Saturday, April 14, 2018

Friday April 13 Ag News

Ricketts, Ethanol Board Advocate for a Robust RFS

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Ethanol Board teamed up to push for a strong commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The Governor spoke at the Ethanol 2018: Emerging Issues Forum and discussed ethanol’s role in growing Nebraska and the importance of the RFS for Nebraska’s ethanol industry.

“Yesterday, we had a really interesting and exciting meeting where the President came out and said that he supports E15 all year round.  That is a big deal.  We’ve been asking for that for quite some time,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Whether it’s our ethanol boards, our federal delegation, or as governors, we all have to continue to put forward that voice for our American farmers and ranchers to continue to support ethanol.”

Governor Ricketts held a press conference following his remarks at the Forum alongside Ethanol Board Chairman Jan tenBensel.

“On behalf of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, I would like to thank the Governor for his support of agriculture and the ethanol industry,” said Jan tenBensel.  “Thank you for your support in Washington yesterday.  This has led to the potential for year-round use of E15.  This is a win-win for farmers, ethanol producers, and oil refiners.”

In Nebraska, ethanol plants use roughly 40 percent of the state’s corn crop.  The demand for ethanol has increased with the introduction of new ethanol blends.  Blends of E10, E15, E30, and E85 are available in Nebraska today.  There are over 70 pumps with high-ethanol blends available at 19 retail locations across Nebraska.

As Governor, Pete Ricketts has served as chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.  In 2017, Governor Ricketts testified in front of the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the RFS.  He also recently joined a letter with the Governors of Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota that emphasized the importance of ethanol and the RFS to President Donald J. Trump.

Governor Ricketts has also directed the state fleet to replace E10 with E15 with the aim of moving to higher-ethanol blends over time.  As the state fleet administrators purchase new vehicles, they have been directed to only purchase Flex Fuel vehicles or vehicles that are designed to burn at least E15 fuel.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Can’t make money on your crop ground and need more pasture?  Double cropping annual forages may be a better option.

               Successful double cropping of annual forages requires good planning and timely operations along with some timely moisture.  To use this approach this spring, small grains like oats or spring triticale, maybe mixed with field peas or some brassicas like collards or forage rape, need to be planted as soon as possible.  Grazing of these plantings can begin six to eight weeks after planting and can last until early to mid-June if stocked and managed properly.

               As portions of this spring planting get grazed out, a summer annual grass like sudangrass or pearl millet can be planted.  With adequate moisture, the summer annual grass will be ready to graze in forty-five to fifty days and may last through September.

               This double crop forage strategy works even better if winter annual cereals like winter rye, wheat, or triticale were planted last fall for spring forage.  They will be ready to graze soon.  Just like with the spring plantings, as portions are grazed out, plant summer annual grasses to begin grazing them by mid-summer.

               Another strategy is to plant summer annual grasses first in mid- to late May.  Graze portions of them out in August, then plant oats with or without turnips for late fall and winter grazing.

               Of course, adequate moisture or irrigation is needed for these options to produce both double crops.  Thus, it is wise to have extra hay or a nearby pasture where animals can be placed and fed temporarily if extra time is needed to grow sufficient forage for grazing.

               An extensive description of these forage systems is available on-line at  Again, that address is  Click on extension and outreach.

 What’s New with K Fertilizer Use?

Charles Wortmann - Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist

Available research-based information continues to verify that the soil test potassium (K) level of 125 ppm as a critical level for K application is adequately high for agronomic crops of Nebraska. The probability of profitable response to K application is very low if soil test K is above 125 ppm.

In three studies of corn response to applied K involving over 50 trials, there was a 2-4 bu/ac average decrease in yield during the year of application. The decrease was not greater with application of 86 compared with 43 lb/ac of K2O. The cause of the decrease has not been well determined. There is no evidence for such a decrease with other crops or of the reduction effect for corn persisting beyond the year of application although this has not been well-studied. These results suggest that
-    fertilizer K should not be applied if not needed;
-    infrequent higher rate applications are better than annual lower rate applications; and
-    K may be better applied to another crop in the rotation rather than corn.

