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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 17th

Still Not Sure if Xi, Trump Will Meet at G20 Summit

There still aren’t any formalized plans for U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet at the upcoming G20 Summit in Japan. Politico says that’s the latest update from chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow. Trump has said there is no deadline for imposing even more tariffs on Chinese imports. However, he’s also threatened to make a move if Xi refuses to meet in Japan. So far, the president has imposed a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods, which caused China to set up retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, especially agriculture products like soybeans and pork. Trump is taking action to potentially impose the same tariff on almost all remaining Chinese imports, worth about $300 billion. Some of those import targets include things like cell phones, clothing, footwear, televisions, and other electronics. Politico says Kudlow emphasized that the administration is still looking at strong-arming China. Kudlow recently took part in an on-stage discussion with Fred Bergsten, president emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He said there’s only one way to get to an agreement with China. “You kick some butt, in my best economic analytical quantitative regression analysis,” Kudlow says.


European Union Will Import More U.S. Beef

A Reuters report says the European Union has agreed to allow U.S. farmers a bigger share of the European beef market. EU sources and diplomats all tell Reuters that the move could help calm down some transatlantic trade tensions. The deal will give America a guaranteed share of a 45,000-ton EU quota for hormone-free beef. The quota was agreed to back in 2009. It helped to settle another dispute that had arisen over the EU ban on the use of growth hormones in meat. U.S. farmers initially dominated the agreed-upon quota. However, under the World Trade Organization rules, it also had to be made available to suppliers outside of the U.S. Australia, Uruguay, and Argentina have grown their share of the quota, pushing the U.S. piece of the pie down to about 30 percent. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 EU countries, agreed to the deal with the U.S. American farmers gain an initial 18,500 tons of the quota, rising to 35,000 tons after seven years.


U.S., Israel Trade Agreement Upgrade Hits a Snag

The Trump Administration’s work to improve the agricultural trade pact with Israel is going to be delayed. Bloomberg says the efforts to get more access into Israel for U.S. agricultural products will be delayed because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a complete government. Two sources spoke to Bloomberg anonymously as negotiations to form the Israeli government are still ongoing. Talks were expected to get going again sometime this summer. U.S. negotiators had traveled to Israel in March to talk about lowering some barriers for U.S. farm exports to get into the country. One of the sources says those talks have been pushed back to at least November. America is far and away the largest trading partner with Israel. Annual trade is worth more than $30 billion. The latest data compiled by Bloomberg shows that in 2018, the U.S. racked up an $11.3 billion trade deficit. The U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service says basically any product produced in Israel that can be competitive in the U.S. market comes in duty-free. However, U.S. products continue to face high tariffs in many sectors, limiting their access to the Israeli market. An Agriculture Ministry official says Israel is open to discussing tariff reductions and duty-free quotas for agricultural items.


Not all NIFA, ERS Employees Pleased with Relocation

Unionized employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture demonstrated to show they weren’t happy about relocating to Kansas City. Several employees rose and turned their backs to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue during an afternoon meeting to talk about relocating their agencies to Kansas City’s metropolitan area. The Hagstrom Report says the protest was put together by the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that employees in both agencies recently joined. The Federation said to its newest members that, “We believe it’s important to forcefully, yet respectfully, convey that ERS and NIFA staff members are nearly unanimous in their opposition to the move.” The organization also says the move to KC is nothing but an “attempt to undermine the employees’ scientific work.” Local Union President Dave Verardo says, “The researchers and other stakeholders we work with don’t want us to move. They want us to stay right here in Washington, where we can easily coordinate with the other federal science agencies.” Verardo also says Perdue has stated the rush to finalize the relocation is him attempting to limit the burden on employees. “In reality, his announcement does nothing but increase the loss of mission-critical staff who can’t or won’t make the move,” he adds.


House Amendment Allows Dairy Employees Year-Round Access to H-2A

The American Dairy Coalition and its members across the country are pleased with the passage of the Cellar-Newhouse Amendment. It allows year-round dairy employees to utilize the H-2A visa program. The coalition says without a tool to provide the nation’s dairy farmers with a reliable workforce, farms will struggle to grow or sustain their operations. The amendment will provide a tool to help farmers answer the question of, “Who will milk the cows?” Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition, says dairy farmers consistently see their “Help Wanted” ads go unfilled. “Our domestic workforce is not filling agricultural jobs that are necessary to keep it running,” she says. “We need tools to provide an avenue for farmers to access legal workers willing to fill these year-round jobs.” Additionally, the program will provide the time employers need to make sure their workers are trained to provide the best standard of animal care possible. The dairy industry has a total economic impact of $620 billion dollars and supports more than three million jobs. The industry has to have qualified workers to milk and care for the cows every day. Adding dairy to the H-2A program will be a critical step toward making sure that happens.


Bipartisan Bill Would Limit Small Refinery Exemptions

The National Biodiesel Board thanked a handful of senators for introducing legislation that would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuels Standard hardship exemptions by June first of every year. The legislation would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to properly account for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations it sets each November. Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, says his organization appreciates the efforts to end EPA’s rampant use of small refinery exemptions to undermine the RFS. “Over the past two years, EPA retroactively granted RFS hardship exemptions to nearly every refiner that asked,” Kovarik says. “When EPA issues retroactive small refinery exemptions and refuses to account for the lost gallons in annual volumes, it very-much cuts the legs out from under the RFS.” He says the exemptions handed out in 2015,2016, and 2017 destroyed demand for more than 360 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. NBB says it conservatively estimates the demand destruction of 364 million gallons of biomass-based diesel. The University of Illinois estimates the economic harm to biodiesel producers to be $7.7. billion dollars.

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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