Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wednesday September 25 Ag News

Developing rural communities goal of Nexus campaign co-chair

Developing rural communities is one of the strongest arguments in support of building new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. That’s according to Russ Vering, one of the co-chairs of the Nexus capital campaign for the project.

Vering is co-owner of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus and vice president of nutrition for the newly merged Frontier/Midwest Cooperative. He is a past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and a current member of the National Pork Producers Association Board of Directors. Vering and Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, are spearheading the Nexus campaign to raise the funds to relocate the Northeast college farm and build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.

Vering said that an investment in the Nexus program at Northeast serves local communities.

“The importance of investing in this program really helps build our communities, helps educate our children, brings them back to our communities and helps build our populations in northeast Nebraska,” he said. “It’s going to bring more ideas to the farm; it’s going to bring more ideas back to our businesses.”

Vering has hosted Northeast student interns at Central Plains Milling, and has several Northeast graduates as employees.

“I was so surprised when Northeast staff approached me and asked how they could help my business. They seem to understand the need for more, better trained workers in agriculture and are trying to meet that need.”

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said it would not be possible to find better co-chairs than Vering and Reigle.

“They represent different facets of agriculture and agri-business, and understand that the demand for trained employees is a drag on the rural economy,” she said. “With their help in this fundraising effort, Northeast will be better able to meet the need for workers with highly technical skills and a passion for agriculture.”

Vering said the support of businesses across the state for the Nexus program demonstrates the need to develop agriculture in Nebraska.

“They realize that there is a need for educated students,” he said. “There’s a need for ag education; there’s a need for row crop education; there’s a need for lhighly qualified employees in northeast Nebraska.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

 NRCS Offering More Than $4 Million to Restore Flood-Prone Lands in Nebraska

In response to flooding in Nebraska, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the availability of over $4 million to fund conservation easements in Nebraska counties damaged by flooding and other natural disasters.

Funds are available through the floodplain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program – Floodplain Easements. NRCS field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 31, 2019.

Through the Floodplain Easement Program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through NRCS. Compensation is based on the value of the easement as determined by an appraisal or market analysis. These easements may occur on private agricultural land damaged by flooding and natural disasters. NRCS will work to restore the easement to its natural floodplain condition.

“Landowners across Nebraska have faced - and continue to face - significant challenges from flooding and natural disasters,” said Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson. “To provide relief and assist agricultural landowners during this difficult time, this easement program offers an option that alleviates the stress of operating in a floodplain while still retaining ownership of their property.”

Nebraska landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field offices to apply or learn more about floodplain easement opportunities. Visit the Floodplain Easement Program website at for more information.

Nebraska Water Center Conference set for Oct. 9 and 10 in Norfolk

Building a clean water future in northeast Nebraska is the theme for the Nebraska Water Center’s annual conference Oct. 9 and 10 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Neb.

“Our center has a long tradition of working within our state on water quality issues. What’s different about this year’s conference is the specific focus on northeast Nebraska and locally-based solutions to their challenges,” said Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.

The conference is based around three pillars – water quality and public health, innovative solutions to current problems and community engagement. More than 40 speakers, including producers, policymakers, non-profit professionals, university researchers, agency experts and high school students and teachers will share what they are doing to ensure a clean water future.

Day one begins with a “State of the State’s Water Quality” overview featuring a slate of state, university and local water managers. A lunch keynote follows featuring USDA National Water Quality Initiative Coordinator Dee Carlson. That afternoon, the focus will move into the field with two sessions on innovative farming solutions. Sessions on policy and stakeholder engagement close out the day portion. The evening will feature area high school students and teachers presenting their work on citizen science and water quality monitoring.

The second day kicks off with a discussion of the public health impacts of water quality. On its heels, several University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers will present innovative treatment options for water contamination. The second to last session discusses how best to engage stakeholders. Lastly, a closing panel comprised of members of the university’s Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP) will reflect on key messages and actionable next steps.

Information and registration details for both events are available here...

