President Trump is creating strange bedfellows with his proposal to expand ethanol sales, with some environmental groups and the oil industry opposing the new rule. The groups have different reasons for pushing back against Trump’s plan to remove a key barrier to selling gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15), but both say it’s a bad policy and are contemplating suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if it is finalized.Trump on Tuesday directed the EPA to craft a regulation that would allow for sales of E15 year-round. It’s currently prohibited during the summer months due to air pollution concerns.Oil companies and green groups say Trump’s proposal is a politically motivated move designed to shore up support for Republicans ahead of the November midterm elections. Farmers are hurting as a result of Trump’s trade policies, which have prompted foreign tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.
The U.S. trade deficit rose in August to $53.2 billion. That’s up $3.2 billion. A decline in soybean and oil exports is what pulled us down. China is not buying our beans – at least, not now. Their companies don’t want to pay the 25% tariff imposed by China on our beans. There is some good news. USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, Jr. is cheering a big purchase – 90,000 metric tons of rice by Iraq. That is triple what they had been buying. The National Pork Producers Council is praising President Trump for announcing that the U.S. and Japan are to begin trade talks. National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimer said: “Fantastic news. Japan has been our top export market for years.”
Also, beef exports are expected to increase to South Korea. The duty has just been reduced to 21.3% from 40% and will be eliminated by 2026. Cattlemen are excited to see the U.S. as the largest supplier of beef to South Korea.We need to make free trade deals with South Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries because we are not part of the Trans Pacific agreement. President Trump withdrew.I said I wanted to talk about a frog. Here we go. Assume that you own a farm and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came and said they would take it away from you, even though you own it. It would be off limits to you. The dusky gopher frog doesn’t live on your land but the government decided it would be a perfect home for that useless frog. He is an endangered species but to kick a farmer off of 1,500 acres of his land for a useless frog is outrageous.
U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful that a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt that it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk. The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said. The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Under the terms, still being finalized, Canada would open more of its dairy market to trade and has agreed to drop its quota and pricing system for “Class 7” milk powders — a move that could help the struggling American dairy industry as it seeks export markets.But it opens only about 3.6 percent of Canada’s market for dairy, poultry and eggs to the U.S., and that’s not much for American farmers.“The impacts will be minimal. Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” Goodman said.Tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement were heightened last year when Canada raised tariffs on ultrafiltered milk used to make cheese and other dairy products.
The latest trade deal allowing more U.S. milk to pour into Canada has sparked a rallying cry to buy Canadian dairy. The message comes not only from dairy farmers upset over losing market share but also from many Canadian consumers pledging their support on social media."My heart hurts for the local industry," said software engineer Erum Tanvir in Winnipeg. Last week, she posted a Facebook message to buy Canadian milk.Tanvir says she'll choose Canadian over U.S. dairy products — even if they're more expensive.
Mounting tensions between two of the lead negotiators on the farm bill are jeopardizing Congress’ chances of passing a measure allocating hundreds of billions of dollars for agriculture and nutrition programs before a new session begins next year. Texas Republican Mike Conaway, the House Agriculture chairman, wants more money for Southern cotton growers. Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, Senate Agriculture’s ranking member, is pushing funds for urban farming and renewable energy. Their bitter fights over farm subsidies have deadlocked talks in a conference committee. The 2014 farm bill expired on Oct. 1 without a single face-to-face negotiating session between top negotiators in the three days before the deadline -- a sign of just how far lawmakers are from any kind of deal.Congress is supposed to reauthorize the sweeping law every five years, but the stalled negotiations show how rancorous partisanship in Washington has overtaken even popular legislation that usually passes with bipartisan support. Rural lawmakers must now return home for midterm elections with little to show their farmer constituents who are hurting from low commodity prices and an onslaught of retaliatory tariffs.If a bill doesn’t pass by the end of the year, lawmakers would likely extend the current farm bill and then need to return to square one on new legislation next year.
U.S. farmers will have more certainty in Canada and Mexico with the rebranding of NAFTA, including potentially more dairy access in Canada and more equal treatment of wheat products shipped north as well. The deal, announced late Sunday by the Trump administration, will be called the "United States Mexico Canada Agreement," replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement.President Donald Trump, speaking at the White House on Monday, touted the benefits of the trade deal for agriculture, saying, "The agreement will give our farmers and ranchers far greater access to sell American-grown produce in Mexico and Canada."North American trade between the three countries was valued at just under $1.2 trillion last year, though the U.S. ended with a $71 billion trade deficit with Mexico and a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. Canadian officials maintain the U.S. has a trade surplus with it.Canada is the largest U.S. export market for agriculture, valued at $20.5 billion in exports in 2017. Mexico is the No. 3 overall U.S. market, valued at $18.6 billion last year.Much of the agricultural sections are split between agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, and the U.S. and Canada. For instance, the U.S. and Mexico have special language on preferential tariff-rate quotas on sugar and sugar-related items. The U.S and Canada have detailed provisions related to dairy.
n an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow said significant issues remain in the farm bill process. “One of them really impacts the Dakotas and Minnesota and that’s the commodity title,” said Stabenow. “I understand the (agriculture committee) chairman in the House is from west Texas and wants to a bill that works for the South, but it takes tens of millions of dollars away from farmers in the Midwest.” Stabenow said she can respect differences of opinion, but (Chairman Michael) Conaway has politicized the farm bill process. “Cotton prices are up 20 percent and everyone else is down 50 percent. We just can’t do a political play that rewrites the commodity title for southern farmers ‘just because.’ We have to have a farm safety net that works.” Stabenow remains optimistic the farm bill can be completed this year.
DHS' Threats to Precision Agriculture report looks at cyber vulnerabilities in embedded and connected technologies that harness remote sensing, global positioning systems and communication systems to generate big data, data analytics and machine learning to manage crops and livestock. Cyber threats to the agricultural infrastructure are consistent with other connected industries, said DHS, but given farming's mechanized history, those threats are not well understood or treated seriously enough.The security threats to precision agriculture range from simple data theft, to market manipulations, destruction of equipment, or even a national security concern, according to the report.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $12 billion package to offset farmers losses from the imposition of tariffs American exports could end up shrinking after an agreement to update NAFTA was struck, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. The aid package includes cash payments for farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. The USDA had already outlined the allocations for the first $6 billion at the end of August.Perdue said the picture has changed after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was reached, a revamp of the NAFTA trade agreement between the three nations.
A food fight has been brewing over how the government should regulate animal tissue grown in labs. The prospect of lab-grown tissue has raised the hopes of animal welfare and environmental groups because it is created without slaughter and meant to substitute for traditional pork, beef, chicken, and fish. But divisions have emerged between the traditional meat industry, who are imploring the government to set rules out of concern for their own industry, and the companies creating the lab-grown foods, who fear that regulation could prevent their products from reaching consumers.Safety regulations have yet to be issued, but they are likely to include standards about how to grow the tissue, how to sign off on its safety, and how to label it in a way that consumers know what they're buying.