READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 21st

CLICK HERE to listen to The BARN’s Morning Ag News w/Brian Allmer every day

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 21st

Ag Groups Pleased With Tariff Removal

U.S. Ag groups representing different sectors of the industry were pleased that the Trump Administration reached a deal to remove the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada last week. National Sorghum Producers Chair Dan Atkisson says the move will “hopefully clear the way for USMCA to be ratified by Congress and enacted soon, providing more fair and open markets north and south of our borders.” The trade group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is pleased with what it called “long-overdue news. We’re hoping the administration sees the folly of imposing tariffs and taxing Americans.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “Retaliatory tariffs are a drag on American farmers and ranchers at a time when they’re suffering more economic difficulty than many can remember. Farm Bureau believes in fair trade and eliminating tariffs is critical to achieving that goal.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association VP of Government Affairs, Colin Woodall, says his group, “Fully supports USMCA and now is the time for Congress to work with the president to get it passed as soon as possible.” The National Corn Growers Association says it’s also pleased to hear the news, saying “Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest and most reliable markets.”

*********************************************************************************************

Mexico/Canada Removing Retaliatory Duties on Red Meat

The Mexican government published an official notice that Mexico has removed its retaliatory duties on U.S. pork. Canada’s Department of Finance announced that Canada will immediately eliminate the 10 percent tariff that Canada imposed on prepared beef items from the United States. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says restoring duty-free access to the Mexican and Canadian markets is a tremendous breakthrough for the U.S. red meat industry. “USMEF thanks President Trump and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer for reaching an agreement with Mexico and Canada on steel and aluminum tariffs,” Halstrom says. “We’re also grateful for Mexico and Canada’s lifting of retaliatory duties on U.S. red meat.” He says this will remove a significant obstacle for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The USMEF says they’re hoping that all three countries will ratify the new North American trade agreement as soon as possible.

*********************************************************************************************

After Tariffs are Removed, What’s Next For USMCA?

The tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum imports are history, removing a key barrier to ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. However, Democrats are still not close to giving full support to the Trump Administration’s biggest trade victory. Agri-Pulse says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says, “There are still many other issues that are outstanding before Democrats would support the USMCA.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants changes made to USMCA that would add enforcement regulations to Mexican labor reform. They’d also like to reverse an agreement with Mexico and Canada to extend patents for certain pharmaceutical drugs to 10 years. Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat with the House Ways and Means Committee, says his fellow Democrats want some changes in the body of the agreement. Side letters won’t be enough. U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer is listening to Democrat concerns but is growing frustrated with the overall number of those concerns, as well as the number of Congressional members on the fence when it comes to the trade deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says if USMCA can get through the House, it won’t have a problem getting through the Senate and to the president’s desk for signature.

*********************************************************************************************

Deere Slowing Production of Farm Equipment

John Deere says it will slow production output at certain facilities by as much as 20 percent year-over-year during the second half of 2019. Reasons for the decision range from trade uncertainty to a host of other issues pressuring the Ag industry. Director of Investor Relations Josh Jepsen says output reductions will mainly focus on large equipment in the North American market. Cory Reed, President of John Deere Financial, points to a lack of trade dispute resolution, as well as wet weather conditions and African Swine Fever as reasons to lower production. Reed wants the company to position itself well for 2020 by the end of this year. Higher freight costs, including some air freight charges to bring in parts, as well as unfavorable product mix and overall uncertainty, along with upcoming decreased production volume, are all causing manufacturers to drop their margin projections in the industry by one percent this year.

*********************************************************************************************

Perdue Says No “Long-Term Fallout” From Dispute with China

The U.S. trade talks with China seem to be a long way from wrapping up. However, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is trying to assure producers that when an agreement is finally reached, it will be good for farmers’ pocketbooks. When that agreement is reached, Perdue says China will be purchasing even more farm goods than they had before the trade dispute began. “The numbers that China was negotiating when they were here and talks were going well, the commitment of purchases was re-established as multiples of what they had been purchasing,” Perdue said in a Friday interview with Fox News. “That’s part of the agreement that we’ve insisted on. So, I think we’ll regain those markets.” However, Politico says Ag exporters aren’t so certain. For months, they’ve warned that the standoff could also damage the sector over the long haul if China, adjusts to other sources for its farm import needs, especially soybeans. In the meantime, the Trump Administration is still working on a short-term trade relief package for farmers and ranchers burned by retaliatory tariffs from China.

*********************************************************************************************

Court Denies Request to Halt EPA RFS Waivers

An Associated Press report says a federal appeals court granted oil refiners a victory by denying the Advanced Biofuels Association’s request for an injunction to stop EPA from issuing small refinery blending exemptions. The Renewable Fuels Standard requires those refiners to blend billions of gallons of renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply. The court issued a one-page order last Friday that says, “Petitioner has not satisfied the stringent requirements for an injunction pending court review.” The court didn’t offer any explanation as to why it denied the request. Paul Winters, a spokesman for the National Biodiesel Board, says the court “offered no explanation for its decision to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to continue holding small refinery waiver discussions behind closed doors and without any opportunity for public review.” The ethanol industry is currently engaged in a separate court fight over the waivers. It’s blamed the waivers for destroying demand for its corn-based fuel. The refinery industry praised the court’s decision as vindication for the EPA’s refinery exemption program and proves the renewable fuels industry was wrong to oppose it.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy