Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday November 15 Ag News

Farm Finances Continue to Weaken Amid Ongoing Uncertainty
Nathan Kauffman, Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive
Ty Kreitman, Assistant Economist

Farm credit conditions in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District continued to deteriorate steadily in the third quarter of 2019. Despite a slight increase in the price of some agricultural commodities and additional support from government payments, farm income and loan repayment rates declined at a modest pace. According to District bankers, agricultural economic conditions in the quarter were influenced by uncertainty about crop production, agricultural trade and other factors that contributed to commodity price fluctuations. Persistent weaknesses in the sector put further pressure on farm finances and signs of modest increases in credit stress remained. Farmland values, however, remained stable, and provided ongoing support for the sector.

Farm Income and Borrower Finances

Farm income in the region remained relatively weak and continued to decline, according to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions. Despite slightly higher crop prices and support from trade relief payments, farm income decreased compared with a year ago. Recent volatility in crop prices appeared to affect bankers’ perceptions of agricultural conditions in the third quarter, and respondents indicated that farm income declined more than had been expected a quarter earlier. In August, cattle prices dropped sharply in response to substantial disruptions at a major beef processing facility, which weighed on income in the third quarter and affected expectations.

Farm income decreased from a year ago across all states in the region, with some variation in the pace of decline. Compared with other District states, crop conditions through October were slightly worse in Missouri and slightly better in Nebraska. Alongside production variability, income weakened at the fastest pace in Missouri, following sharp declines in 2018. In addition, a steep decline in cattle prices also contributed to lower farm income across other District states.

Farm borrowers made additional cuts to spending in response to an ongoing environment of subdued revenue. Similar to farm income, farm household and capital spending continued to decline while the outlook for spending also has been affected by recent volatility in commodity prices. Amid tight profit margins, operators have reduced capital spending at a consistently faster pace than household spending; bankers indicated they expect that trend to continue.

Ongoing reductions in farm income put further downward pressure on liquidity positions of crop producers. Working capital deteriorated at a modest pace throughout the District for the sixth consecutive year, but weaknesses were less severe than in prior years. About 75 percent of bankers reported that working capital of crop farmers deteriorated at least modestly in 2019, compared with over 90 percent in 2016.

Steady deterioration of farm finances led to a modest amount of borrowers selling assets to improve liquidity. Similar to last year, about half of District bankers indicated they expect at least 5 percent of their borrowers to sell assets before year-end. Almost all survey respondents indicated they expect some borrowers to liquidate assets in coming months, a sign of broad impacts from persistent weaknesses in the sector and long-lasting pressure on farm finances.

Credit Conditions

Demand for farm loans remained strong and continued to increase, but the pace of growth slowed from previous quarters. Loan demand, on average, grew across the District for the sixth straight year, but the share of respondents indicating demand was higher reached the lowest level since late 2013. Despite slightly slower growth, demand was expected to remain high into the next quarter. The availability of funds at agricultural banks was little changed from a year ago. Expectations for the next quarter were for a slight increase in available funds, which would be the first increase in nearly four years.

The strain on farm finances in the District has led to steady deterioration of agricultural credit conditions. The rate of farm loan repayments continued to decline, at a pace similar to recent quarters, while the number of renewals and extensions remained high. Similar to farm income, repayment rates in the third quarter were much slower than expected. Looking forward, bankers remained more optimistic than in the current quarter, but indicated they expected the modest deterioration to continue.

Compared with a year ago, the outlook for repayment rates through year-end varied by the type of operation. Following a sharp drop in cattle prices during the summer and reduced revenues for some producers, bankers expected repayment rates to weaken considerably for cow/calf and feeding operations relative to last year. In contrast, slightly higher prices and improved revenues for most other major commodities led to predictions of a slightly slower pace of decline in repayment rates for those borrowers compared with last year.

Alongside modest deterioration in borrower finances and slower repayment rates, the share of problem loans was steady and the increase in overall credit risk associated with farm loans remained modest. On average across the District, about 10 percent of farm loan portfolios were on the watch list and about 6 percent were considered classified. The percent of farm borrowers on the bank watch lists was highest in Nebraska, while the classification rate was highest in Kansas.

Interest Rates and Farmland Values

Following nearly five years of steady increases, interest rates on farm loans declined slightly in the third quarter. Both variable and fixed rates for all types of farm loans decreased from a year ago, with fixed rates on farm real estate loans showing the largest decline. Fixed rates decreased slightly more than comparable variable rates and the spread between fixed and variable rates inched slightly higher across all loan types compared with last quarter.

