Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor reported on Wednesday that, "A Senate panel approved a modest, bipartisan rewrite of federal farm and nutrition programs on Wednesday, sidestepping a fight for now but setting up a clash with House Republicans intent on beefing up work requirements for food stamps."
Over the past several days, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a handful of updates relating to U.S. agricultural trade. The recent information includes updated projections for fiscal year 2018 agricultural exports, as well as the latest monthly trade data. As trade policy uncertainty persists, today's post provides a brief overview of the recent trade information.
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported on Friday that, "The farm bill that will be taken up by the Senate Agriculture Committee next week will look a lot like the current farm bill with some tweaks to commodity and conservation programs, but no radical changes from current law."
Joseph Morton reported on the front page of Thursday's Omaha World-Herald that, "President Donald Trump scanned the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he looked to recognize lawmakers there for his signing of a veterans health care bill. "When he got to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, he couldn’t help alluding to his rejection of a proposed overhaul of federal ethanol requirements known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. Those changes were fiercely opposed by Midwest biofuel producers. "'I did you a good favor for the farmers yesterday, right?' Trump told Ernst. 'We love the farmers. Right, Joni?'"
Donnelle Eller reported on the front page of Tuesday's Des Moines Register that, "Iowa farmers, battling too much rain, cold — and even snow — this planting season, have a new crop of concerns that could devastate commodity prices: An escalating U.S.-China trade war that's sparked tariffs on pork and, potentially, soybeans; trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico that exploded last week following U.S. tariffs on steel imports; EPA ethanol waivers for oil refiners that undermine demand for ethanol and corn; and, divisions over a new farm bill intended to provide protection to farmers."
Towards the end of May, positive news regarding U.S. trade policy began to emerge for U.S. farmers: China canceled its anti-dumping measure on U.S. sorghum imports; the U.S. issued a joint statement indicating that China would purchase more U.S. exports, including “meaningful increases” in agricultural products; and, the U.S. suspended its threat to impose tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports while negotiations with China continued. However, more recent trade developments appear to be less sanguine for U.S. farmers and ranchers, which is the subject of today's update.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its May 2018 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.
Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report titled, "Federal Crop Insurance: Program Overview for the 115th Congress." Today's update focuses on key highlights from the CRS report.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) was a guest on Wednesday's "Adams on Agriculture" radio program with Mike Adams. After failing to pass on the House floor Friday due to a tussle over immigration, Chairman Conaway discussed Farm Bill issues going forward in anticipation of the House voting again on the measure.
Late last week China canceled its anti-dumping measure on U.S. sorghum imports. Meanwhile, after two days of trade talks in Washington, D.C., China and the U.S. issued a vague joint statement indicating that China would purchase more U.S. exports, including additional agricultural and energy products. And on Sunday, Members of the President's Cabinet provided conflicting perspectives on whether the U.S. would move forward on implementing tariffs on Chinese imports. However, news reports Monday indicated that the tariffs had been "suspended."