READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 8th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 8th

Farm Bill Could Reach House Floor Early 2018

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas says he wants to finish the next farm bill this year, with the bill reaching the U.S. House floor for a vote in early 2018. Conaway told a farm bill listening session in California over the weekend that he hopes the farm bill will be on the House floor in the first quarter of 2018. At the end of the session, Conaway noted that writing the farm bill would be challenging because “no one asked for less money,” according to the Hagstrom Report. The listening session is one of many being held by Congress across the nation as lawmakers prepare to write the next farm bill. California farmers asked the House Agriculture Committee during the listening session to strengthen support for specialty crops, among other concerns.

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USDA NASS: Cropland Values Stable

An annual report by the Department of Agriculture shows cropland values have remained stable this year. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Land Values 2017 Summary shows a slight increase in average farmland value, but cropland value remained unchanged from the previous year. The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,080 per acre for 2017, up $70 per acre, or 2.3 percent, from 2016 values. The highest farm real estate values were in the Corn Belt region at $6,260 per acre, and the Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value at $1,130 per acre. In the Southern Plains region, the average cropland value increased 6.0 percent from the previous year. However, in the Northern Plains region, values decreased by 4.4 percent. Also, the United States pasture value increased by $20 per acre from 2016 values.

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Perdue Announces Grants to Encourage SNAP Participants to Purchase Healthy Foods

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday announced 32 grants totaling $16.8 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Secretary Perdue says the grants “help provide low-income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food.” Last year, according to USDA, SNAP helped put healthy food on the tables of at least 44 million Americans, including 19 million children. Since 2014, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded more than $65 million through the program. A list of grant recipients is available at USDA.org.

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June Meat Exports Confirm Strong First Half

U.S. pork and beef exports in June confirmed a strong first half of the year for red meat exports. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says exports also achieved higher values on a per-head-slaughtered basis and accounted for a steady-to-higher percentage of total production. June beef exports were the largest of 2017, reaching 109,500 metric tons, up 11 percent year-over-year and the largest June total since 2011. Export value increased 10 percent to $602.5 million. For January through June, beef exports were up 12 percent in volume and 15 percent in value. Pork exports totaled 200,220 metric tons in June, up six percent year-over-year and the largest June volume on record, valued at $527.1 million, up four percent. This pushed the first-half total to 1.25 million metric tons, valued at $3.21 billion, up 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production in June.

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Ports Contract Eases Trade Concerns

A contract agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association has eased trade concerns. The two ratified a three-year extension to the labor contract for workers at 29 ports on the West Coast. Politico reports that the announcement Friday comes as a sigh of relief for U.S. importers and exports. In 2014 and 2015, shippers faced major delays during a long-running contract dispute that led to a worker strike. Representative Dave Reichert (Rye-kurt), chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, says the agreement brings “greater confidence to the countless farmers, workers and businesses that suffered millions in losses during the ports slowdown.” The U.S. Meat Export Federation says the contract extension “helps ensure that the United States will continue to live up to its reputation as a reliable red meat supplier.”

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Dow DuPont Merger to Close This Month

DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company have announced that all required regulatory approvals and clearances have been received to close on a merger of the two companies. The merger will close August 31st, and shares of Dow and DuPont will cease trading at the close of the New York Stock Exchange that day. Shares of DowDuPont will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker symbol “DWDP” on September 1st, 2017. The companies continue to expect the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing. Dow and DuPont announced the merger in December of 2015. Upon closure, the combined company is estimated to be worth $130 billion.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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