READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 26th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 26th

Experts Expect Down Farm Economy to Continue

A financial expert forecasted to lawmakers Thursday the current agriculture economic conditions will continue. During a Senate Agriculture Committee on the rural economy, Nathan Kauffman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City informed the committee that a farm crisis does not appear imminent, but there are still risks that could lead to more widespread challenges in the coming years. He noted the downturn began in 2013 during a sharp drop in commodity prices that has lingered. He says reduced profitability in agriculture has gradually intensified the level of financial stress among farm borrowers. Kauffman expects the trends to continue in the near term as global supplies are likely to continue to weigh on agricultural commodity prices and profit margins.

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Top Senate Ag Democrat Releases Trump Budget Fact Sheet

A fact sheet released by the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Ranking Democrat highlights the expected impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget on agriculture. The fact sheet claims that President Trump is “turning his back on rural America.” Released by Senate Democrat Debbie Stabenow’s office, the fact sheet says cuts included in the proposal to crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, hurts farmers and families. She says other cuts to conservation programs also harm land and water resources. The budget proposal would cut $29 billion from crop insurance while laying off 5,200 Agriculture Department employees. The budget would also cut $193 billion from SNAP and eliminate some conservation programs. The fact sheet by Senator Stabenow’s office says “this budget would make a five-year farm bill impossible to pass.”

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NPPC White Paper Details Benefits Of NAFTA

New documents released by the National Pork Producers Council Thursday show the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement to the U.S., Canada and Mexico. NPPC released a white paper that focuses primarily on trade with Mexico and makes the case for not abandoning the 23-year-old pact. The paper also argues for not disrupting trade in sectors for which the agreement has worked well, including U.S. pork. Mexico is the number two export market for U.S. pork, and Canada is number four. For all U.S. goods and services, Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 14 million American jobs. For U.S. agriculture, Canada and Mexico are the second and third largest foreign markets. They imported more than $38 billion of U.S. products in 2016, or 28 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. Those exports generated more than $48 billion in additional business activity throughout the economy and supported nearly 287,000 jobs.

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NAFTA a Success Story for Agriculture

A farmer from Nebraska says the North American Free Trade Agreement is a success story for U.S. agriculture, and warns of the risks involved in renegotiation. In a letter published by the New York Times, Alan Tiemann writes that NAFTA has tremendously benefited U.S. agriculture. Tiemann, a past U.S. Grains Council Chairman, recalled a delegation of Mexican buyers who recently visited Nebraska and Washington, D.C. He says: “Throughout this visit, the message was clear: the Mexican market has demand for quality ag products and want to continue buying from the U.S., but they will look elsewhere should free trade no longer be an option.” Mexico recently inked a deal with Brazil and is expected to import a record amount of corn from Brazil, according to Tiemann. He says since the inception of NAFTA, U.S. ag exports to Canada and Mexico tripled and quintupled respectively. Noting concerns of the renegotiation of NAFTA, Tiemann says farmers “look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure we maintain and build upon our established partnership with Mexico.”

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Perdue Echoes Vilsack on Cottonseed Declaration

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week echoed his predecessor, telling U.S. House lawmakers the Department of Agriculture does not have the authority to declare cottonseed as an oilseed. Perdue carried the same message former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered to lawmakers on the issue, as advised by USDA lawyers. Perdue was asked about the issue during a House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. He said he knew Vilsack “wrestled with that” and added, he is “getting the same legal advice from the general counsel now,” according to the Hagstrom Report. The National Cotton Council and Southern members of Congress have asked both Vilsack and Perdue to declare cottonseed an oilseed so that it would be eligible for oilseed subsidies.

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Corn Replant Expected to reach “Historic” Levels

Seed industry leaders are expecting corn replant rates this year to reach historic levels. Ryan Parkin of Beck’s Hybrids told DTN-The Progressive Farmer “this will be a historic replant year, particularly for corn.” Many seed companies say the year ranks first or second in company history for replant demand. Spring rains were far too abundant, leaving fields across the Midwest flooded out and chilled, and plants struggling to emerge. The areas with the most replant demand so far are Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and parts of the Great Lakes states, Iowa and Kentucky, according to multiple seed companies. Some farmers are even calling seed dealers for their second replant of the year, after flooded fields in parts of Illinois and Indiana were hit by another ill-timed mid-May storm.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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