READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 16th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 16th

USDA Political Appointment Nominees Coming Soon

The White House is close to announcing nominees for political appointments within the Department of Agriculture, as reported by Agri-Pulse. Rumored for the number two spot at USDA, Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association, is expected to be nominated for the USDA deputy secretary position. Current Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is expected to receive the nominee for a nearly created post as undersecretary for farm production and conservation. Northey said on Facebook: “I love my job as Iowa secretary of agriculture and I am anxious to support the President, Secretary Perdue and USDA’s mission in whatever role I am in — either within USDA or outside.” Indiana Agriculture Department Director Ted McKinney is expected to be nominated as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Finally, Sam Clovis, who has served on the USDA transition team is being considered as the next undersecretary for research, education, and economics.

Mexico Officials Visiting U.S. This Week to Talk Trade

With U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s swearing-in Monday, a group of trade officials from Mexico plan to travel to the U.S. to begin working on trade issues between the two countries. U.S. News and World Report says Luis Videgaray (loo-eece Vee-duh-gur-rye), Mexico’s Foreign Minister, will travel with other high ranking officials from Mexico to the U.S. as the two countries seek to end a dispute over sugar exports and prepare for talks over renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico’s Foreign Minister said last week of the vote to confirm Lighthizer: “For us, it’s good news that the process is closer to starting.” He says Mexico is ready to enter “a serious negotiation” with the United States.

Cargill: Grain Glut to Last

Cargill expects international grain markets to remain oversupplied. The company’s CEO told Reuters recently that the oversupply will remain “for a long time” due to bountiful harvests and an increase of crops in storage. Global corn, wheat and soybean inventories have increased over the last four years in the longest stretch of gains since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, world grain and oilseed stocks are up 48 percent since 2012, compared with production growth of 18 percent and consumption growth of 17 percent over the same period. Cargill CEO David MacLennan added: “I don’t see the clearing of excess supply or much volatility to up commodity and grain prices in the near future.”

Study: U.S. Meat Sales to Reach $100 Billion

A new report projects that demand for meat and poultry will continue to drive sales in the U.S., helping total retail sales reach $100 billion by 2021. The report by market research firm Packaged Facts says meat and poultry products are consumer favorites, food industry mainstays and protein powerhouses, all factors that will keep the U.S. animal protein industry growing. The Meat and Poultry: U.S. Retail Market Trends and Opportunities report examined the current and predicted U.S. retail market for meat and poultry products. The report says that due to its higher price point, meat will dominate dollar sales despite still trailing poultry in per-capita consumption volume. Meat substitutes will account for less than $2 billion of the projected total.

Perdue Issues Statement on Disaster Assistance for Farmers

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a reminder to farmers and ranchers Monday affected by the recent severe storms and flooding of assistance options that are available by the Department of Agriculture. USDA has several programs that provide assistance before, during and after disasters. Perdue says USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are ready to help. Perdue says: “USDA has people on the ground, in every county, who can help you.” Available programs can assist with property and shelter, food safety, and crop and livestock losses. For complete details and eligibility requirements regarding USDA’s disaster assistance programs, Perdue urges farmers and ranchers to contact a local USDA Service Center.

Poll: No Boater Confusion at the Pump

A new survey claims boaters are confident when selecting fuels, including those that include ethanol. The report by CK Motorsports and Growth Energy released this week found 94 percent of boaters find it easy to pick the right fuel and are confident in their selection. The poll surveyed 500 boat owners about fuel selection. CK Motorsports said in a statement: “Critics of the ethanol industry often claim that offering higher ethanol blends would confuse boaters and cause misfuelling issues, but that is simply not the case.” 97 percent of the nation’s fuel supply is E10, meaning the fuel contains 10 percent ethanol. The survey points out that all current boat engines are warrantied for E10 and have been for nearly two decades. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the survey shows that “boaters appreciate that E10 is a high-performance.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service