Ag Chat with Kristin Smith - Dec. 20th

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- South Korea's trade ministry said on Monday it had reported to parliament a plan to renegotiate the 2012 free trade agreement with the U.S. after President Donald Trump threatened earlier this year to scrap the accord unless it was revised. Monday's report completes South Korea's own process to begin renegotiations of the KORUS free trade agreement. South Korea will seek to protect sensitive industries such as agriculture and livestock. Trump has complained about current U.S. trade deficit with South Korea, while the South Korean President has said the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement benefits both countries by expanding their trade. He also said the U.S trade deficit with South Korea was limited to products and was shrinking while South Korea continued to post large trade deficits with the United States in the service sector. Specific dates for renegotiations will be determined in the future.


Thirteen states are suing Massachusetts over a voter-approved law that will ban the sale of eggs and other food products from farm animals that were confined in overly restrictive cages. The lawsuit was filed directly with the U.S. Supreme Court last week and follows another filed earlier in the month by more than a dozen states against California, which has a similar law. The 2016 ballot question in Massachusetts was backed by 77 percent of voters. It requires that by 2022 only cage-free eggs be sold in the state, regardless of where the eggs were produced.

USDA is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. Since 2004, NRCS has invested nearly $286.7 million in more than 700 projects focused on providing farmers and ranchers new techniques, data and decision-making tools for improving natural resources conservation on their land. Grant proposals are due Feb. 26, 2018.

And the waters in Hawaii may be the shade of blue, but now the state is transitioning to going green. According to Blue Planet Foundation and the Wisconsin Ag Connection, leaders from all four counties in Hawaii gathered to pledge to transform Hawaii's public and private ground transportation to 100 percent renewable fuel sources by 2045. While electricity generation has decreased over the past decade due to the success of the public-private partnership to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, gasoline and diesel use in vehicles has increased. Ground transportation accounts for more than one-quarter of Hawaii's imported fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The mayors of Honolulu and Maui also pledged to transition all of their fleet vehicles to 100 percent renewable power by 2035.

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