Friday, January 13, 2017

U.S. AGRICULTURE GROUPS URGE TRUMP TO STRENGTHEN U.S.-CUBA TRADE RELATIONSHIP

~ National ag coalition encourages new Administration to support American agribusiness by advancing U.S.-Cuba trade relationship ~ WASHINGTON, D.C. - A national coalition of over 100 U.S. agriculture, trade, commerce-related businesses and associations, urged President-elect Trump to support American agriculture by strengthening the bilateral trade relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. The letter, organized by the Engage Cuba Coalition and USA Rice, also encourages the president-elect to support federal legislation that would allow American farmers and agribusiness to compete in Cuba's import market. Cuba imports up to 80% of its food, which amounts to about $2 billion annually, creating a huge potential export market for American farmers that is only 90 miles off our shores. However, U.S. producers are prohibited from offering private credit for the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba, severely restricting the ability of American farmers to compete in Cuba's growing market. "Your support in removing outdated financing and trade barriers for exporting agricultural products to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen a U.S. industry which supports 17 million jobs across the country, and can provide the Cuban people with high-quality American-grown food," the organizations wrote. "As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you not to take steps to reverse progress made in normalizing relations with Cuba, and also solicit your support for the agricultural business sector to expand trade with Cuba to help American farmers and our associated industries. It’s time to put the 17 million American jobs associated with agriculture ahead of a few hardline politicians in Washington." More information on Cuba's agriculture import market and federal legislation is available here. Full text of the letter is available here and below: January 12, 2017 President-elect Donald J. Trump 725 5th Avenue New York, NY 10022 Dear President-elect Trump, Congratulations on your successful campaign. On behalf of the undersigned U.S. agriculture, trade, commerce-related businesses and associations, we urge you to continue to show your support for American agriculture by advancing the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba and building on the progress that has already been made. Net farm income is down 46 percent from just three years ago, constituting the largest three-year drop since the start of the Great Depression. This strain on the farm economy is felt across all sectors of the industry and the thousands of small communities that make up rural America. The importance of trade to America’s farmers and ranchers cannot be overstated. The share of U.S. agricultural production exported overseas is 20 percent by volume, with some sectors being much higher. For example, exports account for over 70 percent of U.S. production of tree nuts and cotton, over 60 percent of soybeans, and over 50 percent of rice and wheat. Positive farm income throughout America would not be possible without increasing access to foreign markets, like Cuba. Mr. President-elect, as an international business icon, you understand how difficult it is to be competitive without the ability to extend credit to your customers. We need the Administration’s support for legislation that would remove these arbitrary and archaic restrictions on extending credit for the purchase of agricultural commodities and equipment. Your support in removing outdated financing and trade barriers for exporting agricultural products and equipment to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen a U.S. industry which supports 17 million jobs across the country, and can provide the Cuban people with high-quality American-grown food. Cuba imports nearly 80 percent of its food to feed a population of 11 million people and upwards of three million tourists annually. Cuba’s $2 billion agriculture import market could provide tremendous benefits for farmers across the country and help American agribusiness offset recent losses. In addition to the size of the Cuban market, its proximity to U.S. ports allows for considerably lower shipping costs and shorter delivery times than our foreign competitors. The logistical advantages alone should make Cuba a common-sense partner for two-way commerce. Instead, the federal government overreach has put American farmers at a global disadvantage. U.S. agriculture continues to lose out to our foreign competitors and our net sales have been steadily declining since 2009. As result of trade restrictions, the U.S. has fallen from its position as the number one supplier of agricultural products from 2003 to 2012, to now the number five supplier after the European Union, Brazil, Argentina, and Vietnam. The U.S. needs to be number one again. Especially given many of Cuba’s imports, including rice, poultry, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn make up more than 70 percent of what they import and they’re all grown right here in the U.S. by hardworking American farmers. As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you not to take steps to reverse progress made in normalizing relations with Cuba, and also solicit your support for the agricultural business sector to expand trade with Cuba to help American farmers and our associated industries. It’s time to put the 17 million American jobs associated with agriculture ahead of a few hardline politicians in Washington. We look forward to working closely with you and your team, and please let us know if we can provide any assistance moving forward. Sincerely, National Organizations American Farm Bureau Federation American Feed Industry Association American Pulse Association American Seed Trade Association American Soybean Association Corn Refiners Association Independent Professional Seed Association Livestock Exporters Association of the USA National Association of Wheat Growers National Barley Growers Association National Corn Growers Association National Council of Farmer Cooperatives National Farmers Union National Foreign Trade Council National Oilseed Processors Association National Potato Council National Turkey Federation Navajo Agricultural Products Industry North American Millers Association Rural & Agriculture Council of America U.S. Cattlemen's Association U.S. Cava Exports U.S. Dry Bean Council U.S. Wheat Associates USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council USA Poultry & Egg Export Council USA Rice Agribusiness Organizations AGCO Amerex Corporation Bibler Brothers Lumber and Construction Campbell Farms Carnes Farms, Inc. Clark AG Company Claxton Poultry ETW Enterprises, Inc. Shavings & Rice Hulls Falcon Rice Mill Farmers Rice Milling Co. Gulf Wise Commerce Hormel Foods Corporation Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC/Planters Rice Mill, LLC Koenig Vineyards Louisiana Rice Milling Company Mannco Fertilizer Martin Rice Company Newcomb Farms Poinsett Rice & Grain Producers Rice Mill Riceland Foods RiceTec, Inc Riviana Foods – American Rice, Inc Sandy Ridge Cotton Company Simmons Foods Sturman's Smokeshop Texas Rice Belt Warehouse, Inc TRC Trading Corporation State Organizations Alabama Farmers Federation Alabama Poultry Association Argicultural Council of Arkansas Arkansas Farm Bureau Arkansas Rice Council Arkansas Rice Federation California Rice Commission Central Louisiana Rice Growers Association Colorado Farm Bureau Colorado Pork Producers Council Georgia Farm Bureau Idaho Grain Producers Association Idaho Potato Commission Illinois Farm Bureau Illinois Soybean Association Illinois Soybean Growers Iowa Corn Growers Association Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Iowa Soybean Association Kansas Association of Wheat Growers Kansas Corn Growers Association Kansas Farm Bureau Kansas Livestock Association Kansas Soybean Association Kansas Wheat Commission Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Louisiana Rice Growers Association Louisiana Rice Producer's Group Michigan Agri-Business Association Michigan Bean Shippers Michigan Soybean Association Minnesota Barley Council Minnesota Farm Bureau Minnesota Farmers Union Minnesota Grain and Feed Association Minnesota Turkey Growers Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Mississippi Poultry Association Missouri Farm Bureau New Mexico Cattle Growers Association New Mexico Wine and Grape Growers Association Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association Ohio Agribusiness Association Ohio Corn & Soy Texas Farm Bureau Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group

