Focus on SNAP, the Largest Farm Bill Program

Today's update looks briefly at the SNAP (food stamps) program within the Farm Bill.  The USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report on Thursday that examined the program in detail.  This update looks at core points from the ERS report with particular focus on issues relating to "block granting" the program to States, and program work requirements.
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Trade Update: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China, and NAFTA

Jacob M. Schlesinger reported on Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, "Eleven Pacific Rim nations agreed to forge a new trade bloc [TPP] that excludes the U.S. on Tuesday, as President Donald Trump signed an order to block certain cheap Asian imports [Chinese makers of solar panels and South Korean producers of washing machines], illustrating the battle lines of a new global trade climate."
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Ag Economy: 2018 Outlook from CoBank; and Farmland Values

CoBank recently released a new report that explored a variety of issues that will impact the U.S. rural economy in 2018.  In addition, recent newspaper articles have discussed reports relating to the value of U.S. farmland.  This update briefly highlights core points from the CoBank report, and also looks at the new information on farmland values.
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Farm Bill: Budget Impasse Could Impact Congressional To-Do List

Los Angeles Times writer Lisa Mascaro reported late last week that, "The federal government began shutting down early Saturday after a flurry of dramatic, last-minute negotiations failed to end the congressional deadlock over a spending bill before a midnight deadline." However, a New York Times article from Sunday noted that, "The government shutdown will enter its third day. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, delayed a procedural vote on a stopgap spending bill until noon on Monday, as a bipartisan group of senators appeared to be inching toward a compromise." The ongoing budget standoff could create increased uncertainty with respect to the Congressional to-do list, including the Farm Bill.
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Kansas City Fed Ag Outlook- Robust Corn, Soybean Production Make Exports Increasingly Important

Cortney Cowley, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, indicated in an update last week ("As Winter Looms, Key Risks Keep Ag Outlook Cool") that, "Following steep declines for three consecutive years, farm income was expected to stabilize in 2017 and beyond. In inflation-adjusted dollars, real net farm income was forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2016."
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Farm Bill- Disaster Bill Seen as First Step, SNAP Concerns

An update posted on Tuesday at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) blog indicated that, "Less than two weeks into the new year, and Congress already has an incredibly full plate. Both the House and Senate return to work this week (the Senate has officially been back since last week), and will need to immediately dig in their massive to-do lists, not least of which include finalizing fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations legislation, preparing for the FY 2019 budget, and tackling the soon-to-expire 2014 Farm Bill."
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President Trump Delivers Remarks to Farm Bureau Members

President Donald Trump addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 99th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday.  The President touched on a variety of issues, including tax reform, regulations, rural broadband, the Farm Bill, crop insurance, and trade. This post highlights some of the key points that the President made in his remarks to the AFBF Members.
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