The UNL K recommendations are available in the Nebraska Extension publication, Nutrient Management for Agronomic Crops of Nebraska (EC155). We realize that some advisors recommend K rates in excess of UNL recommendations, but available research-based information indicates that these higher rates reduce profit potential.

 What’s New with P Fertilizer Use? 

A six-year study at three locations for continuous corn response to differing phosphorus (P) application practices was completed in 2016. The locations were at the university's Haskell Ag Lab, the Eastern Nebraska Research and Education Center near Mead, and the West Central Research and Education Center at North Platte. All sites had initial Bray 1 P of less than 10 ppm. The results have not yet been fully interpreted for Extension purposes. The results show, however, that
-    annual application of P at rates equal to the P removed in the previous harvest when Bray-1 P is less than 20 ppm has a slightly better profit opportunity compared with the current UNL recommendation, and
-    maintaining Bray-1 P at 25 or 35 ppm resulted in less profit than the UNL recommendation.

For other crops, available research-based information does not challenge existing UNL recommendations as reported in the Nebraska Extension publication, Nutrient Management for Agronomic Crops of Nebraska (EC155) if the farmer’s primary objective is profit optimization. We realize that:
-    some producers give priority to objectives other than maximization of profit which may justify their maintenance of very high soil test P levels, and
-    some advisors recommend P rates in excess of UNL recommendations.

Available research-based information indicates that these higher rates reduce profit potential.

 What's New with S Fertilizer Use?

Approximately 100 trials have been conducted since 2000 to evaluate sulfur (S) use in corn, sorghum, and soybean. The trial results have validated
-    the UNL recommendations of applying S to sandy soils in consideration of soil test results; and
-    the probability of profit gain due to increased yield from S application to medium and fine textured soil is very low.

The S recommendations are addressed in the Nebraska Extension publication, Nutrient Management for Agronomic Crops of Nebraska (EC155).

Deposition of atmospheric sulfur and sulfur application in fertilizers such as single super phosphate is much less than it was three to four decades ago. This implies that S availability needs to be monitored.
-    The probability of response to S has been determined in recent years to be high enough for some parts of Iowa to justify routine application.
-    Soil test results for sulfur availability continue to be of little or no value and response is best monitored with on-farm trials comparing yield with and without sulfur applied.
-    Applying S often does result in greener crops while not increasing grain yield. This can be important to farmer satisfaction and impressing neighbors and land managers.

Sulfur is abundantly available and fertilizer sulfur use can be of modest cost without much environmental concern. Sulfur applied as sulfate does not affect soil pH, but applied as elemental S, it can contribute to soil acidification. Gypsum is often abundantly available and can be a good sulfur source. Flue gas desulfurization gypsum, a by-product of coal-fired electrical power generation, is a potential sulfur source with a liming effect.

Center for Rural Affairs: Farm bill first draft makes the wrong sweeping change

Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate Anna Johnson said today that the released draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill, has several proposals of concern for rural America. The draft bill was released yesterday by the House Agriculture Committee. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, 2018.

“The House farm bill is a nonstarter,” said Johnson. “It completely eliminates the popular Conservation Stewardship Program that currently protects 70 million acres nationwide. It wipes out funding for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, two programs that support new enterprise creation in rural America. And it fails to put any sort of cap on unlimited crop insurance subsidies for the largest farms.”

Johnson continued on the subject of crop insurance premium subsidies.

“Structural reforms of this nature, that put common-sense limits on subsidies to only the largest operations, are needed to level the playing field for all farmers. The House Agriculture Committee’s decision to ignore these needed changes indicates an unfortunate reluctance to do what is right for our small and mid-sized farmers.”

The proposed elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program wipes out the largest working lands conservation program in the U.S. The Conservation Stewardship Program offers farmers and ranchers who can demonstrate existing land stewardship efforts the opportunity to improve and expand them for their whole operation. The program emphasizes conservation practices that support natural resource concerns, such as soil erosion and water quality.

