READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 9th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 9th

Farm Income Expected to Decline Again in 2017

The Department of Agriculture expects net farm income in 2017 to drop 8.7 percent, compared with 2016. For 2017, the USDA Economic Research Service predicts net farm income will fall to $62.3 billion, down 49.6 percent from the 2013 record high of more than $120 billion. Following several years of record highs, net farm income trended downward from 2013 to 2016. Net farm income is a conventional measure of agricultural sector profitability that is used as part of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product calculation. The expected decline in 2017 net farm income is driven by a forecast reduction in the value of farm production. Crop value of production is forecast down $9.2 billion, or 4.9 percent, while the value of production of animals and animal products is forecast to decline by less than $1 billion, or .5 percent.


House Ag Committee Plans Farm Bill Stage Setting Hearing

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next week that will help set the stage for the next farm bill. The full committee hearing, Rural Economic Outlook: Setting the Stage for the Next Farm Bill, is planned for Wednesday, February 15th. The hearing represents the beginning stages of developing the next farm bill and follows through on House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s comments in regards to continuing discussions on the next farm bill. The Chairman is also seeking floor time in front of the full U.S. House for the farm bill later this year, if the legislative schedule allows. The hearing comes just a week before the first field hearing held by the Senate Agriculture Committee, which will hold a hearing February 23rd in Manhattan, Kansas.


Strong Finish for 2016 Red Meat Exports, New Volume Record for Pork

Pork exports in 2016 reached record volume levels while pork and beef exports overall finished the year strong. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says beef and pork exports finished the year with strong December results. Pork export volume reached a record 2.31 million metric tons in 2016, up eight percent year-over-year, and two percent above the previous high in 2012. Export value increased seven percent from a year ago, to $5.94 billion. December pork exports totaled 222,000-some million metric tons, up 18 percent year-over-year, valued at $564.2 million, up 20 percent. Beef exports increased 11 percent in volume to 1.19 million metric tons and one percent in value to $6.34 billion from 2015. December exports totaled more than 116,000 million metric tons, up 24 percent year-over-year. This was the largest monthly volume since July 2013 and the largest ever for December. Export value was $619.1 million in December, up 22 percent. Overall, exports accounted for 25.8 percent of total U.S. pork production and 13.7 percent of total U.SA. beef production in 2016.


NCBA, Public Lands Council Applaud House Passage of BLM Planning Rule Repeal

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council celebrated U.S. House passage of a resolution that would repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 Rule. Calling the passage, a “huge victory” for U.S. ranchers, NCBA and PLC urged the Senate to quickly follow suit. The Bureau of Land Management says the rule would make for better management of public lands. However, Public Lands Council executive director Ethan Lane says the rule represents a shift in management focus by prioritizing “social and environmental change” over ensuring multiple-use of public lands, and by eliminating stakeholder and local input into the planning process. The Obama Administration finalized the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule in December. Under the Congressional Review Act, the U.S. House and Senate have up to 60 legislative days after a new rule becomes final to approve a joint resolution of disapproval, which will fully repeal the final rule if and when the resolution becomes law.


Ag Groups Urge Trump to Address China Trade Tariffs on Ethanol, DDGS

The U.S. Grains Council, along with the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, are asking for help in addressing China’s recent implementation of protectionist trade barriers that are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains. Specifically, the three groups are asking the incoming U.S. Trade Representative to put China’s recent actions near the top of the administration’s China trade agenda. Last September, China imposed a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 33.8 percent against U.S. DDGS and a countervailing duty of 10 to 10.7 percent. In a final ruling last month, China increased its DDGS anti-dumping duty to 42.2 to 53.7 percent and its DDGS countervailing duty to 11.2 to 12 percent. Additionally, the tariffs on U.S. ethanol have increased from five percent to 30 to 40 percent. The letter written to President Donald Trump states: “It is widely believed that raising these tariffs will put an immediate end to ethanol exports to China.” The groups ask the tariff rates be included in any potential upcoming trade negotiations with China.


EPA Confirmation Vote on the Horizon

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, expects the Full Senate to consider Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency Next week. Though the schedule for the week has yet to be released by the Senate Majority Leader, Carper told Politico he expects the vote next week and that he would push Democrats to hold the floor overnight in opposition to Pruitt’s nomination, as they did for Betsy DeVos’ nomination for Education secretary. However, following the all-night escapade, Devos was later confirmed by the Senate. Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman, expressed confidence the Oklahoma attorney general would make it through, predicting “some Democrats” would ultimately back Pruitt.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service