National Ag News for November 30, 2022

Vilsack Talks Biotech Corn in Mexico

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel (man-WELL) López Obrador earlier this week. The leaders discussed a looming decree by the Mexican president that would ban imports of biotech corn into the country. In a statement following the meeting, Vilsack commented, “We must find a way forward soon and I emphasized in no uncertain terms that – absent an acceptable resolution of the issue – the U.S. Government would be forced to consider all options.” The options available include taking formal steps to enforce legal rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett replied, “Today’s meeting shows that the Biden administration is listening to NCGA and American corn grower leaders and that Secretary Vilsack is willing to go to the mat for America’s farmers.” The Mexican President has promised to enact a decree that would end imports of corn grown using biotech and certain herbicides by 2024.

Industry Welcomes Biden Call to Congress on Potential Rail Strike

Agriculture groups welcome President Biden’s call on Congress to avert a potential rail worker strike. Corey Rosenbusch of The Fertilizer Institute praised the action by Biden, adding, “Congress must act now to ensure that fertilizers and other critical materials and goods that U.S. consumers rely on every day get to where they are needed.” The Fertilizer Institute has been heavily engaged in efforts to avert a nationwide rail network shutdown and will continue to do so until the matter is resolved. The call from Biden followed a meeting with cabinet members on the issue. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack adds, “in this case – where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt American agriculture and millions of other working people and families –Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.” Vilsack joined President Biden in calling on Congress to quickly pass legislation adopting the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators.

Removal of Trade Barriers Could Increase China’s Ag Imports

China imported more than $205 billion of agricultural products in 2021, including more than $37 billion from the United States. However, USDA Economic Research Service points out that trade barriers deterred China’s imports from reaching even higher levels. China’s import barriers create what are called “price wedges,” in which domestic prices for agricultural commodities, including beef, corn, pork, and wheat, are higher than the world price. ERS recently found that removing price wedges would lead to increased agricultural imports for the four commodities over the next five to ten years. For corn and wheat, removing price wedges was estimated to increase China’s imports by 91 and 249 percent, respectively. Both of these commodities are subject to a tariff-rate quota which could constrain additional imports. Overall, the benefits of removing these trade barriers would be widespread, increasing sales for producers in the United States and other exporting countries and yielding lower food prices for China’s consumers.

Ag Organizations Call for McKalip and Taylor Nominations Votes

Agriculture groups through Farmers for Free Trade call on the Senate to confirm two key agricultural trade officials in the Biden administration. The coalition sent a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday calling for the confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, and Alexis Taylor as USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture for Trade. The coalition urged the Senate to confirm the duo during the current lame-duck session. “Time is of the essence to confirm these nominees.” the letter points out, adding, “American agriculture needs experienced leaders representing us in international negotiations.” The letter also highlights the important role that exports and U.S. agriculture play on the entire economy, as 20 percent of American farm revenue comes from exports, and America’s farmers, ranchers, food processors, and manufacturers rely on complex and highly integrated supply chains that stretch across international borders. The food and agriculture products we export support over 1,000,000 U.S. jobs.

Food System Investment Needed to Equip Farmers for Climate Change

A new report from the Farm Journal Foundation finds that increased U.S. investments in agricultural development and innovation are needed to make global food systems more resilient. While climate change impacts agriculture worldwide, its effects are “substantially more severe” in warm regions, including Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The report says that as much as 80 percent of the world’s poor people, who predominantly work in agriculture, live in areas increasingly affected by climate change. The new report follows the United Nations’ COP27 conference earlier this month, where leaders discussed the impact of climate change on the global food system and solutions to make agriculture more resilient. The report says investing in agricultural sustainability in developing countries is in the U.S. national interest, as it would prevent future food crises, reduce the need for emergency food aid, support stability in developing countries, and potentially reduce mass migration and civil unrest.

Noble Research Institute Releases Ranch Safety Guide

Agriculture is the seventh-most-hazardous industry in the United States, but ranch operators can take steps to make their working facilities and equipment safer for their staff and families. Recently Noble Research Institute and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef created and published a new guide to help improve ranch safety. The guide titled Ranch Employee Safety: Working Cattle and Related Facilities and Equipment, takes ranchers through four stages of improved safety. The guide proposes stages of safety on the ranch, including identifying hazards and preventing worker injuries and illnesses. The third stage is preparation of ranch employees, followed by the final stage, monitoring the hazards and risks and the safety policies and procedures implemented. Additionally, the guide provides 30 pages of resources and tools ready to use on any operation. Ranch Employee Safety: Working Cattle and Related Facilities and Equipment is available for download at no cost


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.

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