READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 1st

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 1st

Most Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Find Milk Buyers

It appears most Wisconsin dairy farmers caught up in the trade dispute with Canada have found new buyers for their milk. This good news allows them to stay in business and literally comes days before they may have had to shut their doors for good. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says 58 farms had been in danger of closing. The farm sizes ranged from 80 cows to as high as 3,000. Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood, Wisconsin, had said this Monday, May 1, was the date it would stop buying milk from those producers. Greenwood says a trade dispute with Canada had cost the company millions of dollars. Canada recently changed its milk-buying arrangements to favor Canadian producers at the expense of U.S. dairy farmers. As of Thursday (April 27), dairy farmers close to the situation tell the Journal-Sentinel that it appears all the farmers who lost their contracts with Grassland now will have buyers by Monday, even though some may be on short-term contracts. Some of the new buyers come from Wisconsin-based companies like Rolling Hills Dairy Cooperative and Mullins Cheese, as well as Dairy Farmers of America.

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Trump Threatens to Terminate ‘KORUS’

In a recent interview, President Donald Trump threatened to terminate a trade agreement with South Korea, which he referred to as a “horrible deal that’s left America destroyed.” A Washington Post article says Trump sharply criticized the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea, known as “KORUS,” which was most recently ratified in 2011. “It’s a Hillary Clinton disaster, a deal that should never have been made,” Trump said, “it’s a one-way street.” South Korea is the sixth-largest trading partner with the U.S. However, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says America’s trade deficit with Korea was $27.7 billion last year. The week of May first marks an anniversary for the trade deal, which triggers a review period that could lead to renegotiation or termination of the deal by either side. The president says the process to terminate KORUS is much simpler than the process for NAFTA. “With NAFTA, if we terminate tomorrow, it ends in six months.” Trump says, “With KORUS if we terminate, it’s over.” South Korea’s Trade Ministry told the Associated Press it has no plans to renegotiate the deal.

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Farmer Opinions on Trump’s First 100-Days

A new Farm Journal poll offers farmer perspective on Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. In fact, Farm Journal has tracked farmer opinions on Trump since 2015. Several polls conducted in 2015 and 2016 showed Trump was the clear favorite candidate within the ag sector. The most recent Farm Journal poll wanted to know if farmers were still happy with their choice after his first 100 days in office. The results of the new poll show that farmers still seem to be happy with their choice. 43 percent of the respondents give Trump an A grade on his first 100 days, while another 30 percent would give him a B. 12 percent gave Trump a C grade, while 15 percent would give a D or F. Trump’s first 100 days have been active, assembling a cabinet, signing more than 30 executive orders, and signing 28 pieces of legislation into law. There are several items on Trump’s to-do list that will impact farmers. They include infrastructure upgrades, immigration reform, tax cuts, and renegotiating trade agreements. Trump’s approval rating outside agriculture is much lower, right at 39 percent.

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Perdue Convinces Trump not to Terminate NAFTA

The new Secretary of Agriculture played a big part in convicing President Trump to not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He had a little help from the Secretary of Commerce in doing so. Daily Caller Dot Com reports that just days after taking office, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue persuaded the President to change his mind after reports surfaced that an Executive Order was being prepared to withdraw the country from NAFTA. Perdue, with help from Secretary Ross, showed Trump a map of the many different regions that would be hit hard if America withdrew from NAFTA. Many of those areas included rural parts of the country that voted overwhelmingly to help get Trump elected President last year. During a recent speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Trump said, “NAFTA has been very, very bad for our country.” As recent as this week, he ramped up the anti-NAFTA rhetoric, saying, “I was all set to terminate as of Thursday.” Sources say he changed his mind shortly after looking at the map. After speaking with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, Trump announced the U.S. will renegotiate the agreement rather than leave it entirely.

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Florida Teacher Calls Ag Students “Murderers”

A Florida teacher is on the verge of losing his job after bullying and harassing FFA students that were raising livestock to be sold for slaughter. An Associated Press article says Thomas Allison, Jr., who teaches middle school at the Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks, has been placed on unpaid leave. A Marion County School District letter documenting the case notes that he called students who are raising livestock “murderers.” Superintendent of Schools Heidi Maier has written a recommendation of termination. The recommendation states that Allison, “has engaged in a repeated, egregious pattern of mistreating, ridiculing, insulting, intimidating, embarrassing bullying and abusing FFA students, crushing their dreams and causing them to feel that they must discontinue FFA activities to enjoy a peaceful school environment.” A local newspaper reported that Allison is accused of harassing the FFA group’s teacher/adviser, as well as encouraging his honors science students to harass FFA members. A direct investigation says Allison is on a mission to eradicate the animal agriculture program because of his animal rights beliefs. Allison adds that he won’t stop speaking up against animal agriculture and will fight for his job at an upcoming hearing before the school board.

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Tight Fuel Ethanol Supplies in Brazil Boost U.S. Exports

U.S. Fuel Ethanol exports are up sharply in the current marketing year, thanks in part to tighter fuel supplies in Brazil, which are resulting in higher U.S. imports. The change can be traced to an increase in the price of sugar in Brazil, which comes from stronger export demand for Brazilian sugar products. As a result of that higher demand, the country’s sugarcane refiners have shifted away from fuel ethanol and put most of their processing capacity toward sugar. Brazil has a mandate of 27 percent ethanol inclusion into gasoline, so the decline in output has left fuel providers short on supplies. The shortfall in Brazil has led to an increase in ethanol imports from America, where corn is much more abundant. U.S. shipments of ethanol to Brazil first began to rise in October of 2016. From October 2016 through February 2017, fuel ethanol shipments to Brazil surged 547 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier. In addition, U.S. shipments to the world rose 65 percent, and exports to Canada, also a major buyer, rose by 57 percent. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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