READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 22nd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 22nd

Arkansas Farmers Submit Petition to Reject Potential Dicamba Ban

A group of Arkansas farmers who planted roughly 34 percent of the state’s soybean crop has filed a petition in response to a proposed ban on using dicamba products after April 15. The Dicamba Task force assembled by government leaders recently proposed the ban and the farmers say they want in-season access to the technology. The farmers say they’ve seen first-hand the success of the dicamba technology in controlling pigweeds. They’ve also been “very impressed by the significant improvements in yield.” The petition drive started on September 15 and represents farmers from 22 Arkansas counties. An Ag Web Dot Com report says farmers who’ve signed the petition say the proposed ban would cause financial losses to farmers because other pigweed control systems aren’t as effective as the dicamba technology. They also say farmers were not adequately represented on the Dicamba Task Force. Pigweed is a major problem in Arkansas and the group doesn’t want Arkansas to be the only state in the south not using dicamba. They propose a May 25 cutoff date and a one-mile buffer zone as solutions that would reduce or eliminate all soybean injury that occurred this year.


Taiwan Signs Large Deal to Buy U.S. Wheat

Idaho, North Dakota, and Montana wheat growers got some good news as Taiwan signed an agreement to buy a large amount of wheat that primarily come from those three states. An Associated Press report says Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed an agreement this week with Taiwanese officials after Montana and North Dakota also signed agreements. Otter said, “The consumption of wheat foods in Taiwan has now surpassed rice and we appreciate that the Taiwan milling industry recognizes the quality of Idaho wheat.” The Taiwanese Flour Millers Association represents 20 flour mills in the country. This is the eleventh time that Taiwan has signed an agreement to buy U.S. wheat. Taiwan has about one-sixth the land mass of Idaho but a population of more than 23 million people. The U.S. supplies more than 80 of its total wheat imports every year. With this new agreement, Taiwan will buy 1.8 million metric tons of wheat in 2018 and 2019. Bill Flory, Vice Chairman of the Idaho Wheat Commission, says the partnership between Taiwan millers and Idaho wheat producers is enduring and very successful.


Is NAFTA Renegotiation Slowing Other Trade Deals?

An Agri-Pulse report says the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations may actually be costing agriculture other opportunities. The non-yet-fully-staffed Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is fully occupied with NAFTA. However, groups like the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association want the Trump administration to push ahead with other trade agreements in order to cut tariffs with other countries like Japan and Vietnam. Former USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber says U.S. negotiators are very skilled at what they do but NAFTA is a massive undertaking. However, NPPC CEO Neil Dirks says his group believes the U.S. can work on more than one trade deal at a time. The challenge is how to accomplish that with the USTR office understaffed. Meanwhile, the European Union is moving quickly to establish trade deals and get a jump on competitors like the U.S. Glauber says the rest of the world is moving ahead on other deals and not waiting to see how NAFTA turns out. “They’re negotiating other trade agreements,” Glauber says. “Look at how active the European Union has been. Look at China, India, and other markets the U.S. has an interest in. Even Canada and Mexico are looking elsewhere.”


Proposed Guest Worker Plan to Replace H-2A Worker Program

Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte will introduce a bill the week of September 25th that would replace the H-2A guest worker program. The bill is titled the Agricultural Guestworker Act and would replace the program that many in agriculture use to find labor. A Packer Dot Com article says Goodlatte, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the United Fresh Produce Conference in Washington, D.C., that his program would reduce red tape for growers and be a significant improvement on the H-2A program. The bill would include greater access to workers without a path to citizenship, higher wages (15 percent above a state’s minimum wage), no requirement for worker housing or transportation, and allows currently illegal farm workers to participate in the program. “The bill replaces H-2A with a more efficient guest worker program, known as H-2C, that’s designed to meet the needs of a diverse agriculture industry,” Goodlatte says. “The program will be run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an agency that clearly understands the unique needs of farmers and ranchers as well as the importance of getting perishable commodities to market in an efficient manner.”


NFU Urges a No Vote on Health Care Plan

The National Farmers Union says the latest healthcare reform effort from U.S. Senate leadership will not improve access to affordable and quality healthcare for family farmers and ranchers. NFU President Roger Johnson sent a letter to members of the Senate asking legislators to vote against the plan, known as the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Plan. Johnson also says NFU will score the vote. The National Farmers Union is calling on Congress to use a more transparent and bipartisan approach to improving healthcare. “The NFU’s member-driven policy affirms the right of all Americans to have access to quality healthcare,” Johnson says. “The Graham-Cassidy bill would make health care less affordable for family farmers and ranchers.” Some of the provisions the NFU is concerned about include the elimination of the current structure for tax credits, cost-sharing reductions, and subsidies for out-of-pocket costs. Johnson says the proposed plan would create instability in the markets and force insurance carriers to raise their premiums.


Above Normal U.S. Temps Through the End of 2017

The National Weather Service is calling for above normal temperatures in the contiguous – U.S. over the last three months of 2017. The National Weather Service says the greatest chance of warmth comes in the Four Corners Region between October and December. This could possibly mean areas to the east may need some springtime rains to be ready for the spring planting season. That fact may be made worse because of drought spreading across the Midwest, including Kansas, as well as drought conditions that remain across parts of the Northern Plains. The end of the year forecast calls for above normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest. The forecast also calls for below-normal precipitation along the Gulf Coast and into Missouri. Below-normal precipitation is in the forecast for eastern Kansas and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is equally split between normal, above normal, and below normal chances for precipitation.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service