92nd AKSARBEN STOCK SHOW, SEPT 26-29, 2019

A big event is coming to Grand Island, Nebraska featuring agricultural youth ages 9 to 19 years from a 14-state region including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming showing cattle, sheep, swine, goats and poultry. Here are some highlights:
-    Over 900 exhibitors are entered. The furthest participating states are Arkansas, Montana, Indiana and Wisconsin.
-    The barns (cattle, swine, sheep, goat and broiler) numbers are pushing 2,700 animals.
-    The Quiz Bowl presented by Bank of the West has 18 teams entered.
-    The Livestock Judging Contest presented by American Foods Group has four divisions – Youth, Jr. College Freshman, Jr. College Sophomore and Sr. College.
-    The Livestock Judging Contest (470 students from 21 states) with teams from as far away as Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
-    The western market and vendor trade show expanded and in now located in the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center.
-        Thursday - Grand Island Chamber Business After Hours from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
    The Barn Bar (open to the public) will also be the host site for two alumni and friends’ functions.
-        Thursday - UNL CASNR from 6-8 p.m.
-        Friday - South Dakota State University from 6-8 p.m.
-    The Purple Ribbon Auction moved to Saturday evening – The VIP Purple Ribbon Reception presented by Five Points Bank begins at 5pm in the loft (tickets available at the door for purchase); The auction begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
-    Livestock shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday

For more information visit The complete show schedule and vendors attending with hours of operation are listed under the Exhibitor tab and Sponsor tab.

Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference Dec. 11

Female agriculture landowners, farmers and ranchers looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference. The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln.

The Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference will allow women to build relationships with each other, attend workshops and gain valuable knowledge. Three keynote speakers and 12 workshops will focus on helping Nebraska farmland owners and tenants navigate the challenges they face.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in land values, Nebraska property taxes, cash rental rates, and cultivating landlord tenant relationships. Jim Jansen, co-author of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey, will discuss trends in Nebraska land values. Mykel Taylor, Kansas State University, will share resources related to negotiations and communication between landowners and tenants. Cathy Anderson from the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency will discuss the 2018 Farm Bill and its implications for Nebraska agriculture.

Registration will open Nov. 1 and available online at Registration is $45 per person. The registration fee includes conference materials, meals and breaks.

The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie's Project. In Nebraska, Annie's Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America. For more information about the Women Managing Agriculture Land conference, go to

Ricketts Announces Taiwan Companies’ Intent to Buy Nebraska Ag Commodities

On Tuesday evening, Governor Pete Ricketts and representatives from Nebraska’s corn and soybean boards signed letters of intent (LOIs) with company officials from Taiwan.  The LOIs outline Taiwan’s agreement to purchase more than $2.1 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn, and distillers grains.  Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission visited Lincoln to show their continued willingness to buy U.S. agricultural products.

“The United States supplies more than one-quarter of Taiwan’s major agricultural imports, and Nebraska has been a key supplier to the country for decades,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Signing these letters of intent builds on Nebraska’s existing trade relationship with Taiwan.  It also positions us to grow the market for our quality agricultural products in Taiwan.”

“Nebraska is one of the country’s top corn and soybean producing states, making it vital for us to continue to increase international demand for our products,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “Taiwanese officials have signed similar agreements in past years that have resulted in millions of dollars of purchases of Nebraska agricultural products.”

Two letters of intent were signed this week.  One outlines the Taiwan Feed Industry Association’s intent to purchase 197 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 million metric tons of U.S. distillers grains with solubles in 2020 and 2021.  These products are valued at approximately $1.1 billion.  According to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, in 2018, Taiwan was Nebraska’s fifth largest export market for corn.  Out of Nebraska’s total corn export value of nearly $1.5 billion for 2018, Nebraska sent $70.2 million worth of corn to Taiwan.  David Bruntz, Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board, was on hand Tuesday night to sign the letter of intent on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers.

A second letter outlines the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association’s intent to purchase between 96 million and 97 million bushels of U.S. soybeans over the next two years.  That purchase represents an estimated value of $1.0 to $1.1 billion.  Eugene Goering, Vice Chair of the Nebraska Soybean Board, signed the letter of intent representing soybean farmers in the state.

Signed by commodity officials and Gov. Ricketts, these letters of intent pledge the purchase of crops through negotiations between importers and private suppliers.

“The signing of these agreements with our Taiwanese partners is of critical importance,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The international marketplace is vital to growing opportunities for the quality commodities produced here in our state.  We will continue to work to open up new markets for the food our farm and ranch families grow to feed the world.”

Timmerman family receives CAB honors

Miranda Reiman, Certified Angus Beef

They were raising children with diverse skillsets and diverging dreams.
Veteran cattle feeders Norm and Sharon Timmerman, of McCook, Neb., encouraged their children to follow their own passions, and they did. After college, Jason started with Timmerman Feeding near Omaha, while CPA Kristin ran her own accounting firm and Ryan pursued a degree in business management with a sports and recreation option.
Today, they have all returned to the family business that now includes, Jason and Wendy, Kristin and husband Jeff Stagemeyer, and later Ryan and wife Nicole.
“It’s nice to be that good of friends with your family members, who like to work together,” Norm says. “It all fell into place.”
The family brings a shared trust and camaraderie to the work they do for the feeding company they jointly own: NA Timmerman Inc. They started in 2012 with yards at Indianola, Neb., and McDonald and Colby, Kan., now also including locations near Holyoke and Sterling, Colo., with a one-time feeding capacity of 80,000 head. 
For their dedication to grid marketing, feeding premium cattle and a call to doing the best job every time, the Norm Timmerman family received the 2019 Feedyard Commitment to Excellence Award from the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand.