Consistent with the region, on average, fixed interest rates on farm real estate loans declined slightly in all District states. Rates declined slightly more in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas compared with Missouri and the Mountain States. Fixed rates on operating loans also remained highest in Oklahoma, consistent with historical trends.

Steady farmland values continued to provide support to farm finances amid an ongoing environment of weaker agricultural economic conditions. The values of all types of farmland (nonirrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland) remained similar to values a year ago. Although land values, on average, have declined since 2015, the decrease has been modest relative to the sharp increases in preceding years. Moreover, farmland values have shown some signs of stabilizing since 2018.


Bankers in the Kansas City Fed region expected agricultural credit conditions and farm income to continue to decline in coming months. Although numerous contacts indicated that government payments connected to ongoing trade disputes provided some support, most bankers pointed to an ongoing environment of low agricultural commodity prices and elevated costs as the primary factors contributing to the weakness. As profit opportunities have remained limited, borrower liquidity has continued to decline and most bankers expected a modest increase in asset liquidation. The stability of farm real estate values has continued to provide support to farm finances, and likely will be a key determinant of credit conditions in the year ahead.


The second largest indoor U.S. farm show, presented by Farm Credit Services of America and
AgDirect, will be held December 10-12 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Spread across 9.2 acres, the 13th
annual Nebraska Power Farming Show features the broadest mix of ag-related products and
services found in the Midwest.

Agriculture remains the lifeblood of rural Nebraska where families operate and maintain 48,700
farms across the state. Contributing approximately $25 billion in annual cash receipts to the
state’s economy, Nebraska farmers and ranchers grow a diverse mix that includes corn, dry
beans, alfalfa, popcorn and sugar beets, and raise beef, pork, poultry and dairy cattle.

“With 790 companies on hand representing 60 product and service categories, farmers and
ranchers will find everything they need to increase profits, lower input costs and improve
productivity at the Nebraska Power Farming Show,” said Tom Junge, show director. “It’s an
agricultural megastore.”

Check out Purdue University’s award-winning agBOT in the Pavilion 3 cafĂ©. This
autonomous machine can identify plants, destroy weeds and fertilize crops, all while
navigating a field. The 2019 first place agBOT Challenge winner has the potential to
not only decrease the overall cost of farm operation but reduce negative environmental
impacts and compensate for farm labor shortages as well.

Watch the Ag Tech Innovation Competition on Wednesday at 2 pm in Pavilion 2 East. Five
ag tech start-ups will pitch their latest ideas to help producers manage their operations
more effectively. A $20,000 Grand Prize and $5,000 People’s Choice will be awarded!

Join us for an exclusive film screening of the movie “Silo” – December 11th at
5:00-6:30 pm – Pavilion 2 East

85 NEW exhibitors

Four easy-to-access entrances – including a new “Pavilion 4 South” entrance.

Show hours run 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Thursday. Admission and parking at the Lancaster Event Center are FREE! For additional show
information, visit

Platte County FSA, Extension to Host Farm Bill Education Meeting for Area Producers

Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Platte County will host a Farm Bill education meeting on Wednesday, December 4 at the Columbus Ag Park, 822 15th Street in Columbus. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and go through noon. All area producers are invited to attend this free informational event.

FSA County Executive Director Chris Hoffman said the meeting is designed to provide important information to producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

The ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain similar to the previous farm bill, but there are a few key program changes.

Nebraska Must Embrace New Opportunities, Eliminate Barriers to Agriculture Growth

Nebraskans must be open to new opportunities to grow agriculture, even when those opportunities look different than what have been available to previous generations of farmers and ranchers. The idea of being open to new forms and models of agriculture was at the forefront of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s comments to members of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee during a hearing on Legislative Resolution 219, a resolution offered by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings to identify constraints on agricultural processing, production, and marketing investment.

“The farms and ranches of tomorrow won’t look like the farms and ranches of today. Changing consumer tastes and demands, evolving supply chains, a global economy, continued emphasis on improving environmental management, technological innovation, and the growing ability to directly market to consumers will continue to drive changes and market opportunities in agriculture. The ability to manage risk and adapt to, and capitalize on, new and emerging markets will have much to do with the future prosperity for farm and ranch families. As a state, we must build an environment that allows for and embraces those changes, not one that tosses up roadblocks,” said Mark Haskins, a farmer from Doniphan, who presented Nebraska Farm Bureau’s testimony at the hearing.

