GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: Farm Bill and Trade

Dawn Caldwell 3 months ago

Farm Bill is Chugging Along
With the House VERY narrowly passing their version of the 2018 Farm Bill with a 213-211 outcome, now it’s on to the Senate to keep the ball rolling. The work requirements for SNAP outlined in the House version are not mirrored in what moved out of the Senate Ag Committee. The Senate version is quite bi-partisan, though there will be some amendments offered on the floor that may need to be addressed by the ag community. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to begin debate on the legislation next week. If the Senate votes and approves their bill, it will go to conference and there is still time for that to happen prior to Labor Day.

2019 RVO Announcement Cancelled
The EPA announcement of proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations appears to be on hold as the Agency sorts out how it will handle requests from refineries for hardship exemptions. According to earlier reports, the announcement, which was scheduled to take place Monday in Missouri, was going to include plans for reallocating waived gallons. Refiners were not pleased with that proposal and indicated they would challenge it in court. In the meantime, ag state senators, continue to push for a waiver or legislation to allow E15 to be sold year-round and fight for corn and soybean farmers.

Trade
On the trade front, there is no question, the tariff announcements have created marketing challenges! All of ag is working together to try to work with the White House, find solutions, and decrease the sharp market declines and volatility. The message has been delivered every possible way – ag exports are crucial for economic viability. NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico are ongoing, but with no major breakthroughs on the horizon, attention has shifted to the impact of U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico went into effect on June 1, and our NAFTA partners have taken different approaches to retaliation:
• Canada’s posted tariffs on U.S. products include some U.S. beef products. In 2017, the targeted products accounted for upwards of $170 million in sales to Canada. Canada’s tariffs on U.S. beef will take effect on July 1.
• Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs do not target U.S. beef products. However, Mexico is implementing a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork. Mexico is a major export market for U.S. beef and U.S. pork, and the potential displacement of U.S. po

rk exports to Mexico will likely impact beef and cattle prices.

Articles of Interest
Beef exports versus imports; the numbers tell a positive tale
Thinking about the Corn Market
NGFA supports bill that would relieve ag truckers from electronic logging device mandate