House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill on Partisan Vote

On Wednesday, the House Ag Committee passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2) on a partisan 26-20 vote.  Democrat Members of the Committee expressed frustration over the bill, while Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) noted that, "I’m disappointed that my Democrat colleagues have turned their backs on America’s heartland – that they’ve chosen partisan politics over the three years of bipartisan work in this committee. Democrats halted talks over their objection to requiring work-capable adults to either find employment or receive free training for 20 hours per week. Yet, despite this turn of events, I remain hopeful."
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Federal Assistance for Farm Trade Impacts

On Monday, President Trump noted that ongoing trade turbulence with China could adversely impact U.S. agricultural producers already hampered by a sluggish U.S. farm economy.  The President has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for options to assist farmers negatively impacted by the recent trade developments.  Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue faced questions from farm state lawmakers about trade issues, and potential responses, at a Senate hearing on Wednesday morning.
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Farm Bill: SNAP Issues Persist

Kristina Peterson reported on Sunday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, "House Speaker Paul Ryan’s long-sought goal of overhauling welfare programs will get a kick-start when Congress returns to Washington this week, as Republicans prepare to release a new, five-year farm bill that would impose tougher work requirements to get food stamps.
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U.S.-China Ratchet Up Tariff Threats- Trump Instructs Perdue to Implement Plan to Protect Farmers

Today's update includes a brief explanation of recent trade tariff action taken by the U.S. and China.  The trade uncertainty unfolds as agricultural producers anticipate another year of stagnant farm income, and while robust production of corn and soybeans in recent years has made exports an important component of demand.  Overall, USDA has noted that agricultural exports account for 20 percent of U.S. farm income.  Meanwhile, President Trump has instructed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to "implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests" as the trade tussle continues.
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In Ongoing Trade Dispute, China Targets U.S. Soybeans

Since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first working day in office, and formally opening the North American Free Trade Agreement to the renegotiation process, President Trump's rhetoric on trade has perhaps caused more anxiety among agricultural producers than actual executive branch action.  However, implementation of concrete trade policy from the Administration began to emerge in January of this year when the U.S. slapped tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines.
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Farm Economy: Land Values, Ag Credit, Lending, and Income

On Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released its quarterly Agricultural Credit Survey.  Also on Monday, the American Bankers Association highlighted several 2017 farm lending variables in its annual Farm Bank Performance Report.  Meanwhile, a recent news article from Minnesota documented that farm incomes in the state remained stagnant last year.  Today's update highlights key points from these information sources.
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Trade Worries Taint Farm Economy Outlook

A recent report from CoBank pointed out that trade worries are clouding the economic outlook for U.S. farmers and ranchers.  And, a recent report from Purdue University demonstrates that potential trade retaliation measures on U.S. soybeans by China could be costly.  Today's update looks briefly at these two reports, as well as other news articles that highlight ongoing trade issues in the farm sector.
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