READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 12th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 12th

USDA Releases Latest WASDE Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand estimates report released Friday offered no changes to U.S. corn ending stocks and increased the ending stocks estimate for soybeans. USDA increased soybean ending stocks for new-crop soybeans to 495 million bushels, up from 480 million last month, and left new-crop corn ending stocks unchanged at 2.1 billion bushels. The season average corn price estimate received by producers is unchanged from last month at $3.00 to $3.80 per bushel. The season-average price for soybeans was forecasted at $8.30 to $10.30 per bushel, and the season-average farm price for wheat is projected at $3.90 to $4.70 per bushel, up five cents from the latest report. USDA will release its U.S. acreage and grain stocks reports on June 30th.

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U.S. Ag Machinery Industry Says NAFTA Could Use Changes

New surveys by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the Equipment Dealers Association show modest satisfaction with the current North American Free Trade Agreement, but a suggestion that there is room for improvement. Survey results revealed that 36 percent of equipment dealers and 59 percent of manufacturers are largely satisfied with the existing terms of NAFTA, but that some small changes were needed. Equipment dealers expressed concern that the U.S. was shouldering too much of the cost under NAFTA and that Mexico was benefiting from more favorable terms. The two groups also analyzed the differences in data collected from their U.S. and Canadian members. Both dealers and manufacturers in Canada had more positive views of trade than their U.S. counterparts. For example, 80 percent of Canadian equipment dealers and over 50 percent of Canadian manufacturers surveyed were satisfied with the terms of NAFTA.

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EU Seeks to Expand Trade with Mexico

The European Union is seeking to expand its trade relationship with Mexico. Under the current trade agreement between the EU and Mexico, the EU’s most active trading sectors with Mexico are machinery and car parts. The current agreement was implemented in 2000. Politico reports that a renewed deal would also be a response to Trump’s aggressive trade stance against Mexico. “U.S. President Trump’s threats to impose punitive tariffs on imports from Mexico are piling the pressure to quickly diversify the trade,” according to a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who traveled to Mexico last week to push trade. An upgraded trade agreement, according to Politico, would feature food and agriculture products, such as bananas, avocados and tuna.

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Secretary Perdue to Testify Before Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will give testimony to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday. The subcommittee will hold a hearing on President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Michel Young, the Department of Agriculture budget officer who is also acting deputy secretary, and Robert Johansson, USDA’s chief economist, are scheduled to testify, according to the Hagstrom Report. The budget proposal would cut funding for trade promotion programs and eliminate more than 230 jobs geared toward boosting U.S. exports. These proposed cuts follow a promise from the Secretary that the administration would focus on expanding foreign market access to help farmers. The plan also proposes to cut $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next decade, and makes cuts to farm subsidies.

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Pace of Young, Beginning and Small Farmer Loans Slowing

In 2016, the pace of new lending to Young, Beginning and Small Farmers, or YBS loans, remained relatively flat, according to a new report by the Farm Credit Administration. Regarding dollar volume, the pace of these loans slightly exceeded the pace of overall farm lending by Farm Credit System institutions. In terms of loan numbers, the pace of YBS lending lagged slightly behind the pace of overall farm lending. From 2015 to 2016, the dollar volume of new loans made to small farmers rose 3.3 percent, while the dollar volume of new loans to young and beginning farmers declined by 1.9 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. However, since the dollar volume of the Farm Credit System’s overall farm lending declined by 5.4 percent in 2016, the proportion of the system’s dollar volume going to every YBS category actually increased slightly. On the other hand, all three YBS categories experienced slight declines in the number of loans made in 2016. In 2016, a total of 363,988 new farm loans were made, totaling $79.2 billion. The total outstanding farm loan numbers at year-end was just more than one million, amounting to $252.3 billion.

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Brazil State-controlled Bank Cuts Credit Lines to JBS SA

A state-controlled bank in Brazil has cut credit lines to meat processor JBS SA, following the plea bargain deal in which the company’s majority owner admitted paying bribes to Brazilian politicians. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the bank decided to review the conditions of JBS’ credit limit, and of a loan expiring in 2018. Reuters previously reported that the Brazilian government had ordered the bank not to refinance existing credit lines to J&F, the company controlling JBS. However, other state-controlled banks in Brazil are not planning to do the same. The move stems from a majority shareholder revealing in a plea bargain in April an apparent consent to bribe politicians. JBS signed a leniency deal to pay the equivalent of $3.15 billion in fines to settle the charges over corruption.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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