“Terminating the Conservation Stewardship Program undermines farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to implement conservation practices on their land,” said Johnson. “Hundreds of farmers from around the Midwest have shared with us how important Conservation Stewardship Program is to their operations and stewardship efforts. Ending the program, along with the more than $7 billion in proposed cuts to other working lands conservation programs, would strike a serious blow to farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to better steward their soil and water.”

Members of the House Agriculture Committee describe proposed changes to crop insurance as minor.

“This is a missed opportunity to create a stronger connection between conservation and crop insurance,” Johnson said. “Offering higher subsidies for higher levels of stewardship would make crop insurance more accountable to taxpayers and reduce risks for farmers – these measures would go a long way toward creating further support for conservation.”

The draft bill also proposes changes to several programs that support beginning farmers, rural development, value-added production, and rural entrepreneurs.

“Seeing level funding in the bill for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentive Program is encouraging,” Johnson said. “However, the bill eliminates mandatory funding for the Value-Added Producer Program and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, which is a step towards disinvesting in rural small businesses. The similar decision to not renew organic cost-share program funding also undermines farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to certify as organic and access the higher price points that organic products provide.”

The House Agriculture Committee will revise this draft during a meeting called “markup,” announced by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), chairman of the committee, set for 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

“We hope the House of Representatives can make needed amendments to improve this bill, restore these valuable programs, and reach bipartisan agreement,” said Johnson.

AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting June 11-14 in Iowa

Registration is now open for AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting June 11-14 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. The meeting will provide valuable insights and networking to better enable the industry's transition to digital agriculture. Much of the meeting consists of open working group sessions where teams discuss ways to more efficiently exchange information in agriculture to maximize efficiency and productivity.

This year's general session speaker is Jim Krogmeier, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, who will discuss blockchain technology and its potential impact on agriculture. Other highlights include the first face-to-face meeting of AgGateway's new Traceability Working Group, a luncheon for first-time attendees, a "Quick Connect" session featuring face-to-face meetings between trading partners implementing electronic connections, and multiple networking events.

"We anticipate a great meeting this year, with continued work on interoperability in precision agriculture, traceability in a variety of ag operations, efficiencies for the specialty chemical sector, and much more," said AgGateway President and CEO Wendy Smith. "We invite companies to learn and participate. There are huge benefits to the efficient and accurate exchange of information all along the agricultural and specialty chemical supply chains."

AgGateway has again set modest registration fees to encourage maximum participation in the collaborative discussions and projects. Registration is just $175 for both members and non-members. In addition, those who register by May 4 will be entered into a drawing to win a special VIP attendee package, including a complimentary hotel room upgrade to a suite. The special hotel rate at Prairie Meadows available until May 22 is $109/night.

More information is available on AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting webpage, found under "Events" at Explore sponsorship opportunities by reviewing the sponsorship program on the event webpage or email General inquiries can also be directed to AgGateway's Member Services at or (+1) 866-251-8618.

AgGateway is a non-profit organization dedicated to the expanded use of information to maximize efficiency and productivity, promoting and enabling the industry's transition to digital agriculture.

Iowa Swine Day 2018 Showcases National Industry Speakers

The seventh annual Iowa Swine Day will feature speakers addressing important issues facing pork producers. The event, scheduled for Thursday, June 28 on the Iowa State University campus, Ames, is planned and hosted by Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Iowa Pork Industry Center, and by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Co-organizer John Patience, professor of animal science, said planners continue to reply to producer input as they develop a strong program relevant to the industry.

“The morning plenary session features Ray and Dave Price from Canada’s Sunterra Farms, who will describe the strategic decisions made to transition their family’s traditional farrow-to-finish farm of the 1970s into a multinational producer, processor, retailer and exporter of pork,” Patience said. “Their most recent innovation is construction of an Italian dry-cured meat plant in Canada in partnership with the Simonini family from Modena, Italy.”

