USDA Authorizes Additional Flexibilities for Producers in Northern Great Plains

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 – On June 23 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue authorized emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres during the primary nesting season in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana in the counties meeting D2 or greater, as indicated by the US Drought Monitor. Since that time the drought has continued to deepen and the forecast is for hot, dry weather in the upcoming week in the northern plains.  As such, the Secretary is authorizing emergency grazing of CRP for any county in which any part of its border lies within 150 miles of a county approved for emergency grazing of CRP.

In addition, for any county in which any part of its border lies within 150 miles of any county approved for emergency grazing of CRP, USDA will allow CRP contract holders who hay their acreage according to their mid-management conservation plan to donate their hay to livestock producers. CRP contract holders still have the ability to sell their hay with a 25-percent reduction in their annual rental payment as they’ve been fully authorized to do in the past.

Emergency haying is not authorized at this time. The Secretary will continue to monitor conditions and will consider expanding emergency authority if conditions worsen.

Eligible CRP participants can use the acreage for grazing their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. There will be no CRP annual rental payment reductions assessed for acres grazed.

A map displaying counties approved for CRP emergency grazing and the donation of hay under mid-contract management authority will be available at:

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/conservation-reserve-program/emergency-haying-and-grazing/index

To take advantage of the emergency grazing provisions, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.  To find your local USDA Service Center visit http://offices.usda.gov.

Secretary Perdue to Travel to China to Mark Return of U.S. Beef

Events in Beijing and Shanghai on Friday and Saturday

 

 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to China this week, joining with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, to formally mark the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market after a 13-year hiatus.  In events in Beijing and Shanghai on Friday, June 30, 2017 and Saturday, July 1, 2017, Perdue will meet with Chinese government officials to celebrate the return of American beef products to the enormous market after shipments were halted at the end of 2003.  On Friday in Beijing, Perdue and Branstad will ceremonially cut prime rib that originated in Nebraska and was shipped by the Greater Omaha Packing Company. 

“I will be proud to be on hand for the official reintroduction of U.S. beef to China,” Perdue said.  “This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the American economy in general.  We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time.  There’s no doubt in my mind that when the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, they’ll want more of it.” 

President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, officials with the U.S. Trade Representative, and Secretary Perdue announced the deal brokered to allow the return of U.S. beef to China on May 11, 2017 as part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan.  The first shipment of U.S. beef arrived in China on June 19, 2017.  China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016.  The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and in 2016 was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion.  

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the final details of a protocol to allow American companies to begin shipping beef exports to China.  To date, producers and processors in Nebraska and Kansas are eligible to ship beef products to China, having followed requirements set forth in the USDA Export Verification Program and according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service export requirements.  USDA maintains a public list of companies that are eligible and will continue to update it as more companies complete the export documentation requirements.

China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and in 2016 was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion.  

Perdue will make the following public appearances in Beijing and Shanghai (times local to China):

 

Friday, June 30, 2017

10:45 a.m.                   Meeting with Han Changfu, Minister of Agriculture

                                    Secretary Perdue will meet with his Chinese counterpart to discuss

                                    additional market access goals.

            Ministry of Agriculture

                                    Beijing, China

 

12:00 p.m.                  Ceremony Reintroducing U.S. beef to China

                                    Secretary Perdue, Ambassador Terry Branstad, and other officials

                                    will ceremonially cut a Nebraska prime rib.

                                    Intercontinental Beijing Sanlitun Hotel

            Beijing, China

 

3:00 p.m.                    Meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang

                                    Secretary Perdue will discuss expanding U.S. trade with China.

                                    Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound

                                    Beijing, China

 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

 

10:15 a.m.                   Media event and tour of Chinese supermarket

                                    Secretary Perdue will participate in a cooking demonstration, tour

                                    the store, and highlight other American products in a major Chinese

                                    supermarket.

                                    City Super IAPM

                                    Shanghai, China

At Tester’s Urging, USDA Halts Importation of Brazilian Beef

Montana Producers Praise Tester for Protecting Consumers from Tainted Meat

 

(U.S. Senate)– Following Senator Tester’s repeated calls for a ban, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a suspension of all imports of Brazilian beef until safety concerns are addressed.

 

“I’m glad to see USDA has listened to our multiple demands to protect American consumers and producers across Montana,” Tester said. “This is a major win for Montana ranchers and American families. Montanans raise the best beef in the world and the government shouldn’t be undercutting them by importing unsafe, even rotten products from foreign countries.” 

 

Tester has repeatedly called on USDA to halt importation of beef from Brazil, going so far as to introduce legislation to ban Brazilian beef for 120 days until safety concerns could be addressed.

 

Yesterday, Tester called on Secretary Purdue to halt imports after five Brazilian meat-packing plants were removed from the exporter list.

 

Tester questioned Secretary Perdue about the importation of Brazilian beef in an Agriculture Appropriations hearing this month.  He also raised this issue with the Secretary face-to-face during his confirmation process.

 

Montana producers thanked Tester for his leadership on this issue.

 

“We would like to thank Senator Tester for taking the lead on this issue. The safety of our nation’s food supply is imperative to both Montana’s ranchers and consumers,” said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

 

“The Montana Farmers Union would like to thank Senator Tester for his efforts to protect Montana ranchers and Montana consumers and applauds the USDA’s decision to halt beef imports from Brazil,” said Alan Merrill, President of the Montana Farmers Union.

 

“USCA appreciates the work done by Senator Tester and his staff in reaching today’s announcement on the ban of Brazilian beef imports to the U.S.,” said Leo McDonnell of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.  “Senator Tester is a longtime advocate for the U.S. cattle industry and has taken the lead on this issue by providing a strong voice for producers in D.C. The Senator’s repeated calls for action by USDA have been answered and USCA appreciates his commitment seeing this ban through.”