The quality kind

“There are a lot of small feedlots that specialize in the high-quality type, but larger feeders don’t always have the benefit of picking and choosing what cattle they feed. They need to keep the pens full and often feed a wide variety,” says Paul Dykstra, beef cattle specialist for the brand. “They’ve really evolved over the last 20 years or so, under Jason’s vision, to procure cattle that will do well on a grid.”
In 2005, the Timmermans tested grid marketing with sales of 2,100 head on a Cargill formula. Today that number is closer to 150,000 annually. It’s changed their procurement and it’s changed their harvest targets.
“We keep the feedyard full and we manage our risk and we try to maximize our performance to the best of the ability of our cattle,” he says, “versus the old cash system: hurry and sell, or wait and make them too big. When they’re ready, they’re ready, we just keep rolling and just manage the risk on the other side of it.”
Despite a difficult winter and early spring for Great Plains cattle feeding, the Timmerman marketings still hit 38% CAB and Prime for a three-month average into this summer. In recent years with more cooperation from Mother Nature, their branded quality numbers have been significantly higher across the board.
Jason and Jeff have extensively used artificial insemination on the 700-head cow herd they own together, which shows them the impact of genetics on the final results. Three years of feedyard data on the progeny reveals more than half of make CAB and Prime.
“When we get a pen of high-grading cattle that have a lot of CABs, it directly affects us,” Jason says, “because it’s money in our pocket.”

Extra effort

“Hard work will give you a lot of luck,” Norm says.
Pen maintenance, feed delivery and cattle health monitoring—they all add up.
“There is no room for error. It’s a sole responsibility,” Ryan says. “The job we do at the feedlot impacts our customers. There’s a lot of money involved…it’s their livelihood.”
It’s not like a Timmerman to let people down.
“These are the things that are important to the Timmerman family: their faith, being a good family member, working hard at what you’re doing,” Kristin says.
She and Jeff bring a fresh perspective to the finances, giving purchasing advice and making insurance decisions.
“My dad and I knew the outside very well, but needed someone in the back that could complement us--luckily we had family that could do that,” Jason says.

Leo’s legacy

They had a good example of seeing partnership in action. Timmerman Feeding of Springfield, Neb., started by Leo Timmerman, was into the hands of the next generation, brothers Gerald, James, Ronnie and Norm, when they expanded to Indianola, some 250 miles west.
“This was a farm and we built it from scratch. The office started in our trailer house, where we lived,” Norm says, giving credit to Sharon. She kept the books there by day and made it a home by night.
By this decade, with the third generation involved, it was a natural time to let each Timmerman branch individually exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.
They gave their children the opportunity Leo Timmerman gave them.
“It evolved to where I was doing more, more and more,” Jason says, noting the risk management shifted to him through the years. “Then it’s how do you keep it organized? Trial and error. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.”
Years like 2014 remind them it’s fun to make money. Years like 2015 keep them humble.
“I don’t think it will ever be easy. You’re in an environment dealing with people, dealing with Mother Nature. You’ve got the element of risk,” Jason says. “It will never be easy, it’s just about how you manage your way through it.”
History says they’ll do it. Being a Timmerman means they’ll do it well.

Perdue Statement on Signing of US-Japan Trade Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the signing of the new United States-Japan Trade Agreement:

“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers. When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for delivering on their promise to open markets around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will provide America’s farmers and ranchers enhanced market access in our third largest agricultural export market. When implemented, this Agreement will enable American producers to compete more effectively with countries that currently have preferential tariffs in the Japanese market. The deal President Trump is delivering will provide our farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses with market access for high quality U.S. food and agricultural products to 127 million Japanese consumers.

In the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, Japan has committed to provide substantial market access to American food and agricultural products by eliminating tariffs, enacting meaningful tariff reductions, or allowing a specific quantity of imports at a low duty (generally zero).  Importantly, the tariff treatment for the products covered in this agreement will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries in the CP-TPP agreement.

Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.

