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Conveyor Currents                                 July 25, 2014
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September 18, 2014 - CGFA North Bay District Meeting & Golf Tournament  
January 14-15, 2015  Grain & Feed Industry Conference - Embassy Suites on Monterey Bay

April 22-25, 2015   CGFA Annual Convention - The Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row.


April 27-30, 2016  CGFA Annual Convention - The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

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In This Issue
Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Antibiotics in Feed Restrictions
CGFA Committee Assignments
EPA's McCarthy Meets with GOP Senate Ag Panel Members
American Sustainable Business Coalition supports EPA Proposal to Extend Clean Water Act
White House's Podesta Tells Senators RFS Final Rule "Imminent;" Blend Level Increases Likely
House Approves Tax Extenders
22 National & Several State Groups Tell Vilsack Problems with PNW Grain Inspection Mean FGIS Must Act
Spending Bills Deadlocked, Emergency Supplemental CR Needed
OSHA Hits Feed Company with 13 Safety, Health Violations in January Omaha Building Collapse
USDA Boosts Corn Stocks Again
Associated Students of UC Davis Hands Out Its Awards
Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Antibiotics in Feed Restrictions


A lower federal court decision to force FDA to hold public hearings and possibly ban the use of penicillins and tetracycline's in animal feeds, was tossed out this week by a federal appeals court. Instead, the appeals court gives support to the agency's cooperative program with industry to end growth promotion/feed efficiency uses of antibiotics in feed, while relying on the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) program to use the drugs in prevention and treatment regimens.


In overturning the lower court decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York said the agency does not have to hold hearings to decide if it will withdraw approvals for the use of antibiotics in feed as petitioned of FDA - and rejected by the agency - by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other environment and food safety groups.


NRDC said the appeals court decision makes "it's business as usual" at FDA. "They're not compelling FDA to take any action, even though the agency has said these uses of antibiotics are unsafe."


CGFA Committee Assignments

President Phil Waddell and the Board of Directors approved the committee appointments for the 2014-2015 membership year.


It is within the committees/study groups that industry problems are identified, analyzed, discussed--and where solutions and courses of action are born. Here the individual can have his/her voice heard and contribute effectively to the process of industry self determination. Committees and study groups also play a major role in the development of CGFA policy and the planning and scheduling of CGFA events. The final effectiveness of this system depends on your active involvement. Finally, study group participation enables you to receive special information mailings on areas of concern related to the study group classification. Our government Relations Committee is devoted to maintaining liaison with state legislators and actively lobbying legislation.


Committee members will be notified when an  issue comes up that needs their attention and a meeting if necessary will be scheduled.  Thank you all for your support. 


EPA's McCarthy Meets with GOP Senate Ag Panel Members; ASA Snags Stoner for Webinar

A meeting this week between EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee unleashed a flood of member press releases all touting how they told the agency head what's wrong with water, greenhouse gas and other EPA rulemakings.


Sen. Pat Roberts (R, KS), running for reelection, accused EPA of "unfairly targeting farmers, ranchers and rural America with burdensome regulations." "Kansans tell me the agency's work to regulate fuel storage tanks, prescribed burning of the Flint Hills prairie, cap and trade, pesticide limits, fugitive dust, and our water resources, is an assault on our way of life," he said. Roberts went on to allow the "rocky relationship" between agriculture and EPA isn't new, but the latest round of proposed rules "makes many people believe the rules are driven by an anti-agriculture agenda that is hurting the Kansas economy."


When it came to the EPA proposed rulemaking on "waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)," Roberts said he was disturbed to hear the agency dismiss producer concerns as "myths," and was disappointed McCarthy wasn't persuaded by meetings held two weeks ago in Missouri that the rulemaking carries "far-reaching and negative impacts." Roberts has cosponsored legislation to block the rulemaking.


Sen. Charles Grassley (R, IA) reiterated his opposition to the WOTUS rulemaking, and seconded Roberts' contention that EPA is perceived as operating with "an unhelpful approach and general negative attitude toward agriculture." He said the meeting did little to alleviate his concerns the agency routinely doesn't listen to those most impacted by its rulemakings.


Going after both WOTUS and EPA's greenhouse gas/carbon capture rulemakings on power plants, Sen. Thad Cochran (R, MS), also up for reelection, announced after the McCarthy meeting he would cosponsor a resolution citing "a litany of faults with EPA's ongoing effort to finalize regulations on carbon emissions." He said the agency's efforts have "zero chance" of altering world climate trends.