Also during the morning session, David McDonald of the OSI Group will talk about the global future of the food industry. In addition to his role with the OSI Group, McDonald serves on the board of directors for the North American Meat Institute affording him unique perspectives on the trends influencing global consumption of protein.

Jeff Ansell, president of Jeff Ansell and Associates, will provide the very entertaining yet practical and instructive presentation, “When the headline is you!” Ansell has taught classes at both Duke University and Harvard University, and shares strategies, techniques and tips to help his clients become better communicators.

Following lunch, 16 presentations will be part of four concurrent sessions. Co-organizer Jason Ross said the afternoon topics range from updates on the use of sexed semen to cyber security to pricing/negotiating hog prices. Ross, who is associate professor of animal science and director of IPIC, said topics also include mitigation of mycoplasma pneumonia and best practices in siting new barns.

Following the day’s program, attendees are invited to a barbecue in the Iowa State Center courtyard, organized by TechMix and AB Vista. Ross said attendees won’t want to miss this relaxing and tasty end to the day.

Check-in and onsite registration opens at 7:30 a.m. on June 28, with sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m. The program will adjourn at 4:30 p.m. followed by the conference barbecue. Registration is $50 and includes lunch, refreshments and barbecue. Early registration ends midnight, June 15. Late or on-site registration is $75. Students may register at no cost prior to the early deadline. Their fee increases to $45 thereafter. Iowa Swine Day will be held at the Scheman Building, Iowa State Center, 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa. Additional information, directions and online registration is available on the Iowa Swine Day conference website....

USDA: Farm Share of Food Dollar Declines Again

On average, U.S. farmers received 14.8 cents for farm commodity sales from each dollar spent on domestically-produced food in 2016, down from 15.5 cents in 2015. Known as the farm share, this amount is at its lowest level for the period 1993 to 2016, and coincides with a steep drop in 2016 average prices received by U.S. farmers, as measured by the Producer Price Index for farm products.

USDA's Economic Research Service uses input-output analysis to calculate the farm and marketing shares from a typical food dollar, including food purchased at grocery stores and at restaurants, coffee shops, and other eating out places.

2016 was the fifth consecutive year that the farm share has declined, though the 4.5-percent drop in 2016 was below 2015's 9.9-percent fall.

The drop in farm share also coincides with five consecutive years of increases in the share of food dollars paying for services provided by the foodservice industry.

Since farmers receive a smaller share from eating out dollars, due to the added costs for preparing and serving meals, more food-away-from-home spending will also drive down the farm share.

USDA and USTR Finalize Access for U.S. Pork Exports to Argentina

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced the government of Argentina has finalized technical requirements that will allow U.S. pork to be imported into Argentina for the first time since 1992.

Since the White House announced an agreement with Argentina last August, technical staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have been working with Argentina’s Ministry of Agro-Industry on new terms for market access that are practical, science-based and consistent with relevant international animal health standards. The finalization of these technical requirements means that U.S. exports of pork and natural swine casings can now resume.

“This breakthrough is the result of efforts by this Administration to help America’s farmers and ranchers reach new markets and ensure fair trade practices by our international partners,” Perdue said. “Once the people of Argentina get a taste of American pork products after all this time, we’re sure they’ll want more of it. This is a great day for our agriculture community and an example of how the Trump Administration is committed to supporting our producers by opening new markets for their products.”

“I welcome Argentina’s decision to allow imports of U.S. pork products and the economic opportunity it will afford to U.S. pork producers,” said Lighthizer. “This effort demonstrates the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to address foreign trade barriers to American agriculture exports.”

The United States is the world’s top pork exporter, with global sales totaling $6.5 billion last year. Argentina is a potential $10-million-per-year market for America’s pork producers, with significant growth opportunities possible in subsequent years.

Argentine Market Now Open To U.S. Pork

With strong support and input from the National Pork Producers Council, the United States and Argentina this week finalized an export certificate that allows the U.S. pork industry to ship product to the South American country.

