inadequate and of questionable worth – if legal. Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse called the orders “unconstitutional slop.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on CBS’ Face the Nation that negotiators are nowhere near a deal. "I'm not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term,” he said.
Emergency CRP haying, grazing tied to drought status
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will start allowing emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres based on drought conditions.
The rules changes will apply to producers who are located in a county designated as severe drought (D2) or greater on or after the last day of the primary nesting season. Farmers in counties that were in D2 status any single week during the last eight weeks of the primary nesting season may also be eligible - unless the FSA county committee determines that forage conditions no longer warrant emergency haying and grazing.
At this point, producers in 500 counties are eligible for emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres.
FSA’s website updates a list of eligible counties weekly.
He said it
“The disparity between approved applications and the number of farm operations points toward the need for additional farmer and stakeholder engagement and a sign-up deadline extension.” – Farm groups appealing to USDA to extend the Aug. 28 for enrolling in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The groups say only 24% of licensed farms nationwide have applied for CFAP. Read our story here.
Ben Nuelle, Bill Tomson and Steve Davies contributed to this report.
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