NMPF News Alerts – July 23, 2020

Federal incentives for dairy can enhance carbon-reduction efforts, NMPF’s McCloskey says

NMPF – July 23

Sharing how his own farm is evolving to carbon neutrality and how the dairy sector is aggressively moving to become carbon-neutral by 2050, Indiana dairy farmer Mike McCloskey highlighted ways federal incentives can further help dairy toward its net-zero emissions future. “For some reason, repurposing cow manure does not have the same shine as an array of solar panels or the grandeur of a wind farm on the horizon,” said McCloskey, chairman of NMPF’s Environmental Issues Committee.

House passes bill to address high rural suicide rates

Feedstuffs – July 22

The House passed the bipartisan, bicameral Seeding Rural Resilience Act, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. Endorsed by NMPF, the bill helps address the growing rate of suicide in rural communities across the country. According to the CDC, the suicide rate is 45% higher in rural areas than in urban areas. “Our farmers, ranchers and rural communities work so hard to keep our country fed, but that responsibility weighs on their mental health,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY).

Senate GOP starts to unveil coronavirus proposal amid deep discord

Politico – July 22

Senate Republicans started unveiling pieces of their new coronavirus relief bill, but negotiators remain undecided on several key issues. The Republican initiative is expected to include a temporary flat payment for unemployment insurance for two months, although the exact amount of the federal contribution wasn’t finalized, according to sources on the call. Beefed-up $600 federal unemployment payments begin expiring at the end of this week, a deadline that has spurred GOP leaders into action.

USDA mulls cattle market changes after coronavirus-related gyrations

The Wall Street Journal – July 22

USDA suggested broader reporting requirements for meatpacking companies as it investigates cattle market gyrations driven by the pandemic and a fire at a major beef plant. The recommendations follow complaints from cattle ranchers who saw livestock prices drop as Covid-19 spread across the U.S., leading to processing plant shutdowns and sharply reduced beef production. At the same time, wholesale beef prices surged as consumers stocked up at grocery stores.

California bill will effectively ban feeding food byproducts to livestock

Western Farm Press – July 22

Farms that use agricultural byproducts for animal feed, bedding materials, and dust control may lose those through a bill now in the California Senate. Assembly Bill 2959 will force the unfranchised hauling of organic byproducts from grocery stores, restaurants, breweries, and wineries to be subjected to the same franchise agreements municipalities now have with select companies.

Dairy Farmers of America kicks off $30M expansion of St. Albans plant

WCAX (St. Albans, VT) – July 22

DFA says a $30 million investment is on the way to their processing plant in St. Albans, Vermont. The plant produces cream, condensed skim milk, and milk powder. Project engineer Bill McPhail says the new construction will expand the plant’s processing and storage capacity. “It’s going to make us a lot more efficient in our receiving operations as well as increase our storage capacity.” Dairy farmer and DFA member Harold Howrigan says, “Any time you invest in processing, it’s good for all dairy farmers.”

Unilever’s ice cream deliveries show anything can be sold online

Bloomberg – July 23

As restaurants shut down, crimping out-of-home sales, Unilever stepped up to the challenge of accepting customers’ orders at the click of a button and getting Ben & Jerry’s tubs to them before they liquefy. The company has been forming partnerships to build a wide network of e-commerce avenues. As heat waves spurred demand in recent months, Unilever could quickly adapt to changing consumer behavior because it had the online ice-cream business ready.

U.K. sees U.S. trade deal more likely next year than in 2020

Bloomberg – July 22

The U.K. accepts it is unlikely to secure a trade deal with the U.S. before November’s presidential election. While the U.K. has never set a formal deadline for securing a U.S. trade deal, the delay is a blow to Johnson’s goal of showing the U.K. can reap the rewards of Brexit by striking new free trade deals around the world. The talks have been beset by disagreements over agriculture in particular.

Coronavirus scare forces U.S., Kenya to pause talks

Politico – July 22

The US and Kenya have been forced to pause trade talks over concern that Kenyan negotiators were exposed to the coronavirus. The scare comes less than two weeks after the two countries began talks on a free trade agreement — a reminder of the challenges of holding formal negotiations during the pandemic. In the trade talks with Kenya as well as the UK, members of the U.S. delegation are largely working from their homes.

Dutch farmers protest move to cut emissions from livestock

Associated Press – July 22

Some 2,000 farmers gathered in the Netherlands for the latest in a string of protests against government efforts to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides from livestock. The farmers are calling on the government to scrap a proposal that would force them to feed less protein as a way of reducing gas emissions. Farmers argue that reducing the amount of protein in cattle feed is bad for the animals’ health and means they produce less milk.