READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 5th…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 5th

Trump Talks Trade with South Korea

President Donald Trump met with the new President of South Korea on Friday and opened up the session with tough trade talk. An L.A. Times article says Trump announced he will be renegotiating a trade agreement with South Korea that’s already been in place for five years. The agreement is a co-legacy for both Presidents Bush and Obama and it had broad Congressional support when it was approved. At the same time Trump made the announcement, the U.S. is looking for help from South Korea to contain the nuclear threat from North Korea. Trump called it, “A rough deal for the United States, but I think it will be much different and will benefit both parties.” The South Korean President (Moon Jae-in) said nothing to give the impression that a renegotiation was already underway. He calls it a beneficial agreement to both countries while also saying the two countries can address specific concerns. Trump complained in the past about the trade deficit with South Korea, which totaled $17 billion dollars in 2016. While Trump wants to redo or even end the agreement, it’s important to remember that South Korea is the sixth-largest overseas trading partner for the U.S. The two countries traded more than $112 billion dollars worth of goods last year.


Arkansas Dicamba Ban Advances

Arkansas Governor Asa (Ay’-sah) Hutchinson said Friday he’s acted on a couple of proposed emergency rules he received through channels regarding the use of dicamba herbicide. In the first action, he’s sending a proposal on “Banning the Sale and Use of Dicamba” to the Legislative Council for review. If given the go-ahead, that measure would put a 120-day moratorium on any further use of dicamba over the top of row crops. The only dicamba herbicide currently allowed for use in Arkansas from April through September is BASF’s Engenia. There is an exemption written into the governor’s proposal for using the product on pastureland. Hutchinson expresses concern about banning the product during the growing season, but he also says the number of complaints justifies the action. Most recently, as of June 23rd there were 507 separate complaints about dicamba misuse filed in 12 Arkansas counties. The governor also instructed the state’s Plant Board and Ag Department to form a task force to review dicamba technology, to investigate the use of dicamba, and come up with a long-term strategy for Arkansas. Governor Hutchinson also announced he’s approving the endorsement of a proposal calling for stiffer penalties in cases of dicamba misuse.


Sugar Deal Sparks Twitter Debate

One of the less incendiary tweets sent out last week by President Trump had to do with the American sugar industry, making corn and sugar lobbyists happy. Trump tweeted, “New sugar deal negotiated with Mexico is a good one for both Mexico and the U.S. Had no deal for many years, which hurt U.S. badly.” The deal announced last month addresses long-term complaints that many in the American sugar industry had regarding unfair trade practices by Mexico. However, Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says many conservative voices spoke out against the deal. Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey tweeted back at Trump, saying, “I disagree – the new sugar deal hikes prices for consumers even more.” However, the sugar and corn refining groups side with Trump regarding the deal. “America’s sugar producers thank President Trump and his team for defending U.S. jobs, supporting America’s sugar farmers, and holding Mexico accountable for breaking U.S. trade law,” says Phillip Hayes, spokesman for the American Sugar Alliance. John Bode, President and Chief Executive for the Corn Refiners Association, says the deal strengthens protections for U.S. sugar while also protecting U.S. corn sweetener exports, as well as the 4,000 jobs those exports support.


41 PEDV Sites Confirmed in Manitoba

The Manitoba Pork Council confirms 41 sites in the province have tested positive in a Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus outbreak. The southeast part of the province is where the outbreak is centered. A National Hog Farmer Dot Com article says officials have confirmed PEDV on 18 operations representing over 54,000 sows. It’s also been confirmed on seven nurseries representing over 126,000 nursery spaces and 16 feeder operations representing over 99,000 feeder spaces. Manitoba’s Office of the Chief Veterinarian is working with Manitoba Pork provide guidance, support, and all resources pork producers need to help manage their way through the outbreak. The article stresses it’s important for pork producers in any country to stay vigilant regarding biosecurity protocols in order to protect the health of their herds. Any concerns about keeping herds healthy should be discussed immediately with a local veterinarian.


Rural Broadband Improvements will be Costly

The president promised to improve broadband service to rural areas as part of his nationwide infrastructure plan. Bloomberg says it would take roughly $80 billion to expand broadband to all rural areas in America that need it. However, Trump’s most recent spending proposals only set aside $25 million over the next ten years on rural infrastructure needs. Only 55 percent of rural residents have access to broadband with speeds faster than 25 megabits per second, which is the government’s standard for adequate service. That compares with 94 percent in urban areas across the country. Advocates say increasing broadband access is necessary for improving economic growth. For example, farm equipment now comes with the ability to remotely troubleshoot problems no matter where you are in the country. However, farmers need the right bandwidth available to make that happen. Farmers also can’t access the real-time data they need to make their operations more efficient. “Without it, you’re asking farmers and ranchers to run a viable business without modern technology,” says R.J. Karney, Director of Congressional Relations with the American Farm Bureau.


Summer Grilling is Still Affordable

Entertaining for a Fourth of July cookout is still affordable as all-American favorites are a bargain. So says the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Farm Bureau priced the average cost for a summer cookout for ten people. The menu included hot dogs, hamburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, watermelon, chocolate milk, lemonade, along with ketchup and mustard on the side. That menu would set the host back roughly $5.57 per person, a very slight drop from last year. John Newton, AFBF Director of Market Intelligence, says higher production has pushed the cost of meat lower. “Retail pork prices also declined in 2017, largely due to more pork on the market and ample supplies of other choices for animal protein,” Newton says. “Lower beef prices are also likely putting downward pressure on pork prices.” Newton also points to stability in dairy prices due to an improving export market.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service