READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 12th…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 12th

Trade Retaliation Worries Ag Groups

18 agriculture groups representing the majority of production agriculture sent a letter to the Trump administration recommending it avoid placing restrictions on steel and aluminum imports. The groups are worried that such a move would negatively impact U.S. food and agriculture exports. The groups said in the letter that, “the aftermath of those restrictions could be disastrous for the global trading system and U.S. agriculture in particular.” The letter points out that many of those countries exporting steel and aluminum are also the same countries that import a large amount of U.S. agricultural goods. The letter stresses that “potential retaliation from those trading partners is very real.” The 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade says national security can be a reason to restrict trade but is rarely done. The organizations point out that no other country can dictate what another’s national security needs are. “Now, every country with a sensitive industry would know it could follow the example of America and find a national security reason to circumvent trade agreements, no matter how flimsy the reason,” they said. The farm groups urged the administration to “avoid igniting a trade war” through the imposition of restrictions on steel and aluminum imports.


Veterinarians in Washington to Talk About a Vaccine Bank

Swine veterinarians from across the country are in Washington, D.C., this week to tell lawmakers about the consequences of a Foot-And-Mouth Disease outbreak in the nation’s herds. They’re urging lawmakers to establish an offshore vaccine bank to help quickly control and eradicate the disease in the event of an outbreak. 23 veterinarians are making Capitol Hill visits as part of the Swine Veterinarian Public Policy Advocacy Program, put on by the National Pork Producers Council. The NPPC’s top goal in the 2018 Farm Bill is creating a robust FMD vaccine bank. FMD affects cloven-hoofed animals like cattle and pigs but it’s not a food safety or human health threat. Iowa State University experts point out an FMD outbreak in America would prompt other countries to shut off U.S. meat exports. That would create a surplus of meat on the domestic market that would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over a ten-year span if producers couldn’t combat the disease through vaccination. The corn and soybean industries would lose $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively. Job losses across the economy would top 1.5 million.


USDA Authorizes Emergency Haying in Upper Great Plains

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue authorized the release of Conservation Reserve Program land in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, for emergency haying. The announcement comes after agriculture groups and state legislators made urgent requests to the agency to address the severe drought conditions in the Upper Great Plains region. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the conditions are forcing many farmers and ranchers across the drought-scorched region to make tough decisions about downsizing their herd or even keeping their farms. “Given that they’re also dealing with a severely depressed farm economy, the secretary’s action will go a long way toward alleviating some of the concerns currently facing farmers and ranchers,” Johnson said. The U.S. Cattleman’s Association says the announcement will help provide cattle operations with the tools they need to take care of livestock through an especially difficult time.


Red Meat Export Momentum Continues

U.S. beef and pork exports had a strong month of May, increasing significantly from April as well as from 2016 levels. USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show pork exports reached more than 222,000 metric tons. That’s an 11 percent year-over-year increase and the fourth largest monthly volume on record. Pork exports were valued at more than $583 million, up 16 percent. From January through May, exports were 14 percent higher than last year and 18 percent higher in value. Even with higher pork production, exports accounted for a larger share in 2017. May pork exports accounted for 29.4 percent of total production. May beef exports were six percent higher than last year, coming in at 105,321 metric tons. The retail value was nine percent higher at just over $582 million dollars. From January through May, beef exports were 12 percent higher in volume and up 16 percent in value compared to 2016. Beef exports accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. beef production.


Missouri Hopes to End Dicamba Ban Late This Week

While Arkansas farmers are in the very early stages of a 120-day moratorium on using dicamba, Missouri farmers may have a much shorter time to wait for their delay to end. Missouri Ag Director Chris Chinn told Agri-Pulse that the department’s intentions are for the ban to be more of a short pause in her state. The goal is to get approved products back in the hands of farmers by the end of this week. Chinn says the decision will be based in part on what companies like BASF and Monsanto do to make changes to restrictions or to the label of their products. Chinn says, “They’re looking at the special local needs label and that’s the state label. Once my Director for the Bureau of Pesticides Control signs off on that, it will go into effect immediately.” It then heads to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has 90 days to approve it or ask for changes. Both BASF and Monsanto issued statements saying they’re working with Missouri and hope to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. The Missouri Ag Department has received over 130 damage complaints involving more than 200,000 acres of damaged soybeans.


Chinese Buyers Commit to Large U.S. Soybean Purchase

Demand already looks good for the 2017 soybean crop. China is the number one purchaser of U.S. soybeans, buying 60 percent of American soy exports every year. The U.S. Soybean Export Council, along with several American and Chinese organizations, will host a Chinese delegation of buyers at a soybean trade contract agreement signing ceremony. The event takes place on July 13th at the Des Moines, Iowa, Embassy Club. China’s middle class is expanding and the USSEC China Director said its appetite for protein is growing. That means more livestock, which means more opportunity for American soy as a preferred feed ingredient. The exact volume of the purchase won’t be known until July 13th but it should be quite large. At similar events last year, China buyers purchased nine million metric tons of U.S. soybeans worth more than $4 billion. Exports to China in the current marketing year have already been a record 34 million metric tons. Nebraska farmer and USSEC Chair Jim Miller says international customers have a lot of options for soybeans. This decision by Chinese buyers to purchase American soybeans shows how reliable a supplier the U.S. is and the quality and sustainability of the crop.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service