A dozen major farm groups have jumped into the fray over conservation funding in the estimated $3.5 trillion reconciliation package Democrats plan to introduce in the Senate, calling for “increased investment in climate-smart agricultural practices that sequester carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
In a letter to House and Senate leaders Thursday, the groups said they “support efforts to increase spending on conservation incentives, including strong technical and financial assistance, as part of upcoming infrastructure-related legislation.”
They also said they support increased investment in rural broadband and expressed concern about altering the current tax structure to pay for infrastructure.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has said she wants to get $50 billion in new conservation spending over the next 10 years in the package.
“What we’re talking about in this budget process is investing further in proven and popular conservation programs and practices that work well and benefit a wide range of producers,” Stabenow said. “That’s why you see such a broad range of farm groups support that effort.”
The groups signing the letter are: National Milk Producers Federation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Agricultural Retailers Association, American Seed Trade Association, CropLife America, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, National Potato Council, Produce Marketing Association, and U.S. Apple Association.

AMS announces two more reports to increase beef price transparency

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said Thursday it would be releasing two additional Market News reports on beef prices in an effort to improve transparency in the market.

The USDA’s decision to use Livestock Mandatory Reporting data to add a National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle Report and a Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution Report to the USDA Market News lineup was applauded by both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. USCA sent a letter to AMS July 13 asking it to “immediately examine” whether AMS could publish additional information on live cattle transactions.

Republican Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Chuck Grassley of Iowa also voiced their support. 

The daily report’s first appearance will be Monday. It will look at the foundational prices used in cattle market formulas, grids and contracts. The first issue of the weekly report will be published Tuesday and will show the volume of cattle purchased at different levels of pricing within those formulas, grids and contracts.

Biden signs executive order setting target for sales of zero-emission vehicles
President Biden Thursday signed a new executive order setting a target that half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be zero-emission vehicles.
But the order has some in the renewable fuel industry concerned that Biden’s approach leaves renewable fuels out of the equation.
“The overarching goal should be to reach net-zero emissions as quickly as possible without dictating the pathway to get there or putting all our eggs into one technology basket,” Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO, said in a release. “Any plan to decarbonize the transportation sector should recognize the massive opportunity for low-carbon liquid fuels like ethanol to reduce GHG emissions from internal combustion engines in the near term.”
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement that she wanted to see the Biden Administration focus on reducing emissions through fully implementing the RFS, accelerating the transition to E15 and investing in biofuels.
Chinese imports give boost to US pork shipments
China’s pork sector may be nearly recovered from African swine fever, but the country is still importing. The USDA on Thursday reported sales of 18,300 metric tons of U.S. pork to Chinese buyers and U.S. shipments of 4,900 tons during the week of July 23-29.
It was also a strong week for U.S. corn exports, according to the latest weekly data out of USDA. The U.S. shipped 909,500 tons of corn to China during the seven-day period. All U.S. corn exports for the week totaled about 1.4 million tons, a 4% increase from the previous week and a 20% increase from the prior four-week average.
GE salmon get hit again with Murkowski rider requiring special labeling
AquaBounty’s genetically engineered Atlantic salmon is once again the target of appropriations language backed by Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
A provision in the ag spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday and released late that night would require that the GE salmon be labeled “genetically engineered,” as opposed to a less prominent notification that the product is bioengineered.
Murkowski said the salmon deserve special treatment in part because of their status as the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. “This is about disclosure,” she said at the committee markup.
But Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, where AquaBounty has a production facility, objected to the language, first included in the fiscal 2020 spending bill. “Consumers should know what is in their food and I support clear disclosure rules,” he said, but added it is “improper for the committee to single out something specifically.”    
India’s industrial ethanol demand rose with pandemic
The U.S. is the largest foreign supplier of industrial ethanol to India and demand has been rising during the pandemic as the country consumed more sanitizers and disinfectants, according to a new analysis commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council. The U.S. exported 183 million gallons of industrial-grade ethanol to India in 2020.
“We are looking to expand ethanol use globally for fuel and industrial applications," said Brian Healy, USGC director of global ethanol market development. “This is another example of our efforts around the world to better understand how industrial applications can be expanded in what is already an important market.”
Indian demand for fuel ethanol is expected to rise sharply as the pandemic wanes and the country increases its reliance on biofuels, but India does not allow imports of ethanol for fuel.

Questions? Tips? Contact Bill Tomson at bill@agri-pulse.com