Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 14th

Trump to Address Farm Bureau Convention

President Donald Trump will address the American Farm Bureau’s 100th Annual Convention on Monday, January 14th, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s the second-straight year that the president will make an appearance at the Farm Bureau event. The convention runs from January 11 through January 16. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his organization is honored to host the president once again. “President Trump has made agriculture a clear priority, giving farmers and ranchers a seat at the table on the top issues affecting our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities,” Duvall says. “What better way to celebrate 100 years of Farm Bureau than to welcome the president of the United States to our centennial celebration?” The president spoke last year at the 99th event in Nashville. In remarks to the members, he said he was disappointed that it was “only” the 99th event. “You have to understand,” he told members, “100 is so much cooler, I have to be honest. So, I will be back next year.” Farm Bureau Vice President Scott VanderWal of South Dakota says a presidential speech will “really cap off the centennial.”

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House Passes Ag Appropriations Bill Trying to End Shutdown

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to pass a fiscal year 2019 agriculture appropriations bill. A DTN report says the bill is not supported by Senate and House Republican leadership, or by President Trump. It’s part of an effort by Democrats in the House to end the partial government shutdown. The vote was 243 to 183. The bill itself was the same appropriations bill that the Senate passed last year. As the House voting was in process, President Trump and certain cabinet members were making a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to make his case for funding a border wall as well as other security measures. Debate over the ag appropriations bill lasted an hour. During the discussion, Georgia Representative Sanford Bishop led fellow Democrats in urging colleagues to pass the bill as part of an effort to get the shutdown ended and government reopened. House Democrats stressed during the debate that the government shutdown is putting stress on Americans, offering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as an example. They said while the Trump Administration has a plan to get SNAP benefits out in February, there’s no plan after that.

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Business Pushing for USMCA Approval

Major U.S. businesses are putting together a large coalition to help lobby lawmakers and ask them to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. An industry source tells Politico that up to three dozen associations across different sectors of the economy are involved. However, the official start date for the coalition’s efforts has not been released yet. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue expressed confidence that lawmakers will ultimately ratify the USMCA because of just how important America’s trading relationship is with its two biggest export markets, Mexico and Canada. In his annual “State of American Business” speech, Donohue asks the Trump Administration to drop the steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada and Mexico. “This would be an encouraging sign for all our trading partners,” he says, “including those we’re pursuing new market-opening agreements with, like Japan, the U.K., and the European Union.” Speaking of Japan, Politico also notes that the former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. says the Trump Administration needs to “be realistic” about what it can achieve on the agricultural front.

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Yearly Sales of U.S. Tractors and Combines Rise

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers released its “Flash Report” that says the total number of tractors sold in the U.S. was up seven percent when compared to 2017. The number of tractors sold in 2018 totaled 235,856, seven percent higher than the 220,605 tractors sold in 2017. During December of last year, the sales of two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 horsepower) were also up seven percent compared to December of 2017, while sales of tractors with engines between 40 and 100 horsepower were four percent higher than the previous December. Sales of two-wheel drive tractors with 100+ horsepower were up six percent in December of 2018, while the sales of four-wheel drive tractors dipped by nine percent from the previous December. For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors under 40 horsepower were up nine percent from 2017, while sales of 40 and under 100 HP engines were two percent higher. Sales of two-wheel drive tractors 100+ horsepower were up six percent, while the four-wheel drive tractor sales were up 13 percent. Combine sales were up 30 percent for the month of December. Combine sales for the year came in at 4,849, compared to 4,104 in 2017, an 18 percent increase.

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NCGA Says No To Possible Early Withdrawal of NAFTA

The National Corn Growers Association is committed to creating new market opportunities abroad for U.S. corn producers, which means more market access around the world. It also means securing the important trade markets of Canada and Mexico, getting some stability back into those relationships with the U.S.A.’s North American trading partners. NCGA says that the first NAFTA has been an unprecedented success in helping America’s corn producers. Going back to 1994, American corn exports to these regional partners have increased 300 percent. Mexico is now the top destination for U.S. corn exports. Recent corn exports to Mexico were up 13 percent for 2017-2018 when compared to the previous year. The total reached a record high of 15.7 million tons, or 618 million bushels. As Congress begins to consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, it is impreative that the Administration not withdraw from NAFTA before the new agreement is officially ratified. Earlier reports have President Trump considering early withdrawal of NAFTA as a way to pressure Congress into approving the deal. However, NCGA says those markets are vital to U.S. corn farmers and far too important to potentially put at risk.

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Soybean Yield Beats Trendline, Corn More Variable

U.S. corn and soybean yields between 2013 and 2018 are both well above trendlines. Corn yields were 8.2 bushels per acre above trendline, while soybean yields were 3.7 bushels per acre above trendline. Those numbers come from a University of Illinois study. Soybeans were above trendline in every state the crop is grown in. Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois says the six-year run of above trendline yields has been remarkable. “A combination of good growing conditions, continuing increases in the genetic potential of soybean varieties, as well as changes in farming practices are all likely contributors to higher yields.” While all of the states show above trendline yields, they aren’t all equally high. For example, South Dakota soybean yields were much higher than the surrounding states. Corn yields varied by as much as 40 bushels to the acre geographically. Seven corn-growing states finished with yields at least 20 bushels an acre above trendline. Five states showed yields up to as many as 18 bushels an acre below trendline.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.