READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, January 12th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, January 12th

One is the Loneliest Number: Ag Secretary Last Cabinet Position to Fill for Trump

President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday announced his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, leaving the Agriculture Secretary cabinet position the last to fill for the incoming administration. Trump announced during a rare news conference Wednesday David Shulkin as his Veteran Affairs Secretary nominee but offered no mention regarding the search for his Agriculture Secretary. The delay in picking a nominee for the Department of Agriculture is causing some concern within the agriculture industry, but the Trump Transition team continues to say the President-elect is looking for the best candidate.


Confirmation Hearing Scheduled for Trump’s EPA Administrator Nominee

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee Scot Pruitt. Politico reports lawmakers on the committee have a long list of questions they want to ask the Oklahoma attorney general. Just last week, Senators from Midwest states held a meeting to question Pruitt on his stance regarding biofuels. Pruitt reassured the group he would follow the law on renewable fuels, Waters of the U.S. and other issues key for agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation “strongly endorses” the nomination of Pruitt as EPA administrator. Just last week, AFBF President Zippy Duvall called Pruitt an “ideal nominee.”


2017 Farmland Values in Limbo

Farmers National Company says 2017 land values are dependent on several different factors the industry may see throughout the year. The agricultural landowner services company says the direction of commodity prices, interest rates, inflation, challenges in the world economy, weather and U.S. tax law; all could change the direction of land prices for 2017. In the past three years, agricultural landowners in many regions across the country have seen a decline in profits, which also pushed land values lower. Land prices remain mixed to start the year as some regions are seeing prices stabilize while other regions are seeing lower prices, according to the company. The biggest two factors this year will be interest rates and commodity prices. Meanwhile, foreign trade policy will also be of interest as changes in trade policy could impact commodity prices and influence land buying and selling decisions.


U.S. Grains Council Calls China Actions on DDGS Restricting

The U.S. Grains Council says China is attempting to restrict access to the U.S. dried distillers grain market by subjecting U.S. DDGS to anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight says the organization is “deeply disappointed” in the move. The announcement came just ten days after the Chinese government increased tariffs on imported U.S. ethanol from five to 30 percent. The Grains Council says that move effectively stops market growth for U.S. farmers and ethanol producers. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers also continue to wait for China’s approvals of biotech corn events, which last happened in 2014. Sleight says the protectionist trade restrictions by China are “based on false allegations” and do not benefit China or the United States.

Canada Replaces Trade Minister in Cabinet Shuffle

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (True-doh) has replaced Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland with Francois-Philippe (Frans-wah-Fill-leap) Champagne, a Quebec lawyer specializing in international trade. Freeland was moved to another cabinet position in the shuffle aimed at creating middle-class jobs in Canada, according to online publication AgCanada. Freeland negotiated on Canada’s behalf, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union. However, should U.S. President-elect Donald Trump seek to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, his trade team will be negotiating with Freeland. Trudeau said Trump’s approach to foreign policy was the reason for the unusual decision. Freeland was appointed foreign affairs minister under the cabinet shakeup.


U.S. Eggs Heading to South Korea

The United States is shipping near three million eggs to South Korea to help the nation cope with its worst-ever bird flu epidemic. South Korea’s two major airlines will each carry 100 metric tons of eggs to South Korea, according to Reuters. That equals out to be roughly 2.98 million eggs. The first batch of fresh eggs from the United States will arrive in South Korea on Saturday. South Korea is facing an egg shortage as the nation has culled a record o\31 million birds infected with bird-flu. These are the first fresh egg imports from the U.S. to South Korea. The nation has not imported fresh eggs from any country since 1999. An additional 200 metric tons of eggs will be transported by air again next week.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service