In This Issue:

  • June NBGA Meeting Cancelled
  • Notice Regarding Grain Bag Storage During COVID-19 Pandemic
  • USDA Responds to NBGA Letter on Impacts of Pandemic
  • NBGA & Beer Industry Stakeholders Urge Mexico to Resume Production
  • Update & Recap of Federal Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
  • NBGA Submits Comments on Neonicotinoids
  • USMCA to Take Effect July 1st
  • A Message from USDA
  • Bayer Launches STEM Education Campaign
JUNE NBGA MEETING CANCELLED

The NBGA Executive Committee has made the decision to cancel the in-person board meeting scheduled for June 15-18 in St. Louis, MO. We will have some portion of the board meeting online via Zoom or other video conferencing services during the same time period already scheduled for the board meeting. We will be in touch with additional information as the date gets closer, but please hold times on those dates, if possible. At a minimum, we hope the online board meeting will enable us to get updates from industry and growers, provide updates on federal policy, review the budget, and conduct other necessary board business. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. Thank you, and stay safe!
Notice Regarding Grain Bag Storage During COVID-19 Pandemic

The NBGA wants to remind malt barley growers that grain bags are not acceptable for long-term storage of malt barley on farms. It takes very little time to damage the germination, or cause irregular germination, of malt barley stored in bags under the high temperatures at which the crop is harvested. Further, contamination of barley from rodent and bird droppings are also a constant problem. The NBGA encourages growers to plan ahead and save suitable bin space for their malt barley crop as the entire malt barley supply chain deals with the delivery disruptions that are being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
USDA Responds to NBGA Letter on Impacts of Pandemic

On April 16th, NBGA wrote to Secretary Perdue to make him aware of impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the barley sector. NBGA Washington staff has also followed-up with USDA with additional updates on the ongoing impacts.

On April 29th, USDA provided a written response to NBGA's letter. USDA indicated that they intend to provide direct assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) based on actual losses to agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted.

NBGA & Beer Industry Stakeholders Urge Mexico to Resume Production

NBGA joined with other stakeholders in the beer and alcohol production value chain on a letter to the President of Mexico urging the resumption of beer and alcohol production in Mexico.


Update & Recap of Federal Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Over the past few weeks, Congress and the Administration have taken a number of actions to assist farmers in the wake of the global pandemic. The initial steps included actions to waive certain Hours of Service and CDL trucking restrictions and to provide exemptions and streamline processes for H-2A migrant labor. USDA Risk Management Agency also announced flexibility on crop insurance deadlines, including enabling producers to send notification and reports electronically, extending the date for production reports, and providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments.

On March 31st, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that provided funding for agriculture, USDA, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and food programs. The CARES Act provided $9.5 billion in emergency response funding to support agricultural producers, particularly livestock, dairy, and specialty crop producers. The CARES Act also replensihed the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority by $14 billion. In addition, USDA received approximately $425 million in supplemental funding to cover additional costs for offices and functions including APHIS, AMS, Food Safety Inspection Service, FSA, Rural Development, Rural Business Cooperative Service loans, Rural Broadband, Rural Distance Learning and Telemedicine. An additional $15.5 billion was provided for SNAP, $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs, and $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which USDA uses to purchase commodities and food for distribution through food banks and community partners.

Using the authority and funding provided by the CARES Act, on April 17th USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers. The program includes two major elements:

1- Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with an additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.

2- USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need. USDA did not provide details on how the direct support for farmers and ranchers would be structured, but did indicate their intention to have farmers begin applying for the direct support in early May, with payments going out by the end of May or early June. While USDA has not yet officially released details on the CFAP, other sources report that to be eligible, commodities must have experienced at least a 5 percent price decrease since January and the funding breakdown for commodity categories will be:

$5.1 billion for cattle ranchers
$2.9 billion for the dairy sector
$1.6 billion for hog producers
$3.9 billion for row crop farmers
$2.1 billion for specialty crop producers
$500 million for growers of other crops

NBGA will provide updates and details on the CFAP assistance as that information is released by USDA in the coming days.
NBGA Submits Comments on Neonicotinoids

NBGA submitted comments to the EPA supporting the continued registration of neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. The EPA is required to review the registrations of pesticides every 15 years under the rules and regulations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
USMCA to Take Effect July 1st

On April 24th, USTR notified Congress that Canada and Mexico have taken measures necessary to comply with their commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and that the agreement will enter into force on July 1. Following that notification to Congress, the United States became the third country to notify that it had completed its domestic procedures to implement the agreement- the final step necessary for the USMCA to enter into force.
A Message from USDA

It’s planting season, and USDA is closely following spring planting across the country. We encourage you to follow along with our #plant2020 campaign , or even better, share photos of how planting is going on your farm.
 
As you know, many farmers across the country faced challenges last year when it came to planting their spring crop. Flooding and excessive moisture led to nearly 20 million prevented plant acres, the highest number ever recorded. This year, most producers are seeing more favorable planting conditions when it comes to weather. But they are facing yet another challenge – putting a crop in the ground during a global pandemic. With many states implementing “stay at home” orders, agriculture was deemed an essential industry as all producers know that farm work and livestock care can’t be paused.
 
USDA invites you to send your planting progress by sending an email to  sharingoursuccesses@usda.gov  with your photos or videos, photo descriptions, your city and state, and your Twitter handle (if you have one). For this campaign, landscape orientation photos work best and please keep video clips to 15-seconds or less.
Bayer Launches STEM Education Campaign

Bayer AG launched the new Science at Home with Bayer STEM education campaign in early April, and will be offering kids and parents a new content “package” on a different topic each week through the end of May (in both English and German). Packages include links to kid-friendly tutorials, hands-on experiments, brief educational videos, and recipes related to the weekly topic.
 
  • Week of April 6: The Science of Staying Healthy
  • Week of April 13: The Science of Growing Food
  • Week of April 20: The Science of Protecting Planet Earth
  • Week of April 27: Why Chemistry Matters
  • Week of May 4: Science is in the Air
  • Week of May 11: Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs
  • Week of May 18: The Ecosystem in Your Backyard
  • Week of May 25: The Science of Sports
 
The content also includes “Kid Talk: Meet a Scientist” video interviews that cover one or two important concepts in a simple, kid-friendly way…especially since the questions are being asked by an 11-year-old! We believe this is a great opportunity to show that scientists are “normal,” fun-loving people just like everyone else, while also helping kids understand that science isn’t just something that happens in a lab…it powers everything around us!
 
We encourage you to check out these resources with your own kids and share with others who might be interested.

Upcoming Industry Events

June 2020: Idaho Barley Commission Annual Budget Meeting, Soda Springs, ID
6/11-6/12

July 2020: International Barley Genetics Symposium, Riga, Latvia, 7/5-7/9

August 2020: MBAA and ASBC World Brewing Congress, Minneapolis, MN 8/1-8/4

September 2020: Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO 9/24-9/26

National Barley Growers Association
(202) 548-0734
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