Monday, January 9, 2017

Farm Bureau President to Congress: Slash Regulations, Reform Immigration/Ag Labor

PHOENIX, January 8, 2017 – American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and thousands of Farm Bureau members today asked Congress to pass sweeping reform of regulations that burden the lives of farmers and ranchers. Their request followed by days the introduction of major legislation to reassert congressional authority over agencies that increasingly ignore the law and basic constitutional limitations on their power. “The election should send a message—loud and clear—to our politicians: ignore rural America at your own risk!” Duvall said. During his annual address, Duvall issued his request for Farm Bureau members to send e-mails—using their smart phones—to Congress about the need for regulatory reform. And they responded on-the-fly. Duvall also called on Farm Bureau members to explain how, every day, the men and women who grow food for America and the world work to make the environment better. “Just think about it for a minute,” Duvall said. “By using modern technologies, today’s farmers grow more crops on the same amount of land, using less plowing and pesticides, feeding more people. By developing more uses for our crops, like energy, we are making our economy more sustainable. If farmers don’t take care of our land, we cannot stay in business.” Duvall reminded the 5,000 farmers and ranchers in attendance that a reliable and profitable supply of labor is central to economic sustainability. He called on Congress to pass legislation to assure farm laborers can work without fear of deportation. “Without a legal supply of labor, too many farmers face lost crops, and they can’t compete on the world market,” Duvall said. “Mr. Trump says he wants to keep American jobs from going overseas. One way he can do that is by keeping America’s food production in America.” A transcript of Duvall’s speech can be found here: http://www.fb.org/files/Speech_Transcript.pdf.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

