Youth wins scholarship

SEDALIA – Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe announced today that 42 youth, selected from Missouri 4-H and FFA State Fair exhibitors, will be awarded scholarships by the Missouri State Fair Youth in Agriculture committee.

Recipients include Shane Leakey, Richmond. His scholarship is valued at $1,500.

These students are seeking higher education at a Missouri university/college, and will be recognized Friday, April 26, during the annual State FFA Convention in Columbia.

“We are proud to carry on the tradition of supporting higher education for Missouri agriculture youth year after year,” Wolfe said. “Many supporters come together to support these young people and make these scholarships possible.”

’18 MFP production info due

RICHMOND – Time is running out for agricultural producers to bring in production for USDA’s Market Facilitation Program.

USDA launched the program last year to help producers suffering from damages due to trade retaliation. Producers can apply without proof of yield but must certify 2018 production by May 1.

USDA allows SNAP online

WASHINGTON – Amazon and Walmart participate in the pilot launch of an online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, initiative.

SNAP participants may select and pay for groceries online during the two-year test launched in New York state.

Lessons learned from this pilot are expected to inform future efforts to expand online purchasing in SNAP.

“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online. As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick and mortar stores.”

The system is developed to allow online purchasing only by SNAP households with electronic benefit transfer cards issued by New York.

 

Tunisia buys more U.S. ag

WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tunisia and the United States have finalized U.S. export certificates to allow imports of U.S. beef, poultry and egg products into Tunisia.

Initial estimates are that Tunisia would import from $5 million to $10 million worth of beef, poultry and egg products annually.

This announcement follows meetings between U.S. and Tunisian officials about the safety of U.S. beef, poultry and egg products.

“New access to the Tunisian market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” Lighthizer said.

“I'm convinced that when the Tunisians get a taste of U.S. beef, poultry and eggs, they're going to want more. These products coming into Tunisia are safe, wholesome and very delicious,” Purdue said.

In 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tunisia exceeded $264 million. Corn, soybeans, or corn and soy products comprised over 90 percent of exports. 

Pilot project in Missouri

addresses ephemeral gullies

COLUMBIA – Missouri is one of six states selected by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to take part in a pilot project that will provide financial assistance to farmers to address ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land.

State Conservationist J.R. Flores said there is an application deadline of May 17 for the $10 million available in Missouri through the pilot project. He said priority will be given to applicants with tracts selected for conservation compliance reviews in the past two years and received variances to address ephemeral gully erosion.

“Our advice to a farmer with an ephemeral gully is to fix it, don’t disc it. Work with your local NRCS staff to develop conservation alternatives that will address your erosion issue,” Flores said. “As a natural resources agency we are dedicated to working with farmers and ranchers to figure out ways for them to produce agricultural products in ways that are both economical to them and respectful of the resources. This pilot provides us with additional funding to do that.”

WTO sides with USA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement panel found China administered tariff-rate quotas for wheat, corn and rice inconsistently with WTO commitments.

Contrary to those commitments, China’s administration is not transparent, predictable or fair and ultimately denies U.S. farmers access to China’s market for grain.

This panel report is the second significant victory for U.S. agriculture this year, and, together with the victory against China’s excessive domestic support for grains, will help American farmers compete on a more level playing field, based on Department of Agriculture information.

USDA estimates that if China had met commitments, then the value would have been $3.5 billion for corn, wheat and rice in 2015 alone.

“Making sure our trading partners play by the rules is vital to providing our farmers the opportunity to export high-quality, American-grown products to the world,” Perdue said. “We will use every tool available to gain meaningful market access opportunities for U.S. grains and other agricultural products.”

 

EU burns soybean growers

WASHINGTON – The American Soybean Association is disappointed after the European Union voted to advance an EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that excludes agriculture.

The EU is a critically important market for U.S. food exports, including soybeans, the ASA state3d.

Soybeans provided $1.6 billion in exports to the EU in 2017.

ASA applauded the initial decision to launch comprehensive negotiations between the U.S. and European Union.

“We had high hopes that some of the longstanding concerns regarding the EU’s policies on agricultural biotechnology and on revising the EU’s pesticide laws would be addressed,” ASA President Davie Stephens said. “With the EU now formally excluding ag, it will be difficult if not impossible to address these non-tariff barriers that severely inhibit trade between our countries.”

ASA maintains that the EU approach to biotechnology, gene editing and pesticide regulation needs to be risk-based and consistent with international practice under the Codex Alimentarius, which is the foundation of internationally accepted standards and guidance.

Acreage reporting maps ready

RICHMOND – Maps are available at the Ray/Clay FSA Office for acreage reporting purposes.

Producers may pick them up any time during office hours. Or, to receive maps by e-mail, email Jessica Stith at jessica.stith@usda.gov.

The acreage reporting deadline for Ray/Clay County is July 15 for corn, soybeans and crops.

To maintain program eligibility and benefits, producers must file acreage reports on time. Failure to file an acreage report by the crop acreage reporting deadline may result in ineligibility for future program benefits. FSA will not accept acreage reports provided more than a year after the acreage reporting deadline.

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