READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 11th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 11th

Senate Ag Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Farmer Veteran Legislation

Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are touting legislation that will help veterans in agriculture. Introduced by Committee Chair Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow, the Farmer Veteran Opportunity Act of 2018 makes all new veterans eligible for support from the Department of Agriculture. The Senators say the bill also improves access for farmer veterans across eight existing initiatives to make risk management tools more affordable, expand access to land and capital, and prioritize training for veterans. The legislation expands support to all new veterans who may have existing careers in agriculture. Currently, USDA’s veterans initiatives are designed to support those who are starting a career in agriculture for the first time. Senators Roberts and Stabenow in a joint statement call the legislation a “common-sense change” that ensures all new veterans can benefit from USDA support, whether they are just starting a career on the farm or looking to expand their operation.

Conaway Comments on Trump Challenging India Market Practices

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway says the Trump administration is holding India accountable in it’s latest trade move. The administration announced earlier a Word Trade Organization counter notification on India’s market price support for wheat and rice. In applauding the effort, Conaway says India has been “funneling illegal farm subsidies into its agriculture industry for too long.” Conaway, along with the Trump administration, contend that India is under-reporting its market price support for wheat and rice. The U.S. says that India’s market price support for wheat and rice far exceeded its allowable levels of trade-distorting domestic support. Conaway says India is not the only country, however, harming U.S. agriculture. He says the global agricultural market is “awash with high and rising foreign subsidies, tariffs and trade barriers” that harm agriculture. As the Trump administration works to hold trading partners accountable, Conaway says Congress should do also stand up for farmers and ranchers by passing a strong new farm bill this year.

USDA Projects Smaller Corn, Soybean Crops

The May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates from the Department of Agriculture projects smaller corn and soybean crops this year. The corn crop is projected at 14.0 billion bushels, down from last year with a lower forecast area and yield. The yield projection of 174.0 bushels per acre is based on a weather-adjusted trend assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather. The season-average farm price for corn is projected at $3.30 to $4.30 per bushel, up 40 cents at the midpoint from 2017/18. Meanwhile, the U.S. soybean crop is projected at 4.2 billion bushels, down 112 million from last year’s record crop on lower acres and lower yield projections. The 2018/19 U.S. season-average soybean price range is forecast at $8.75 to $11.25 per bushel compared with $9.35 per bushel in 2017/18. USDA upped the 2018/19 U.S. wheat crop five percent at a projected 1.8 billion bushels on higher acres and a slightly higher yield. However, winter wheat yields are below average in the drought-affected states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The season-average farm price is projected at a range of $4.50 to $5.50 per bushel.

Secretary Perdue Plans Fourth RV Tour

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will hit the road Monday on his fourth “Back to our Roots” RV tour. The tour will last through Thursday and include stops in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska as an effort to hear from farmers and others. As Congress and the administration continue their work on issues like rural infrastructure, trade, and the farm bill, Perdue says “USDA stands ready to give the agriculture community a voice.” This is Secretary Perdue’s fourth “Back to Our Roots” tour since taking office just over a year ago. On his first tour in August of 2017, Secretary Perdue toured Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. In September of 2017, Secretary Perdue traveled on his second tour to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Most recently, Secretary Perdue visited Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky during his third tour in early April.

Texas Tech to Launch Veterinary School

Texas Tech University will launch the nation’s first new veterinary school in 40 years. The Amarillo, Texas city council recently approved an amendment to a 2016 agreement between Texas Tech and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation to fund up to $69 million to ensure the construction of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine. Leaders say that along with addressing the critical shortage of rural veterinarians, the school will be the only veterinary school in the country co-located with a pharmacy school and medical school on the same campus, thus expanding opportunities to combine research efforts impacting both human and animal health. Economic officials in Amarillo applaud the economic investment the school will provide the community, along with “generations of families” in the state’s livestock industry. The school stems from a report in 2016 adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board detailing the shortages of large animal and rural veterinarians in Texas, and the adverse impact on global food supplies.

Secretaries Perdue and Zinke Join Forces to Combat 2018 Wildfire Season

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Thursday hosted a fire briefing for Members of Congress at the Department of Agriculture detailing the wildfire forecast for 2018. Following the meeting, the secretaries sent a letter to wildland fire leadership highlighting the importance of inter-departmental collaboration to increase firefighter, public, and community safety as the 2018 wildfire season approaches. The 2017 wildfire season was one of the most challenging years on record, stressing the need for the USDA and the Department of the Interior to work together in combating this year’s fires. In a joint statement, the two said both departed will collaborate to ensure all firefighting assets are being used in an efficient and effective manner.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service