READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 10th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 10th

China Offers to Purchase U.S. Ag Products ahead of Trade talks

Planned trade talks next month between China and the U.S. has agriculture and the U.S. economy optimistic the talks will make progress. Politico reports that in the talks last week, China offered to purchase more U.S. agricultural products ahead of the planned negotiations for October. Phone conversations are expected to increase in volume between the two sides over the next few weeks. China will travel to Washington in early October to meet face-to-face, a rescheduling of talks planned for early September. The planned meetings this month lost traction after an escalation of tariffs between the U.S. and China in August. During phone conversations last week, Chinese official confirmed that the “two sides agreed that they should work together and take practical actions to create favorable conditions for consultations.” Meanwhile, farm groups are urging Congress and the administration to finalize the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, as lawmakers have returned from a six-week recess. Finally, President Trump is expected to sign a trade agreement with Japan this month, another welcomed trade development for agriculture.

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USDA Announces Resources Available for Farmers Hurt by 2018, 2019 Disasters

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced signups for disaster aid for 2018 and 2019, including aid for damages from Hurricane Dorian, will open this week. Wednesday, September 11, producers will be able to apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “We hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing.” More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. In addition, the relief package includes new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market, and losses of farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting crops for the 2019 crop year. WHIP+ (whip-plus) will be available for eligible producers who have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation for primary counties.

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USCMA Capitol Rally Planned for Thursday

Farmers for Free Trade and a group of agricultural organizations will host a rally Thursday in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Congress has returned from its August recess, and agriculture groups are mounting a push to get the trade deal passed by lawmakers this fall. The American Farmers Rally for Passage of USMCA starts at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. Rally organizers include the American Farm Bureau Federation, The American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, among other groups representing the dairy and fruit sectors. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson will attend, along with ranking committee Republican Mike Conaway, and other key ag lawmakers. Tom Vilsack, former Agriculture Secretary and current President and CEO of the Dairy Export Council will also attend, along with Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. The rally is an effort to highlight the benefits of the trade agreement and to urge lawmakers to pass the agreement without delay.

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Canada Consults WTO On China Canola Trade

Canada is seeking consultation from the World Trade Organization with China regarding the ongoing Canola dispute. The Canola Council of Canada welcomed the action, noting that since market access issues started in early March, Chinese importers remain unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed from exporters. Since then prices for canola have fallen approximately 10 percent – which translates into $1 billion less from canola for the Canadian economy on an annual basis. Council President Jim Everson says, “While we’ve supported continued technical engagement, the scientific basis for China’s actions remains unclear.” Everson says the action is the first step in regaining market access. The canola industry hopes the move can resolve the dispute to prevent further WTO dispute resolution actions. Further, the Canola Council of Canada believes more action is necessary to diversify canola markets, including enhancing market access in Asia and diversifying markets in Canada by increasing the amount of canola used in biofuel.

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Farmers Union Board Calls on Administration to Strengthen Agricultural Markets

The National Farmers Union is calling on Washington to address mounting financial difficulties worsened by recent policy decisions. The NFU board of directors is calling on Congress and the administration to “work to rebuild international and domestic markets, restore America’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, and reverse policies that have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard.” The resolutions also call for strengthening and passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. By most metrics, the farm economy is in a slump, and has been for six years. NFU says recent actions by the administration have added to family farmers’ and ranchers’ troubles. An international trade war has eroded international markets, while the undermining of biofuels programs has harmed domestic markets. Both have added to the oversupply of many American farm products and depressed prices even further. The resolutions were announced as nearly 400 farmers kicked off NFU’s fall fly in Monday in Washington. The farmers are expected to meet with lawmakers early this week.

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Checkoff-Funded Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Reaches Major Milestones

Just ten years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry. A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, the program requires students to complete five lessons in beef advocacy. The program has also been made available via digital download to allow agriculture educators, state beef organization representatives and other beef industry and youth leaders to incorporate the modules into their curriculums. Ryan Goodman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the program has evolved “to become a key tool and support system” for beef industry advocates. The program is open to everyone, and there is no cost to participate. To enroll or find out more about this checkoff-funded program, go to MastersOfBeefAdvocacy.com.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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