On the WOTUS rulemaking, Cochran said, "The...proposal and the agriculture interpretive rule are a source of uncertainty, anxiety and distrust for people in rural areas...and this is particularly true in states like Mississippi whose economies are built on agriculture production; landowners want peace of mind that what they're doing is not going to be subject to more regulations."


American Sustainable Business Coalition Supports EPA Proposal to Extend Clean Water Act


In another WOTUS development this week, a poll by the American Sustainable Business Coalition (ASBC), says the EPA proposal to extend its Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction beyond "navigable waters of the U.S." is supported by 80% of small business owners it surveyed. The group said ,"This makes perfect sense given the vital importance that clean water plays in running a successful business,".


White House's Podesta Tells Senators RFS Final Rule "Imminent;" Blend Level Increases Likely


The chief climate change counselor to the President this week met with a group of Senators, told them publication of EPA's final 2014-15 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) rule is "imminent," and implied biofuels manufacturers can expect to see RFS levels for various biofuels increase from the March proposed rule, though not as much as they hope.


The original EPA proposal on the RFS angered producers of corn ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and other biofuels when the agency cut the legislatively mandated blend levels. The petroleum industry cited low gasoline demand, which lead to a "blend wall" - the point at which biofuels must be blended above the allowable 10% if the companies are to meet their legal obligations - as the reason the RFS should be carved back. All biofuels groups including: corn ethanol, biodiesel/renewable diesel and cellulosic ethanol producers have been lobbying hard for EPA to increase belnd levels in the final RFS on biofuels.


The meeting between John Podesta, White House counsel on climate change, and nine Democrat Senators, was hosted by Sen. Al Franken (D, MN), and included Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D, MI). Franken said, "We made the case that we believe that the levels they set send the wrong signals to the market."


Other Senators in the room included Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D, ND); Amy Klobuchar (D, MN); Tom Harkin (D, IA); Patty Murray (D, WA); Dick Durbin (D, IL); Maria Cantwell (D, WA); Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), and Joel Donnelly (D, IN).


The Senators also tried to debunk EPA thinking that the advanced biofuels mandate, particularly the RFS for biodiesel, must be lowered out of concern the industry can't produce enough of the biofuel. EPA proposed a 1.28-billion gallon RFS for biodiesel in a year the industry is predicted to produce 1.8-2.2 billion gallons. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has been lobbying hard to increase the biodiesel RFS, with support from the National Renderers Assn. (NRA) and the American Soybean Assn. (ASA).


Franken went after the oil industry for trying to hamstring and ultimately kill off the biofuels industry because its existence threatens industry profits. He also said fears of moving to a 15% blend rate of biofuels with gasoline is doable because "NASCAR has already proven the fuel works" in "all cars made after 2001."


House Approves Tax Extenders

A series of bills extending federal tax benefits important to farmers and ranchers were approved by the full House this week, including depreciation and conservation easement tax credits.


The depreciation bill makes the so-called "50%- bonus" permanent, and expands the tax deduction to vines and fruit and nut-bearing trees. The bonus allows producers to write off capital expenditures on machinery, equipment and the like in the year in which the purchase is made.


The bonus depreciation deduction dovetails with similar action in June making permanent increased Sec. 179 small business expensing processes. The new max deduction is $500,000, retroactive to 2013, while the current maximum is $25,000.


Another bill which makes permanent a tax deduction for donation of conservation easements and food donations was also part of the House action. The easement tax break is designed to encourage producers to donate the conservation acreage as part of a long-term farmland protection effort. Food donations from producers receive the deduction so that more producers can cover the cost of production, harvest and processing.


22 National& Several State Groups Tell Vilsack Problems with PNW Grain Inspection Mean FGIS Must Act

Twenty-two national and state groups, including several state grain and feed associations, this week sent a joint letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack laying out their concerns with "periodic disruptions" of official Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) grain inspection and weighing services in the Pacific Northwest.


"Our expanded stakeholder interest group now understands that on July 1, 2014, the designated agency (Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)) provided written notification it was withdrawing official grain inspection services at the Port of Vancouver, WA, effective July 7, 2014," the group wrote. "Based upon this unprecedented development, we urge the FGIS take immediate action to provide official inspections services utilizing either its own personnel or the personnel of another FGIS-designated agency authorized to perform such official services at grain export facilities."


