READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 12th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Bill Extension Not Ruled Out

Getting a farm bill done before current law expires at the end of this month may not happen, as congressional leaders have not ruled out an extension. The 2014 farm bill expires on September 30th, and lawmakers have few days this week to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the new farm bill. Politico reports leaders haven’t ruled out extending the farm bill deadline to give themselves more negotiating time, though Republicans in both chambers say they hope they can avoid that. The House version of the bill includes work requirements as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that are not in the Senate bill. Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas, a former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, says the Senate has taken “a very hard-core position,” adding that the House language on work requirements won’t be in the final bill, as passed by the House. However, Lucas says the Senate “is going to have to give,” adding “there is a compromise out there somewhere.” However, lawmakers must reach that compromise quickly to get an on-time farm bill.

NAFTA Main Sticking Point Indeed is Dairy

Negotiators from Canada returned to Washington, D.C. Tuesday in an effort to reach a deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland joined U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as the U.S. looks to wrap up talks with Canada quickly. However, talks are not expected the rest of the week with a looming hurricane along the Eastern U.S. and scheduled meetings for Freeland in Western Canada. Reuters reports that officials say the main sticking points are Canada’s dairy quota regime, Ottawa’s desire to keep a dispute-resolution mechanism, and Canadian media laws that favor domestically produced content. That falls in-line with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s comment earlier in the week, saying Canada must scrap the Class 7 milk program. Dairy trade was the focus of pre-NAFTA concerns more than a year ago from the Trump Administration. U.S. dairy wants more market access to Canada.

Indonesia and Australia Commit to Trade Agreement

Indonesia and Australia last week concluded negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The partnership deepens the trade ties between the countries, benefiting a multitude of industries, including agriculture. The National Pork Producers Council says the organization is pushing for full access to the Australian market, noting that pork is the largest U.S. agricultural export to Australia. However, NPPC says market access has been restricted through Australia’s prohibition on selling chilled and frozen U.S. pork at retail. NPPC says that decision was not based on science. Dermot Hayes of Iowa State University says U.S. pork exports would increase significantly if Australia eliminated its “unjustified restrictions.” Australia is not a large market, but was ranked as 10th in pork imports in 2017.

2019 Farmland Rental Rates Expected Steady with 2018

Farmland rental rates are not expected to change much in 2019. A new forecast by Farmers National Company predicts cash rental rates for 2019 to stay the same as 2018, for the most part. The company notes that despite current low grain prices, many farmers had the opportunity to forward price corn and soybeans at similar or better prices than last year. Also, the company says the soybean tariff payment will help offset some of the price decline. Good yields in many regions, according to the report, will help stabilize gross revenue for farmers, and most farmers do not like to give up acres that they are farming, which leads them to maintain rents to keep the lease another year. Incomes for landowners have come down since the peak several years ago, and now they are looking for stability or an increase in the coming seasons. Landowners’ farm incomes have been squeezed in some states by increasing property tax rates that put pressure on maintaining rental rates. In the end, the return on investment for farmland owners hopefully has bottomed out as interest rates have started to climb.

Hurricane Changes Fly-in Schedule for Ag Groups

Hurricane Florence is adding another wrinkle to the farm bill process as farmers are being asked to return home Wednesday (today) as part of the National Pork Producers Council legislative fly-in. Pork producers this week were there to talk trade, the farm bill and labor issues with lawmakers, according to the Hagstrom Report. NPPC also seeks “proper regulatory authority for genetically engineered livestock and laboratory-produced cultured protein.” Meanwhile, National Farmers Union members who arrived earlier this week are not expected to leave until a scheduled departure on Friday. More than 350 farmers within the organization are also participating in a fly-in this week, to “push for passage of a farm bill that supports family agriculture.” A majority of weather forecasters predict Hurricane Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas as a strong category five storm Thursday, with impacts all along the eastern seaboard.

National Dairy Council New Product Competition Underway

The National Dairy Council New Product Competition seeks the next dairy product from college students across the United States and Canada. The eighth annual competition is for students to develop a dairy or dairy-based product to “satisfy consumers’ desire for performance nutrition.” A judging panel consisting of experts from across the dairy industry will award $16,000 in cash prizes, with an $8,000 first place prize. Winning teams will be recognized at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting in June. With the announcement, the Council offered some insights, saying research suggests that75 percent of U.S. adults are current or potential consumers for sports and nutrition food and beverages, and that looking or feeling good, maintaining and improving strength and losing or maintaining weight are among the top motivators across gender and age groups. The deadline for submissions is January 14th. For more information, visit

SOURCE: NAFB News Service