READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 12th

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Border Ag Inspector Bill Headed to President Trump

The House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes funding for more agriculture inspectors to work with U.S. Customs. The Hagstrom Report says the House passed the legislation, known as the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 after it had already passed the Senate. “I’ve long raised the issue of inadequate staffing levels at the border,” says House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson. “It’s critical that we have enough CBP agriculture inspectors, specialists, and canine teams to protect our rural communities and our economy from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases.” A joint press conference featuring several representatives from agricultural states expressed happiness that the bill made it through both chambers of Congress. The legislation authorizes the hiring of 240 new agriculture specialists and 200 agriculture technicians until staffing shortages are resolved. It also assigns 20 agriculture canine teams to prevent harmful pests and foreign animal diseases from getting into the United States. During the press conference, the lawmakers pointed out that the country faces a shortage of agricultural inspectors that could leave the U.S. ag industry vulnerable to diseases, pests, and other threats that could potentially devastate the American economy and affect the health and safety of millions of American people.


Agriculture will be Involved in U.S.-UK Trade Negotiations

Agricultural tariffs, as well as non-trade barriers, will be a part of pending trade discussions between the United States and the United Kingdom. An Agri-Pulse report says that comes from two government officials in the United Kingdom who didn’t want to be named because the negotiations haven’t started yet. Over the next year, topics of conversation between the two nations will include everything from tariffs on U.S. grains to how GMO’s will be handled going forward. The U.K. officially broke away from the European Union on January 31, but Britain is still technically in the European customs union until the last day of 2020. Between now and then, the British government plans to work on trade agreements with the U.S. and the EU at the same time. British officials spoke to reporters this week and say they know just how important U.S. agriculture is in Washington, D.C., these days and any free trade agreement that doesn’t include U.S. agriculture will likely not get through Congress. The U.S. is working on separate trade talks with the EU, which has held firm for over a year that agriculture will not be a part of the negotiations.


Tariffs Take a Big Two Year Toll

Consumers took a big financial hit from two years of trade wars with U.S. trading partners. The tariffs cost consumers $50 billion since February of 2018. That data comes from the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign. For example, in December of last year, Americans paid an extra $6.3 billion in duties, compared to $2.6 billion in December of 2017, just weeks before the trade disputes began to ramp up. While President Trump has had recent success in partial trade deals with Japan and China, among others, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland says work still remains to get things where they should be on the trade front. “Make no mistake, this trade war is as active as it was in December,” says Brian Kuehl (Keel), co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland also released specific impact data for states like Florida, Michigan Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all of which are critical states that Trump will need to win in the November election to get a second term in the Oval Office. Those five states have paid an additional $7.6 billion in tariffs because of the trade disputes. Speaking of trade, the U.K. departure from the European Union is two weeks old, but there’s no start date for trade talks between Washington and London.


USDA Releases February WASDE Report

The February World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates call for minimal changes in corn projections and increased soybean exports. The 2019/2020 U.S. soybean outlook is for increased exports and lower ending stocks. Soybean exports are projected at 1.825 billion bushels, up 50 million from last month, partly reflecting more imports from China. Soybean crush is unchanged, which means ending stocks drop 50 million bushels. The season-average soybean price is forecast at $8.75 per bushel. This month’s corn outlook isn’t much different than last month, with offsetting changes to exports and corn used for ethanol. Exports are lowered by 50 million bushels this month, reflecting a slow shipment pace through January. The offset is a 50 million bushel increase in corn used for ethanol. The season-average corn price projection is unchanged at $3.85 per bushel. The wheat outlook for 2019/2020 is calling for stable supplies, increased exports, and decreased ending stocks. The only change in supply or use this month was a 25 million bushel increase in exports, reflecting growing competitiveness in the international marketplace. Ending stock were forecast at a five-year low of 940 million bushels.


NPPC: FDA Stalling Hurts Agriculture

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is misrepresenting a gene-edited livestock research project and the National Pork Producers Council says that’s a stalling tactic. The pork producers say the stalling is designed to rationalize a regulatory grasp on an emerging technology that must be regulated by the USDA if the United States is to maintain its global leadership spot in agriculture. “While countries like China, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, are moving quickly on this advancement to gain competitive advantage, the United States is falling far behind because of the FDA’s precautionary regulatory approach,” says David Herring, NPPC President. “Under FDA regulation, gene editing faces an impractical, lengthy, and expensive approval process. If we don’t move oversight to the USDA, we’re ceding a technology that promises significant benefits to animals, including immunity to disease and a reduction in antibiotic use.” They also say the process jeopardizes thousands of American jobs. To date, NPPC says the FDA hasn’t responded in a meaningful way to the comments they received concerning the ramifications of their proposed regulatory process.


World Pork Expo Returning in 2020

The 2020 World Pork Expo is set for June 3-5, its 32nd year at the Iowa State Fair Grounds. The expo provides pork professionals with three full days of education, innovation, and networking. “We’re excited to welcome all members of the pork industry back to Des Moines after a brief hiatus last year,” says NPPC President David Herring. “The 2020 Expo allows us to reconnect across the industry and share knowledge, as well as discuss the state of the industry together.” As a precaution, the 2019 World Pork Expo was canceled due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever in China and other countries. Pork industry professionals worked together across the globe to get a handle on the situation and evaluate risks associated with ASF. Since the outbreak began last year, the U.S. has stepped up biosecurity measures to prevent an outbreak in the United States. The 2020 Expo will have increased biosecurity on-site during the show. Additional changes to the 2020 show include relocating the live swine show to reduce an already negligible risk. “Continuing to host the show for our more than 20,000 producers and pork professionals visiting from across the country is extremely important to us,” Herring adds. Registration to attend the World Pork Expo will soon be available online.

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.