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Agriculture News

Farmers face rising costs in ongoing trade war

San Luis Obispo Tribune | Posted on February 12, 2019

Washington farmers can expect a tougher year covering expenses even if political leaders finalize trade agreements with the countries that import apples, beef and wheat from the Evergreen State, a Washington State University professor said.Randy Fortenbery spoke at length about the troubling overall picture of the forces grinding against what has been a robust U.S. economy."I think commodity prices, except for sorghum, are going to be a little bit better than last year. But we are talking dimes not dollars," Fortenbery said. "I don't think the price increase will offset the cost increases."He openly contradicted President Donald Trump, who last year said trade wars are good and easy to win.

New York Governor Announces $18.4 Million Available to Support Water Quality Protection Projects on New York Livestock Farms

New York Government website | Posted on February 12, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $18.4 million in grant funding is available to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The funding will be provided through the final round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Waste Storage and Transfer System Program, a $50 million program launched in 2017. The program is part of the Governor's historic Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which would double under the 2019-2020 Executive Budget proposal to $5 billion. The application period is currently open and closes April 16, 2019.

Hazlett Named Senior Adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

USDA | Posted on February 12, 2019

Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Jim Carroll announced Anne Hazlett as the office’s Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs. Hazlett has served as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since June 2017. In her new role at ONDCP, Hazlett will help shape policy aimed at improving the quality of life in rural America, coordinate interagency efforts on drug control activity impacting rural communities, and build coalitions and grassroots strategies in these areas centered on prevention, treatment and recovery.“Rural communities across the United States have been particularly hard hit by our nation’s addiction crisis,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “Anne has a critical understanding of the unique challenges facing these communities and is committed to helping them reverse the effects of the opioid epidemic. We are looking forward to her joining our team as we build a stronger, healthier, drug-free society today and in the years to come.”

Small lamb, beef plant approved in New Jersey

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 12, 2019

The Chesterfield Township (N.J.) planning board has approved plans for a small USDA-inspected meat processing plant.Located on a 14-acre site, the facility initially will process and warehouse meat for the owner’s Altoona, Penn., wholesale store. Once upgrades such as a new cooler are made, the plant will kill about 60 head of lamb and 10 head of cattle per day, according to the report.

Soybeans singled out in U.S.-China trade war, but small farmers bear the brunt

Harvest Public Media | Posted on February 11, 2019

In theory, closing off China’s soybean market due to the trade dispute with the U.S. on top of generally low prices for the commodity should affect all industry players, big to small. Agriculture economist Pat Westhoff begged to differ. “The impact on total revenue may be very similar across the scale of production,” according to Westhoff, who’s an ag economics professor at the University of Missouri. “But sometimes the effect on net revenue can be very different. So a given price that may be difficult for a large producer can be catastrophic for a small producer.”In other words, if you’re a farmer who plants only soybeans on relatively few acres, you’re probably in trouble.Cargill CEO David MacLennan told Yahoo Finance in late January that the company has “had to shift supply chains from North America to South America” — buying instead soybeans from Brazil and Argentina.Those places, Westhoff noted, aren’t in a trade war with China, and are markets that the multinational corporations already work in.“South American soybeans are going to be capturing a premium in the Chinese market than would they would have had, had it not been for the tariffs,” he said.

U.S. to end tomato trade pact with Mexico, threatening duties

Reuters | Posted on February 11, 2019

The United States will resume an anti-dumping investigation into Mexican tomatoes, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, withdrawing from a 2013 managed trade deal that U.S. growers and lawmakers say has failed. The move opens a new source of trade friction between the United States and Mexico, Commerce said it was giving the required 90-day notice before terminating the six-year-old agreement not to pursue anti-dumping cases against fresh tomato imports from Mexico.The action could lead to new duties on Mexican tomatoes, higher consumer prices and possible retaliation at a time when the two countries are still wrangling over U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum.

Michigan House votes to reject Whitmer's environmental executive order

Detroit Free Press | Posted on February 10, 2019

The state House voted 58-51 on Wednesday to reject a sweeping environmental executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a move Whitmer denounced as an irresponsible vote against clean drinking water. The party-line vote in the House followed an earlier 3-2 vote in the Government Operations Committee.The resolution now moves to the Senate, if the Senate also votes to reject the order, that would kill it. The action by the House is a sign that talk about a bipartisan working relationship between Michigan's new Democratic governor and the Republican Legislature is quickly evaporating. The executive order the House rejected was the first nonemergency order Whitmer issued. Her first executive order declared a state of emergency as a result of dangerously cold temperatures last week.

Oklahoma board to consider new poultry house location rules

San Francisco Chronicle | Posted on February 10, 2019

The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture is set to consider measures Tuesday that would establish regulations for the location of poultry operations. Most important among the new proposals is one that requires poultry houses with more than 30,000 birds to be at least a quarter-mile (0.4-kilometers) from any home, The Tulsa World reported. Operations with 30,000 or fewer birds would have a 1,000-foot (300-meter) setback.

Trade barriers take growing toll on pork exports

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 10, 2019

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Mexico caused declines in U.S. pork exports to steepen in November, according to USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November pork exports totaled 206,852 metric tons, down 8 percent year over year, while value fell 12 percent to $538.7 million. For January through November, exports were steady with 2017’s record pace at 2.23 million metric tons, and value was down 1 percent to $5.86 billion.USMEF’s September data, by comparison, showed pork export volume down 2 percent from September 2017 and export value falling 7 percent. 

Montana pitches COOL bill

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 10, 2019

A new bill seeking country-of-origin-labeling on meat products has been introduced in the Montana legislature.  Senate Bill 206 generally would require COOL placarding on beef and pork at Montana supermarkets.Specifically, the bill would require retailers to differentiate between 1) meat that is born, raised and processed in the United States, 2) meat that is processed outside of the U.S., and 3) meat that is only processed in the U.S.