News Briefs

Fighting For Disaster Relief

U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a supplemental disaster relief package to provide critical funding for Georgia and other states recovering from recent hurricane and wildfire damage.

“Farmers in Georgia and other states across the country are hurting from historic hurricanes and devastating wildfires,” said Senator Perdue, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “We cannot wait around for Congress to complete this year’s government funding. Federal disaster relief should be considered immediately.”

“Georgia farmers are still recovering from natural disasters in 2017 and 2018, and they need all the support they can get,” said Senator Isakson. “We’ve got to help them and the other farm communities who have had natural disasters change their lives through no fault of their own, and I will keep working to get them the federal aid they need.”

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The supplemental funding package will provide about $3 billion for disaster relief across the country, including critical funds for Georgia farmers recovering in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Perdue and Isakson plan to continue raising this issue in the Senate until Congress approves disaster funding.

By mid-February, congressional leaders in Washington D.C. were close to reaching a deal to fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year, but the deal did not include disaster assistance at that time. Many ag groups, such as the Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Peanut Commission, were circulating a petition to bolster support for adding disaster assistance. If disaster assistance was not included in this funding deal, there would be few opportunities in the future to secure these much-needed resources.

Growers Commended

At the South Carolina Peanut Growers Meeting in January, Bob Redding of the Redding Firm in Washington D.C. commended growers, buying points and shellers for working as a coalition on the 2018 Farm Bill.

The key priorities: reference price, separate peanut payment limit and storage and handling provisions were all included in the final bill sent to President Trump for signature. In addition, growers have more flexibility for PLC/ARC decisions, opportunities for yield updates and reasonable payment limit rules.

The 2014 Farm Bill contained a peanut program that worked for all peanut segments, Redding said. The 2018 Bill is a continuation of this program with upgrades.

Disaster legislation that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives includes an amendment increasing the agricultural assistance by $1.9 billion offered by House Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee Chair-man Sanford Bishop and

Congressman Austin Scott. The peanut industry should focus on top trade issues in the coming months.
Finally, Redding called for South Carolina growers to consider joining the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF), which is comprised of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi growers.

Funds For Trade Promotion

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.

The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications in the fall from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives and other industry-affiliated organizations.

In addition to the $200 million allocated to the ATP, the package also included the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, and a food purchase and distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities.

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Secretary Perdue said, “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports.”

FAS evaluated applications according to criteria that included the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project or activity will have a near-term impact on agricultural exports.

APC Receives ATP Funds

american peanut council logoThe American Peanut Council was successful in their application for Agricultural Trade Promotion Program funds to supporting additional export promotion activities, as mentioned in the prior news brief. These funds were awarded beyond those funded by Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program.

APC received notification that it had been allocated $1,922,015 to be used over the next three years. With input from the Export Board, APC will direct funding toward a nutrition communications campaign in Japan ($1,304,015), trade communication in Colombia ($258,000) and promotions for U.S. peanut butter in the European Union ($270,000).

An additional $90,000 will be allocated for administration over the three-year period. All three of the markets were chosen because of their potential for expanding exports of U.S. peanuts and peanut butter.

As announced in the fall of 2018, USDA has agreed to purchase an additional $12 million of peanut products for programs that include school lunch and food-bank assistance. More than $5 million in product was purchased for delivery in April, May and June.

Food Allergy Report

The food allergy issue has consistently suffered from mis-information and outright exaggerations. An investigation led by Professor Ruchi Gupta of Northwestern University in Chicago, as reported by the American Peanut Council, attempted to put empirical data to allergy false claims.

Gupta found that about 20 percent of American adults claim to have a food allergy, but after reviewing a sample of 40,400 U.S. adults, only about half that number had signs of true allergy. Even then, most of these allergy claims have never been clinically confirmed.

He also found that over-diagnosis by non-specialists, self-diagnosis using over the counter unvalidated testing kits giving false positive results and widespread confusion between intolerance, sensitivity and genuine allergy are among the factors inflating the figures.

The result can be needless food exclusions, distorted eating patterns and family stress. Experts were surprised by this finding and called it a wake-up call for the clinical allergy community. The study only related to adults, not children.

Peanut Proud Festival

Celebrate all things peanut at the annual Peanut Proud Festival in Blakely, Georgia, on the town square March 23. The day-long celebration begins with a 5K and Fun Run and ends with a street dance. In between are a parade, more than 100 vendors, a kids’ peanut butter obstacle course, free entertainment, and much more. Come sample specialty products such as fried peanuts and grilled PB&J sandwiches and visit our Peanut Proud store.

Go to peanutproudfestival.com or find us on Facebook for all the details.

Ag Water-Use Partnership

Lindsay Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, and Nutrien Ag Solutions, the retail provider of crop inputs and services, recently announced a partnership that will enable Nutrien Ag Solutions crop consultants (the company has over 3,500) to leverage Lindsay’s remote irrigation management and scheduling platform to supplement Nutrien Ag Solutions’ offerings.

Through this partnership, Lindsay and Nutrien Ag Solutions will also automate the transfer of as-applied data from Lindsay’s FieldNET Advisor to the Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform to strengthen growers’ ability to optimize water application amount and timing at every point throughout their fields.

Nutrien Ag Solutions provides crop input products and services that help growers make informed agronomic decisions. This collaboration means that Nutrien Ag Solutions can now add Lindsay’s FieldNET Advisor to its digital and agronomic offerings, enabling growers to better streamline water usage as part of their overall field management plan. The Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform leverages deep agronomic data science and leading-edge technology to solve real world problems for growers.

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The data connection between the Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform and Lindsay’s FieldNET Advisor will save growers time by streamlining data collection and entry and will further improve the precision of the resulting crop zones, agronomic models and variable rate prescriptions. This data connection is expected to be available later in 2019.

For more information about Nutrien Ag Solutions, visit www.nutrienagsolutions.com. For more information about FieldNET technology, visit www.myfieldnet.com.

UPI Changes Name

UPL, a global producer of crop protection products, announced recently that the company had changed the name of its North American operation from United Phosphorus, Inc., to UPL NA Inc.

“The new UPL brand name for the North America business more accurately reflects the global corporate identity” according to Manish Sirohi, Director, Strategy and Innovation. “The change aligns our business with our corporate parent and their subsidiaries around the world.”

UPL has a presence in more than 130 countries on six continents. With 33 manufacturing and formulation facilities situated in 11 countries, UPL is a leader in the manufacture of high-quality brands used to protect crops and property.