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered several recommendations on how lawmakers could help eliminate barriers to agriculture growth in the state. Topics included changes to tax policy, changes to local approval processes for livestock farms, improved access to technology, support for young and beginning farmers, and addressing financial barriers.

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers pay the second highest per-farm property taxes in the country, behind only California. Property taxes should not be a determining factor in whether a farmer has the financial ability to reinvest in their operation or grow, yet due to excessive property taxes on agricultural land, that’s exactly what’s happening in Nebraska. It’s a major barrier to reinvestment and growth and we must fix it,” said Haskins.

Greater adoption of Nebraska’s Livestock Siting Matrix by Nebraska counties and adjustments to the matrix were also identified as needs to help grow agriculture opportunities. The matrix was developed to aid in development of community-friendly livestock operations. Farm Bureau also offered ongoing support for the state’s Livestock Friendly County Program which recognizes counties that actively support livestock growth and expansion through clear, streamlined zoning regulations.

In testimony, Haskins also pointed out that need for the state to address the cost and logistical problems related to rural broadband deployment.

“Rural connectivity through broadband is a must no matter the size or scope of an operation. The inability to access high-speed, high-quality Internet service will be one of the largest barriers for agriculture moving forward as it directly impacts everything from production to end marketing,” said Haskins.

Creating opportunities for young people to enter agriculture, in the face of an aging farmer population, was also among the issues identified as barriers to agriculture growth. The group encouraged members of the Committee to reauthorize the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Program, which is set to expire in 2022, in addition to suggesting modifications making it more accessible to livestock farmers and specialty crop producers.

Recognition of agriculture as the state’s largest industry in the development of state business incentives was also noted in Farm Bureau’s testimony.

“If the legislature believes business incentives are important to growing the state, then agribusiness and production agriculture should be an important part of that conversation. The legislature should consider increasing dollars available under the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act, particularly for further development of livestock farms which consume and add value to Nebraska-grown grains,” said Haskins.

“Whether it’s producing industrial hemp, expanding poultry farms through business partnerships with companies like Costco, or opportunities to fill new and evolving niche markets, as a state we must be open to allowing farmers and ranchers pursue new opportunities, not erect barriers to stop them.”

Applications Now Open for Class IV of Nebraska Corn Growers Association’s PRIME Program

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) is pleased to announce that applications for the next class of the PRIME Program are now available. The PRIME Program is a continuing education opportunity for younger or newer producers who are interested in learning more about agronomic, business, innovations and marketing within their operations. Over the course of a year, participants will come together for three seminars to learn and discuss new ideas that can be incorporated into their own operations.

“Getting the next generation involved and interested is crucial for the longevity of the Association, and the PRIME Program is a great first step for those more interested in NeCGA’s education and partnerships. I look forward to welcoming this next class into a great program,” said Dan Nerud, President of NeCGA.

The first session will be February 17-18, where participants will have the opportunity to attend a one-day Trade School in conjunction with the other corn states and the U.S. Grains Council. The summer session dates will be determined by participants schedules and will feature a Nebraska Agriculture Tour. The final session will be in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association annual meeting.  Applications for the PRIME Program can be found at The applications are due by Friday, January 17, 2020. All costs to participate in the program are covered for those that are 3-year members of the association. If applicants are not members, the fee is $190 (the cost of a 3-year membership).

The PRIME Program is made possible with funding from our presenting partners, Northwestern Mutual and Farm Credit Services, along with the Nebraska Corn Board. For an application for the program, please click this link...

Midwest Senators Renew RFS Recommendations to President Trump

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) today renewed their recommendations to President Trump with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) supplemental rule. The letter, which enclosed their initial comments to EPA, urges the administration to take corrective action in its RFS rulemaking to uphold the agreement reached between President Trump and Midwest senators on September 12, 2019.

“This supplemental rulemaking is an opportunity to definitively restore integrity to the RFS, provide certainty for American agriculture, and further bolster our energy independence,” the senators wrote. “We are confident that reverting to the agreed upon framework to account for actual waived gallons will deliver on your agenda to support thousands of agriculture jobs throughout the Midwest and nation.” 

