READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 10th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USCMA Tentative Deal Reached

A deal to allow the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to move forward seemed imminent Monday, with anonymous sources telling the Associated Press a deal was reached. President Donald Trump told reporters Monday afternoon there were “a lot of strides over the last 24 hours” with unions, adding “if they put it up for a vote, it’ll pass.” Fox Business News first reported an agreement between Trump and Mexico, along with House Democrats, and that it could be finalized and ready for action before the House of Representatives adjourns for the year. However, details reportedly still need to be finalized, and implementing legislation must be submitted to Congress. Additionally, the House of Representatives will need to schedule a vote on the agreement. The news broke as 158 lawmakers penned a letter the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to “seize this opportunity” to create a win for America. The lawmakers say expanding agriculture exports through USMCA “will help put American agriculture back on its feet.”

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Trade War Impact $42 Billion

A trade organization says the U.S. trade war with China has cost the U.S. $42 billion since February of 2018. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Monday released data showing that in October alone, Americans paid a total of $7.2 billion in tariffs, more than any other amount in U.S. history, with $4 billion of that total stemming from the trade war. Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold says, “It’s time the administration finalizes a deal with China to end the trade war and remove all tariffs.” Talks of a phase one agreement continue, which would include agriculture provisions, but new tariffs are planned on China starting December 15. President Donald Trump last week indicated a final overall agreement could wait until after the 2020 U.S. elections. Brian Kuehl, co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, says the 2020 campaign will turn to farm states, adding, “The president needs to show he can close not just a phase one deal, but a comprehensive deal,” for farmers and rural America.

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China Fuels October Pork Exports, Beef Exports Down from Last Year

Strong demand from China bolstered U.S. pork exports in October, while October beef exports were below the high totals posted a year ago. Department of Agriculture data, compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, shows October pork exports increased 8.5 percent year-over-year to 225,300 metric tons, while export value climbed ten percent to $592 million. January-October export volume was five percent ahead of last year’s pace at 2.13 million metric tons, while value increased three percent to $5.48 billion. Although still burdened by China’s retaliatory duties, October pork exports to the China region reached 61,000 metric tons, up 150 percent year-over-year, while export value climbed 127 percent to $141.3 million. USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom says China’s efforts to rebuild its domestic swine inventory continue, but added, “there are still excellent opportunities for pork-supplying countries.” Meanwhile, October beef exports totaled 108,000 metric tons, an eight percent decline from last year’s large volume, while export value of $649.1 million was down 11 percent.

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Farm Groups Plead for Biodiesel Tax Extenders

A group of farm organizations is asking House and Senate leadership to extend the biodiesel tax credit. A letter sent last week to leaders of both chambers says, “we believe that Congress can, and must, pass an immediate extension before returning home at the end of the year.” The group includes 11 farm and biofuels groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union. Since 2005, there has been a $1.00 per gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders’ tax credit, which was created to stimulate production and consumption of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The tax credit expired on December 31, 2017. Separately, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America says Congress must “act now to retroactively extend the credit for calendar year 2018 and through at least 2019.” The farm groups charge that since the start of the year, producers have cut back production, investments in new technologies and facility upgrades, and purchases of raw materials, because of the uncertain future of the tax credit.

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Petersen Sends Letter to EPA Criticizing RFS Proposal

A letter by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency suggests EPA’s proposal to “fix” the Renewable Fuel Standard undermines the program. Peterson sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler last week raising concerns about the October supplemental rule proposed by the EPA. In October, the agency submitted a supplemental proposed rule and suggested changes to the formula EPA uses to restore gallons waived through the small refinery exemptions process. Biofuels and farm groups are disappointed that the proposal doesn’t fully address lost demand stemming from small refinery exemptions. Peterson says, “any action from EPA that does not uphold the integrity of the RFS is unacceptable.” He claims, “The bottom line is the EPA continues to undermine the RFS at the expense of our farmers and biofuel producers. A public comment period on the proposal closed late last month. The EPA is expected to release the final rule soon, possibly on December 20.

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NCBA Accepting Intern Applications for Fall 2020

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, along with the Public Lands Council, is seeking fall 2020 policy internship applications. Positions for next fall, early-September – mid-December 2020, include public policy interns and a law clerk. The public policy internship will give students an opportunity to learn about career options and provide practical experience. From tax and trade to environmental and food safety regulations, interns will work on a variety of issues and have the opportunity to work specifically in the area of their interest. The law clerk will provide support to NCBA’s Environmental Counsel on issues relating to environmental legislation and regulations that impact beef producers. The deadline to apply for either position is March 6, 2020College juniors, seniors and graduate students are encouraged to apply. PLC Associate Director, Policy & Administration, Allie Nelson, a former NCBA intern herself, says the internships “let students get an up-close look” at how policy impacts cattle producers.

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.