READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 24th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 24th

Canada, Mexico Want All NAFTA Partners at Renegotiation Table

Senior officials from Canada and Mexico say renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement will happen with all nations at the table. The trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is being targeted by President Donald Trump for “tweaking.” Trump has indicated he may pursue individual trade agreements with both Canada and Mexico. However, the two nations said this week any renegotiations should include all three involved nations. Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland says “we very much recognize that NAFTA is a three-country agreement.” Leaders from Mexico say the deal is a “three partners conversation,” and will continue to be, according to Politico. Freeland said any formal launch of trade talks are still far away. She says Canada’s priority right now is to make clear to U.S. administration officials and lawmakers the value of Canada as a trading partner.


House Agriculture Subcommittee’s Plan Farm Bill Hearings

The House Agriculture Committee has scheduled two subcommittee hearings on the next farm bill next week. The Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry will hold a public hearing next Tuesday morning regarding conservation policy in the next farm bill. That afternoon, the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture will hold a public hearing regarding international market development and the next farm bill. The hearings follow a full House Agriculture Committee pre-farm bill hearing last week, and a Senate field hearing this week. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, a Texas Republican, earlier this month called for a different farm bill approach than 2014, deciding program needs first, before proposing budget cuts. Conaway noted real 2014 farm bill savings were $100 billion, not the $23 billion claimed at the time.


Trump Pledges Support of the Renewable Fuel Standard

President Donald Trump penned a letter this week reiterating his support for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Renewable Fuels Association released the letter during the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego, California. Trump told the ethanol industry in the letter that “your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy.” RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen thanked Trump for reaffirming his support, which has been in question because Trump appointed former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Hagstrom Report. Pruitt has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, but has upheld that he will enforce the RFS as per the laws set by Congress.


Bayer CEO Confident Monsanto Deal Will Close by Years’ End

Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann says he expects the Bayer-Monsanto deal will close by the end of this year. Bauman says he is confident the planned $57 billion acquisition of Monsanto would overcome any regulatory obstacles and close by the end of the year, despite delays with U.S. and European antitrust authorities, according to a report by Dow Jones. Bauman made the comments during Bayer’s annual earnings conference. Bayer filed for approval with the Justice Department for the agreement at the end of last year, but has put off filing for regulatory approval with the European Commission until the second quarter of this year. The delay, according to Bayer, follows a request by officials for new documents regarding the transaction. The merger would create the world’s top supplier by sales of both seeds and pesticides, creating a “one-stop solution for farmers” that regulators could see as undermining competition. However, President Donald Trump has touted the deal because of Bayer’s commitment to creating new jobs in the United States.

Bird Flu Strain Becoming More Severe in China

China reported this week the nation is assessing a new strain of avian influenza, H7N9, which officials report has evolved into a more severe form in birds. The outbreak of the more severe strain is localized in a single province in China, but given the livestock production within the nation, Chinese officials report preventing the spread of the new strain would be difficult, according to Reuters. Until now, the H7N9 virus has shown little or no clinical symptoms in birds, despite being highly pathogenic when it infects humans. 304 human infections were reported over the last month in China. The World Health Organization said this week China has detected an evolution in the virus that is capable of causing severe disease in poultry and requires close monitoring.  Animal health experts say bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus in humans is hard to detect in chickens and geese.


Animal Health Market Forecasted to Reach $58 Billion by 2025

A new report projects the animal health market will be worth $58.5 billion by 2025. Grand View Research reports the market is driven by technological advancements in veterinary care, which are anticipated to serve future growth opportunities to the market. The research agency says the advanced work of identifying emerging animal health issues in developing economies provides a high growth potential in the future. The report also found that vaccines are expected to exhibit lucrative growth rates during the forecast period. The report also says the companion animal segment, or pets, is anticipated to grow at an exponential rate, owing its success as a consequence of associated health benefits for humans, which includes lower blood pressure, greater psychological stability, and reduced anxiety attacks.


SOURCE: NAFB News Service