Shawn Donnan and Jude Webber reported on Thursday at The Financial Times Online that, "Donald Trump has fired the starting gun on renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, with his administration notifying Congress on Thursday that it planned to begin formal talks as soon as August."
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified before the House Agriculture Committee yesterday at a hearing on the “State of the Rural Economy.” Today's update includes an overview of the testimony provided by the former GOP Governor of Georgia, as well as as some of the issues lawmakers addressed during the hearing, which lasted over three hours.
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal included a special section on agricultural issues. The section included several articles that covered a variety of different topics ranging from urban farming, to creative new uses for crops, to export shipping issues. Today's update highlights articles in yesterday's paper that focused on farmer's adaptation to weather changes, the use of big data, and the ultrafiltered milk trade dispute with Canada.
Donnelle Eller reported on the front page of Friday's Des Moines Register that, "Opening markets for U.S. corn, soybeans and other farm goods would get more attention under a major reorganization proposal Thursday from U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, who wants to create a new undersecretary for trade. With the farm downturn entering a fourth year, ag groups lauded the move."
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City each released updates regarding farm income, farmland values and agricultural credit conditions from the first quarter of this year. Today's update provides a brief overview of yesterday's reports.
The Senate Ag Committee held its second Farm Bill hearing on Saturday in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kans.) pointed out that, unlike when the last Farm Bill was drafted, the U.S. agricultural economy is struggling right now. At a press briefing at the conclusion of the hearing, he indicated that trade was an important variable in assisting with the current low price environment. A variety of important issues were discussed by witnesses on Saturday, in two separate panels; today's update highlights remarks that were made on trade, crop insurance, the Conservation Reserve Program, the dairy program, and the SNAP program.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited an Iowa farm on Friday and took questions from producers. In his remarks, Secretary Perdue addressed a number of issues; today's update focuses more narrowly on his comments relating to trade and biofuels. Also, Secretary Perdue was in Arkansas on Sunday to survey flood damage with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Today's update looks briefly at the U.S. agricultural economy from a variety of perspectives. A recent news report has shown that some Corn Belt producers may be losing money from farming this year, while a survey of agricultural lenders this month demonstrates that many are concerned about commodity prices, liquidity and farm income. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has stated that U.S. farmers won't be worse off if NAFTA is renegotiated, and adverse weather conditions continue to adversely impact farmers and ranchers in the Nation's midsection.
A deal reached on Sunday to fund the federal government through September, did not include assistance for programs sought by cotton and dairy producers. House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) expressed disappointment with this result and reassured farmers and ranchers that he and many of his colleagues "are fully committed to correcting this wrong and seeing them through their current economic challenges.”
During last week's tumultuous developments on trade, news reports indicated that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was providing President Trump with data driven advice with respect to NAFTA and agriculture, and urged him not to trigger a U.S. withdrawal from the trade accord. Nonetheless, recent remarks from a Senator from Mexico regarding corn imports, and potential NAFTA renegotiation issues means trade policy will likely remain an ongoing concern for Illinois producers and farmers throughout the U.S.