Tariff Reduction: For products valued at $2.9 billion, Japan will reduce tariffs in stages. Among the products benefitting from this enhanced access will be:
-    fresh beef
-    frozen beef
-    fresh pork
-    frozen pork

Tariff Elimination: Tariffs will be eliminated immediately on over $1.3 billion of U.S. farm products including, for example:
-    almonds
-    blueberries
-    cranberries
-    walnuts
-    sweet corn
-    grain sorghum
-    food supplements
-    broccoli
-    prunes

Other products valued at $3.0 billion will benefit from staged tariff elimination. This group of products includes, for example:
-    wine
-    cheese and whey
-    ethanol
-    frozen poultry
-    processed pork
-    fresh cherries
-    beef offal
-    frozen potatoes
-    oranges
-    egg products
-    tomato paste

Country Specific Quotas (CSQs): For some products, preferential market access will be provided through the creation of CSQs, which provide access for a specified quantity of imports from the United States at a preferential tariff rate, generally zero. CSQ access will cover:
-    wheat
-    wheat products
-    malt
-    glucose
-    fructose
-    corn starch
-    potato starch
-    inulin

Mark Up: Exports to Japan of wheat and barley will benefit from a reduction to Japan’s “mark up” on those products. Japan’s imports of U.S. wheat and barley were valued at more than $800 million in 2018.

Safeguards: This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time.

The United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018. Products include:
-    certain perennial plants and cut flowers
-    persimmons
-    green tea
-    chewing gum
-    certain confectionary products
-    soy sauce

The United States has also agreed to modify its global WTO tariff rate quota for imports of Japanese beef, enabling Japanese beef producers to compete for a larger share of the global TRQ quantity.

Ricketts Applauds President Trump’s Trade Agreement with Japan

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump had signed a new trade agreement with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan.

“The agreement signed today is a big win for the Beef State,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “For four years now, we have been working to get a trade deal done with Japan because it is Nebraska’s largest export market for ag exports including our beef, pork, and eggs.  Thank you to President Trump for the personal attention he’s paid to working with our Japanese friends to get this deal done.  This agreement will help ensure that our quality ag products remain affordable to our Japanese customers for years to come.”

Gov. Ricketts recently returned from his third trade mission to Japan where he encouraged Japanese officials to work with the Trump Administration to finalize this trade agreement.


Background provided by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

·       The United States and Japan have reached an agreement in which Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs for certain U.S. agricultural products.  For other agricultural goods, Japan will provide preferential U.S.-specific quotas.   
·       Once this agreement is implemented, over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. For example, under the agreement, Japan will:
o  Reduce tariffs on products such as fresh and frozen beef and pork.
o  Provide a country-specific quota for wheat and wheat products.
o  Reduce the mark-up on imported U.S. wheat and barley.
o  Immediately eliminate tariffs for almonds, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, grain sorghum, broccoli, and more.
o  Provide staged tariff elimination for products such as cheeses, processed pork, poultry, beef offal, ethanol, wine, frozen potatoes, oranges, fresh cherries, egg products, and tomato paste.
·       This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time.
·       When the agreement is implemented by Japan, American farmers and ranchers will have the same advantage as CP-TPP countries selling into the Japanese market.
·       The United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018, including products such as certain perennial plants and cut flowers, persimmons, green tea, chewing gum, and soy sauce.
·       The United States will also reduce or eliminate tariffs on certain industrial goods from Japan such as certain machine tools, fasteners, steam turbines, bicycles, bicycle parts, and musical instruments.

Sasse Statement on US-Japan Trade Deal

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a strong advocate for Nebraska agriculture and increased trade, released the following statement after it was announced that the U.S. and Japan reached a trade deal.

“There’s still more work to do, but this is really great news for Nebraska’s producers. We need more trade deals in the Pacific because they are great for business in Nebraska and it helps build allies as we turn up the pressure on China to stop their constant cheating.”

Smith Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the completion of “Phase One” of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan.

“This agreement is a huge win for U.S. agriculture, bringing Japanese tariff rates on U.S. agriculture in line with our competitors and relieving a burden for our farmers and producers. I thank President Trump and Prime Minister Abe for their dedication to furthering U.S.-Japanese relations and trade. As the Co-chair of the U.S. Japan Caucus, I am excited for the future of U.S.-Japan relations, and look forward to seeing the benefits and successes from this relationship."

These tariff adjustments, along with the executive agreement on digital standards, are referred to as “Phase One” of a two-part process. The tariff changes are expected to take effect by the first of the year.

