READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 1st…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 1st…

Border Tax Draws Concern from Seed Industry

The U.S. seed industry has concerns regarding a border tax President Donald Trump wants to impose to fund a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. While attending the American Seed Trade Association’s Vegetables and Flower Seed Conference in Orlando, Florida, ASTA CEO Andy Lavigne told the Hagstrom Report the tax could burden the seed industry. He says: “A great deal of seed is multiplied in Mexico,” referring to the industry practice of developing seed in the United States and then sending it to Mexico to be grown in the quantities needed in America. Mexico’s climate primarily drives the practice. He also noted that many ASTA American customers grow fruits and vegetables in Mexico and import them into the United States. He says ASTA is still trying to “determine” its position on the border tax.

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U.S. Dairy Presses Lawmakers on Canada’s Protectionist Dairy Policies

The U.S. dairy industry is urging governors from 25 dairy-producing states to take action against a policy by Canada that they say could hinder trade of dairy products between the U.S. and Canada. In a letter to the 25 states, 17 dairy companies said: “Canada plans to proceed with expanding its harmful use of dairy policies to impede trade by implementing a new national ingredients strategy pricing program.” The program, starting today (February 1), will allow domestic processors to purchase skim milk powder, liquid skim milk, liquid milk protein concentrates and other products at the lowest market price in the U.S., EU and Oceania for the next seven years, according to Politico. Last month, U.S. dairy organizations and state departments of agriculture across the country sent a similar letter to President Donald Trump that said Canada’s protectionist policies are in direct violation of its trade commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

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Livestock Industry Supports Legislation to Address BLM Planning Rule

The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced support for legislation to address a planning rule by the Bureau of Land Management. The resolutions introduced in the U.S. House and Senate disapproves the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 rule finalized last December. The Public Lands Council says the legislation would reverse damage done in the final hours of the Obama administration. PLC executive director Ethan Lane says the rule represents a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM, prioritizing “social and environmental change” over multiple use, and eliminating stakeholder and local input into the planning process. He says “it’s critical” that Congress stops the implementation of the rule to keep the regulations from harming “our ability to manage federal lands.”

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Report Shows Crop Insurance Saved 21,000 Jobs in 2012 Drought

A new report by the Farm Credit Services of America shows crop insurance saved nearly 21,000 jobs in four states during the 2012 drought. The 20-page report, which details the history of the crop insurance program, says crop insurance helped cover the 2012 drought shortfall and saved 20,900 jobs across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, with an annual labor income of $721.2 million. In 2012, corn production was down more than 29 percent, and soybean production was down six percent. The low yields were coming on a year that started with low beginning stocks and tight U.S. and global supplies. Projected prices rose in anticipation of short supplies. Farmers faced low yields and ended up facing big expenses to buy crops at higher prices to fulfill marketing obligations and to feed on-farm livestock.

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Brazil Proposes Opening Farmland for Foreign Ownership

The President of Brazil plans to propose legislation to lift restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land in the nation in an effort to pull its economy out a two-year recession. The proposal would allow foreign investors to buy agricultural land in Brazil, on the condition that 10 percent of any purchase is destined to land reform to benefit landless farmers and peasants, according to Reuters. The proposal also includes allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of local airlines. However, a similar measure was vetoed just last year. Plans to open up land to foreign purchases will likely draw plenty of investors in Brazil’s expanding agribusiness industry that is seeking new partners. Brazil restricted the sale of land to foreign investors in 2010 due to concerns that countries such as China could take control of large segments of arable land in the midst of a super commodity boom.

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Vilsack Endorses Agriculture Secretary Nominee Sonny Perdue

Secretary of Agriculture Nominee Sonny Perdue has received the endorsement from former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Perdue is the only cabinet nominee to secure the support of his predecessor in the Obama administration. Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Tuesday that Perdue “knows full well the opportunities and challenges that exist in rural communities.” Vilsack says he’s had the opportunity to work with Governor Perdue, in detailing Perdue’s commitment to farmers and ranchers, “regardless of size of production method.” President Donald Trump selected Perdue as his Agriculture Secretary nominee just before Inauguration Day. Perdue’s Senate confirmation hearings are expected in mid to late February.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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