READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 20th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 20th

U.S. Exports to Mexico Stumble

As the Unites States plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have declined over the first few months of 2017. The Wall Street Journal reports that Mexican imports of U.S. soybean meal dropped 15 percent, the first decline in four years. Meanwhile, chicken exports to Mexico where down 11 percent, the biggest decline since 2003. Finally, U.S. corn exports to Mexico dropped six percent. Mexico is the largest export market for soybean meal, chicken and corn for the United States. The Wall Street Journal attributed the declines to friction between Mexico and the U.S. from NAFTA renegotiations, as Mexico is moving to reduce its reliance on the U.S. for commodities. The declines also come as U.S. farmers deal with low commodity prices and excess supply that has reduced farm income over the last few years.

New Zealand, U.S. Bilateral Trade Talks Far Off

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English says bilateral trade talks between New Zealand and the U.S. are not likely anytime soon. His comments follow meetings between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay last week. English says that given how the U.S. has framed trade policy as largely benefiting the U.S., that it “would be quite difficult to get an agreement that would benefit” New Zealand. However, during the meetings last week, McClay did express a mutual concern over Canada’s dairy trade provisions, a sticking point for the United States heading into North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations this fall. However, it’s not likely to be addressed in a new NAFTA, according to trade experts. Last year New Zealand exports to the U.S. were valued at $5.6 billion, and imports from the U.S. were valued at $5.7 billion. The U.S. is the biggest market for beef and wine from New Zealand, and the nation’s second-largest dairy market.

White House Names Ag Trade Negotiator Nominee

President Donald Trump is nominating a former Senate Agriculture Committee aide and agriculture industry economist as the chief agricultural negotiator from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. The White House confirmed Gregg Doud (Dowd) as the nominee. Doud is currently the president of the Commodity Markets Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association. He worked for the Senate Agriculture Committee between 2011 and 2013, and worked for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as an economist for eight years, according to Agri-Pulse. The American Farm Bureau Federation calls Doud “experienced in all levels of agricultural policy and economics.” If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the Kansas native will take the post previously held by Darci Vetter in the Obama administration.

Perdue Hosting Mexico, Canada Counterparts in Georgia

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Tuesday is playing host to his counterparts from Mexico and Canada in Perdue’s home state. Canada’s Trade Minister and Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture will join Perdue for a tour of the Georgia Ports Authority and a farm tour. The trilateral meeting is the first time the three will hold meetings since President Donald Trump triggered renegotiation efforts of the North American Free Trade Agreement. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, also from Georgia, called the meetings encouraging and a way to build a deeper level of understanding of trade between the three nations. NAFTA has created opportunities for agricultural trade for U.S. farmers with Canada and Mexico, and Duvall encouraged Secretary Perdue to use the meeting to “identify areas to further improve agricultural trade with our neighbors.”

Mexico Adopts E-10 Fuels

Mexico will allow 10 percent ethanol blends of fuel, according to a recent announcement by the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission. The announcement modifies standards for fuel blending from a maximum amount of ethanol at 5.8 percent to the 10 percent level. The change comes as part of ongoing energy reforms in Mexico and follows input from stakeholders in the government, private sector, research scientists and social interest groups. Mexico’s regulators moved in August 2016 to allow ethanol in local fuel supplies, except in its three largest metropolitan areas. U.S. grain and ethanol groups applauded the move to allow E10 fuels in Mexico. The U.S. Grains Council and Growth Energy called the decision encouraging. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the move puts Mexico in line with standards in the U.S. and Canada, and will “help to drive trade and investment” in Mexico’s fuel sector.

State of Emergency Declared in South Dakota Over Drought

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (do-guard) has declared a statewide emergency because of the ongoing drought conditions in the state. As part of the State of Emergency, the state will ease haying and transportation restrictions to assist agriculture producers. The Governor says the drought has hurt hay production in much of the state, making producers scramble to keep livestock fed. Effective immediately, farmers and ranchers across the state may cut and bale state highway ditches adjacent to their property. South Dakota and North Dakota farmers and ranchers have been struggling with drought conditions this season, as some are forced to sell their herds of cattle. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows prolonged drought conditions, included severe drought, in parts of both states, along with parts of Montana and northern Minnesota.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service