READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 18th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 18thh

WTO Rules against US over Pre-Trade War Dispute with China

The World Trade Organization ruled against the United States in a pre-trade war dispute with China, opening the door for more retaliatory tariffs. The ruling says some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods do not comply with WTO rules. The case opened in 2012 when the United States implemented tariffs aimed at products the U.S. claimed “were unfairly subsidized” by Chinese state-owned companies. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a news release rejected the ruling. Lighthizer says the report “undermines WTO rules.” The report says that the United States “must use distorted Chinese prices” to measure subsidies, according to Lighthizer, unless the U.S. provides more analysis than “the hundreds of pages” in provided investigations. China’s Ministry of Commerce in a statement welcomed the ruling, adding the U.S. “has seriously damaged the fairness and impartial nature of the international trade environment.” Meanwhile, Lighthizer says the U.S. is determined to take all necessary steps to ensure a level playing field. Trade talks between China and the U.S. continued this week.

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Many USDA Workers Refuse to Relocate With ERS, NIFA

Many Department of Agriculture employees refuse to relocate as part of a plan to move two agencies to Kansas City. At the Economic Research Service, 72 employees accepted relocation, and 99 declined or did not provide a response by the deadline on Monday. At the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, three employees agreed to move, and 151 declined. Politico reports those figures could shift until September 30, when staff is scheduled to report to the new Kansas City headquarters. The proposed move by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeks to streamline USDA to reduce costs and place the two agencies closer to stakeholders. However, employees and opposition to the move say the number of workers exiting the two agencies represents a great loss of experience. Many of the impacted employees have allegedly told the American Federation of Government Employees they would move temporarily, until finding a job at their preferred localities. Staff of both agencies voted to join AFGE, a union representing federal workers, in protest of the proposal.

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Corn Farmers Urge Trump to Uphold RFS

The National Corn Growers Association voted as an organization to urge President Trump to uphold his commitment to America’s farmers and the Renewable Fuel Standard. A resolution passed Wednesday during the annual Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. reads: “We, the assembled voting delegates of the National Corn Growers Association, ask President Donald Trump to uphold his commitments to protect the RFS, and support farmers by ensuring EPA’s administration of the RFS does not undermine the law and the benefits of renewable fuels.” NCGA delegates offered the statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing practice of providing RFS waivers to big oil companies. The so-called small refiner waivers, NCGA says, have reduced RFS requirements by 2.6 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons through refinery exemptions, with 38 more exemptions pending. Corn growers say the waivers undermine the benefits of renewable fuels, and have also reduced corn use for ethanol production. They allege the waivers have lowered domestic ethanol consumption and blend rate, and will limit growth of higher ethanol blends such as E15.  

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USDA Announces Online Tool to Help Farmers find Farm Loans

A new online tool can help farmers and ranchers find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture farm loans that may best fit their operations. USDA has launched the new Farm Loan Discovery Tool as the newest feature on farmers.gov, the Department’s self-service website for farmers. USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the tool can “help farmers find information on USDA farm loans within minutes.” The changes are part of customer service improvements effort by USDA, and was identified through suggestions from farmers. USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers a variety of loan options to help farmers finance their operations, from buying land to financing the purchase of equipment. Compared to this time last year, FSA has seen an 18 percent increase in the amount it has obligated for direct farm ownership loans. Through the 2018 Farm Bill, FSA has increased the limits for several loan products. USDA conducted field research in eight states, gathering input from farmers and FSA farm loan staff to better understand their needs and challenges.

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Bayer to Move Crop Science HQ from RTP to St Louis

Bayer plans to move it’s crop science headquarters to St. Louis and close its Research Triangle Park facility. Bayer, which acquired St. Louis-based Monsanto for $63 billion, will move 500 jobs to the former Monsanto campus in Missouri. The announcement comes after Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s first European Trade Mission. The trip included a stop in Germany to meet with Bayer CEO Werner Baumann. Bayer will close its crop science facility at Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. However, a company spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Bayer’s environmental sciences operation will remain in Raleigh. Bayer will make $164 million in improvements to its St. Louis facility to accommodate new staff. Missouri offered Bayer $44 million in tax incentives to complete the move, if certain economic targets are met. Lisa Safarian is the president of commercial operations in North America at Bayer. She says Bayer is “proud to call Missouri home” for its global headquarters for seeds and traits. Bayer already employs roughly 5,000 workers in Missouri.

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Canada Investing in Dairy Research Center

Canada this week announced further investments in dairy research. Canada will invest C$11.4 million to the Dairy Research Cluster, led by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. With investment from the industry, the total investment will be $16.5 million. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau (Bee-boh), also reinforced Canada’s “strong and unwavering commitment” to the supply management system, in the investment announcement, a system U.S. dairy opposes due to trade issues. The Dairy Research Cluster aims to foster public trust, drive innovation and stimulate economic growth of the Canadian dairy sector. The cluster will support research in areas of bovine genetics, animal health and welfare, milk production automation, forage breeding, milk safety and quality and environmental sustainability. Dairy Farmers of Canada President- Pierre Lampron says the investment is “essential to enable strong, robust and evidence-based research” to improve efficiency in dairy. Dairy is the second-largest agricultural sector in Canada, generating 41,000 jobs on farms and processing plants, the backbone of many rural communities across Canada.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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