READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 16th…

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Obama Tells Congress That TPP Is Coming

The White House let Congress know last Friday morning that it will be bringing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to lawmakers in a move that’s intended to bring new energy to the discussions. The move comes amid a presidential campaign that has both major party candidates coming out against the deal as a “job-killer.” Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says President Obama feels the deal would pass in a lame-duck session of Congress, noting that he’d like to discuss that fact with lawmakers once the elections are over instead of playing political football with the topic. Obama called America, “A part of the global economy,” stressing the necessity of international supply chains and the importance of the export sector to U.S. jobs and the economy. While Republicans in Congress have questions about the deal they’d like answered, many Democrats called the deal a non-starter because of concerns about enforcing labor and environmental standards in countries like Vietnam. Currency manipulation is another part of the deal that Congress wants answers on.

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U.S. Dairy Farmers Ask USDA to Buy Cheese

U.S. Dairy farmers have asked the USDA to purchase up to $150 million dollars’ worth of cheese. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today says that money could purchase up to 90 million pounds of cheese to help feed the poor, and it also would help farmers struggling with the lowest milk prices they’ve seen since 2009. National Milk Producer’s Federation CEO Jim Mulhern said it would remove the equivalent of 900 million gallons of milk from the market. That move would boost global on farm income by 16 cents per hundredweight over one year, and improve dairy farmer income by $380 million dollars. Worldwide demand has slumped over the last two years, with a large part of that due to fewer purchases from China and Russia.   

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Indonesian Wheat Milling Executives Coming to America

U.S. Wheat Associates will bring milling executives from one of the largest Indonesian companies to America this month to tour the U.S. wheat supply chain.  The managers of four different flour mills under the same umbrella company will learn how U.S. hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, and soft white can help to fill the needs in their expanding market. U.S. Wheat Associates says it has had success promoting the processing advantages of flour made from U.S. hard red spring and winter wheat in bread products. The group says it will also promote the advantages of soft white for great performance in cakes, cookies, and other soft wheat products. U.S. wheat has been at a price disadvantage against Canadian wheat over the past couple of years.  U.S. Wheat regional vice president Matt Weimar said, “it’s important to bring in executives from large overseas companies to put a face to the advantages of American wheat. It makes a difference when a buyer can meet with the breeders, grain handlers, and farmers that make U.S. wheat the most reliable supply in the world.” The tour runs from August 17-27 in North Dakota and the Pacific Northwest.

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Favorable Harvest Weather Ahead for Harvest

Corn and soybeans are progressing in the Midwest well ahead of average, and if you combine that with good harvest weather in the forecast, harvest 2016 might start early this year. As of now, the September and October weather outlooks don’t call for any major delays for farmers bringing in their crops.  Dale Mohler of AccuWeather says the September outlook calls for normal rains in the Midwest and below normal in the South. Mohler said, “ideally, farmers would like it a bit drier for harvest, but there will be three to five day-stretches of dry weather between rains.” However, October outlook calls for cooler and wetter weather. There is one area that may actually get above normal rainfall in October, and that’s in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Iowa. The other biggest weather threats during harvest time are an early freeze and extreme winds, but they don’t appear to be a big threat this year.  The risk of an early frost looks lower than normal because of a warm September, but it’s not out of the question.  Mohler said an average October freeze may not be a factor if farmers can get into the fields early and make good progress in September.

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Canada and China Canola Talks End Without Deal

China recently threatened to toughen its inspection standards for canola imports from Canada, threatening up to $2 billion in Canadian canola exports.  Canada is the world’s largest exporter of canola, mainly used to make vegetable oil. Reuters says the impending move led to talks between the countries, which recently broke off ahead of a visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. China’s quarantine authority recently announced it would impose stricter import inspection standards due to concerns over the crop disease blackleg. The move was supposed to take place on April 1 but was postponed to September first. The recent talks ended without China backing down from the threat of tougher sanctions, but talks between the two governments are expected to continue. Some experts say the move might make it more difficult for China to get a free trade deal with Canada which it has been pushing for recently.

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Application of Dicamba on Cotton and Soybeans Is Unlawful

The Environmental Protection Agency and several state agencies have gotten reports about crop damage that appears to be related to the use of herbicides containing dicamba. Extension experts in several states across the country believe that the illegal use of dicamba products on adjacent or nearby fields containing dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean crops is what caused the damage. The EPA has not registered any dicamba herbicides for use at planting or over the top of growing plants like soybeans or cotton, including those plants that are modified to resist dicamba. That means any dicamba application during the growing season is against the law.  Use on cotton and soybean fields are restricted to pre-plant or post-harvest burndown applications only. Missouri has fielded over 100 complaints about dicamba misuse, and estimates are that more than 42,000 acres of crops have been infected. Other complaints have shown up in Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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