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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 18th

Trump Responds to No Ag in EU Talks, Threatens Tariffs

President Donald Trump is threatening tariffs against the European Union if the EU doesn’t bring agriculture to the trade negotiation table. Trump has threatened tariffs on European cars and auto parts imports, a move the EU has previously said it would abandon the talks over, according to Politico. The EU agreed to move forward with the trade talks earlier this week, but reiterated that agriculture will not be part of the negotiation. The refusal to include agriculture makes any deal with the EU uncertain as lawmakers from farm states have threatened the potential agreement would not pass Congress. Agriculture groups are urging the Trump administration to demand agriculture be included in the negotiation, citing biotechnology and pesticide regulations in the European Union, among other issues. If Trump goes ahead with the auto tariffs, the EU seems likely to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. wine and dairy. The EU is also seeking the removal of section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs by the U.S. “prior to the conclusion” of negotiations.

U.S., Japan to Accelerate Trade Talks Towards Agreement

The U.S. and Japan this week agreed to accelerate trade talks to advance a trade agreement. The first round of talks focused on agriculture and cars, according to Bloomberg News. Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister will meet again next week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to continue the negotiation. Japan is seeking to avoid U.S. tariffs on cars exported to the U.S., while President Trump is seeking greater access for agricultural goods to Japan and many measures similar to those found in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Farm groups are pressing the administration to reach an agreement quickly to counter lost market share in Japan from competitors that were included in the TPP replacement. Trump removed the U.S. from TPP upon taking office, and the member countries moved forward with an agreement that allowed Japan to import 60 percent more beef from TPP nations. Further, U.S. pork exports to Japan have dropped around 35 percent this year, since the new TPP agreement was enacted.

China Could Lift Poultry Ban in Trade Agreement, But No Ractopamine Ban

China may remove bans on U.S. poultry imports, but not on ractopamine-treated pork. As the U.S. and China seek to conclude trade negotiations, and African swine fever consumes China’s hog production, the U.S. has asked China to remove its ractopamine ban. Reuters says China has resisted the move for pork, but seems receptive to lifting a ban on U.S. poultry.  Data from Rabobank shows African swine fever seems likely to reduce China’s pork output by 30 percent this year. China will need exports to offset the losses, but the exports could come from other suppliers, depending on the outcome of the U.S.-China trade negotiations. Ractopamine is used to promote growth in U.S. pork and China banned its use in livestock in 2002. Meanwhile, China banned U.S. poultry in 2015 during the avian influenza outbreak. Before the ban, the U.S. shipped $390 million worth of U.S. poultry to China. The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council values China’s poultry market at $500 million, representing a major opportunity for U.S. producers.

Senators Seek USDA-Wide Water Quality Initiative for Conservation Measures

A bipartisan group of Senators is seeking a USDA-wide National Water Quality Initiative to prioritize conservation measures in the 2018 Farm Bill to address water quality. In a letter, the Senators point out that the 2018 Farm Bill made “historic investments” in voluntary conservation efforts to address water quality challenges. Specifically, the bill reformed and improved all major conservation programs in order to provide new tools to assist farmers, ranchers, and landowners in addressing water quality concerns. The group of Senators, led by Senate Agriculture Committee ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow, urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to implement the provisions through the department-wide approach, which would build off the existing initiative housed at the Natural Resource Conservation Service. The letter was also signed by Senate Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa, Mike Braun of Indiana, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Trump Signs Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans

President Donald Trump this week signed a drought contingency plan for the Colorado River. Supported by all 14 Senators in impacted states, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act implements a water sharing agreement between Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, California, New Mexico and Nevada. The plan was approved on a voice vote in the U.S. House and was “considered approved” and sent directly to the White House by the Senate. The agreement establishes new water conservation measures to protect reservoir levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell, using voluntary water reductions and management strategies to avoid historic lows in Colorado River reservoirs, which would trigger dramatic water delivery cuts. The U.S. Department of Interior notes that Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has experienced historic drought and dry conditions. Currently, the combined storage in Lakes Powell and Mead are at their lowest levels since Lake Powell initially began filling in the 1960s.

Missouri Farmers, Lawmakers, Seek to Block Transmission Line

Missouri farmers are seeking to block a transmission line that would be constructed across the state on roughly 500 different farms. The Grain Belt Express received approval by the Missouri Public Service Commission last month. However, farmers and rural communities are upset because the state will allow a private company to use eminent domain to procure land for the transmission line. Farmers rallied at the state capital this week in support of legislation that would bar private entities from using eminent domain for overhead transmission lines, citing personal property rights. However, opposition to the measure claims it’s an attack on green energy, as the state allows eminent domain for oil pipelines and other projects. Supporters of the transmission line say it will provide an economic benefit to rural counties. The Grain Belt Express transmission line, owned by Clean Line Energy, would transmit electricity from wind farms in Kansas, through Missouri and Illinois. Clean Line Energy is owned by Invenergy, a private energy investment company.

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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