READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 3rd…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Biden or Trump, What Does the Future Hold for Farmers?

Election day is finally here—and represents an end to a long campaign season. While the results may be delayed, and there are signals of a messy outcome, for farmers and ranchers, one certainty is the likely reduction in federal direct payments. Experts seem to agree that the record direct payments to farmers this year is not a sustainable approach. Either candidate will likely face finding a solution to drawback those payments. If former Vice President Joe Biden should win, Politico points out you can expect a major shift in farm and food programs. Most notably would be changes to increase support for nutrition programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and an increased focus on agriculture’s role in climate change. A second term with President Donald Trump brings the expectation of continued deregulatory moves, a continuation of the current trade climate, and a likely target to streamline SNAP and other nutrition programs.

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AEM: Next President Should Focus on Infrastructure

A survey by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows the industry wants the next President to prioritize infrastructure investment. Regardless of who the next President is and which party controls the House or Senate, AEM says the outcome of the 2020 elections will have a significant impact on the equipment industry and the economy. Despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, nearly half of respondents are optimistic about the current state of the industry. Equipment manufacturing executives say the next President should prioritize investing in the nation’s infrastructure, enact effective tax, fiscal, and monetary policy, and negotiating fair trade agreements with other countries during his first year in office. Most executives say that the Republican party will do a better job supporting and advancing the industry’s policy priorities. However, a plurality say that the Democratic party will do a better job expanding access and improving the affordability of high-quality healthcare services for all Americans.

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Labor Department Finalizes H-2A Wage Rule

The Department of Labor Monday issued a final rule that updates the methodology for determining the annual Adverse Effect Wage Rates in the H-2A visa program. The Trump administration claims the new rule improves the consistency of the wage rates, provides stronger protections for workers, and establishes better stability and predictability for employers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the announcement, stating the update “will ensure greater stability for farmers and help them make long term business decisions rather than facing uncertainty year after year.” The move follows USDA’s action to discontinue a report previously used to set wages. However, a federal judge ordered USDA to resume the report. The reality of the H-2A rule is farmers can pay significantly lower wages to H-2A workers. The United Farm Works union last month claimed the Trump administration effort would cut field laborers’ wages by more than five percent in California, up to 27 percent in Oregon and 46 percent in Idaho.

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Lawsuit Challenges EPA Reapproval of Atrazine

Public-interest groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency last week over its decision to reapprove atrazine. The groups claim atrazine is linked to birth defects and cancer in humans. The lawsuit contends that the agency failed in its legal duty to ensure that the pesticide would not cause unreasonable harm to public health and the environment. An attorney for the Center for Food Safety says, “We are in court to make sure EPA answers for its blatant disregard of the lives of our nation’s farmworkers and their children.” The lawsuit also challenges the EPA’s reapprovals of two other pesticides in the triazine class, which were part of the same review process as atrazine. Farm groups welcomed the September reapproval announcement made in Missouri. At the time, Missouri Natural Resources Department Director Carol Comer stated, “EPA is using sound science to make decisions that protect children and workers, provide predictability and flexibility for our agricultural producers, and protect the environment.”

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NPPC Petition Leads to U.S. Trade Sanctions Against Thailand

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the weekend announced the suspension of $817 million in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences. Lighthizer took the action because the country hasn’t made sufficient progress providing the United States with “equitable and reasonable market access” for pork products. The decision follows a 2018 petition by the National Pork Producers Council asking the USTR to review Thailand’s eligibility for the GSP program, one that offers duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States. NPPC President Howard AV Roth says, “For years, Thailand has taken full advantage of special U.S. trade benefits, while imposing a completely unjustified de facto ban on U.S. pork.” The United States is Thailand’s number one export market, with almost $4 billion of products annually sent to America under the GSP. Yet, NPPC says Thailand maintains a de facto ban on U.S. pork imports through high tariffs and several non-tariff barriers.

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China Flying in Hogs to Replenish Herds

China is flying a record number of live hogs into the country as it seeks to rebuild hog herds. The nation is seeking to improve genetics and boost productivity, according to Bloomberg News, by flying in more than 15,000 hogs so far this year. The move comes as China seeks to increase its hog herd following the African swine fever outbreak. The hogs are worth an estimated $32 million, compared to just $3 million of hogs imported a year ago. China is seeking to modernize its hog production as well, shifting to a model of large-scale production. Meanwhile, the more than 15,000 hogs flown into the country come from Denmark, France and the United Kingdom. The number of breeding sows rose 28 percent from a year earlier to 38 million by the end of September. China is also importing a record value and volume of processed pork to fill the protein gap while its herd is repopulated.

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.