11-24-17 National Young Farmer Survey report released…

America’s farmers are retiring and need replacements. But who will take their place? A new survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition finds that today’s young farmers are doing things differently than generations past. They are operating smaller farms, growing more diverse crops, selling directly to consumers, committed to sustainable and conservation-minded farming practices, highly educated, primarily female, increasingly racially diverse, and optimistic about the future. Learn more about the challenges they face and opportunities for policy reform to support them by reading the report here: www.youngfarmers.org/survey2017

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 24th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 24th

Fifth Round of NAFTA Talks End

The fifth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement ended on Tuesday with the New York Times calling the discussions “bogged down.” While the U.S. has tried to cool down tensions between negotiators by extending the deadline to finish the discussions, tensions are said to still be simmering. The U.S. also asked the top negotiators to sit out the round in Mexico City to help keep things cool. The Times report says Canada and Mexico both told the U.S. it won’t make a lot of headway with its current approach to the negotiations. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says, “There’s no evidence that Canada and Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that would lead to a more balanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result.” Mexico fired back with a tough counterproposal to an American suggestion regarding a new idea on Canada and Mexico procuring American government contracts. Mexico suggested the idea of linking procurement of its government contracts to the size of contracts Mexican companies win in the United States. Mexican businesses typically win few American contracts, which would, in turn, limit the number of American goods and services supplied to the Mexican government.  


South Korea Looking at New Trade Deal with the Eurasian Economic Union

South Korea’s trade minister met with Russian officials this week in order to lay the groundwork for a new free trade deal with the Eurasian Union. The move comes amid increasing pressure from the U.S. to renegotiate the South Korean – American trade deal, known as KORUS. The South Korean Trade Minister met with the CEO of a state-owned banking giant in Russia, as well as the Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development. The sides talked about steps that will be necessary to begin to lay the foundation for a free trade agreement. The meetings this week are part of an ongoing effort by South Korea to accelerate talks with the EAEU regarding an open trade pact. South Korean officials said after the meetings that signing a trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union is the same as clinching a deal with Russia. Vietnam became the first country to sign a trade deal with the EAEU back in 2015.


Turkey Prices Struggling at Thanksgiving

Politico says news outlets around the country are picking up on USDA data that shows how turkey prices have dropped sharply in recent years. Experts say the reason behind the drop in price is the simple economics of supply and demand. Dewey Warner is a research fellow with Euromonitor International who says the prices drop has been building for a couple of years. Back in 2015, the avian influenza outbreak resulted in the deaths of millions of birds. That was followed up by what he called extensive overproduction, which led to oversupply. There’s not much overseas demand to help cut into that extra supply, partly because countries like China banned U.S. poultry imports after the influenza outbreak. Domestically, retailers have been cutting prices, which is showing up in recent turkey sales. Things may be somewhat more optimistic for turkey prices in 2018. Shale Shagham is a USDA livestock analyst who predicts that turkeys will rise from 97 cents a pound this year to 99 cents in 2018.


Farmers Getting Only 11 Cents of Every Food Dollar

The National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation say that consumers are paying less and farmers are receiving less for this year’s Thanksgiving Day dinner. The NFU Farmer’s Share publication says farmers and ranchers get 11.4 cents of every dollar that consumers spend on their turkey day dinner. The Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving Day Price Survey found that Americans will spend an average of $49.12 for a meal that feeds ten people. That’s a 75 cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87. A 16-pound turkey costs an average of $22.38 this year. Farmers have been feeling financial pressure for the last several years and Rob Larew, National Farmers Union senior vice president for public policy and communications, says that makes Thanksgiving a time to recognize family farmers and ranchers. “That’s important, he said, “because we are in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in the last 30-40 years.“ As consumer costs have declined, farm income has dropped as well. On average, farmers get 17.4 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend. 80 percent of the cost of food goes to marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution, and retailing.


GAO: USDA Should Increase Checkoff Program Oversight

At the request of House Minority Leader and California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the Government Accountability Office prepared a report regarding the Agricultural Marketing Service and its oversight of national checkoff programs. The Hagstrom Report says the AMS should increase its oversight of the 22 national checkoff programs that producers pay fees to for industry research and promotion to expand the overall market availability for the commodities within those programs. The GAO made a list of five recommendations, one of which was that the USDA revise its standard operating procedures to include the review of subcontracts. Other recommendations included putting key program documents on checkoff-related websites, as well as developing solid criteria to assess program evaluations. Also in the report, the GAO notes that the independent economic investigations into the effectiveness of the checkoff programs are required to take place once every five years. The report says those evaluations have generally shown positive financial benefits, but the evaluations varied in methods they used to reach these conclusions and had certain methodological limitations.


Cattlemen Applaud Court-Ordered Stay in Farm Emission Reporting

A Washington, D.C., Circuit Court decision will stay a mandate regarding farm emissions reporting required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA was enacted in 1980 in response to industrial pollution. EPCRA was first implemented in 1986 to help deal with chemical spills. Craig Uden, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says producers have yet one more reason to be thankful during the holiday weekend. “Cattle producers have yet another reason to celebrate Thanksgiving,” he said. “Agricultural operations were never intended to be regulated by these laws, so this court-ordered stay until January 22 is very welcome news.” Uden says the NCBA will continue to use the time between now and January to continue working on the introduction of stand-alone legislation to fix the issue. They’ll also be working to promote corrective language in the appropriations process as well.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service