READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 28th…

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Administration Given More Time to Defend WOTUS

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now have an extra month to file their defense of the Waters of the U.S. Rule, or WOTUS. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today says the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals extended the deadline to file their response in defense of the rule from December 23rd of this year to January 18th of 2017. The Justice Department asked for extra time after states, businesses, and other municipal groups challenging the rule were given extra time to file their briefs. Those groups have until November 1 to file their paperwork with the court. The Justice Department will file a consolidated brief on behalf of the EPA and the Corps. The court also set a deadline of February 19, 2017, for intervenors to file briefs either in support of or opposition to the rule.


Trade Deal Between Canada and EU Back On

The Prime Minister of Belgium and other political leaders have reached a consensus supporting the proposed trade deal between Canada and the European Union. The French-speaking region of Wallonia was primarily responsible for holding up the deal. Officials in the Socialist region wanted stronger protections for labor, as well as stronger environmental and consumer standards. The leaders of the different regions in Belgium drew up an addendum that answered additional concerns. Part of the trade agreement involved creating courts to handle disputes between businesses and governments. An article on BBC Dot Com says Wallonia was concerned that would give too much power to multinational entities. They also wanted protections for Wallonia’s farmers, who would now face competition from Canadian imports. Belgian federal law says the country cannot approve any type of deal until the six regional parliaments have all signed off on it. The deal with the Belgians will still have to get approval from the 27 other nations in the European Union.


Poll Shows Trump Leading in Farm Country

A new nationwide poll is out that shows farmers and ranchers favoring Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the presidential sweepstakes. 55 percent of respondents in the Agri-Pulse Farm and Ranch Poll say they’ll vote for the Republican candidate while 18 percent say they’ll cast a vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The poll shows two percent of the respondents planning to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and one percent casting a vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. However, those numbers could change as 15 percent of the respondents remain undecided and eight percent refused to answer the question as to who they were supporting. Trump attracted 59 percent of the male voters and 37 percent of female voters. Clinton drew support from 15 percent of males and 33 percent of females. The GOP nominee scored particularly well in two battleground states, with 68 percent of Ohio farmers and ranchers supporting Trump and 58 percent of farmers and ranchers in Florida also said they will support Trump. 86 percent of respondents were “somewhat” or “very dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the country, which is higher than the 75 percent number back in a January survey.


Bayer CEO Defends Monsanto Acquisition

Bayer AG Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann defended his company’s planned $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto. There are widespread concerns about getting the deal past antitrust regulators. Baumann called the step, “Entirely logical. He added, “These two companies fit together and complement each other ideally.” The deal with Monsanto is just the latest of several high-profile consolidations in the $100 million global crop seeds and pesticide industry over the past 12 months. The European Union antitrust reviews are currently going on for deals involving Syngenta and ChemChina as well as the Dow and DuPont deal. Bauman said Bayer would submit its application to EU regulatory authorities early next year and would submit one to the U.S. by the end of this year. Baumann said again that he expects to close the deal for Monsanto by the end of 2017. Baumann made these remarks as the company announced its third-quarter earnings results. Net profit for the period ending September 30 was $1.3 billion, a 19 percent rise over the previous quarter.


U.N. Vote on Cuba Embargo Good News for Ag

The United State abstained from a United Nations vote Wednesday on a resolution calling for an end to the Cuban trade embargo. Pro-Cuba trade groups called it good news because it’s the first time in 25 years that America hasn’t stood in opposition to the resolution. While only Congress can change the embargo, Ag groups feel momentum is growing to open Cuba to agricultural exports. “We need these little battles to let people know the U.S. stands behind ending the trade embargo,” said Paul Johnson, co-Chair of the U.S. Ag Coalition for Cuba. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says America’s ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said Washington abstained because of President Obama’s new approach to dealing with Cuba. However, she categorically denies that the embargo violates international trade law. Power also said the U.S. abstaining from a vote this week, “Doesn’t mean that the United States agrees with all the policies and practices of the Cuban government.” The U.S. and Israel are the only two countries that have consistently voted against the resolution calling for an end to the Cuban trade embargo. Israel also abstained from the vote on Wednesday.


Farmers Willing to Walk Away from Cash Rent Agreements

A recent Farm Journal poll on Twitter showed 57 percent of respondents are willing to walk away from cash rental agreements if they can’t be renegotiated. Even more surprising is the Pro Farmer Landowner Survey that showed farmers saying if land prices don’t come down, they may walk away too. “44 percent of our members and subscribers are willing to walk away from a cash lease if it can’t be lowered in 2017,” said Mike Walsten, Editor of the Pro Farmer Landowner newsletter. Walsten said the number of farmers willing to walk away from cash rent agreements is up to 14 percent, which means cash rent conversations could be even tougher this year than they were last year. He said land values could also see a drop, but probably not as much as in years past. However, these numbers don’t mean there isn’t a market out there for farmland. Walsten said when the chance to acquire new acres comes up, there are farmers that come looking for the right price. “We see that 30 percent of our audience is willing to get back into the land market if the right price comes along,” Walsten said.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service