READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 30th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 30th

Trump Mexico Tax Would Hurt Agriculture

President Donald Trump’s plan to implement a 20 percent tax on all goods imported from Mexico would likely harm agriculture and consumers alike. The tax is seen as a way to pay for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, estimated to be worth billions of dollars. The tax would presumably apply to agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables that are staples in U.S. grocery stores, according to the Hagstrom Report. The United Fresh Produce Association says the tax, and renegotiating trade agreements to include similar tariffs, risk provoking a trade war. United Fresh says a 20 percent hike in the cost of foods such as bananas, mangoes and other products that we simply can’t grow in the United States, would burden consumers.

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Trump Trade Action Impact on U.S. Grains

Newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump has already followed through with key campaign promises related to trade policy – moves that have caused concern among grain farmers whose price is being supported by export sales. Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. Grains Council says these moves are intended to pave the way for new negotiations. However, in the short term – and coming soon after serious trade policy issues with China – they could severely curtail U.S. grain farmers’ market access globally and open up existing export markets to new levels of competition. Over the past two decades, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico tripled and quintupled, respectively, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One in every 10 acres on American farms is planted to feed hungry Canadian and Mexicans. The Grains Council says its leadership will continue to assess all trade policy changes by the new administration and aim to work with the Administration to maintain and expand the benefits of existing or new trade dialogues.

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Landowner Wins Case against Army Corps

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says landowners scored a victory last week when a federal district court ruled against the Army Corps of Engineers for incorrectly claiming jurisdiction over private property. The Corps had claimed a piece of property owned by Hawkes Company, and used by Hawkes to harvest peat, was a “waters of the United States” which requires a federal dredge and fill permit under the Clean Water Act. In a resounding victory, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Hawkes, setting a precedent that landowners may challenge the Corps’ jurisdictional determinations. NCBA environmental counsel Scott Yager said the case “highlights the subjectivity of how the agencies determine the presence of a WOTUS.” He says the ruling adds to the momentum of getting the flawed WOTUS rule fixed.

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Bird Flu Fears Growing

The global spread of bird flu is increasing concerns the viruses will be transferred to humans. Global infections of highly pathogenic avian influenza have reached unprecedented levels, according to Reuters. The presence in so many parts of the world at the same time increases the risk of viruses mixing and mutating, and possibly jumping to people. While the U.S. has escaped much of the recent outbreaks, widespread avian influenza has been confirmed across Europe, Africa and Asia in the last three months. Global health officials are worried another strain could make a jump into humans like H5N1 did in the late 1990s. Disease experts fear a deadly strain of avian flu could then mutate into a pandemic form that can be passed easily among people – something that has not yet been seen. But, while there would normally be around two or three bird flu strains recorded in birds at any one time, now there is at least half a dozen, which is prompting the fears.

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40 Percent of Farms Managed by Multiple Operators

New data released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows nearly 40 percent of all U.S. farms are managed by more than one operator. USDA’s Economic Research Service says in 2015, 39 percent of the more than 800,000 U.S. farms had secondary operators. USDA says commercial-sized farms often require more management and labor than an individual can provide.  Also, additional operators can offer other resources, such as capital or farmland.  Having a secondary operator may also provide a successor when an older principal operator phases out of farming. Because nearly all farms are family-owned, family members often serve as secondary operators and nearly two-thirds of all secondary operators were spouses of principal operators. Multiple-operator farms are most prevalent among nonfamily farms, accounting for 85 percent of that group. Some multiple-operator farms are also run by multiple generations. About 6 percent of all farms, and 16 percent of all multiple-operator farms, were multiple-generation farms, with at least 20 years’ difference between the ages of the oldest and youngest operators.

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“Fry Moore Bacon” Bill Passes Iowa House

A resolution honoring Iowa pork producers passed the state’s House of Representatives with bipartisan support last week. The “Fry Moore Bacon” resolution received laughs from lawmakers as it was introduced by state representatives Joel Fry, Tom Moore and Rob Bacon, according to the Des Moines Register. Bacon said the bill is intended to address a serious issue, but he couldn’t resist adding his colleagues Fry and Moore to its list of sponsors. The resolution recognizes the Iowa Pork Congress, the largest winter swine trade show in the United States, as well as the pork industry as major economic drivers in the state. Iowa is the top pork-producing state in the U.S., creating an estimated $36.7 billion in total economic output. The resolution won unanimous support by lawmakers in the Iowa House of Representatives.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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