READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 23rd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 23rd

Trump Praises Agriculture Secretary Nominee Perdue

A day before his Inauguration, now President Donald Trump praised his pick for Agriculture Secretary, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. At a candlelight dinner for donors and politicians, Trump spoke about Perdue’s experience as a farmer and said others who wanted the job as secretary of agriculture had never even seen a farm, according to the Hagstrom Report. Trump said of Perdue that: “He came into my office two months ago. Since then I saw ten people that everybody liked, politically correct, and I kept thinking back to Sonny Perdue.” Trump spoke on Perdue’s experience in agriculture, noting he wanted someone for the job who would understand the industry.

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Clovis to Lead USDA Transition 

With an Agriculture Secretary nominee and a new administration in place, President Donald Trump has sent policy adviser Sam Clovis to lead the transition at the Department of Agriculture. A team assisting Clovis will hire staff and begin crafting policy while Agriculture Secretary Nominee Sonny Perdue awaits Senate confirmation, according to Politico. USDA is home to 250 political post from deputy to undersecretaries to chiefs of staff and state Farm Service Agency administrators. Many of the positions do not need confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Brian Klippenstein, who led the USDA landing team, is expected to have a role in the transition as well.In all, President Trump will deploy a team of more than 500 temporary appointees to handle transition duties at multiple agencies to fill roughly 5,000 political positions across the Trump administration. 

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Canada Exporters Fretting Over Import Tax Proposal

Exporters in Canada are scrambling to avoid a potential 10 percent import tax promised by new U.S. President Donald Trump. In evaluating options, some are even considering moving production or supply lines south of the Canada border into the United States. Amid warnings from the Bank of Canada last week protectionist policies brought in by Trump could drive companies to invest in the U.S. rather than Canada, executives told Reuters their search for options has already begun. National Bank Financial estimated a 10 percent border tax could cause Canada’s total exports to the U.S. to drop by about nine percent, with non-petroleum goods sinking almost 11 percent. Exports are expected to drive about a third of Canada’s economic growth in 2017, behind only consumption and government spending.

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Inflation Up, Food Prices Unchanged

Overall inflation over the last 12 months increased 2.1 percent, but food prices remain unchanged. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was up .3 percent in December, with gasoline prices up three percent. But the food-at-home index fell 0.2 percent, its eighth consecutive decrease that reflects an overall 0.2 percent decrease over the last 12 months. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes fell in December. The fruits and vegetables index posted the largest decline, falling 1.1 percent as the index for fresh fruits declined 2.2 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs fell 0.4 percent in December as the beef index fell 0.8 percent and the index for eggs decreased 3.9 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.3 percent, and the cereals and bakery products index declined 0.1 percent. The index for dairy and related products increased 0.4 percent in December after falling in November, and the index for other food at home rose 0.3 percent.

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December U.S. Meat Production Hits Record

Red meat production in the United Stated totaled 4.4 billion pounds last month, up three percent from December of 2015, according to The Department of Agriculture. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports beef production, at 2.17 billion pounds, was six percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.61 million head, up seven percent from December 2015. The average live weight was down seven pounds from the previous year, at 1,381 pounds. Pork production totaled 2.21 billion pounds, up slightly from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, up one percent from December 2015. The average live weight was down two pounds from the previous year, at 283 pounds.

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Rising Global Temperatures Poised to Crush Crop Yields

Scientists say if global temperatures continue to rise, the United States faces big drops in harvests of major food crops by 2100. A climate impact research document says the rising temperatures may ultimately lead to higher global food prices. An international team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature Communications that by the year 2100, if global emissions rise at “business as usual” levels, the world will see twice as many days with temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit as it does now. Because crop yields start to drop when temperatures reach that level, it suggests U.S. wheat yields would fall by 20 percent, corn by 50 percent and soybeans by 40 percent by the turn of the century, according to computer modeling.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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