READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 2nd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 2nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senate Names Farm Bill Conference Committee Members

The Senate Wednesday named members to the farm bill conference committee following action a day earlier to move forward with the conference process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell named himself to the committee, along with Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, and fellow Republicans John Boozman of Arkansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Joni Ernst of Iowa. Meanwhile, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer named ranking Agriculture Committee member Debbie Stabenow, and fellow Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota to the committee. The Hagstrom Report notes that Republican leadership followed seniority in their choices. The Democrats skipped over four more senior members – Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Joe Donnelly of Indiana – to name Heitkamp, who has a tough re-election race in a state in which agriculture is particularly important to the economy.

U.S., China Reportedly Trying to Re-engage in Trade Talks

The U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks as the two nations square off in a trade war. The attempt comes as the Trump administration readies a new round of tariffs against China. Bloomberg reports representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and China’s Vice Premier are having private conversations as they look for ways to re-engage in negotiations. No timetable was offered, as the issues and format for any talks are not final, but both sides do apparently agree that more talks need to take place. The U.S. and China have been exchanging tariff announcements that started with Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year. Negotiations have been stalled for weeks with both sides digging in. The U.S. and China have offered little indication publicly any will to restart negotiations. Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the trade tension with China are a “chronic problem,” while a trade official from China accused the U.S. of “extortion.”

Poll Shows Voters Narrowly Support Aid for Farmers

A poll by Morning Consult and Politico shows nearly six in ten voters favor President Trump’s $12 billion plan to provide aid to farmers suffering from his trade policy. Nearly 2,000 registered voters were surveyed, and 57 percent either somewhat or strongly support the farmer aid package that was announced a week ago. Support came primarily from Republicans, with nearly eight in ten saying they strongly or somewhat support the idea, while 54 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agreed. Rural voters in the poll also showed strong support for the aid plan, with 63 percent reacting favorably to the proposal. The poll was conducted over a four-day period and found that nearly half of respondents favored free trade, indicating that free trade agreements have a somewhat or very positive impact on the U.S. economy. 48 percent of voters polled, meanwhile, indicated support for the use of tariffs on foreign goods competing with U.S. goods.

American Soybean Association Joins Farmers for Free Trade

The American Soybean Association this week announced it will join Farmers for Free Trade. Representing soybean farmers across the nation, ASA is joining the bipartisan campaign self-described as “amplifying the voices of American farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses that support free trade.” ASA CEO Ryan Findlay says agriculture needs “strong likeminded allies” in advocating for new trade agreements and expanding international markets. Other agriculture groups already a part of the campaign include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, and other agriculture groups. With soybean farmers facing the brunt of the ongoing trade war, leadership of Farmers for Free Trade say ASA joining the campaign will “amplify the voices” of soybean farmers in Washington D.C. so decision makers “know the pain that tariffs are causing at the local level.”

Roundtable to Discuss Nuisance Lawsuits

Agriculture leadership and lawmakers will come together Friday to discuss the threat that nuisance lawsuits pose to the U.S. agriculture industry, rural America, and farm families. North Carolina U.S. Representative David Rouzer, and Senator Thom Tillis, along with House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway, and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, will convene the National Agriculture Leaders Roundtable, which will include leaders such as American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. Congressman Rouzer says the nuisance lawsuits being faced by farmers are “destroying livelihoods and communities,” adding the current climate of lawsuits is a “slippery slope that threatens the very existence of every form of agriculture nationwide.” The roundtable is scheduled for Friday morning at 9:00 am ET at the North Carolina Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Senate Approves Roberts’ Efforts to Improve Access to New Drugs for Animals

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts applauded Senate approval of legislation to speed access to new animal drugs for veterinarians. The provision by Roberts was approved earlier this week that would allow access to new animal drugs through conditional approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Roberts’ provision on conditional approval was included in the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018 which reauthorizes the Food and Drug Administration’s animal drug and generic animal drug user fee agreements. The House passed identical legislation last month, meaning the bill is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Roberts said in a statement that the legislation is “common sense,” allowing additional flexibilities for FDA to review, approve, and provide access to animal drugs. At issue are arbitrary limits on the use of animal drugs and therapies with conditional approval. Under the status quo, a drug that is made available by conditional approval can only treat 310,000 cattle and only 70,000 dogs.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service