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Agricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Washington, DC — Enrollment is now open for two popular safety net programs through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

“The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead.”

Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020.

Washington, DC — Farmers for Free Trade is urging farmers to sign a letter telling Congress to support ag exports to Canada and Mexico.

President Trump recently negotiated a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Called the USMCA, this agreement modernizes NAFTA and allows U.S. agriculture to continue exporting nearly $40 billion in products each year to Canada and Mexico.

It's critical that Congress take up and pass the USMCA, the organization says.

“Each day without action on USMCA is another day of uncertainty for American farmers and our rural communities,” explains the letter.

To help get this bill across the finish line, the organization has drafted a mass sign-on letter to Congress. They encourage farmers, ranchers and ag businesses across the U.S. to add their names to this letter, calling this an "all hands on deck" moment.

This letter (click here to read) is being coordinated by Farmers for Free Trade, a coalition of the nation's leading ag associations and businesses. Learn more at FarmersforFreeTrade.com.

Des Moines, IA — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) will present a 2019 Public-Private Partnership award to the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Business Council at the 2019 NASDA Annual Meeting. The NASDA Public-Private Partnership award recognizes private organizations that partner with a state Department of Agriculture to implement a program, project or service that positively impacts its residents. Secretary Naig nominated IAWA for collaborating with 14 businesses and organizations to improve Iowa’s water quality.

“Collaboration among public and private partners is key to implementing scientifically-proven solutions that improve water quality locally and downstream,” said Secretary Naig. “IAWA is taking a leadership role in increasing private funding, which accelerates the implementation of conservation practices that support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Ankeny, IA — Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) District Director Pat Swanson, along with ISA members Brock Hansen and Pat Murken met with six journalists from China Tuesday at the Machine Shed Restaurant. The meeting was part of the 2019 China-United States journalist exchange and an ongoing dialogue with the East-West Center.

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. The U.S. Congress established it in 1960.

The farmers and journalists visited about a wide range of topics, including: The ongoing trade war, support for the current administration, trade mitigation payments, low commodity prices and weather concerns.

Washington, DC — President Trump won’t be backing down in the trade war with China, reports Agri-Pulse. The conflict could go on for years, according to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow.

“It may go on much longer than that …” Kudlow said after comparing the dispute to President Reagan’s clashes with the Soviet Union. “The stakes are very high for both countries … We have to get it right and if that takes a decade, so be it.”

But Kudlow says he is still hopeful that significant progress can be made in upcoming negotiations. A lot will depend on whether China will agree to honor previous agreements that the country backed out of in May, causing talks between the two countries to break down. “We would like to go back to where we were last May, but I don’t know if that’s possible …” Kudlow said. “This is a difficult matter.”

Top ministerial level officials are now expected to meet in Washington next month after lower-level negotiators gather later in one or two weeks to prepare for the next round of talks.

Just a handful of ag products were exempted from retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese this week, but major commodities like soybeans, wheat, pork, tree nuts and fruit were not.

Washington, DC — White House officials on Wednesday urged U.S. biofuel producers to accept the administration’s offer to raise biofuel blending mandates next year by 5% even if it falls short of their demands, and said a deal must be reached by Friday, three sources familiar with the matter said.

U.S. agricultural trade groups last Friday told the Trump administration the proposed biofuel reform package fell short of expectations, four sources familiar with discussions said, complicating plans the administration had for presenting the proposal to President Donald Trump.

Leaders of several biofuel companies again told Trump administration officials at a White House meeting on Wednesday that they need to make up for ethanol usage that is exempted by future refinery waivers, sources told Agri-Pulse

Since 2016, the EPA has granted 85 small-refinery exemptions totaling more than 4 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons. Those gallons have not been reallocated.

During his weekly press conference with agriculture journalists on Tuesday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said negotiations are ongoing.

Thomas R. Brooks, general manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel LLC in Farley, Iowa testified during a hearing on a clean energy economy before the Small Business Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, stating:

"It's ironic that EPA has shown such concern for the economic hardships facing small petroleum refineries," he said. "The small-refinery exemptions the agency is granting to every refiner that asks are simply shifting the hardship to even smaller biodiesel producers — small businesses like mine."

Ames, IA —The Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week will be held Sept. 15-21 in conjunction with the National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s national theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.”

This is the 76th observance of the National Farm Safety and Health Week. This special week of safety and health observance is still relevant today because agriculture ranks as the most dangerous industry in the United States.

Farm safety week is used by farm safety professionals and organizations to remind those working within agriculture to be cautious. The fall harvest time is typically the busiest season of the year and the time when agriculture reports the largest number of injuries.

It is essential that Iowans use safe farming practices during harvest season. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation to commemorate the week, calling for all Iowans to “work together to eliminate or mitigate these farm injury risks.”

The governor’s proclamation stresses that making farms safer is crucial to Iowa, which has over 85 percent of its land used in agriculture, and that last year harvested more than $13 billion worth of corn and soybeans.

Join the Iowa Farm Safety Council, Iowa State University, the National Safety Council, and the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety in promoting safety Sept. 15-21.

During this time of harvest, remember to encourage others to put farm safety into high gear to prevent tragic injuries.

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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