Last October the groups warned USDA to develop "contingency plans" to ensure FGIS services were not disrupted in the region, and that the agency could respond "immediately and effectively" of there were continued disruptions from contract services provided by WSDA. All grain exported from the U.S. must be officially inspected and carry official certificates showing the official grade designation and weight.


"We believe WSDA's (unprecedented) actions create an extremely troubling precedent that will cause irreparable damage to the integrity and reliability of the nation's official grain inspection system," the group letter said. The groups further said the disruptions in the Pacific Northwest have already jeopardized the U.S.'s reputation as a reliable supplier of grains and oilseeds to overseas customers.

Groups signing the letter included the National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Soybean Assn. (ASA), the Agricultural Retailers Assn. (RTA), the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA), the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), the National Oilseed Processors Assn. (NOPA), the North American Export Grain Assn. (NAEGA), the U.S Grains Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, and state groups from Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington.



Spending Bills Deadlocked, Emergency Supplemental CR Needed, Omnibus Coming

With both House and Senate failure to pass all 12 FY2015 appropriations bills, the battle is on to cobble together a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating past September 30. Both chambers' appropriations committees are also wrestling with an unexpected emergency supplemental spending bill, and have also quietly begun work on an omnibus spending package for the coming fiscal year to be dealt with during the post-election lame duck session.


House Speaker John Boehner (R, OH) said this week his chamber will not take up the CR until the House returns from its August summer recess. And while members of the House and Senate continue to say all the right public things about the appropriations process and moving individual bills this year, it's known staff is crafting an omnibus bill and most if not all FY2015 spending bills will be part of the package to be taken up in the lame duck session.


Chief among the culprits blamed for the deadlock on spending broadly is the emergency supplemental spending bill requested by the President to deal with the flood of illegal immigrants into Texas and other matters. Since most of the undocumented workers are minors, both chambers are willing to spend more money on dealing with the crisis, but solutions, amounts and duration of the assistance remainundecided.


Complicating the debate is Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D, MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who insists her bill will be an emergency spending bill and will carry no policy riders. She's including in the Senate bill $225 million in U.S. aid to Israel to bolster its "Iron Dome" missile defense system, and Mikulski is including $615 million for wildfire management. She finally admitted "she has a full plate, but a flat wallet" and won't be funding the full $3.7 billion the President wants.   


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D, KY) opposes the aid to Israel being included in the immigration supplemental spending bill because it puts opponents of the President's immigration plan at odds with their support for Israel.


The House supplemental spending package will be about $1.5 billion, what House Appropriations Committee Chair Hall Rodgers (R, KY) said this week "can feasibly and sensibly be spent before the end of the calendar year." The House bill will be paid for by taking end-of-year unspent budget monies from several agencies. There is no wildfire management money or Israeli assistance in the House bill.



OSHA Hits Feed Company with 13 Safety, Health Violations in January Omaha Building Collapse

International Nutrition Co., a livestock feed supplement maker, was cited with 13 violations of federal health and safety regulations after an OSHA investigation of a Omaha facility collapse in January that killed two and injured nine workers. The agency said the collapse was caused by overloading of nine storage bins on the building's roof.


The citations include one willful, one repeat and 11 additional safety violations for failing to protect workers from "hazards associated with structural collapse," OSHA said in a press announcement. The agency proposed penalties of $120,560 and placed the company in its "severe violator enforcement program," the agency reported.


OSHA said its investigation revealed the failure of an east side truss after bins that it supported were loaded with an "excess of limestone," with the extra weight causing the bins to collapse three floors in 30 seconds into the center of the facility. Other ingredients stored in the roof bins included rice hulls, multiple dry ingredients and solulac.


USDA Boosts Corn Stocks Again


Corn supplies in 2015 will hit 1.801 billion bushels, 4.3% more than forecast in June, USDA said July 18. The new forecast led to lower corn prices and fears the level could trigger farm program payments under the new Farm Bill. While the new subsidy program is built off longer-term average prices, increased production leading to steadily lower prices could trigger the payments.


Associated Students of UC Davis Hands Out Its Awards

The Associated Students of UC Davis recently presented its 2013-14 Excellence in Education Awards, one in each undergraduate college, plus educator of the year: Rebekka Andersen, an assistant professor in the University Writing Program. The recipients are Frank Mitloehner, associate professor of animal science; Jay Rosenheim, professor of entomology; Stephen Robinson, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; and Abigail Boggs, a lecturer in American studies. .Congratulations to Frank Mitloehner, Associate Professor of Animal Science for the recent award.