READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 2nd…

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 2nd…

Conaway: Farm Bill Work to Begin in Eight Weeks

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says work on the 2018 Farm Bill will start within the next eight weeks. Speaking during a farm bill listening session in his home state of Texas, Conaway told attendees that he wants to get the next farm bill on the House floor this year, according to the Hagstrom Report. After three hours of listening to farm leaders, Conaway added he wants the bill on the House floor this year because he disliked the turmoil of extensions. The 2014 Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018. Conaway also noted that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas said last week that he also would like to write the farm bill in 2017. His comments come as the House Agriculture Committee holds two listening sessions this week. The second is planned during the Minnesota Farmfest in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, Thursday.


Perdue Starts Farm Bill RV Listening Tour

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is embarking on an RV tour focused on hearing from farmers about the next farm bill. Perdue kicks off the Back to Our Roots RV tour Thursday. This is the first of two RV tour’s that the Secretary will make this summer. The first tour will feature stops in five states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Along the way, Perdue will meet with farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, students, governors, Members of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture employees and others, according to USDA. Secretary Perdue in a statement says the tour will allow USDA to hear directly from people in agriculture across the country, as well as from consumers. The first tour wraps up in Indiana on Tuesday.

Note, for complete schedule and media coverage opportunities, see:


Mexico Names Chief NAFTA Negotiator

Mexico announced that Kenneth Smith Ramos would be the nation’s chief negotiator for the North American Free Trade Agreement talks set to begin later this month. Ramos will be Mexico’s chief technical negotiator for the talks between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, according to Politico. Ramos was previously at the trade and NAFTA office of the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. and will report to Mexico’s Economy Secretary and Foreign Trade Undersecretary. Officials from Mexico say that Ramos’s past work in Mexico’s agriculture department and economy ministry shows he has a “brilliant career in all foreign trade topics.” His first job with the Mexican government was on the negotiating team of the original NAFTA trade deal in 1993. Mexico says the first round of talks this month will likely lay the groundwork for the negotiating topics and schedule for the renegotiation effort.

Farmers Indicate Higher Outlook on Farm Economy

Farmers surveyed as part of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer indicated more optimism in July because of better commodity prices expectations this fall. The monthly survey for July reached 139, its highest level since January 2017, and its second-highest level since data collection began in October 2015. The increase continues a trend seen over the summer of more optimism regarding the future of the agriculture economy. The forward-looking measure of sentiment, the Index of Future Expectations, climbed seven points in July to 138. A measure above 100 indicates optimism, while a measure below 100 indicates pessimism regarding the farm economy. In July, farmers were asked if they expect to see higher, lower, or about the same grain, oilseed and cotton prices in the next 12 months. Many indicated they expected to see higher commodity prices through the next year. The improvement in producers’ expectations for commodity prices corresponded with early summer market activity. Wheat futures prices, driven by drought conditions in the Northern Great Plains, have been the most active, but uncertainty about the corn and soybean growing seasons has also contributed to market volatility.

Brazil, U.S., Set for Corn Selling Showdown

The world’s two biggest corn exporters are preparing for a showdown, according to Bloomberg. The United States and Brazil are set to square off in competition this growing season over corn exports as Brazil is in the middle of collecting the nation’s biggest corn harvest ever, and U.S. supplies remain plentiful from last years’ record harvest. Bloomberg says those conditions set the stage for a stiff battle to win world buyers in the second half of this year. Japan and Mexico are expected to be the biggest corn importers this season. Brazil’s corn production in the 2016-17 season is forecast to surge 45 percent from a year ago to a record 97 million metric tons, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency estimates that the 2016 U.S. harvest reached an all-time high and that the crop gathered this fall will be the second-bigger ever, but that could change with dwindling crop conditions. Brazil shipments of corn traditionally surge this time of year, during harvest. Meanwhile, U.S. corn shippers are seeing slow bookings for the coming marketing year. Still, experts in the U.S. say the nation is expected to remain the world’s top supplier.

Renewable Fuels Association Calls RFS Proposal for Conventional Biofuels Justified

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen thanked the Environmental Protection Agency for proposing the volume requirement of convention biofuels at 15 billion gallons next year. However, Dinneen also urged the federal agency to increase its proposed cellulosic ethanol requirement to reflect growing technologies at existing ethanol plants. The EPA proposed to set the conventional biofuels volume under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2018 at the target originally set by Congress, but the EPA is proposing to drop the amount of overall biofuels and cellulosic biofuels. Dinneen told the EPA: “we truly believe the agency has erred on the side of pessimism with regard to the potential for significant growth in cellulosic ethanol commercialization.” Dinneen also told the EPA about continued concerns with RIN market manipulation and suggested that the EPA continue to allow imported biofuels to help comply with the RFS. Dinneen added that the RFS is “not the platform to address trade concerns.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service