Nebraska Cattlemen Issue Statement Supporting Recent Trade Agreement with Japan

Nebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin issued the following statement regarding today's announcement that tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan will be significantly reduced:

"Year after year, Nebraska's beef producers have seen demand for our product continue to grow in Japan's market. Unfortunately, these gains have been offset by Japan's massive 38.5% tariff attached to U.S. beef. Today's announcement means that Nebraska's livestock industry will finally be at a level playing field with our biggest competitors in our number one export market. Given the current volatility in the cattle market, crippling floods, and a devastating fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, KS, Nebraska's cattle industry desperately needed a win. Today, we have it, and we thank the Administration for delivering this key victory."

Statement by Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President, Regarding Trade Deal with Japan

“Today’s announced trade deal between the United States and Japan is great news for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. From the beginning of the Trump administration, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) has strongly urged the President to work to finalize an agreement with Japan so that Nebraska agriculture would not be left behind following the decision to pull out of the now CP-TPP agreement.”

“U.S. beef is king in Japan, and Nebraska exported more than $253 million of beef products in 2017 to Japan. Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner overall with total agricultural sales at more than $552 billion in 2017, this agreement is big news for Nebraska’s economy.”

“With this vital agreement now checked off the ‘Trade To-Do’ list, the passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and reaching a deal with China must be next.”

“It is time to send a clear message to the rest of the world: The United States is open for business.”

Iowa Cattlemen Statement on Trade Deal with Japan

President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan made another step towards a bilateral trade agreement that is expected to greatly benefit the U.S. cattle industry. The agreement will include significant tariff reductions for U.S. beef imported into Japan.

"This bilateral trade agreement with Japan is significant for two reasons. First, Japan is our number one export market by value, and the Japanese are hungry for U.S. beef," says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "Second, a positive advancement on the trade front is good news for all of Iowa agriculture. Hopefully, this momentum will carry forward to the ratification of USMCA and trade talks with China."

International trade adds over $300 to the value of every head of cattle in the state of Iowa, and approximately one-quarter of that value is due to exports to Japan. Currently, U.S. beef faces a 38.5% tariff while competitors from other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada have a tariff rate of only 26.6%.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, together with NCBA, will continue to lobby for increased export opportunities for U.S. beef.

Naig Says U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Creates New Opportunities for Iowa Farmers

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig was in New York City today as President Trump signed a trade deal with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe. Secretary Naig, along with other agricultural leaders, participated in a signing ceremony recognizing the bi-lateral trade agreement.

“Japan is one of Iowa’s most important trading partners,” said Secretary Naig. “Today’s agreement is a win for agriculture and welcome news as our farmers gear up for harvest. By lowering tariffs on agricultural products, Iowa producers can be more competitive in the Japanese market. This deal helps build the momentum we need to ratify USMCA and reach a long-term trade agreement with China. Thank you, President Trump, for getting this trade agreement done.”

Secretary Naig remains focused on expanding markets and trade for Iowa agriculture. He will be joining Iowa Governor Reynolds on a trade mission to Japan in November.

Export Statistics
    Iowa exported $135 million of beef to Japan in 2018.
    Japan is the largest export market for Iowa beef producers.
    U.S. producers sold $2 billion of beef to Japan in 2018, one-fourth of total U.S. beef exports.
    The U.S. exported 330,217 metric tons of beef to Japan in 2018.
    U.S. beef sales to Japan could increase by 7-10 percent ($200 million a year).

    Iowa exported almost $370 million of pork to Japan in 2018.
    Japan was the largest export market by value for Iowa pork producers in 2018.
    U.S. producers sold $1.6 billion of pork to Japan in 2018.
    The U.S. exported 394,300 metric tons of pork to Japan in 2018.

    Iowa exported $491 million of corn to Japan in 2018.
    Japan was the second largest export market (behind Mexico) for Iowa corn growers in 2018.
    Japan purchased 11.5 million metric tons of corn from the U.S. in 2018.
    Japan purchased $2 billion of corn from the U.S. in 2018.

    Iowa exported $122 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.
    The U.S. exported $947 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.

NPPC Officers Join President Trump for Japan Trade Pact Signing Ceremony

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Abe today signed a trade agreement that will once again allow U.S. pork producers to compete on a level playing field in Japan. NPPC President David Herring and President-Elect Howard "A.V." Roth joined President Trump for the signing of the agreement in New York during the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

"I am honored to represent U.S. pork producers today at a signing ceremony so important to my fellow hog farmers around the country," said Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. "We've seen market share declines in Japan, historically our largest value export market, since the start of the year when international competitors gained more favorable access through new trade agreements. Once implemented, the agreement signed today puts U.S. pork back on a level playing field with our competitors in Japan."

Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years under market access terms included in the agreement.

