READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Congress Returns with Hopes of Farm Bill Passage

Lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., this week with a need to still find a path forward on the farm bill. However, multiple measures, including 2019 appropriation bills, must also be passed in the lame-duck session. The House is scheduled to leave on Thursday, December 13th, while the Senate is scheduled to adjourn on Friday, December 14th. But, Congress could stay in session longer if the necessary end-of-the-year business is not completed by the target dates, according to the Hagstrom Report. Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees say they still hope to finish a farm bill this session, but they have not shown signs of reaching a final agreement. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has hinted that the farm bill might be added to the appropriations bill so that House leadership would not have to bring it up as a separate piece of legislation. Meanwhile, Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who will chair the House Ag Committee next year, says that if the bill does not pass, he wants to organize his committee quickly in January and bring up the farm bill in short order.

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Mexico and Canada Confirm USMCA Signing this Week

Leadership of Mexico and Canada have confirmed the two nations will sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Friday that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement. Politico reports that Canada’s Justin Trudeau and the outgoing Mexican President will sign the pact on the Mexican official’s last day in office at the G20 Summit, where President Trump is also expected to talk trade with China. The confirmation comes as there is no steel and aluminum tariff resolution for Mexico and Canada, once thought to be a contingent by the two nations. Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau last week said Canada was “not going to make one set of negotiations contingent on the other.” Mexico and Canada both had previously threatened to hold off on signing the USMCA until President Trump removed the steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs are also thought to limit any gains in the new agreement once in place.

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Strong Demand Keeping Pork Supplies Current

Strong demand is helping the pork industry push through high production. An outlook published by the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service shows that though fourth-quarter pork production is on track to reach a record high of more than seven billion pounds, up 3.5 percent from a year ago, the ending stocks-to-production ratio is projected to drop to its lowest level since 1990. Meat industry publication Meatingplace says that means domestic demand is outpacing production because U.S. consumers are likely responding to lower prices by buying more pork at a time when disposable personal incomes are rising. Fourth-quarter hog price forecasts reflect heavy supplies, almost nine percent lower than prices during the same period last year. For the full year, commercial pork production is projected at a record 26 billion pounds.

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Tennessee Eying Corn Checkoff Vote

Beginning next year, Tennessee corn growers could see over a million dollars invested annually in research, promotion and education activities. That is if they pass a one cent per bushel corn checkoff during the checkoff authorization vote this week. Tennessee Corn Growers Association President Mike Holman says: “A state corn checkoff with a refund provision will provide help in achieving both yield increases and better demand.” If passed, Tennessee will join the other 20 top corn-producing states in the nation in collecting a checkoff. The state corn checkoffs invest almost $90 million annually to improve farmer profitability. Some of those funds are spent in-state with universities and other partners, especially on vital research. State and federal ag research dollars are declining and little of the corn research being done by large seed companies is specific to Tennessee, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

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Tyson Predicts 2019 Food Trends

Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. food company, is offering up its predictions for food trends next year. Noting that years past have led to avocado toast, and others, including the poke bowl in 2018, Tyson says it takes “enormous pride and responsibility in helping shape and identify the next wave of culinary trends.” For 2019, while no specific dish or item is identified, Tyson says there are several key trends to focus on. Those include personalized foods to promote health and beauty, transparent food production, adding more proteins in more forms, harnessing the power of smart technology and food, creating food as a form of self-expression and a fusion of global cuisines at home. This year, to identify the next top food trends, the company created the Tyson Trendtellers Council, made up of a dozen of the company’s top food thinkers and innovators.

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Cargill Donates Milk Servings to Feeding America

In August, Cargill launched the #putyourherdfirst campaign to support The Great American Milk Drive. More than 65,000 people engaged with the campaign on Facebook and Cargill announced that all 200 food banks in the Feeding America network will receive 500 servings of milk through the campaign. A Cargill spokesperson says the company received “tremendous” support, adding it is “very thankful to everyone who helped us reach the goal of 100,000 servings of milk.” Cargill notes that each year, 46 million people, including 12 million children, rely on Feeding America food banks for regular access to milk, which is one of the most-requested, but least-donated, items. On average, the food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. The Great American Milk Drive was created to help address the need, and is the first-of-its-kind national program. The campaign was used by Cargill to raise awareness for HerdFirst, a new line of advanced calf and heifer nutrition.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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