“Argentina has tremendous potential for U.S. pork exports,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “This is great news for America’s pork producers, who last year exported almost $6.5 billion of pork around the world.”

Argentina, which had a de facto ban on U.S. pork, has a population of more than 44 million and a per capita income of $17,250 – higher than Mexico’s – making it an attractive market for U.S. pork. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes has noted that fresh pork consumption in the country has increased from about 2 lbs. in 2005 to 22 to 26 lbs. today. The Argentine pork industry estimates that by 2020 consumption will increase to 35 to 44 lbs.

The new opening represents the first time in 25 years that U.S. pork will be allowed into Argentina, which has the potential to be a $10 million-a-year market for U.S. pork producers.

NPPC helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture address concerns raised by Argentine officials, and in October, the organization urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to reinstate Argentina’s eligibility for the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, which allows some foreign products into the United States without tariffs, after the country in August agreed to re-open its market to U.S. pork imports. The export certificate allows the shipment of fresh, frozen and processed pork to the South American country.

“This development demonstrates the Argentine government’s commitment to expanded and more open trade with the United States,” said Heimerl. “And it will help us grow our exports, which the U.S. pork industry is very dependent on. Last year’s exports, for example, added more than $53 – representing almost 36 percent of the $149 average value of a hog in 2017 – to the price we received for each animal marketed.

“The United States can’t sit on its hands when it comes to trade. Opening new markets, such as Argentina, and expanding existing markets is imperative.”

USMEF Statement on Argentina Opening to U.S. Pork

Today the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that U.S. pork is eligible for export to Argentina for the first time since 1992.

Statement from U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom

Argentina's per capita pork consumption has grown rapidly over the past several years, increasing nearly 60 percent since 2011 (based on USDA estimates), and Argentina is the third-largest pork-importing country in South America (behind Chile and Colombia). USMEF has been researching the Argentine market for some time in order to identify commercial opportunities for U.S. pork, and our South America representative, Jessica Julca, is scheduled to meet with importers and other prospective buyers in Argentina next week. Significant interest in the Boston butt has already emerged and we anticipate demand for U.S. hams, picnics and trimmings to be used as raw material for further processing. Argentina also holds potential for U.S.-produced processed pork products.

U.S. pork exports have achieved excellent growth in South America in recent years, with most of the volume destined for Colombia, Chile and Peru. U.S. pork is also eligible for export to Ecuador and Uruguay, and recently gained access to Paraguay. Expanding the range of export opportunities for U.S. red meat is especially important at a time of increased uncertainty in some of our leading markets. Argentina is an exciting addition with solid growth potential, and USMEF thanks USTR and USDA for their steadfast efforts to regain access to the Argentine market.

NCGA Statement on Today's High-Octane Hearing in Washington D.C.

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s Environment Subcommittee Hearing “High-Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities.”

“While corn growers are pleased that the value of octane that comes naturally from ethanol is being recognized by automakers, we need to look at the whole of any policy being proposed. We can’t look at an octane standard in isolation. We must look at the sum of all the parts.

“Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) because it was important to diversify the transportation fuel supply, and that diversity remains an important energy policy objective. One way to evaluate any proposal related to the transportation fuel supply is to ask whether it makes our transportation fuel more dependent on oil or whether it continues to provide opportunities to expand the use of homegrown biofuels. 

“With the ongoing push for cleaner burning fuels, ethanol can be a growing contributor to the solution. Ethanol is the cleanest burning fuel in the marketplace. Now is not the time to take a step backward.

“Corn growers view the octane discussion as one step in the changing fuel and vehicle marketplace.  A high-octane, midlevel ethanol blend would benefit consumers by providing more options and cost savings at the pump. Ethanol also has environmental benefits and provides an additional market for the abundance of corn we have in the United States.

“It is apparent however, the small move on octane that could be met by the premium fuel already on the market today is not sufficient, and NCGA will continue to provide input to Members of Congress interested in these issues.

