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President Donald Trump addresses a large group of agriculture industry supporters during a stop at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy earlier this year. Earlier today Trump said that his administration is planning a “giant package” related to ethanol to help farmers. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Washington, DC — U.S. President Donald Trump will announce a plan to boost demand for biofuels within weeks, reports Reuters, as the administration seeks to assuage farmers angered by its expanded use of oil refinery waivers.

“The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol, not even including the E-15, year around, which is already done. It will be a giant package, get ready! At the same time I was able to save the small refineries from certain closing. Great for all!” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. He did not mention biodiesel.

“If you’re asking when that can be announced, I think over the next couple of weeks. They’re trying to work on the president’s schedule. I think he’d like to come out here and face the community and deliver the news himself,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told an audience at the Illinois Farm Progress Show.

The National Biodiesel Board and the American Soybean Association have asked for a meeting with President Donald Trump on small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, in a letter to the president on Wednesday.

The letter, signed by American Soybean Association President Davie Stephens and National Biodiesel Board Chief Executive Officer Donnell Rehagen, said the biodiesel industry often is left out of the discussion when it comes to small-refinery waivers.

Washington, DC — The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased with news over the weekend that the Administration has reached an agreement with Japan, a top 10 export market for soybeans.

In a statement released Sunday, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “By removing existing barriers for our products, we will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets. At the same time, we will be able to close gaps to better allow us to compete on a level playing field with our competitors.”

ASA agrees with the Secretary’s sentiments and appreciates the administration moving forward with this bilateral agreement.

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), spoke on behalf of the association, saying, “We have repeatedly stressed this past year during the trade war with China that we would like the administration to work hard on existing and new free trade agreements (FTAs), so we are definitely pleased to hear that the President and his team have heard ASA and other farm groups by working on this deal. Along with more stability for soybean exports to Japan, this FTA also brings potential to increase pork and beef exports; a value-add opportunity for soybeans and way to create more jobs here in the U.S.”

Soybeans and soy products are America’s leading agricultural export with an export value of more than $28 billion last year. More than 60 percent of America’s soy crop is exported globally.

Washington, DC — The United States and China are set to begin trade talks again after a tumultuous week of tension-escalating threats of new tariffs and tariff-rate increases that roiled international markets and alarmed the U.S. ag sector.

President Donald Trump, speaking to reporters in Biarritz, France, at a G7 summit, said China reached out to him, eager to restart talks to try to end the trade war. Trump promised those talks will happen soon and even hinted that he might back away from recent new tariff threats.

“China called, last night, our top trade people, and said, ‘Let's get back to the table,’ " Trump said. “So, we'll be getting back to the table. And I think they want to do something. They've been hurt very badly, but they understand this is the right thing to do. And I have great respect for it. I have great respect for it. This is a very positive development for the world.”

Washington, DC — On Friday President Donald Trump signed into law legislation raising the debt ceiling to $10 million for Chapter 12 bankruptcies. Authored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Family Farmer Relief Act expands farmer access to Chapter 12 debt reorganization procedures.  

“More than 30 years ago, Congress created tools to help family farmers reorganize their debts and get back on their feet. Since then, the price of farmland has increased dramatically, forcing small farmers to take on more debt. Low commodity prices have pushed farm debts even higher,” Grassley said in a statement. “The Family Farmer Relief Act recognizes these realities and adjusts the law accordingly. It’s a simple one-sentence bill, but it can make a world of difference for American farm families. I applaud President Trump’s action today to expand these safeguards for America’s farmers.”

Ankeny, IA — Did you know? Individuals engaged in agriculture are more prone than the general population to react strongly to perceived threats — and anything that endangers a farmer's economic well-being and capacity to continue farming is usually perceived as a threat and causes added stress. Learn about managing that stress from Dr. Mike Rosmann, an Iowa psychologist and farmer.

With harvest approaching, long hours in the tractor or truck, which can leave you feeling uncomfortable and irritable. Try these six stretches from Alison Hartman, Physical Therapist with Pro-Activity, to stretch out the stress and fuel your safe and productive harvest season.

Need someone to talk to about financial, legal, family or other stress? Know someone who might? The 24/7 Iowa Concern Hotline (1-800-447-1985) is free of charge and confidential. It was created in the 1980s to help producers through the farm crisis but now offers a wide range of services.

In winter 2018, Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) distributed information about QPR training, an evidence-based suicide prevention program that empowers community members, bystanders, co-workers, and loved ones to intervene and help prevent suicide. Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, but experts note that talking about suicide is an important part of prevention. In addition, Mental Health First Aid training is a program that helps bystanders identify and respond to signs of mental illness.

Although injuries, and even death, are a consistent facet of harvest each year, 2019 is on a collision course with heightened danger. A chaotic planting season extending well beyond spring necessitates a late fall harvest—opening the floodgates on a mad rush of activity. Whether related to the prolonged peril of wet grain storage or the immediate impact of farm machinery accidents, the increasing threat of a troubled 2019 harvest looms large for U.S. farmers.

Fred Whitford, a clinical engagement professor at Purdue University, and director of Purdue Pesticide Programs, says most ag-related accidents are preventable. With day-and-night farm activity around the bend, Whitford cautions growers to give heavy consideration to safety: “Protect the public, protect your farm, and protect your livelihood.”

For media inquiries, permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at © 2020 Iowa Soybean Association. All rights reserved.

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