U.S. pork is highly dependent on exports, shipping more than 25 percent of total production to foreign markets. Other NPPC trade priorities include ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which preserves zero-tariff pork trade in North America, and resolving trade disputes with China that will enable U.S. pork producers to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity with the world's largest pork-consuming nation.

NCBA Praises Important Step Forward in Trade with Japan

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement in support of a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef:

“Japan is the number one export market for U.S. beef, accounting for one quarter of our exports. The only way for U.S. beef producers to remain competitive in our leading export market is to remove trade barriers through a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. NCBA thanks President Trump for his continued support in removing trade barriers on U.S. beef, and we encourage the United States and Japan to sign and implement the bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible.” 

Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry. “For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

Houston praised the Trump Administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan. “President Trump answered the call and took on the difficult task of expanding access to Japan for U.S. beef exports. America’s ranchers are incredibly thankful for the leadership of President Trump and the yeoman’s work of Ambassador Lighthizer and his team whose diligent work and tough negotiating will benefit generations of U.S. beef producers.”

In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan, while our competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand face a 26.6 percent tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

USMEF Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade Announcement

Today President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced completion of an agreement that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan. Key provisions are outlined in this fact sheet from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

With Japan being the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports (combined export value in 2018 was $3.7 billion), there is no market more critical to the profitability and prosperity of the U.S. red meat industry. It is therefore imperative that we achieve a level playing field for U.S. pork and beef in Japan, so that the U.S. industry can further expand its customer base in this increasingly competitive market. Today's announcement is not only excellent news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, but also for Japanese consumers who will have greater access to U.S. pork and beef products.

USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan and for securing this agreement, which is a major step forward for the U.S. pork and beef industries and for all of U.S. agriculture.

NCGA: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Bright Spot for Agriculture

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the news of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will increase market access for American agriculture products in Japan. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement.

“Japan has been a strong trading partner and friend for American agriculture, now the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn. NCGA has long-advocated for an agreement with Japan and, with many farmers struggling amid challenging times in agriculture, this is very welcome news. While we await further details, it seems this phase one agreement will deliver for corn farmers and build upon our successful partnership with Japan.”

Soy Growers: Japan Trade Deal Positive for Ag

The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports a strong global marketplace and is pleased the White House has finalized a trade agreement with Japan, a top 10 export market for soybeans.

Davie Stephens, president of ASA and grower from Clinton, Kentucky, spoke on behalf of the association, “Japan has long been a valued and reliable trading partner for soybeans, and we appreciate that the agriculture component of this deal will assure continued market access for our beans and other ag products. As we go through the details of the agreement, we extend a thank you to the Administration for finalizing this deal.”

With a 63% market share, the United States is the largest soybean supplier to Japan, with exports totaling $976 million in 2017. ASA looks forward to working with the Administration on the next steps towards reaching a comprehensive free trade agreement.

U.S. Grains Council Statement on U.S.-Japan Agreement

The U.S.-Japan agreement announced by the President will solidify our longstanding partnership for the future and create a platform for growth into new sales and new sectors, including the potential for sales of U.S. ethanol.

Japan is one of the largest and most loyal U.S. corn customers, having bought more than $2 billion of U.S. corn in the most recent marketing year. It is an important market for food and feed barley and sorghum. And as a country looking to improve the environmental impact of its fuel, it is an important future market for U.S. ethanol products.

The details revealed today about the trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan show that this pact would bring commodities the U.S. Grains Council represents largely back in line with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and put these commodities on equal footing with other current Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries. This access is welcomed by our members in the U.S. grains production and exports sectors, and we look forward to rapid implementation of the new agreement.

While this is the first in several rounds of agreements yet to come and we hope to see continued improvement in the ethanol sector, this is a good first step. We encourage the administration to pursue broader access for all of agriculture and we move forward with our partner, Japan.

U.S. Dairy Industry Encouraged by Interim Japan Trade Deal, Urges U.S. to Complete the Job in Negotiations to Come

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today thanked the U.S. government for its work to reach an interim agreement with Japan that will deliver improvements in market access for the U.S. dairy industry, while noting that the work to secure a sufficient competitive landscape in Japan for dairy is not finished.

NMPF and USDEC look forward to reviewing with their members the details of this first stage of a trade agreement with Japan to take advantage of the new opportunities it will provide on a near-term basis while continuing to work with the Administration to secure the additional elements that are still needed to ensure a strong final dairy package in a comprehensive agreement.

