READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, January 16th

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Trump Signs Phase One Agreement with China

President Donald Trump signed a trade agreement with China Wednesday. The phase one deal, according to the Trump administration, is worth an extra $40-50 billion annually over the next two years in U.S. agricultural sales to China. However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier this week called the deal weak, suggesting Trump reached a watered-down agreement to claim a “win” during his reelection campaign. Further information suggests the figure may be $32 billion in increased ag purchases, not $40-50 billion. Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, attended the ceremony. Grassley welcomes the agreement but says, “Not only must China follow through with its commitments in this phase one deal, but also work toward a comprehensive agreement.” President Trump says the agreement removes trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products, particularly for beef. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement will benefit many different U.S. farm commodities. The agreement should be implemented within 30 days, according to the Trump Administration.

USTR offers China Agreement Details

Documents released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office offer details into the agriculture provisions in the U.S.-China phase one trade agreement. USTR Robert Lighthizer says China will purchase and import, on average, at least $40 billion of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products annually for a total of at least $80 billion over the next two years. Products will cover the full range of U.S. agriculture. U.S. exports of pork products were $700 million in 2017 and are expected to reach $1.7 billion annually in the next two to three years. China will expand the scope of beef products allowed to be imported, eliminate age restrictions on cattle slaughtered for export to China, and recognize the U.S. beef and beef products’ traceability system. The Department of Agriculture estimates U.S. beef and beef product exports to China could reach $1 billion annually. Further, China has agreed to implement a transparent, predictable, efficient, science- and risk-based regulatory process for the evaluation and authorization of products of agricultural biotechnology.

Peterson, Costa, Cautiously Optimistic about Phase One China Deal

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa of California say they are optimistic but cautious, regarding the phase one trade agreement with China. Peterson notes the agreement includes potential increased market access for U.S. farmers, adding, “The question now is whether China will play by the rules it has agreed to here.” Peterson says he is concerned that long-term, certain crops may not regain the foothold they lost in the trade war. Meanwhile, Costa says, “The key is getting the Chinese to stick to their commitments and prove that they will honor international agreements.” Costa adds it’s not immediately clear that the new purchases, at least $40 billion worth annually according the Trump Administration, “will make up for what we’ve lost along the way.” Both Peterson and Costa say they are pleased to see progress on negotiations with China. However, most tariffs on China will remain in place, while Trump seeks a phase two agreement.

Farm Groups Welcome Phase One Agreement

Agriculture groups welcome the new trade agreement with China. The U.S. Grains Council says the agreement should reduce continued market uncertainty and incentivize China to purchase significant amounts of the full range of U.S. agricultural products. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the signing is ”another positive step towards restoring market confidence for U.S. biofuel producers.” In 2016, China was the third-largest export market for U.S. biofuels, but exports were nearly eliminated due to retaliatory tariffs and trade negotiations. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calls the agreement a “game-changer.” NCBA President Jennifer Houston says the removal of trade barriers included in the agreement “gives Chinese consumers access to the U.S. beef they desire.” The National Pork Producers Council applauded the agreement, as well, saying pork producers are “ideally positioned to address this unprecedented sales opportunity for pork in China.” However, NPPC urged the removal of the 60 percent punitive tariffs on U.S. pork to “fully capture the benefits” of the agreement.

USMCA Senate Vote Thursday

The Senate is hopeful to vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Thursday (this) morning. After quickly advancing the agreement through required committee approvals, the Senate will consider the agreement ahead of the impeachment trial next week. However, the Senate is not in session Friday, leaving little time to debate and pass the implementing legislation. Thought to be delayed until after the impeachment trial, the Senate moved up committee hearings to include USMCA passage during a busy week in Washington. The same day President Donald Trump signed the China agreement, the House of Representatives sent articles of impeachment to the Senate. Now, the Senate must make the impeachment trial a priority, which is expected to begin Tuesday. Action by the Senate would move USMCA to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The signing of the agreement would signal Canada to approve the agreement, whose government is waiting for U.S. approval. Mexico already approved the agreement last year.

FSA Encourages Farmers to Enroll in ARC, PLC, Now

USDA’s Farm Service Agency encourages producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. March 15, 2020 is the enrollment deadline for the 2019 crop year. Although more than 200,000 producers have enrolled to date, FSA anticipates 1.5 million producers will enroll for ARC and PLC. By enrolling soon, producers can beat the rush as the deadline nears. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce says, “please do not wait to start the enrollment process,” adding producers “need to begin the program election and enrollment process now.” ARC and PLC provide financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms. Until March 15, producers who have not yet enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office unless yield updates are requested. Additionally, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that take effect beginning with crop year 2020.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.