READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 16th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

International Trade Commission to Review USMCA

The U.S. International Trade Commission will review the U.S.,-Mexico-Canada Agreement next month. The Commission is scheduled to meet November 15th for an economic review of the trade agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Politico reports that the ITC probe, which is required by Congress, formally launched Friday. The Commission has until mid-March to complete its report, and Congress is expected to wait until the review is finished to vote on the trade pact, however, Trade Promotion Authority rules don’t require Congress to wait for the review. The Commission is looking for how the agreement will impact the U.S. economy as a whole, along with the impact to specific sectors and consumers. The new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, is expected to be signed before the end of November by leaders of the three countries, but must be approved by the governing bodies of each nation before taking effect.

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Rising Output Compressing Ag Margins

Strong growth in both the U.S. and global economies will support increased demand in domestic and export markets through the end of the year. However, U.S. competitiveness is currently constrained by trade uncertainties and the high value of the U.S. dollar, further placing pressure on the agricultural economy as output in most industries rises. The latest Quarterly Rural Economic Review from CoBank indicates that any significant farm price improvements over last year’s prices will be limited, particularly with record U.S. yields for many of the major crop commodities adding to available supply levels. Meanwhile, the animal protein and dairy sectors continue to benefit from strong domestic demand and the promise of better access to Mexico and Canada, but will need more export market growth to absorb their current pace of output and expansion. A CoBank spokesperson says that while recently negotiated trade deals show upside, “global demand for output from the U.S. agriculture sector is being outpaced by current U.S. production.”

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USDA Issuing Farm Safety Net Payments

The Department of Agriculture Friday began issuing farm safety net payments for the 2017 and 2018 crop years. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced more than $4.8 billion in payments are being made starting this month through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage and Conservation Reserve programs. The payments come as there is a temporary lapse of farm bill authorities, but Perdue says farmers and ranchers can “rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much-needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments.” Approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018. The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop in revenue or prices for their covered commodities.

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Another African Swine Fever Outbreak Reported in China

China reports new outbreaks of African swine fever as fear of a global spread of the disease rises. Four reports were announced last week, and Monday, China reported a new case of the disease at a farm with nearly 20,000 pigs, the largest farm to report an outbreak. The new case, one many reported in the region recently, according to Reuters, underlines the escalating threat to the country’s $1 trillion pig industry from the disease despite a slew of initial measures imposed to curb its spread. Until now, the outbreaks in China were reported at the hundreds of thousands of small farms in the nation, not any large-scale operations. A representative of China-America Commodity Data Analytics says: “The fact that the disease was confirmed on a big pig farm showed that it got more serious.” Larger operations typically have better biosecurity measures.

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Women in Agriculture Say Barriers to Equality Persist

Women in agriculture around the world, whether in developing or developed countries, say widespread gender discrimination persists and poses obstacles to their ability to help feed the world. A new study from Corteva Agriscience released Monday studies 17 nations to underscore the importance of women in agriculture and to identify barriers to their full and successful participation. The study was released Monday in celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. The survey’s findings reveal that although women are overwhelmingly proud to be in agriculture, they perceive gender discrimination as widespread, ranging from 78 percent in India to 52 percent in the United States. Only half say they are equally successful as their male counterparts; 42 percent say they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and only 38 percent say they are empowered to make decisions about how income is used in farming and agriculture. 72 percent said it would take one to three decades or more to achieve full equality. Key actions were identified to remove obstacles to equality, including training, education, support and public awareness.

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Export Exchange Next Week

International buyers and end-users of coarse grains from more than 35 countries are scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis next week for Export Exchange 2018. The group will meet with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain. Hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Export Exchange is an educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host approximately 200 participants. The biennial conference is scheduled for October 22 to 24. USGC CEO Tom Sleight says connections made at the event propel the industry “for years to come.” USGC describes the event as the conduit between buyer teams from countries interested in purchasing U.S. feed grains and U.S. suppliers. The meeting brings the groups together to help each broaden their networks and forge new relationships by facilitating trade of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles, sorghum and other commodities. Registration is available online via www.exportexchange.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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