“Corn growers vehemently oppose EPA’s efforts to rewrite the RFS, and we appreciate House Energy and Commerce Committee members for recognizing this harm and drawing attention to EPA’s exemptions to small refiners that appear to have waived at least 1 billion gallons of ethanol from the RFS volumes and adversely impacted corn demand.”

ACE: High octane ethanol the solution to improved emissions, fuel economy in future vehicles

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment is holding a hearing this morning on “High Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities,” looking at the potential for high octane fuels and the vehicles designed for them to further the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas (CAFE-GHG) programs. In a letter to the subcommittee, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings explains that ethanol-enriched, high octane fuels are the most affordable way to thread the needle for reduced tailpipe emissions and improved fuel economy, advancing goals of both programs, simultaneously. Excerpts from the letter are below:

“…high octane fuels represent a complementary link between automaker compliance with EPA’s GHG standards and fulfilling the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. To be more exact, high octane fuel comprised of 25 to 30 percent (98 to 100 RON) ethanol is a cost-effective, low-carbon solution to successful implementation of both the RFS and GHG standards.

“One of the reasons Congress enacted the RFS is because refiners control nearly all of the nation’s fuel supply terminals.  In other words, the “free market” is a myth when it comes to motor fuel because refiners decide whether or not to blend low-cost renewable fuels such as ethanol into the gasoline they make. Similarly, if refiners are left to their own devices, a new minimum high octane fuel will not materialize. It will require a push either by EPA through future automobile GHG standards or by Congress taking action to require a minimum octane rating for fuel.

“Some oil refiners will testify today in support of a transition to a new 91 AKI (95 RON) fuel.  As we understand this concept, it would limit ethanol’s contribution to just 10 percent by volume, falling short of the need to reduce tailpipe emissions and save consumers money at the pump.  For these reasons, ACE cannot support any new high octane fuel standard which restricts ethanol’s share to just 10 or 15 percent by volume.

“…to gain widespread consumer acceptance and save motorists money at the pump it will be necessary for a new high octane fuel to be a minimum of 98 RON and contain much higher ethanol inclusion rates.”

World Meat Congress to Feature Argentine and Canadian Ag Ministers, Leading Economists, Frontline Trade Negotiators

The premier gathering of red meat industry leaders from across the globe is coming to Dallas, Texas, May 31-June 1. The 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC) is hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the International Meat Secretariat. The WMC is a biennial event, with this year’s theme being “Trusting in Trade.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will deliver the WMC’s opening keynote presentation, focusing on the challenges of feeding a growing world as well as trade policy initiatives undertaken by the Trump administration.

Secretary Perdue’s address will be followed by Argentine Agriculture Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere, who will discuss Argentina’s recent transition to a pro-trade economic philosophy for its agricultural sector, and Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, who will explain Canada’s approach to agricultural trade and how the Canadian production model compares to that of its competitors.

“For many years Argentina pursued a policy of managed trade that imposed restrictions on agricultural exports, but with a change in government it is now pursuing an export-driven agenda that has significantly improved the outlook for Argentina’s agricultural economy,” said Seng. “Canada’s positions on red meat trade are also of great interest to WMC attendees, especially given its new trade agreement with the EU, its role in the TPP-11 agreement and the ongoing NAFTA negotiations.”

Leading economic experts will share their insights with WMC participants in a session titled, A World of Change: Factors Affecting Red Meat Trade.

Moderated by USMEF Economist Erin Borror, this session’s panelists include Amy Xu, head of purchasing for COFCO Meat Group Inc.’s trade department, Daniil Khotko, leading analyst at IKAR LLC in Russia, Pablo Sherwell, head of RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness for North America and Michael Drury, chief economist for McVean Trading and Investments. Topics addressed will include:

-    Factors shaping China’s red meat market over the near and medium term, including the current rebound in domestic pork production and whether there is room for further growth in pork consumption; whether China’s booming demand for imported beef will continue to gain momentum; and the projected impact of higher tariffs on U.S. pork and proposed tariffs on U.S. beef and soybeans.

