READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 20th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 20th

Trump Escalates Trade War with Additional Talks of Tariffs

President Donald Trump is taking the trade war with China to an unprecedented level that would impose tariffs on nearly every export China sends to the United States. Following the announcement Monday night by Trump that he is seeking an additional $200 billion worth of tariffs, China is looking to retaliate, again. Trump says if China does, he would seek to impose another additional $200 billion in tariffs, taxing a total of $450 billion of the $505 billion of Chinese goods sent to the U.S. each year. In its response, China called the extreme pressure from Trump “blackmail,” adding that if the U.S. becomes “irrational” and issues the proposed list of products, China will “have to adopt” strong countermeasures. China has already vowed to impose tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, such as soybeans and pork, and many others, including corn, sorghum and beef.

Trade War Costly for U.S. Farmers

The trade war between the U.S. and China is proving to be costly to U.S. farmers, just as President Trump announced the intent for further tariffs, escalating the tense state of affairs. University of Illinois agriculture economist Scott Irwin this week on Twitter says the outlook has “moved into disaster territory,” specifically, regarding soybeans. And, Jim Bower of Bower Trading in his daily newsletter wrote: “At this point, it is hard to imagine the trade news getting much worse.” New crop soybean futures have dropped roughly 20 percent since May 29th, and corn futures are down 16 percent since late May. For soybeans, the decline is near a dollar and a half per bushel, representing a loss of more than $6 billion on the 2018 soybean crop. The American Soybean Association Tuesday linked the drop to the trade war, as President John Heisdorffer stated: “Soybean prices are declining as a direct result of this trade feud.” The statement says ASA is disappointed and highly concerned that trade tensions continue to ratchet up rather than de-escalate between the two countries.

Farmers for Free Trade Places More Anti-Trade War Advertising

Farmers for Free Trade is again placing advertisements on cable television showing an on-the-ground look at how current trade disputes are damaging export markets for U.S. farmers. In conjunction with the U.S. Apple Association, the advertisement targets the retaliations to the Section 232 tariffs that include U.S. apples. Airing on television news networks frequently watched by President Trump, the advertisement will run in the immediate aftermath of new retaliatory tariffs being announced on American farm exports from key U.S. trading partners including Mexico, India, Canada, China and the European Union. U.S. apple exports are particularly prone to be hard hit by retaliatory tariffs. Jim Bair, U.S. Apple Association President & CEO, says: “Profit margins in agriculture are razor-thin, or nonexistent,” adding the disputed need “resolved amicably and quickly.” However, Farmers for Free Trade director Brian Kuehl (Keel) says the “situation is going from bad to worse.” More so recently, as the U.S. is now seeking quadruple it’s tariffs against exports from China.

Freedom Caucus Farm Bill Support Still Uncertain

Freedom Caucus members have yet to submit unison support for the House farm bill. The House set a revote deadline for this Friday when the farm bill failed because Democrats and the Freedom Caucus Republicans voted against the measure. Now, Bloomberg reports some members have not voiced support for the farm bill, including Virginia Republican David Brat, who says “I’m not there yet.” Brat would not say whether if immigration legislation was holding him back. However, other members of the Freedom Caucus, Like North Carolina’s Mark Meadows, say they are willing to support the farm bill if they get a vote on immigration legislation. Meanwhile, a House Rules Committee spokesperson told The Hagstrom Report in that if the farm bill vote is not held by Friday “a new rule would have to be passed.” However, Louisiana Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise says the deadline is flexible.

USDA Issues Warning of Newcastle Virus to Commercial Poultry

The Department of Agriculture says at least 18 outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease have been confirmed in backyard chickens in Southern California. The outbreaks prompted the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to issue a warning to commercial poultry operations. The infected backyard chickens were found in Los Angeles and San Bernardino in May and June. In the USDA statement, the agency says the virus is not a food safety concern, and no human cases have ever occurred. The virus has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003. USDA says the virus is a contagious and is a fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so strong that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. USDA says it is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.

USDA Announces New Budget Director

Agriculture Sonny Secretary Perdue announced Erica Navarro will serve as Director of the Office of Budget and Program Analysis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. OBPA administers the Department’s budgetary functions and develops and presents budget-related matters. The Director is responsible for providing leadership in carrying out department-wide responsibilities in policy analysis, program review, budget, legislative and regulatory functions. In the announcement made Tuesday, Perdue said he is confident Navarro will help USDA meet its priority “to be the most effective, most efficient, and best-managed department in the entire federal government.” Navarro previously served as the Budget Director for the U.S. Department of Education. Before that, she served as Budget Director for the U.S. General Services Administration and Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator and Senior Advisor for the Africa Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service