MyPlate, MyWins Helps Americans Turn Resolutions into Real Solutions for Healthy Eating in the New Year New video series, landing page, and resources guide Americans towards a healthier eating style WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) launched a New Year’s campaign to help Americans turn their resolutions into real solutions for healthy eating in 2017. This campaign is supported by new and existing MyPlate, MyWins resources available on ChooseMyPlate.gov, which are designed such that Americans can decide where to start on the journey to healthy eating. “As Americans begin thinking about setting goals for the New Year, MyPlate, MyWins is the place to start,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “With the new resources available on the MyPlate, MyWins webpages, Americans can set small, attainable, healthy eating solutions to incorporate into their lifestyle now and into the future.” Turning Resolutions into Real Solutions Every January, Americans are overloaded with information about New Year’s resolutions. While starting with the best intentions, many people set unrealistic resolutions and incorporate goals that are difficult to maintain. Starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more beneficial strategies in keeping resolutions. This is where MyPlate, MyWins comes in; MyPlate, MyWins is a resource to help Americans turn resolutions into real solutions to achieve a healthy eating style in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Real solutions are small, practical changes that add up to a healthy lifestyle over time. These changes can be incorporated into Americans’ lives to maintain a healthy eating style based on the five food groups of MyPlate. MyPlate, MyWins encourages consumers to find and celebrate their wins and their real solutions. Since everyone has different eating habits, MyPlate, MyWins helps individuals create their own, personalized nutrition goals and solutions. New MyPlate, MyWins Animated Video Series Over the course of five weeks as part of the New Year campaign, CNPP will release five MyPlate, MyWins animated videos to the new Make Small Changes webpage. These short, animated videos demonstrate simple changes Americans can make to their typical meals to decrease sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Each video has a different theme including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. “Making a small change, for example, switching from two slices of pepperoni pizza for lunch to one slice of veggie pizza, a salad, and an apple decreases sodium and saturated fat intake, while adding items from other food groups,” said Angie Tagtow, Executive Directors of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. “The videos demonstrate to Americans that small, healthy changes, or switches, during meal and snack times can add up over time and improve your eating style.” To supplement these videos, there are new, meal-specific webpages with nutrition information, more examples of small ways to improve typical meals, and five new MyPlate, MyWins tip sheets. The tip sheets provide suggestions for making healthier choices in typical dining environments: potlucks and parties, coffee shops, buffets, Italian restaurants, and Asian cuisine takeout. All of these resources can help consumers utilize real solutions in their typical day to achieve nutrition goals and maintain a healthy eating style now and into the future. SuperTracker New Year’s Challenge and More Resources On January 2, 2017, SuperTracker will kick off a public New Year’s Challenge that encourages participants to start slowly and develop a healthy eating style over time. Over five weeks, participants will be challenged to incorporate the five MyPlate food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy – into each day. To officially join the challenge and receive encouraging messages along the way, individuals will need to create a free SuperTracker account. The MyPlate, MyWins landing page has many additional resources to assist Americans in modifying their meals in order to maintain healthier eating habits throughout their lives. The Stories from Families and Individuals page includes videos from relatable families about their healthy eating solutions and testimonials from the MyPlate staff. There also are ways to get involved for partners, professionals, and consumers. Additionally, CNPP encourages consumers to share their real solutions and wins via Twitter and Facebook using #MyPlateMyWins. Please visit MyPlate, MyWins to learn more about achieving real solutions and celebrating wins in the New Year.

x New video series, landing page, and resources guide Americans towards a healthier eating style WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) launched a New Year’s campaign to help Americans turn their resolutions into real solutions for healthy eating in 2017. This campaign is supported by new and existing MyPlate, MyWins resources available on ChooseMyPlate.gov, which are designed such that Americans can decide where to start on the journey to healthy eating. “As Americans begin thinking about setting goals for the New Year, MyPlate, MyWins is the place to start,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “With the new resources available on the MyPlate, MyWins webpages, Americans can set small, attainable, healthy eating solutions to incorporate into their lifestyle now and into the future.” Turning Resolutions into Real Solutions Every January, Americans are overloaded with information about New Year’s resolutions. While starting with the best intentions, many people set unrealistic resolutions and incorporate goals that are difficult to maintain. Starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more beneficial strategies in keeping resolutions. This is where MyPlate, MyWins comes in; MyPlate, MyWins is a resource to help Americans turn resolutions into real solutions to achieve a healthy eating style in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Real solutions are small, practical changes that add up to a healthy lifestyle over time. These changes can be incorporated into Americans’ lives to maintain a healthy eating style based on the five food groups of MyPlate. MyPlate, MyWins encourages consumers to find and celebrate their wins and their real solutions. Since everyone has different eating habits, MyPlate, MyWins helps individuals create their own, personalized nutrition goals and solutions. New MyPlate, MyWins Animated Video Series Over the course of five weeks as part of the New Year campaign, CNPP will release five MyPlate, MyWins animated videos to the new Make Small Changes webpage. These short, animated videos demonstrate simple changes Americans can make to their typical meals to decrease sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Each video has a different theme including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. “Making a small change, for example, switching from two slices of pepperoni pizza for lunch to one slice of veggie pizza, a salad, and an apple decreases sodium and saturated fat intake, while adding items from other food groups,” said Angie Tagtow, Executive Directors of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. “The videos demonstrate to Americans that small, healthy changes, or switches, during meal and snack times can add up over time and improve your eating style.” To supplement these videos, there are new, meal-specific webpages with nutrition information, more examples of small ways to improve typical meals, and five new MyPlate, MyWins tip sheets. The tip sheets provide suggestions for making healthier choices in typical dining environments: potlucks and parties, coffee shops, buffets, Italian restaurants, and Asian cuisine takeout. All of these resources can help consumers utilize real solutions in their typical day to achieve nutrition goals and maintain a healthy eating style now and into the future. SuperTracker New Year’s Challenge and More Resources On January 2, 2017, SuperTracker will kick off a public New Year’s Challenge that encourages participants to start slowly and develop a healthy eating style over time. Over five weeks, participants will be challenged to incorporate the five MyPlate food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy – into each day. To officially join the challenge and receive encouraging messages along the way, individuals will need to create a free SuperTracker account. The MyPlate, MyWins landing page has many additional resources to assist Americans in modifying their meals in order to maintain healthier eating habits throughout their lives. The Stories from Families and Individuals page includes videos from relatable families about their healthy eating solutions and testimonials from the MyPlate staff. There also are ways to get involved for partners, professionals, and consumers. Additionally, CNPP encourages consumers to share their real solutions and wins via Twitter and Facebook using #MyPlateMyWins. Please visit MyPlate, MyWins to learn more about achieving real solutions and celebrating wins in the New Year.