NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

U.S., Japan Reach Agreement on American Beef Import Targets

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. and Japan reached an agreement that will help keep more American beef flowing into Japan. The two countries agreed to increase the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The Hagstrom Report says it’s now less likely that U.S. exports will reach the levels that trigger the safeguard provision allowing Japan to raise its tariffs. “This is a win-win for American ranchers and Japanese consumers,” says U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. “It ensures stability for U.S. exports in the years ahead and that American beef can compete and win anywhere, anytime.” The agreement includes a new three-trigger mechanism, and all three must get hit for Japan put the safeguard in place and raise the beef tariff. It’s unknown when the agreement goes into effect because the text must get published, and Japan’s parliament must approve the agreement.

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Cattle Groups Applaud U.S.-Japan Agreement on Beef Imports

U.S. cattle groups applauded the announcement of an agreement between the U.S. and Japan on American beef imports. Both countries entered consultations after the beef tariff safeguard got triggered in March 2021. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports efforts to improve the beef tariff safeguard that benefits both Japanese consumers and American cattle producers. “NCBA is encouraged by the announcement,” says Kent Bacus, NCBA Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access. “We continue taking necessary steps to secure long-term solutions that enable American cattle producers to continue providing Japanese consumers high-quality beef at competitive prices.”  If the Japanese parliament approves the agreement, it will add additional triggers before a tariff can get raised on beef. “Reducing tariffs and trade disruptions will further strengthen demand for U.S. beef and generate long-term benefit for cattle producers despite recent challenges,” says Hughes Abell, President of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

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Agribusiness Association of Iowa Picks Northey as CEO

Bill Northey, a one-time Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa, is the new CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa. Northey is well-known in state and federal agriculture. His involvement in the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association culminated in his role as president of NCGA. He was elected three times as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Most recently, Northey was Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the USDA, and his term ended in January of 2021. “I’m excited to get asked to serve AAI as its CEO,” Northey says. “AAI is made up of the leading agricultural companies in Iowa working to promote Iowa’s agricultural opportunities and to support Iowa farmer and agribusiness leadership on improving Iowa’s environment.” Kevin Drury, Chair of AAI’s Board of Directors, says Northey’s passion for agriculture and extensive breadth of experience in agriculture are unparalleled. Northey will replace the retiring Joel Brinkmeyer.

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Farm Groups Pressure Washington to Open CRP for Planting

Several farm groups are pressuring the USDA to allow farmers to plant on Conservation Reserve Program acres. The groups say the move would help to fill the likely lack of corn, wheat, and sunflower oil coming from Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. Yahoo News says seven agriculture lobbying organizations fired off a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack this week asking the USDA for flexibility for farmers to plant crops on more than four million acres of “prime farmland” that’s currently enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s CRP without penalty. “It remains to be seen if Ukraine’s farmers will be able to safely plant crops,” the letter says. “Time is of the essence. The planting window in the United States is already open.” The letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau, the National Grain and Feed Association, and several other groups. If the acres get planted, they could yield another 18.7 million tons of grain.

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Europe Farms can Till Fallow Land

The European Commission approved a $550 million package for its farmers, who can now grow food and feed crops on fallowed land without losing they’re “greening payments.” Successful Farming says the move comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. EU’s Ag Commissioner says the EU is an “agricultural superpower” that will ensure its farmers have the commission’s full support to respond to the world’s need for food. No immediate estimates were available on how much land would get put into crops under the new European initiative. EU members can use the $550 million (500 million Euros) in agricultural aid to help farmers boost global food security efforts. They can also use the funds to offset potential impacts of higher production costs or trade restrictions EU commodities may face overseas. The EU says Russia is intentionally targeting Ukraine’s food supply “to create hunger and use this as a method of aggression.”

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Administration Continues Some Tariff Exclusions with China

The U.S.-China Business Council applauded the Biden administration for renewing tariff exclusions on 352 categories of Chinese imports. However, the group is disappointed that the administration didn’t approve the exclusions on the full list of 549 categories requested. The council says no reason was given for not approving them all. American companies have submitted 53,000 requests for tariff exclusions but fewer than 7,000 were granted. “We know that the tariffs are a tax on U.S. businesses and consumers, that they haven’t influenced China’s behavior, which was the justification for making the move, and they likely contribute to domestic inflation,” says Craig Allen, president of the USCBC. “They negatively affect U.S. companies of all sizes, especially many of the smaller ones still struggling to survive.” The council points out that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden was correct in calling former President Trump’s tariffs “disastrous,” acknowledging the trade war with China hurt U.S. farmers and families.

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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.