Farm Safety-Net Payments Through the First Three Years of the 2014 Farm Bill, CRS Report

Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report titled, "Farm Safety-Net Payments Under the 2014 Farm Bill: Comparison by Program Crop," which stated in part that, "Through the first three years of the 2014 farm bill (2014 through 2016), USDA has spent over $38 billion on commodity-specific farm program outlays. Annually, commodity-specific outlays are estimated at $12.7 billion per year, including $7.5 billion for CCC [Commodity Credit Corporation] programs and $5.2 billion in FCIC [Federal Crop Insurance Corporation] crop insurance premium subsidies." Today's update focuses on several highlights of the CRS report.
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NAFTA Renegotiation: Round One Complete, President Trump Reiterates Threat to Pull Out of the Agreement

Sara Schaefer-Munoz and Bob Davis reported in Monday's Wall Street Journal that, "[In the opening-round of talks to remake the North American Free Trade Agreement] which concluded Sunday, the [U.S., Mexico, and Canada] said in a trilateral statement they had made 'detailed conceptual presentations' of their positions and were working toward 'an ambitious outcome' through a fast-paced schedule of negotiations. Early tensions over areas such as the so-called rules of origin—a major issue for the automotive industry—signaled the tough bargaining that lies ahead as the three nations try to wrap up a deal by early next year."
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Rural Broadband Issues- Farms Connecting to the Internet

Today's update discusses rural broadband issues and federal regulatory action that was taken this month to help close the digital divide in Rural America.  The update also touches on a couple of legislative proposals regarding broadband expansion, and highlights a recent USDA survey that documents how many farmers are using the Internet and how they are currently connecting.
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On August Recess, Lawmakers Listen and Comment on Farm Bill

Today's update looks at recent news articles highlighting agricultural economic variables, as well as Farm Bill observations from lawmakers, and some of the ag related activities Members have held with constituents during the August recess.  Today's overview also includes observations from Bloomberg writer Alan Bjerga on the link between these current economic conditions and policy perspectives lawmakers may take back with them to Washington, D.C. when the Farm Bill debate gets more focused this fall.
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NAFTA 2.0: Renegotiations Begin

William Mauldin and Paul Vieira reported earlier this week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, "The Trump administration launched the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement Wednesday by laying out a starkly different vision from that of its two continental trading partners of how the pact has worked and how radically it should be rewritten. The wide gap between the administration’s opening rhetoric and the positions of Mexico and Canada suggests a difficult road ahead in redoing the 23-year-old accord, even discounting for the posturing at the opening of any negotiation."
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Lawmakers Hear a Variety of Farm Bill Concerns- Localized Drought an Issue

Lawmakers are hearing a variety of Farm Bill concerns from constituents and agricultural interest groups as work on formulating policies for the reauthorization of the omnibus measure continues.   Today’s update looks at recent news articles that highlight some of these issues, including the negative ramifications of localized drought in North Dakota and parts of Iowa.
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Recent USDA Updates Provide Snapshot of Farm Economy Variables

Last week, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released three important updates that provide current insight into the state of the U.S. agricultural economy.  The releases focused on land values, cash rents, and production expenditures. Meanwhile, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) recently updated its monthly agricultural trade data, and on Monday, included an article related to farm household income in its Amber Waves magazine publication. As lawmakers and the executive branch continue to gather perspective in preparation for the next Farm Bill, today's post looks briefly at some of the key findings from these recent USDA updates on the farm economy.
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Farm Bill Issues- House Ag Committee “Listening Sessions” Continue, Sec. Perdue Visits Midwest

Following Monday's House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session in Texas, lawmakers headed north to Minnesota on Thursday, the home state of Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, to host another forum to gather unfiltered input on farm policy issues from agricultural stakeholders.  And members of Congress went west, to California on Saturday, to hold their fourth Farm Bill listening session. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin on Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicked off the Department's "Back to Our Roots" RV tour that is focusing "on getting input on the 2018 farm bill as well as working to increase rural prosperity." Also, the second Iowa Ag Summit was also held on Saturday in Des Moines where audience participants heard Sec. Perdue, Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley, and other agricultural leaders discuss policy related issues. Today's update recaps some of the highlights from these recent farm policy linked activities, as well as some general background regarding the Farm Bill and House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.).
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