READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 9th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 9th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

CoBank: USMCA Provides Certainty, But More is Needed

The overhauled North American Free Trade Agreement, now named the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will accomplish important objectives for U.S. agriculture, according to CoBank. However, a report by CoBank says what was not accomplished in the agreement is just as important. The report says that while having an agreement improves certainty, brings more market access and allows the White House to focus trade talks on fewer fronts, it does not provide a pathway to eliminate existing retaliatory tariffs where industries such as dairy and pork have been hardest hit. A CoBank representative says Canada and Mexico still have tariffs in place that affect the U.S. dairy, pork and beef sectors, adding “U.S. agriculture will have much more to celebrate when those barriers are removed.”

China Language in USMCA Not Surprising

Language against trade talks with China in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is not surprising, according to a Chinese editorial. The South China Morning Post, an English language newspaper based in China, says the policy is perhaps the worst feature of the USMCA for Beijing, as it may become a template for future trade talks Trump holds with allies such as Japan, India and the European Union. Article 32.10 in the preliminary agreement gives the U.S. “virtual veto power” over any bilateral deal Canada or Mexico may wish to reach with “a non-market country,” being China. The editorial calls the policy a “last minute demand” by the U.S., adding that ” there was probably little Canada and Mexico could or would do to resist it.” China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the fourth-largest trading partner for Mexico.

Canada Dairy Organization Turns Down Trudeau Meeting

Dairy Farmers of Canada have rejected a meeting request from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The organization rejected the meeting because of the “absence of details on measures to mitigate the impact of the concessions” made in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The agreement, which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, grants U.S. dairy more market access to Canada. Dairy Farmers of Canada is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s farmers. The Association announced its displeasure with the agreement last week, saying the trade deal sacrifices the livelihoods of Canada’s dairy industry. Canada’s dairy farmers are facing now three recent trade agreements that have eased restrictions to its dairy market to other nations. USMCA  follows CETA, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the CPTPP that replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

USDA: Honey Bee Colony Number Steady

Elevated winter colony losses have not resulted in enduring declines in colony numbers, according to new data released by the Department of Agriculture. Instead, the number of U.S. honey bee colonies is either stable or growing depending on the dataset being considered. USDA says at the state level, loss rates are uncorrelated with year-to-year changes in the number of colonies, suggesting that beekeepers are able to replace lost colonies within the course of a calendar year.  The data shows between 2007 and 2013, winter colony loss rates in the United States averaged 30 percent, which is approximately double the loss rate of 15 percent previously thought to be normal. That’s because large and mysterious losses of honey bee colonies led entomologists to classify a set of diagnostic symptoms as Colony Collapse Disorder and spurred major efforts to measure, quantify, and understand pollinator loss.

USDA Announces Rural Infrastructure Funding

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced it is investing $181 million in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states. Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, Anne Hazlett, made the announcement during a forum co-sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation. She called infrastructure the “foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity in small towns.” The funding from USDA comes through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries and day care centers. Find a list of projects being funded at

AEM Tops 1,000-Member Mark

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers announced Monday it has surpassed the 1,000-member mark for 2018 with the latest round of company approvals by the AEM Membership Committee. The Association says the membership milestone provides a strong equipment manufacturing ‘voice’ that advocates for agriculture and construction industry interests. AEM is North American-based and global in scope, with members representing more than 200 product lines in off-road equipment manufacturing, including agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility uses. Paul Flemming, AEM senior director of membership and engagement, says the membership increase is helping the association in building momentum for the sectors they serve in advocating in Washington, D.C., addressing industry concerns and developing industry standards.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service