READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 13th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 13th

EPA Admin Visits Ethanol Plant, Says EPA Will Move on Year-Round E15

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent part of a trip in Kansas at an ethanol production facility. Pruitt’s trip included a stop at the East Kansas Agri-Energy ethanol plant, along with meeting local agriculture groups. The visit comes a week after the White House stopped a proposal that ethanol groups say would harm the industry, allowing RIN exports, but the proposal also included year-round E15 sales. Pruitt told the group he believes E15 should be available year-round. He said the EPA has the authority and will seek a waiver to allow year-round E15 sales. But, the ethanol industry has seen other perceived attacks, including hardship waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard account for an estimated demand loss of 1.56 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Those in the ethanol industry meeting with Pruitt didn’t hold back, expressing their anger towards him and the EPA. Via Twitter, Pruitt said the meeting was “candid and productive.” He is scheduled to visit South Dakota Wednesday.

Ranking House Ag Member Peterson Welcomes Senate Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota welcomed farm bill text released by the Senate Agriculture Committee. In a statement released prior to Wednesday’s planned markup of the bill, Peterson applauded the Senate for its bipartisan approach and expressed hope that the House would bring a similarly bipartisan bill to conference. Notably, Peterson says the Senate bill “avoids poison pills, stays away from ideology on SNAP,” and should be able to get the votes needed for passage. In his statement, Peterson said the House version of the bill “doesn’t stack up” to the bipartisan proposal in the Senate. He says the House should “match their effort,” and bring forth a bipartisan bill that can get votes from both sides of the aisle in the House. The House farm bill failed last month when no Democrats voted in favor of the bill, along with Republican of the Freedom Caucus blocking passage in favor of finding an immigration resolution first.

Mexico Turning to EU and Others to Replace U.S. Pork Imports

Mexico is turning to the European Union and Latin America to offset any potential declines in U.S. pork imports. Mexico recently announced a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork shoulders and legs starting next month in response to steel and aluminum tariffs placed on Mexico by the Trump administration. Mexican officials told Politico the nation will allow 350,000 tons of pork from all countries to ensure “that its consumers do not face shortages.” Experts predict the quota will be quickly filled by the European Union and Latin America. U.S. pork will still be able to compete under the quota but is expected to see a sharp loss in sales from the Mexican tariffs. The United States sent 25 percent of its total pork exports to Mexico last year. Meanwhile EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said “if Trump does not want to do business, the EU is ready and willing.”

NFU, Canada Farmers Group, Make Joint Statement Supporting Trade

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson made a joint statement with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture supporting agricultural trade. The statement was prompted by President Trump’s lashing out against Canada over the weekend and early this week regarding dairy trade, and other issues included in the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation effort. Johnson, along with CFA President Ron Bonnett, urged Canadian and U.S. officials to preserve the strong, longstanding trade relationship between the two countries. The two say: “No heated rhetoric nor inflammatory remark could possibly represent the positive sentiment that American and Canadian farmers share for each other’s nation.” The statement urged officials to “engage in positive discourse” to protect the trade ties between U.S. and Canadian farmers.

USDA Lowers Corn, Soybeans, Projected Ending Stocks

The Department of Agriculture lowered 2017/2018 ending stocks for corn and soybeans in its latest monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates. USDA reduced ending stocks for corn 105 million bushels to 1.57 billion bushels, which if reached, would be the lowest level since 2013/2014. The season-average farm price is raised ten cents at the midpoint with a range of $3.40 to $4.40 per bushel. Ending stocks for 2018/2019 are projected at 385 million bushels, down 30 million from last month. Price forecasts for 2018/2019 are unchanged this month. The 2018/2019 season-average price for soybeans is forecast at $8.75 to $11.25 per bushel. Wheat supplies are increased slightly this month on higher beginning stocks and production. Winter wheat is forecast up six million bushels to 1.19 million with modest increases in all winter wheat classes and total wheat production is now at 1.82 million. The projected season-average farm price is up $0.10 per bushel with the midpoint at $5.10, compared to the revised 2017/2018 price of $4.75.

U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Up

U.S. tractor and combine sales increased last month, according to the latest monthly measure by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The association’s monthly report shows sales of all tractors in the U.S. during May increased 17 percent compared to the same month last year. For the five months in 2018, a total of 96,700 tractors were sold which compares to 92,100 sold through May 2017, representing a five percent increase for the year. Farmers purchased 20 percent more two drive tractors under 40 horsepower in May, compared to last year, along with 20 percent more two-wheel-drive 100-plus horsepower tractors. However, sales of four-wheel drive tractors were down six percent for the month. For the year, two-wheel drive tractors under 40 horsepower are up six percent from last year, and sales of four-wheel drive tractors are up two percent. Combine sales were up 52 percent for the month. Sales of combines for the year total 1,550 compared to 1,225 in 2017, a 27 percent increase.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service