06-21-17 ASI SheepCast: Farm Bill and Predator Control

ASI SheepCast: Farm Bill and Predator Control

The American Sheep Industry Association discusses the efforts this week on behalf of the nation’s 88,000 sheep producers. Top of mind is maintaining support for agricultural research in the upcoming farm bill and continued work toward ensuring producers have access to effective predator control through USDA Wildlife Services.


06-21-17 NAWG Responds to Senate Finance Hearing Examining the Administration’s Top Trade Priorities

NAWG - wheat_logoNAWG Responds to Senate Finance Hearing Examining the Administration’s Top Trade Priorities

Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2017) – Today, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing to discuss the Administration’s trade agenda and its FY18 Budget Request for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Members heard testimony from USTR Robert Lighthizer who spoke on the Administration’s top trade priorities and defended the Administration’s FY18 Budget Request.

NAWG President David Schemm submitted written testimony for the record and made the following statement:

“With the United States exporting around 50% of its wheat, trade is a top priority for U.S. wheat farmers. In fact, U.S. 2017/18 wheat exports are expected to reach 27.2 MMT, down 1% from 2016/17 but still 9% above the five-year average. Continue reading

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 21st

NAFTA Ag Officials Pledge Open Markets

Agriculture officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico in a joint statement Tuesday announced a shared commitment to keeping markets open and transparent. The trio of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Mexico’s Agriculture Secretary and Canada’s Agriculture Minister, released the statement after meeting Tuesday in Georgia. The officials met to talk trade issues ahead of the U.S. led renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The statement said that the meeting “fostered the mutual understanding and personal relationships that will help North American agriculture thrive.” There was no offer on specific topics, but Bloomberg speculated earlier in the week that dairy and sugar trade issues were sure to be topping the list for Perdue. Canada remains committed to its supply management system for dairy, of which Perdue previously said “the supply has to be managed,” adding that Canada has “created a glut on the market.” Canada does not seem willing though to make changes to its system through NAFTA renegotiations.

U.S., U.K to Explore Trade Agreement

The United States and the United Kingdom are set to explore a potential trade deal following a meeting of trade officials. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with his British counterpart this week to discuss the groundwork for a potential bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K., according to Politico. However, any deal with the U.K. cannot be negotiated until Britain completes its exit from the European Union in early to mid-2019. But, working groups from the two can lay groundwork for a potential agreement before the exit. U.S. Commence Secretary Wilber Ross has said that the United States has made clear it is prepared to launch talks as soon as the U.K. is readyIN 2014, the U.K. was reported to rely on the EU for 27 percent of its food imports. Just four percent of food items in the U.K. originated from North America, and 54 percent of food consumed in the U.K., originated in the U.K., according to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Farmers File Lawsuit Against USDA over COOL

R-CALF this week filed a lawsuit with the Cattle Producers of Washington against the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding Country-of-Origin labeling, or COOL, for beef and pork. The suit alleges that USDA regulations that allow beef and pork to be classified as “domestic products,” even when those meat products are imported from other countries, confuse consumers and harm American farmers. U.S. COOL laws for meat were overturned by Congress in 2015 after the World Trade Organization granted retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. Under current USDA rules, however, multinational companies can sell meat raised and slaughtered abroad with a “Product of USA” label alongside domestic products raised by U.S. ranchers, according to the lawsuit. An attorney for the groups’ says “consumers understandably want to know where their food comes from,” adding that COOL would help consumers make informed choices, and be a boon for U.S. cattle ranchers.

Arkansas Farmers Suing Monsanto, BASF over Dicamba

A group of Arkansas farmers are suing Monsanto and BASF over dicamba-based herbicide spray drift that kill neighboring crops not tolerant to dicamba. The lawsuit comes as Arkansas is considering a temporary ban on dicamba use in the state. The lawsuit filed last week claims Monsanto and BASF implemented and controlled the dicamba crop system, releasing seed technology without a corresponding, safe, and approved herbicide. The farmers allege that Monsanto and BASF sold the dicamba crop system while knowing it could wipe out crops, fruits and trees that are not dicamba tolerant. The farmers claim that those who do not plant dicamba tolerant crops are left with no protection from the herbicide. Arkansas is investigating more than 100 dicamba drift complaints this year.

Swedberg Named to Farm Foundation Board

Retired Hormel Foods executive Joe Swedberg will lead the Farm Foundation board of directors. Swedberg was reelected earlier this month to serve on Farm Foundation’s board of directors and chair the organization’s board of trustees. Farm Foundation is an agricultural policy institute founded in 1933. The Foundation works to bring stakeholders together to discuss evolving issues, explore options to address those issues and understand the potential consequences of all options. The board of trustees includes other retired and current industry executives from companies such as Dupont, BASF and Deere & Company. Swedberg retired from Hormel Foods in 2015 after serving as the Hormel’s vice president of legislative affairs.

Brazil Suing Former JBS Chairman

Brazil’s President is suing the former JBS board chairman and majority shareholder. President Michel Temer (Mee’-shell Tuh-mehr’) filed two lawsuits this week against Joesley Batista for slander and moral damages, after Batista was quoted in an interview saying Temer is “the head of the most dangerous criminal organization in Brazil.” Batista gave details in a magazine interview of the bribery scheme with Brazilian politicians, in which he said Temer would request money for campaigns and allied politicians, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. However, President Temer says “his lies will be proven.” J&F, the company controlling JBS and owned by the Batista family, closed a plea bargain deal with Brazilian prosecutors to settle corruption charges earlier this month. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service