Cattlemen's Webinar Series: Winter Supplementation for Your Herd

November 21, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m. CST

During winter, many cattlemen and women utilize harvested forages and even crop residues to serve as the primary diet for their cattle when most grazing forages go dormant. However, many of these feedstuffs may not meet the dietary requirements of the animal. Join Dr. Tryon Wickersham, Texas A&M; Dr. Eric Bailey, University of Missouri; and Dr. Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska as they cover the importance of supplementing your herd when generally lower quality feedstuffs make up a majority of the animals diet specific to regions across the U.S.

Click to Get Registered Today....

Questions? Contact Producer Education at 


As the 2019 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s Northern Plains Director Nicholas Streff. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States as well as grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Streff. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2018, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Streff continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 10. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.

Iowa DNR Releases Draft Impaired Waters List, Open for Comment

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the newly released draft impaired waters list. Data released by the Iowa DNR today shows 27 impairments are recommended to be removed from the 2018 impaired list, once approved by the EPA.

This report identifies surface waters that do not fully meet all applicable state water quality standards for their intended use and that need a water quality improvement plan. Of the 1,421 water segments studied, which include portions of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands, 363 segments fully met the Iowa water quality standards for their intended use, while 523 segments were identified as waters in need of further investigation and 767 segments did not fully meet the standards needed for their intended use and were impaired.

"An increase or decrease in impaired waters does not necessarily mean that the water quality in the state is worsening or improving. It often is a reflection of the additional monitoring we are conducting, changes in water quality standards, and changes in assessment methodologies," said Roger Bruner, supervisor of the DNR's Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment section. "Impaired segments are often used for recreation and fishing, among other uses, so impairment doesn't mean that the segments are unusable or that they necessarily will cause illnesses."

The DNR uses fixed station river monitoring, lake monitoring and beach monitoring, wadeable stream biological monitoring, fish tissue monitoring and wetland/shallow lakes monitoring. Several other data are also analyzed before determining whether a water segment does or does not meet the requirements like the Iowa DNR's Fish Kill Database, along with federal (Army Corps of Engineers and US Geological Survey) and municipal (drinking water supplies) data and surrounding states' data.

The department's process is to compile all available credible data in the correct time frame. The data is then pulled together into a common format. Then the individual results are compared to the appropriate criteria. The assessment for each segment is a compilation of all these results (2,435 assessments in this report).

All Iowa waters are designated for both aquatic life protection and water contact recreation. Others also may include one or both designations for drinking water and human health protection.

"The DNR has a long history of working with Iowans across the state to help address our water quality challenges," said Adam Schnieders, acting DNR Water Quality Bureau Chief. "The importance of this collective, persistent work is clear and will continue to be a priority for the DNR."

Public comment is welcomed now through Dec. 28 and should be sent to:
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Dan KendallWater Quality Monitoring & Assessment Section
Wallace State Office Building
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

IFBF statement on Iowa's impaired waters report

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill

Iowans can take great pride knowing the State and water quality stakeholders are making strides monitoring the state’s watersheds to ensure stakeholders are taking on the challenge of improving water quality.

For the past 20 years, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other water quality experts have steadily ramped up monitoring efforts to identify vulnerable waterways and areas to improve while compiling the biennial assessment of the state’s watersheds. Iowa is the envy of neighboring states for our wealth of monitoring data and researchers dedicated to water quality improvement.  

Iowa Department of Natural Resources experts say the steady growth of waterways tested and the increasingly stringent standards for each reporting period is driving the two percent increase in water segments making the list.   The DNR says Iowans can be confident the vast majority of Iowa’s waters are safe for recreation and fishing.

In this report, the DNR removed 27 impaired beneficial uses, such as swimming or fishing from the last report two years ago due to new data.  The DNR says there are many reasons why a water segment may make the list from natural, weather-driven phenomena we’ve consistently experienced, as well as unknown or human-driven impacts such as construction and commercial growth or agriculture. 

While the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality remains an ongoing effort, Iowans can be confident the monitoring and collaborative efforts to improve Iowa’s water quality are achieving results.  Additionally, this list helps our state and federal natural resource agencies target limited financial and technical resources to where they’re needed most and most effective.

Iowans have high expectations for our water quality, and it’s clear the State of Iowa, university researchers and other experts are leading the way to identify and guide our water quality improvement efforts.

