Monday, May 14, 2018

Some ag groups say trade more urgent than new Farm Bill

"While debate continues on the 2018 Farm Bill in Washington, a majority of farm groups say trade is a bigger issue for them than passage of the new farm legislation," Michelle Rook reports for AgWeek.

Specifically, farmers are concerned about the fallout of the increasing trade war with China as well as ongoing negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Top U.S. officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer went to China last week to negotiate a deal to delay threatened tariffs and prevent more in the future, but little progress was made.

Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. trade representative's office, said that though 82 percent of U.S. ag exports to China have been hit with tariffs, he believes the U.S. will come out on top in negotiations, Rook reports.

Jon Doggett, executive vice president of the National Corn Growers Association, said the uncertainty of the market is causing customers to question whether the U.S. is a reliable supplier. And though Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has promised a trade compensation program, Zack Clark, director of government relations for the National Farmers Union, told Rook that "It certainly will not replace getting a good price from the marketplace, which is ultimately what we want to see.

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