USAEDC Conference

On November 13-15, Ryan traveled to Baltimore, MD to attend the U.S. Agriculture Export Developments Council’s Annual Workshop. USAEDC’s annual workshop brings together USDA cooperators, staff and other U.S. government officials to discuss trends and opportunities for U.S. agriculture exporters. Discussions featured remarks by USDA Chief Trade Counsel Jason Hafemeister and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Sharon Bomer-Lauritsen, as well as discussions on USDA and cooperator programing and policy.

Value Added Coalition Meeting

On November 19, NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association hosted a meeting of the Value-Added Coalition (VAC) at their offices in Arlington, VA. The coalition is a group of supply chain stakeholders with a joint interest in responsible stewardship of production technologies. During this meeting, the coalition met with U.S. government representatives from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss plant-based biotechnology and plant-breeding innovations, including revisions to Part 340 regulations.

Meeting with Calyxt

On Monday, November 11 NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) met with representatives from Calyxt to discuss the launch of their new high oleic soybean produced with new production techniques. During the discussion, Calyxt indicated that they are currently working with 78 growers in South Dakota and Minnesota to produce their soybean technology. These growers have demonstrated to Calyxt that they can comply with internal identity protection protocols to ensure the technology isn’t released into the commodity supply. These farmers have planted 17,300 acres and or roughly 700,000 bushels of soybeans. Moving forward, Calyxt plans to double the number of growers they are using. The company’s current business plan includes a closed loop production system in which they buy back and process all soybeans from the farmers under contract.

U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade

On Friday, November 16, NAEGA attended a meeting of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Dialogue guests Right Honorable David Davis, MP, former UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union; Right Honorable Owen Paterson, MP; and Mr. Shanker Singham, Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit (ITCU) at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and IEA Academic Fellow provided an overview of the Brexit negotiations and the prospects for a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement.

Comments on USMCA

On Tuesday, November 12, NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association submitted a joint statement to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) regarding a request for public comments on matters relevant to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In the statement, NAEGA and NGFA state that USMCA will help facilitate cross-border trade flows through higher levels of regulatory coherence and cooperation, the implementation of timelines and notifications for adverse import checks, the inclusion of steps to reduce the likelihood of trade disruptions in products of agricultural biotechnology, the use of technical consultations for SPS disputes, and by requiring that SPS standards be grounded in science and based on proper risk assessments and implemented using accepted risk management techniques. Furthermore, while it is disappointing the agreement eliminates the investor-state dispute-settlement procedures, which has been important for U.S. food and agriculture, the agreement, taken together, makes significant progress – particularly in addressing non-tariff trade barriers – in facilitating the trade of grains, oilseeds and their derived products within the North American marketplace.

U.S. FGIS soybean, corn and canola standards 

NAEGA’s Grades and Inspections Committee and NGFA Grain Grades and Weights Committee and have concluded work over the past few months to consider various policy options for responding to the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) request for public comment on the current Official U.S. Soybean, Corn and Canola standards. 

For soybeans, in concert with U.S. soybean processor, producer and marketing organizations, we are requesting that AMS suspend and withdraw its current request for comments on the soybean standard.   In a letter to the agency we pointed to several factors justifying the request for suspension and withdrawal. 

NGFA and NAEGA will submit comments stating that the current official U.S. corn and canola standards should be retained without change.

EU Clorpyrifos-Methyl MRLs

On October 25, the European Union finalized a decision to reduce the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of chlorpyrifos-methyl. This decision will severely limit its use in the United States on wheat and sorghum destined for the EU. Under this decision, wheat and sorghum intended for export to the EU may not be treated with chlorpyrifos-methyl after December 5, 2018. However, wheat and sorghum treated with chlorpyrifos-methyl prior to December, 5, 2018 can continue to be imported into the EU. This decision by the EU does not affect grain treated with chlorpyrifos-methyl destined for domestic use or export to CODEX ALIMENTARIUS member countries outside the European Union.