-    Challenges faced by Russia’s pork producers and whether investment in the Russian pork industry is sufficient to sustain expansion; how is this situation impacted by the suspension of pork and beef imports from Brazil – which is now in its fifth month?

-     Mexico’s cattle and hog sectors have attracted significant investment, but what are the prospects for production growth and related implications for global trade? Does this include diversification of Mexico’s red meat exports and imports beyond the United States?

-    From a macroeconomic standpoint, what is the near-to-medium term outlook for the global economy and what factors or uncertainties are most likely to impact demand for red meat?

Trade policy will also be front-and-center at the WMC as a distinguished panel of experts will exchange views on the likely future direction of the global trading system. Moderated by Ambassador Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the panel will include Kenneth Smith Ramos, chief NAFTA negotiator for the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, and Jean-Marc Trarieux, who heads the office that manages trade issues with North and South America for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Trarieux formerly served as the Directorate General’s representative in Washington, D.C. USTR has also been invited to provide the Trump administration’s perspective on current trade negotiations and policy initiatives.

“With NAFTA negotiations reaching a critical phase and the United States, Mexico and the European Union engaged in a wide range of trade talks, this session will truly offer a view from the front lines of negotiations that will shape global trade for years to come,” Seng said. “We also look forward to gaining expert insights on the future direction of the World Trade Organization and the rules-based trading system.”

Additional activities offered at the conclusion of the WMC allow attendees to participate in a cattle ranch tour, experience American barbecue or spend a day getting to know historic Fort Worth. Additional information is available online and space is limited, so make your tour reservations soon.

For registration information, the full WMC agenda and other details, please visit Register now – the standard rate deadline is April 20 and pre-registration closes May 14.

Dairy Groups Support Trump Administration Examination of India, Indonesia Compliance under Generalized System of Preferences

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday accepted a petition from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) to examine India’s failure to follow through on its obligations to provide “equitable and reasonable access to its market” for dairy products. In addition, Indonesia, which has also been pursuing dairy trade distorting policies, will be included in USTR’s review to assess that country’s compliance with its market access obligations.

India has for many years maintained unjustified market access barriers to U.S. dairy products, despite receiving preferential access to the U.S. market under a special duty-free trade arrangement called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). India abruptly began denying dairy exports in 2003, citing safety concerns and demanding revised government-issued health certificates. The U.S. industry and U.S. government have worked in good faith over the last 15 years to remove this intractable barrier, but have been met with a shifting litany of demands not founded on sound science.

Meanwhile, since last year Indonesia has been advancing a policy aimed at mandating that importers and manufacturers in its country purchase local milk or contribute monetarily to support the local dairy industry, even though this runs counter to its WTO commitments.

GSP benefits come with the expectation that the trading partners using the program comply with a baseline level of requirements, including those related to reasonable market access terms. USTR has rightfully determined that a thorough examination of these countries’ adherence to these terms of the deal is necessary.

Industry officials praised USTR’s decision to review India’s and Indonesia’s GSP status, and are hopeful that the move will force the countries to halt unfair trading practices that harm U.S. farmers.

“Dairy farmers across the country applaud the White House and USTR for taking this step and holding these countries accountable for their unlawful actions,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We’ve been wrongly blocked from the Indian market for more than a decade, and Indonesia has recently been heading down a similar route. If these nations refuse to embrace free and fair trade, there must be consequences.”

“We export dairy products to more than 100 countries and our products are universally recognized as safe,” explained Tom Vilsack, USDEC president and CEO and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Exports are essential to rural America’s future, and our government must prioritize the removal of trade impediments like this to foster an open and healthy market.”

The two organizations thanked the Trump Administration for sending a strong message that trade should be a two-way street. They said USTR has the opportunity to lead on other key dairy trade issues, such as tearing down policies erected by Canada that are harming U.S. dairy exports and run counter to what is needed from a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement.

USTR indicated that a public hearing and comment period for the new GSP reviews of India and Indonesia will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice.

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