READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 9th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 9th

Perdue Continues Midwest Outreach

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue over the weekend continued his outreach to the Midwest as he completed his second week on the job. The former Georgia Governor met with farmers in Iowa Friday, then toured flooded-out areas of Arkansas over the weekend. Perdue was slated to give his first major farm policy speech in Iowa Friday. But, noting that his staff had written him a 17-page speech, Perdue asked the crowd, “Would you rather have me do that or talk from my heart?” His message was similar to the message he delivered to farmers a week prior in Kansas City, Missouri. He did pledge support for the Renewable Fuel Standard and beef exports. While touring flooded areas of Arkansas on Sunday, the Agriculture Secretary said: “We’ll do everything in our power” to help farmers impacted by the flooding.


Roberts Suggests no New Farm Bill Funding

Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee indicated there would be no additional money to spend in the next farm bill while touting the cost savings from the most recent farm bill. During a farm bill field hearing in Michigan over the weekend, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said: “The reality is we are going to have to do more with less.” Farm groups have said there should be additional resources for the next farm bill and the House Agriculture Committee has said there should be “budget flexibility” to develop the next bill, according to the Hagstrom Report. Roberts noted that “times are tough in farm country,” while mentioning the credit situation and commodity prices, along with overregulation burdens.  Despite his sympathy for farmers and ranchers, Roberts said during the hearing that the federal debt totals $19 trillion, adding “we can’t go on like this.” In an opening statement, Ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow noted that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the 2014 farm bill will save $80 billion more than expected and that 500 groups have said there should be no additional cuts.


Canada, Mexico, Eyeing Trade Markets Beyond U.S.

Mexico and Canada both are eying new trade partners as trade rhetoric and threats from the U.S. are growing trade-related concerns between the three countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement members, Canada and Mexico, are considering non-U.S. markets, including China, to grow their economies in the future. The moves come as President Donald Trump promises a renegotiation of NAFTA, calling it a bad trade agreement for the United States. Metro News of Toronto, Canada, reports officials from Mexico and Canada met last week to discuss trade moving forward with NAFTA renegotiations. The talks of renegotiation are causing a great deal of uncertainty for Canada and Mexico, who are looking to diversify trade to curb the uncertainty. Once the Trump administration gives its official notice to Congress, it triggers 90 days of discussion with industry and lawmakers before it can officially start trade talks.


Ag Export Groups Support CREAATE Act

Members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development welcomed introduction of House Resolution 2321 last week, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act. The Act was introduced by Washington-State Republican Representative Dan Newhouse and Maine Democratic Representative Chellie (Shell-lee) Pingree. The coalitions say the Act captures the “undeniable truth that international trade is crucial to America’s agricultural and rural economies,” and that expanding the Market Access Program, or MAP, and Foreign Market Development program, or FMD, will “provide the U.S. agricultural community with the tools needed to retain its edge in an increasingly competitive global economy.” The Act calls for phasing in additional annual funding for MAP to $400 million in fiscal year 2023, and additional annual funding for FMD to $69 million in fiscal year 2023.


Georgia Lawmakers Ask Perdue to Ditch GIPSA Rules

A group of lawmakers from Georgia is pitching an idea to scrap some GIPSA rules to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia Governor. A group of 10 members of Congress from Georgia has sent a letter to Perdue urging the Secretary to withdraw two proposed rules under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. The lawmakers say the rules, currently again under review at the Department of Agriculture, would cost Georgia’s poultry industry billions of dollars. The lawmakers say: “Rescinding the rules would allow livestock and poultry producers to market their animals how, when and where they want to without GIPSA dictating the transactions.” Under the Donald Trump administration, USDA delayed the effective date for the GIPSA farmer fair practices rule, and others, until October of this year, while also announcing another comment period for the rules. Shortly after his confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Secretary Perdue promised a “thorough review” of last-minute rules, including the GIPSA changes, finalized by the Obama administration.


Bayer to Sell Liberty Crop Protection to Gain Monsanto Takeover Approval

Bayer will sell its Liberty and Libertylink-branded seeds business to gain antitrust approval for its acquisition of Monsanto. Reuters reports the divestment of the two global brands, a requirement imposed by South Africa’s Competition Commission on Sunday, will account for the bulk of asset sales worth about $2.5 billion which is needed to satisfy competition regulators looking at the $66 billion Monsanto deal. The planned divestitures are also widely expected to be required by competition regulators in larger jurisdictions, such as the United States and the European Union. Liberty products are recognized as an alternative to Roundup Ready crops. Bayer’s CEO last month said he expects the acquisition to be final by the end of this year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service