Low Farm Prices Impacting Ag Economy– Will Executive Branch Trade Policy Help?

A recent article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis discussed the downward economic trajectory that has impacted the U.S. farm economy in recent years. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in remarks this week to USDA employees, noted that trade is an area that could help provide relief for surplus stocks. News reports yesterday indicated that President Trump could sign an executive action withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement; since NAFTA's implementation, U.S. agricultural trade has grown significantly. However, subsequent news developments explained that Trump had decided not to pull out of NAFTA. Many in the agricultural sector are already anxious about U.S. trade policy, yesterday's executive branch actions on trade may not alleviate ongoing concerns.
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Lawmakers Discuss Farm Bill Issues

After a two week break, lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C. this week to face a variety of issues, including a Senate confirmation vote for Sonny Perdue to be the new Secretary of Agriculture, as well as a looming federal budget deadline on Friday. While on Easter recess, several lawmakers had the opportunity to discuss the next Farm Bill and agricultural policy issues with constituents. Topics included: cotton support, dairy, trade, crop insurance, and conservation policy.
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U.S. Ag Economy: Kansas City Fed Reports; and, Ag Export Competitiveness

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released two interesting reports this month that provide timely insights into the U.S. agricultural economy. The first report took a closer look at crop inventories and agricultural finance, while the second update included recent analysis on farm lending. Meanwhile, a front page article in Friday's Wall Street Journal highlighted issues associated with America's agricultural export competitiveness in the global market.
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U.S. Dairy Trade Issues- Trump Weighs In

Recall that a FarmPolicyNews update last week noted that a trade dispute with Canada over dairy policies related to ultra-filtered milk is adversely impacting some dairy farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New York, and some of these dairy farms could be forced out of business as a result. Today's update highlights additional news developments on the Canadian dairy dispute, including remarks on the issue from President Trump, as well as concerns the U.S. dairy sector has with exports to Mexico.
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Agricultural Trade and Trump

Many agricultural producers have expressed concern over the direction of executive branch trade policy since January. These apprehensions may not be universally shared in all quarters of Rural America; however, tariffs and other trade restrictions are important considerations for U.S. agriculture. Today's update looks at recent news items on trade, with a focus on corn exports, ethanol byproducts and beef.
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U.S., Canada Dairy Trade Issues

In a front page article last week at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Rick Barrett reported that, "Dairy farms in Wisconsin and other states could be forced out of business as early as May because of a trade dispute that has halted the export of their milk to Canada."
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Farm Bill: Cotton Issues a Significant Concern

The House Ag Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held its second policy related Farm Bill hearing on Tuesday, as lawmakers continue their examination of agricultural programs in advance of the next Farm Bill. Following a farm policy related hearing last week that focused mostly on perspectives from corn, soybean and wheat growers, lawmakers on Tuesday heard perspectives from representatives of the cotton, rice, peanut, sunflower and sugar industries. Today's update focuses on the cotton issues that were discussed on Tuesday.
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