“This enhanced access into the Japanese market is welcome news. Japan represents a rapidly growing market, and without a trade deal, our competitors are poised to seize valuable market share from U.S. dairy,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “This first stage of a US-Japan agreement will improve upon today’s status quo, which has been unsatisfactory ever since Japan’s treaties with the CPTPP nations and the EU went into effect. To continue that progress toward closing the competitiveness gap with both CPTPP and EU suppliers, it’s essential that the U.S. secure further market openings and assurances in the second stage of negotiations with Japan to best position the U.S. to compete against all of our major competitors in Japan.”

“This interim trade agreement with Japan is welcome news for farmers across the U.S. who have seen their incomes damaged by trade disputes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s news is not the end of the road though; it’s the first leg of the journey. We thank America’s trade negotiators for their pursuit of a deal aimed at benefiting our dairy farmers and expanding international markets for their high-quality milk. To reap those full rewards and ensure the U.S. is able to best compete in the Japanese market, the subsequent stage of negotiations must secure further inroads into Japan, building upon what our key competitors – the European Union and New Zealand – have secured there.”

NMPF and USDEC agree with what Ambassador Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee during his testimony in June: “You cannot treat your best customer worse than you treat people from all these other countries in Europe and all the other TPP countries.”

Last month, USDEC and NMPF coordinated a letter signed by 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to move swiftly to finalize a strong trade deal with Japan and secure critical market access for the U.S. dairy industry. The objectives outlined in that letter remain the industry’s expectation for a comprehensive agreement with Japan.

The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong trade agreement that addresses the inequalities in market access granted to our competitors by the Japan-EU and CPTPP agreements, a 2019 USDEC study found that the U.S. risked losing $1.3 billion in exports over a decade, costing dairy farmers $1.7 billion in farm income.

U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement is a Good Deal for Wheat Farmers and Their Customers

The tariff agreement signed today by U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a most welcome deal that will keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a very large and crucial market for U.S. farmers.

  “This agreement puts U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia that currently have a tariff advantage under a separate trade deal,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “We applaud the negotiators from both countries who worked very hard to reach an agreement that is so important to wheat farmers and to their flour milling customers in Japan.”

  “Resolving trade issues like this and building new opportunities for our wheat and other agricultural products is absolutely needed at a time when wheat farmers are dealing with another year of low prices and a depressed farm economy,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We are very grateful for the efforts that the staff and leaders at USTR and USDA put in to reach this agreement.”

When the tariff agreement is implemented, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.

In addition to matching the Canadian and Australian tariff schedule for U.S. wheat, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports.

In 1949, the Administrator of the Oregon Wheat Commission, Mr. E. J. Bell, and two other wheat representatives first traveled to Japan to learn more about this potential market. Over 70 years, U.S. wheat farmers continued to build a relationship with the Japanese milling and wheat foods processing industry. Today, the industry relies on U.S. soft white wheat to produce the highest quality cakes and pastries, and hard red spring and hard red winter wheat classes to produce dozens of different bread products demanded by Japan’s discerning consumers.

U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states.

Farmers Commend Agreement on Japanese Trade Deal

The United States and Japan today announced they reached an agreement on a trade deal that further opens markets for both countries. Agriculture is among the biggest beneficiaries. The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“Today’s announcement that the two countries have reached an agreement and have completed agricultural negotiations is a positive step for America’s farmers and ranchers.

“Japan is American agriculture’s fourth-largest export destination and vital to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farms and the families who live on them. We export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, even as we continue to face steep tariffs on many exports.

“This agreement, once signed, will lower tariffs and put U.S. farmers and ranchers on a level playing field to compete in Japan with countries that participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s good news.

“The time for trade wars has come and gone. We are thankful the administration has reached this deal and we urge trade negotiators to achieve many more like it. Farmers and ranchers need to get back to doing what they do best: feeding a hungry world that needs what they produce.”

The US and Japan have reached an agreement on agricultural and industrial tariffs and digital commerce.  While the agreement itself is not yet finished, a statement explaining the agreement was signed Sept. 25, 2019.

Under the agreement, Japan will place the same level of agricultural tariffs on U.S. goods as it places on CPTPP countries and the EU. By way of example, the 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will fall to the 26% placed on beef from Australia, Canada and the EU. Some other foods such as duck, geese, turkey peaches, melons and more would enter duty-free.

The Japanese Parliament is expected to approve the agreement later this fall. It may take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2020.

There is no action by the U.S. Congress necessary, as this is not a full trade agreement that involves substantive changes to existing U.S. law.

Many other issues, contained in a “Phase 2” negotiation, will be dealt with in future talks with Japan.

