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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 4th

Leaders in Congress Warn Against Border Closing

Leaders of the House and Senate are warning against any border shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agreed this week that closing the southern U.S. border to stop migrants from entering the U.S. is a bad idea that would backfire on the U.S. economy, according to Politico. Trump is vowing to close the border, despite the major trade ramifications such a move would make, saying “security is most important.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls the potential move “incredibly destructive.” The move would halt trade of agricultural goods and lead to a shutdown of the U.S. auto manufacturing industry within days, according to the Center for Automotive Research. Earlier this week, the National Pork Producers Council warned the pork industry “cannot afford a total loss of the Mexican market.” Mexico accounted for more than 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year. A border closure would also halt the movement of legal migrant workers who tend to agricultural operations near the border.

Ag Economy Barometer Drifts Lower

Farmers are expressing more concerns regarding the future as the monthly Ag Economy Barometer drifts lower. Released this week, the March survey fell to 133 down from 136 a month earlier. Organizers say increasing concerns about future economic conditions drove the barometer lower as the Index of Future Expectations declined to 139 in March compared to an index value of 145 in February. The current conditions measure was unchanged compared to February at 120. The Barometer surveys 400 agricultural producers monthly. A rating below 100 is negative, while a rating above 100 indicates positive sentiment regarding the agriculture industry. Producers expressed more concern regarding farmland values, as 25 percent of farmers surveyed expect farmland values to drift lower over the next 12 months. Survey results from January and March 2019 suggest that five to as much as seven percent of U.S. farms are suffering from some financial stress, using the need to carryover unpaid operating debt as an indicator of financial stress.

USDA Launches New Features

The Department of Agriculture says changes to will help producers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H-2A visas. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the changes Wednesday. Focused on education and smaller owner-operators, the H-2A Phase I release includes an H-2A Visa Program page and interactive checklist tool, with application requirements, fees, forms, and a timeline built around a farmer’s hiring needs. Over the next several months, USDA will collaborate with the Department of Labor on Phase II – a streamlined H-2A Visa Program application form, regulations, and digital application process. For farm loan management, the self-service website now enables producers to login to view loan information, history and payments. Producers can access the “My Financial Information” feature by desktop computer, tablet or phone. Secretary Perdue launched in 2018 as a portal to help farmers find the right loan programs for their business and submit loan documents to their service center.

Sen. Durbin Meets with NCGA, Offers Continued Support for E15

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois reaffirmed his support for year-round E15 sales this week. In a meeting with National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett, Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said he would continue to push the EPA to not delay in allowing E15 to be sold year-round. He called the policy change good for the environment and good for farmers facing financial headwinds. In October, President Trump committed the EPA to lift summer restrictions on ethanol blends up to E15. EPA must issue the rule by June 1, 2019, to ensure that E15 can be sold at retailers this summer. In the last Congress, Durbin co-sponsored the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, a bill that would allow the sale of E15 year-round. During the meeting, Doggett and Durbin also discussed the importance of trade with Mexico and Canada, soil health efforts, and NCGA’s recent partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to help farmers achieve economic benefits from conservation and climate practices.

Airline Passenger Brings Product with ASF To Japan

Japan has detected African swine fever in a sausage an airline passenger from China brought to the country. Japan has in the past detected genes of the African swine fever virus in food brought from overseas, but never before has the virus been confirmed as being at an infectious stage, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. The finding has prompted Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen measures against illegal imports of livestock products. The finding also serves as a reminder of the need for increased detection efforts at airports and other ports of entry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently intercepted a shipment that included illegal pork from China. However, U.S. policy dictates that the prohibited products must be destroyed, and because of that, the U.S. did not test the pork for African swine fever. USDA does not allow importation of pigs or fresh pork products to the U.S. from regions of the world where ASF outbreaks have or are occurring. 

Farmers for Free Trade Launches RV Tour

Farmers for Free Trade Wednesday announced the Motorcade for Trade tour. The RV tour will cover 11 states and 3,500 miles across the country in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The first two-week leg of the tour, which will take place over the two-week April Congressional recess, will include stops across the Midwest at family farms, coffee shops, ag equipment dealers, small businesses, and other locations. Events along the tour will highlight American farmer’s reliance on trade with Canada and Mexico which supports millions of jobs and over $40 billion in American exports each year. Several stops will include meetings with members of Congress who will consider the USMCA agreement. Farmers for Free Trade co-founder Brian Kuehl called the tour the “first step” in educating at the grassroots level about what USMCA is, and its importance to rural America. Tour stops and other information about the tour is online at

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.

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