READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 4th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

No House Votes, Farm Bill Delayed

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California Monday said the House of Representatives will not hold any votes this week due to the mourning and funeral for the late President George H.W. Bush. The announcement means the farm bill will not move forward this week, and the conference report that was expected early this week is now anticipated early next week, according to the Hagstrom Report. President Donald Trump has closed federal offices Wednesday, the day of Bush’s funeral. Trump is also threatening a government shutdown, but indicated over the weekend, he may approve funding extensions because of the limited schedule this week, pushing contentious issues later into the month, while still providing an opportunity to sneak the farm bill through the system before highly political issues, including the border wall, are tackled. The schedule leaves a week of planned time for lawmakers to wrap up the year.

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Announced China Ag Purchases Lack Details

Agriculture eagerly awaits any details regarding increased purchases of U.S. ag products by China. President Trump over the weekend said following a discussion with China that the nation “will be buying massive amounts of product from us,” promising an “incredibly positive impact on farming.” Politico reports, however, there is no guarantee China will hold its end of the bargain, as China’s statement on the talks made no mention of ag products. There are also little details in the announcement from Trump as the quantities and specific products are undetermined, though the White House says the purchases will begin “immediately.” The U.S. Meat Export Council called China’s willingness to return to the negotiating table encouraging, but added that “exports cannot reach their full potential until the retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico, China and Canada are removed.” Trump also signed his North American Free Trade Agreement replacement on Friday that does not address steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, which both have retaliatory tariffs in place over.

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USDA Predicts 12 Percent Drop in Farm Income

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to decrease $9.1 billion, or 12.1 percent from 2017 to $66.3 billion in 2018, after increasing $13.8 billion in 2017. The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service recently announced the forecast. USDA says, meanwhile, net cash farm income is forecast to decrease $8.5 billion, 8.4 percent, to $93.4 billion. Net farm income is a comprehensive indicator of U.S. farm profitability, while, net farm cash income less comprehensive and does not include noncash items, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to increase $2.5 billion, However, when adjusted for inflation, cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to decline $6.1 billion, with crop cash receipts forecast to decline $1.6 billion and livestock cash receipts to decline $4.5 billion. AFBF Chief Economist John Newton writes that the challenging financial situation highlights the need for improved access in key foreign markets, along with continued commitments to renewable energy, reduced regulatory burdens and a completed farm bill. Combined, Newton says “these efforts will go a long way toward improving the farm economic outlook.”

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Signing of USMCA Fails Canada Dairy Industry

Canada’s signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement marks another instance of Prime Minister Trudeau (True-doh) failing the Canadian dairy sector, according to Dairy Farmers of Canada. The group says Canada has gone “beyond the original concessions made when the USMCA was announced, and signed a deal granting the U.S. oversight in the administration of Canada’s dairy system.” This, according to the group, “equates to no less than a loss of sovereignty for Canada.” USMCA grants an additional 3.9 percent Canadian market access to the U.S. and eliminates “competitive dairy classes,” according to the industry group. Once other recent trade deals come into effect, total dairy imports will make up close to 20 percent of the Canadian dairy market. However, the deal was praised by U.S. dairy groups. U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USMCA “gives America’s dairy industry greater confidence as we head into 2019.”

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Ontario Announces E15 Adoption as Soon As 2025

The U.S. ethanol industry Monday applauded Ontario’s Environment Plan, which includes a fuel requirement for conventional gasoline to be blended with 15 percent ethanol that could go in effect as early as 2025. In a joint statement by Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and Renewable Fuels Association, the groups say “this is a huge milestone for Canada and the people of Ontario,” noting it is one of the largest markets for ethanol. Last year, Growth Energy and the U.S. Grains Council submitted comments to Canada’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, urging them to look beyond E10 at higher blends like E15, and welcomed the commitment from the Ontario Province to move from a five percent blend to a ten percent ethanol fuel blend by 2020.

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Secretary Perdue Names NRCS Chief

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday appointed Matt Lohr to serve as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Perdue says the “knowledge and experience he brings to the table will help ensure our locally-led, science-based approach continues to offer farmers the conservation solutions needed to enhance their environment and commercial viability.” Lohr, raised on a century farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, now owns and operates Valley Pike Farm. Before his appointment by the Trump Administration, Lohr held public office, serving in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006-2010. He then served as Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 2010 to 2013. More recently, Lohr worked as Knowledge Center Director for Farm Credit of the Virginias.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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