USDA Invests $7.2 Million in Rural Broadband for Iowa and South Dakota Families

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey today announced USDA has invested $7.2 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for rural households and farms in Iowa and South Dakota. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“Technology and innovation are key in meeting the growing demand in agriculture,” Northey said. “Our mission to increase rural prosperity cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face because of a lack of high-speed broadband Internet.”

The Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa, doing business as Premier Communications, will use a ReConnect Program loan to deploy a fiber to the premises (FTTP) broadband network capable of simultaneous transmission rates of 1/1 gigabits per second. The funded service areas include 868 households, 17 businesses and 27 farms. The project will facilitate more access to services and information for local residents, and it will improve the overall quality of life for people in the community.

USDA Issues Second Tranche of Market Facilitation Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they have already received from the 2019 MFP.

“This second tranche of 2019 MFP payments, along with already provided disaster assistance, will give farmers, who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters, much needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America’s farmers and ranchers. While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China, this money shows President Trump following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access.”

USDA to Issue Second Round of Trade Assistance

NFU Urges Solutions to Program’s Inequities

In response to ongoing financial challenges caused by trade disputes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to issue the second of three possible tranches of trade assistance payments to affected farmers and ranchers.

National Farmers Union (NFU) is appreciative of USDA’s efforts to provide farmers with much-needed relief. However, NFU President Roger Johnson was disappointed that the agency did not rectify any of the program’s inequities, nor has it established any mechanisms to ensure fair and stable commodity prices.

“The last six years have been phenomenally difficult for most family farmers and ranchers, as low commodity prices, chronic oversupply, and unpredictable weather have made it next to impossible to stay afloat. But on top of all that, for the last year and a half, they have had to deal with the added uncertainty and unstable markets generated by President Trump’s trade war against the rest of the world.

“The USDA has taken significant pains to provide support to those affected by the trade war, for which National Farmers Union and its members are grateful. But its execution has been far from perfect – the program has helped farmers in certain counties much more than others, even though those counties have not demonstrated any greater need for assistance. More alarmingly, it has provided significant payouts to millionaires and foreign-owned corporations, at the expense of vulnerable small- and mid-sized operations. These flaws are well documented and widely recognized, yet USDA has made no effort to address them.

“Regardless, we need more permanent solutions than this current plan can provide. Even if and when these trade disputes are resolved, farmers will still be coping with the fallout for years to come. We urge the administration to work with Congress to develop policies that will stabilize agricultural markets and guarantee fair farm prices.”


NPPC Newsletter

A deal between House lawmakers and the administration on the U.S. Mexico-Canada (USMCA) could be announced shortly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday. "I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be — which is imminent — that this can be a template for future trade agreements," she said.

Congressional ratification of the USMCA agreement remains the top priority for the National Pork Producers Council, but there are only a limited number of legislative days left in the year. An agreement would provide much-needed certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets.

Since the trade agreement was signed last November, NPPC and its members have been aggressively working to ensure ratification, educating lawmakers about the significant benefits that USMCA provides for U.S. hog farmers and becoming a "top ask" during our spring and fall congressional fly-ins. Additionally, NPPC recently launched a new campaign, "It's Pork O' Clock Somewhere," which focuses on the importance of USMCA by highlighting pork and the many ways it's enjoyed across North America.

NPPC urges Congress to quickly reach consensus on any outstanding issues and swiftly bring USMCA up for a vote. 


Japan's House of Representatives is scheduled to vote next week on the recently announced trade agreement with the U.S. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Lower House is expected to approve the trade deal, which would then move to the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan's Diet, for deliberations the following day.

The trade deal was signed in early October and it's expected to be implemented by Jan. 1, 2020. In remarks this week, President Trump described the agreement as "historic" and said it will "substantially reduce barriers for American agriculture and facilitate $40 billion in digital trade and agricultural purchases." He also indicated there could be future trade deals with Japan. "That deal was signed, and it's a great deal, but it's only phase one of the Japan deal, too," he said.

Once implemented, the trade agreement will place U.S. pork producers back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of our most important export markets. 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.

The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee is holding a hearing on Nov. 20 to discuss the recent U.S.-Japan trade deal. Specifically, the hearing will focus both on the trade deal signed in October "and prospects for a second phase of negotiations for a bilateral agreement to cover trade in a comprehensive manner."The hearing begins at 10am ET. Implementation of the trade deal is anticipated in early 2020.

Japan is the largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports. Once implemented, the trade agreement will place U.S. pork producers back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of our most important export markets.

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