NMPF News Alerts – July 9, 2020

Congress urges U.S. government to secure greater dairy access in Japan by swiftly pursuing Phase Two agreement

NMPF, USDEC – July 8

Members of Congress from across the country joined together to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking them to work together to build upon the successes secured in a Phase One agreement with Japan and swiftly pursue a Phase Two agreement that addresses any remaining gaps and inequalities in market access and establishes robust commitments on nontariff issues that can significantly impact dairy trade.

NMPF praises USDA for FMD preparedness with initial vaccine purchase

NMPF – July 8

NMPF praised USDA for taking a critical step in modernizing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) preparedness for U.S. dairy farmers through its initial purchase of $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. The initial purchase culminates a multi-year effort by NMPF and other livestock organizations working with USDA to update U.S. preparedness for a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.

Land O’Lakes convenes broadband coalition

The Hagstrom Report – July 8

Land O’Lakes has convened 49 organizations, including NMPF, to form the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition to “advocate for public and private sector investment to bring high-speed Internet infrastructure to rural areas.” “All too often, farmers, business owners and even school children are disadvantaged by being on the wrong side of our country’s digital divide, a problem that has become more acute as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19,” said Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford.

Despite the stumbles, Paycheck Protection Program has done its job

The Boston Globe – July 8

The Paycheck Protection Program has helped millions of employers survive the coronavirus shutdown. Agri-Mark used its money to retain all 920 employees at four plants, after almost half of its revenue disappeared in March. “It was the perfect vehicle,” Doug DiMento said. Without the loan, Agri-Mark was facing “some drastic options.” Agri-Mark also raised salaries to reflect the increased health risks of close-quarters work in its plants and spent “a lot of money” on temperature monitoring and protective equipment.

FARM Act to support climate change fight

Escalon Times (Escalon, CA) – July 8

Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA) introduced the Future of Agricultural Resiliency and Modernization (FARM) Act last week, which is intended help farmers across the country more effectively fight climate change. “Dairy farmers are active environmental stewards who continue to seek new approaches to innovation. Nutrient recovery technologies and digesters play a critical role in the ongoing efforts undertaken by farmers to care for the air and water resources around them,” NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern said.

Farmers and animal rights activists are coming together to fight big factory farms

Vox – July 8

Sen. Cory Booker is vegan, and so he knows, better than most, how unpopular veganism is — in one survey, only people with drug addiction were viewed more negatively. But Booker realized there was a place that vegans and farmers could come together: Both of them hate the ways agribusiness had consolidated and mechanized the meat market, forcing farmers into using massive confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Meal programs scramble to feed more hungry children

The New York Times – July 8

Summer has always been hard for hungry children. 30 million American kids rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. But when schools close, families are left scrambling to cover those meals. Advocates say that this year the disparity will be exacerbated, as many summer meal programs have had to substantially change operations. At the same time, government financial assistance programs are struggling to operate under the twin pressures of a pandemic and the rise in unemployment.

Study shows plant-based beverages lacking in calcium, protein, vitamins

Food Navigator – July 6

An analysis of 115 plant-based milk substitutes sold in Australia showed that the category is lacking in several micronutrients, including vitamin A, B12, calcium, and protein when compared to cow’s milk. Researchers involved have described the findings as a “disconcerting discovery” since consumers tend to perceive plant-based beverages as mineral-rich. They have urged the country’s regulator to implement advisory labelling, especially for older women and adolescents who require a higher intake of micronutrients.

World dairy markets shoot up 8.3 percent

Farm Journal’s MILK – July 7

World dairy markets took a cue from U.S. dairy markets, shooting up 8.3 percent in the aggregate on the Global Dairy Trade auction in New Zealand. Trading volume was moderate, with nearly 26,000 metric tons of product finding new owners. Even with these increases, however, U.S. skim milk powder remains the only highly competitive product on world markets. While U.S. exports are running at 2-year high levels, high U.S. dairy prices could prove problematic the second half of the year.

In parched Southwest, warm spring renews threat of ‘megadrought’

The New York Times – July 8

The Southwest has been mired in drought for most of the past two decades. The heat and dryness have been so persistent that some researchers say the region is now caught up in a megadrought. Even a single season of drought is bad news for the Southwest, where agriculture, industry and millions of people rely on the region’s two major rivers, the Colorado and the Rio Grande, and their tributaries for much of their water. Dry conditions also shrivel crops, harm livestock and worsen wildfires.