READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 30th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 30th

Farm Bill Agreement in Principle

An agreement in principle on the farm bill brings the legislation closer to completion, with hopes remaining that Congress can finish the bill this year. The so-called big four of the conference committee announced the agreement Thursday morning. Leaders of the farm bill conference committee, Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow, along with Representatives Mike Conaway and Collin Peterson, now wait for cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, along with finalizing language. Before the bill is completed, the conference report must be finalized, and both chambers of Congress must pass the bill by the end of the year. Both the House and Senate plan to adjourn in mid-December, wrapping up a busy lame-duck session. The bill is not expected to include strict work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to Politico. Lawmakers also confirmed this week requested last-hour changes to the forestry title by the Trump administration will not be included. However, Stabenow suggested those measures be considered outside of the farm bill during the lame-duck session.

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Farm Groups Call for Completion of Farm Bill

With an announced agreement in principle on the farm bill, agriculture groups are calling on Congress to finish the job and pass the farm bill before time runs out this year. The farm bill conference committee announced the agreement Thursday morning that paves the way for a completed farm bill. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall thanked members of the committee and called on the House and Senate to approve the bill once finalized. Duvall says continued access to risk management tools, assistance in foreign market development, and conservation and environmental stewardship programs within the legislation are especially important for farmers and ranchers. More so, he says, the bill “will help provide certainty to rural America at a time when it is much needed.” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson expressed optimism in the process, noting NFU is optimistic lawmakers have come to terms on a bill that “begins to provide the relief and certainty farmers need amidst struggling markets due to oversupply and trade volatility.”

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Trump, China’s Xi, To Talk Trade This Weekend

The long-awaited meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping (Shee Jihn’-ping) this weekend brings hope of eased trade tensions between the two nations. The two leaders will meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina Saturday as agriculture, and other sectors hope the two reach a ”ceasefire” in the tit-for-tat tariff war. Bloomberg News reports such a truce could at the least delay an escalation of the trade conflict. The Trump administration argues any progress would be the result of the pressure Trump as placed on China, being the $250 billion of tariffs, with the threat of more to come. China has retaliated by targeting U.S. agriculture. China is missing allies for the talks, according to Bloomberg, as Larry Kudlow of the Trump National Economic Council said this week “the rest of the world agrees with us,” regarding China’s trade practices.

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NCGA Submits U.S.-Japan Trade Objectives

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp this week submitted NCGA’s negotiating objectives for a United States-Japan Trade Agreement to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Japan is the second largest market for U.S. corn exports, and U.S. corn farmers have been a reliable supplier to the market for more than 50 years, according to NCGA. Chrisp says corn farmers have “long counted on Japan” as a leading export market, a market that the industry has spent decades developing. NCGA has been advocating for a formal trade agreement with Japan for years. NCGA’s top priorities for the negotiation are to secure market access for corn amid intensifying competition from other corn suppliers, to improve market access for other corn co-products, and to address technical, sanitary and phytosanitary, and other non-tariff barriers to trade between the parties, allowing for more efficient trade flows.

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Bayer to Sell Animal Health Unit

Bayer AG has announced it will exit the animal health business. In a press call Thursday, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann announced that the company would sell its animal health unit, along with consumer brands Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s. The move includes the reduction of 12,000 jobs, globally. Baumann says of the portfolio changes that the decisions “were not made necessary by the recent acquisition. And, certainly not by glyphosate litigation in the United States,” referring to the acquisition of Monsanto that closed earlier this fall. Bayer stock has fallen more than 35 percent in the last year. Bayer Animal Health consists of nearly a dozen product lines for pets and farm animals, including the antibiotic Baytril. The North America unit of Bayer Animal Health is located in Shawnee, Kansas, part of so-called Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.

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Canada Canola Council Comments on Health Claim for Canola Oil

A health claim approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration makes Canadian canola oil an “attractive choice for quick-serve restaurants and food processors.” The Canola Council of Canada says the claim means canola oil provides a high-stability oil that is both low in saturated fat and free of trans fat. The U.S. FDA recently announced that oils containing a high level of oleic acid, such as high oleic canola oil, can now carry the new qualified health claim. The claim is based on a review of the scientific evidence on the cardiovascular benefits of the consumption of oleic acid. The claim states that, “supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1.5 tablespoons of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” Canola oil has been eligible to use a similar qualified health claim based on its unsaturated fat content and reduction of the risk of coronary heart disease since 2006.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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