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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 9th

Bomb Cyclone Take Two Expected This Week

Farmers appears set for a familiar weather event this week as forecasters say another bomb cyclone, or similar event, will hit parts of the Great Plains and Midwest. Numerous weather forecasters now say models are showing one to two feet of snow, if not more, in the northern reaches of the Missouri River basin, the same area that flooded in March from a bomb cyclone event. The storm this week overlaps areas hit last month, but the bulk of the predicted heavy snowfall is expected further north, into South Dakota and Minnesota. The so-called cyclone, which presents a unique shape clearly defined on weather maps, is expected to form Wednesday afternoon. The storm creates a swirling air pattern and includes conditions that allow for significant precipitation. However, forecasters say round two should not be as disastrous as the first bomb cyclone in March, as spring seasonal conditions are limiting the potential for storm. Still, the storm signals more flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The National Weather Service last month predicted flooding to last into July.

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Significant Work Remains in China Trade Talks

Significant work remains in trade talks with China, according to a statement from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office. President Trump has indicated a deal could be reached in the next four weeks, but the two sides offered little details regarding last week’s meetings, according to Reuters. Lighthizer says negotiation team members “will be in continuous contact to resolve outstanding issues.” The most recent negotiations included intellectual property, or IP, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases and enforcement. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has previously said the negotiations could conclude with a doubling or tripling of U.S. ag exports to China. U.S. agriculture is impatiently waiting for the results of the talks which stem from the trade war enacted last year between the U.S. and China. The talks are now expected to conclude sometime within the next few months, well beyond the original deadline set by President Trump of March first. However, Trump extended the deadline because the talks were making progress.

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FAPRI Releases The 2019 U.S. Baseline Outlook

Pressure on farm finances appears likely to continue, according to the 2019 U.S. Baseline Outlook from the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. The report finds projected net farm income will increase in 2019 but remains below the 2014-17 average. Longer-term projections suggest little change in real net farm income over the next decade, resulting in continued increases in the farm sector’s debt-to-asset ratio. Projected prices for U.S. soybeans and other products affected by current trade disputes remain below levels that would prevail if foreign tariffs were removed. Marketing-year-average soybean prices are projected to stay below $9.00 per bushel for a second straight year in 2019/2020, and corn prices are estimated to increase from averaging $3.53 in the current marketing year, up to $3.81. Further recovery in wheat prices could be limited by continued large global supplies, while cotton prices could fall in response to increased U.S. production. The estimates were prepared before the March 29 USDA planting intentions report was released, which suggests slightly more acres of corn and fewer acres of wheat and cotton than included in the outlook.

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USDA Responds to Washington Post Regarding New Swine Slaughter Inspection System

The Department of Agriculture in response to a critical report from the Washington Post says the newspaper “deciding to reprint the talking points of special interest groups while claiming the agency declined interview requests.” USDA jabs back in the opening of its response: “The Washington Post says that democracy dies in darkness. If that’s the case, then The Washington Post’s story about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is a solar eclipse.” The Washington Post published a story titled, “Pork industry soon will have more power over meat inspections,” which the pork industry and now USDA have criticized. The story focuses on the proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System, first proposed in February after “a 20-year evaluation,” according to USDA. Of the many facts disputed in the article, Washington Post reported: “the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees.” However, USDA says under both the proposal and traditional inspection, establishment employees sort market hogs before FSIS inspection.

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Lawmakers Seek Expanded Rural Broadband Access

Lawmakers are seeking funding to expand rural broadband access across rural America and to ensure equal educational and economic opportunities in rural communities. Led by Illinois Republican Rodney Davis and Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a bipartisan letter sent to key House Appropriations Committee members ask them to boost funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, more than 30 percent of Americans in rural areas lack access to fixed terrestrial broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps—compared to only two percent of Americans in urban areas. The Davis and Spanberger-letter calls for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies to provide $550 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program. Additionally, the letter requests $350 million for the rural broadband loan and grant program—an amount authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. This funding would represent an overall increase of $350 million in rural broadband development funding from fiscal year 2019

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USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure and Smart Grid Improvements in 13 States

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced  $485 million of investment to rural electric systems across 13 states. The funding includes nearly $7.1 million for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. The loans, according to acting assistant to the secretary for rural development Joel Baxley, will “enhance rural economic development and help improve the quality of life for people who live and work in rural America.” USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. Topping the list includes South Dakota’s Northern Electric Cooperative, which is receiving a $24.8 million loan to build or improve 360 miles of line, while Missouri’s Central Electric Power Cooperative is receiving a $72 million loan to finance electric distribution and transmission facilities. USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program to improve rural electric infrastructure in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These investments will help build or improve 2,635 miles of line.

 

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.