U.S. Pork Industry Facing Headwinds, Iowa Pork Producers President Tells Congress

The U.S. pork industry is facing serious headwinds both at home and abroad that need to be addressed to ensure the industry remains competitive, allowing for expanded production, greater job growth and continued contribution to rural communities across the country, Iowa Pork Producers President Trent Thiele testified this morning before the Senate Agriculture Committee.

U.S. pork producers need trade certainty and ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement is one of the industry's top priorities, said Thiele, a hog farmer from Howard County, Iowa, testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. "USMCA will strengthen the strong economic ties with our North American neighbors, and help ensure tariff-free trade on pork remains in place for the long term.... U.S. pork producers urge Congress to ratify USMCA, providing much-needed certainty in two of our largest export markets," he told the committee.

Trade certainty is also critical in Japan, the largest value export market for U.S. pork, Thiele told the committee. The U.S. pork industry was pleased that a trade agreement with Japan was agreed in principle last month and, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors. We urge the administration to quickly ratify the agreement in one of our most important markets, Thiele said.

However, U.S. pork producers continue to seek an end to the trade dispute with China, Thiele highlighted. Affordable pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. Yet the U.S. is missing out "on an unprecedented sales opportunity" in China due to punitive tariffs that have cost U.S. producers $8 per animal, or $1 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis over the last year, he said. "While recent Chinese media reports have suggested tariff relief for U.S. pork, we need to remove market access uncertainty and level the playing field in the world's largest pork-consuming nation," he added.

In addition to trade issues, U.S. pork producers are working to prevent the spread of foreign animal diseases, including African swine fever, an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks, Thiele explained. The U.S. pork industry is urging Congress to add 600 additional agricultural inspectors at our borders and ports.

In his testimony, Thiele also highlighted several other priorities for U.S. pork producers, including:
-    Visa reform to address a serious labor shortage that could lead to farms and packing plants closing operations. NPPC supports visa system reform that provides agricultural employers with sustained access to year-round labor.
-    The right regulatory framework for gene-edited livestock, an innovation that promises to strengthen U.S. pork's competitive position globally. Through its "Keep America First in Agriculture" campaign, NPPC is aggressively working to establish oversight within the U.S. Department of Agriculture where it belongs, not with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has claimed jurisdiction.

NCBA President Jennifer Houston Testifies on State of Cattle Industry

Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today testified about the current state of the cattle industry before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Topics ranged from the effects of the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas to the pending reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Mandatory Price Reporting to implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I want to start by thanking you, Chairman (Pat) Roberts and other members of the committee who have been helpful over the last few weeks as we have dealt with the recent fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, Kansas,” Houston said. “We also support the work of (Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue and look forward to the results of the USDA investigation.”

Houston also stressed the importance of foreign trade, better access to lucrative foreign markets like Japan and China, and the need for Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"The future success of the U.S. beef industry relies on competitive market access to a growing consumer base in Asia," Houston testified. "In 2018, we sold over $8 billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with one-quarter of those sales coming from Japan. We also still need Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement as soon as possible to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is open for business."

Houston concluded her oral testimony with a pledge to keep doing the hard work that’s necessary to help improve prospects for America’s cattle producers.

"I’m proud to lead and represent the members of NCBA, as we fight tirelessly to improve the lives and business prospects of every single member of the cattle industry," Houston said. "As Henry Ford said, 'Don’t find fault – find a remedy.' That’s exactly what NCBA will continue to do."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/20/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 20, ethanol production swung sharply lower, dropping 61,000 b/d or 6.1% (the second-largest weekly downturn since statistics have been reported) to 943,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 39.61 million gallons daily. This represents the smallest production rate since April 2016, with output 9.0% below year-ago volumes and 5.3% below the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 2.3% to a 24-week low of 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks scaled back 3.2% to 22.5 million barrels. Stocks fell across all PADDs except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were a near-record 113,000 b/d, or 33.22 million gallons for the week—equivalent to more than 10% of the total ethanol supplied for the week. This was the fourth time in five weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied rebounded from the prior week’s slump, increasing 4.6% to 9.346 million b/d (392.5 million gallons per day, or
143.27 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 3.3% to 935,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.33 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production shrank to a two-year low of 10.09%.

World Beef Expo About to Kick-Off in Milwaukee

World Beef Expo is opening its gates Friday morning for its 27th run at Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee.

The Open Show will begin at 8:00 a.m., with the Elite Cattle Show being held the following day.

The event's trade show runs from 5 to 7 p.m. inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. And educational seminars will also be held throughout the weekend.  Details are here...

Last year, over 500 exhibitors from 18 states attended the expo with 1,100 entries being judged in 2018. Nearly half of those cattle were exhibited by junior participants.

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