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  • Global trade can make or break American farmers | The Hill

    The new tariffs are in direct response to China’s overproduction of steel and aluminum, keeping costs artificially low so that other countries can’t compete — a practice widely known as “dumping.” While the administration has called this act out as cheating, it fails to acknowledge that U.S. agricultural policy has done the same for decades, with an even more critical resource: food. Agricultural dumping — the practice of exporting commodities at prices below the cost of production — can be devastating for farmers in importing countries, while creating unfair competition for producers in exporting countries. The irony in the administration imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum is that one of the U.S.’s main complaints about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) involves Canada’s protection of its dairy industry. Canada’s production quotas prevent farmers from under- or over-producing milk and limit the amount of dairy that can be imported without tariffs. The policy takes farmers’ cost of production into consideration and pays them a fair price, stabilizing prices and supply. This guarantees a fair price to consumers while ensuring a fresh, local milk supply from family farms and does not involve any taxpayer-funded subsidies.Meanwhile, U.S. farmers are now in their fourth year of receiving milk prices below their cost of production. Farmers have had to pour out millions of gallons of milk, literally watching their incomes run down the drain.Farm and trade policies encourage U.S. dairy farmers to produce as much as possible, leading to boom-and-bust cycles that drive small farms out of business and compel mid- and large-sized farms to keep getting bigger.

    Post date: Fri, 03/23/2018 - 14:54
  • In a U.S.-China trade war, Trump voters likely get hurt the most | The Washington Post

    Politicians, economists and executives agree China isn't playing fair on trade. But there's a lot of disagreement about whether President Trump's hefty tariffs are the right weapon for fighting back. American farmers and Walmart shoppers are likely to feel pain in this fight, and a lot of them voted for Trump. There are two ways Americans are highly likely to get hurt in a U.S.-China trade spat. First, prices on a lot of items will almost certainly rise, and second, China is going to hit back with tariffs on American products. The other knock is expected to come when China fights back. Senior Chinese officials have made it clear they'll take “necessary measures” to retaliate for Trump's tariffs. All indications from Beijing are that China's countertariffs will target goods and jobs in parts of the United States that voted for Trump. At the top of China's list are agricultural products such as soybeans and hogs.Soybeans and grains are the second-largest U.S. export to China. Trump carried eight of the top 10 soy-exporting states, and the critical swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin are in the top 15 soybean exporters, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Airplanes, the top U.S. export to China, could also end up on the hit list.

    Post date: Fri, 03/23/2018 - 14:53
  • House GOP to push farm bill linking food stamps to job training | Bloomberg

    House Republicans will pursue a law reauthorizing food assistance and farm subsidies without Democratic support after negotiations over changes to the so-called food-stamp program broke down, the chairman of the chamber’s Agriculture Committee said. The Republican plan will boost job training for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps, while taking people off the rolls who use state eligibility guidelines to qualify even though they exceed federal asset limits, Representative Michael Conaway, a Texas Republican, said Thursday in Washington.Thresholds for assets and incomes also will be updated, while raising the top age at which work requirements for recipients kick in -- a provision at which Democrats balked -- remains up for debate, he said. The panel’s top Democrat, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, did not immediately respond to Conaway’s announcement. "The Democratic members have made clear that they unanimously oppose the farm bill’s SNAP language as it has been described to them and reported in the press," Peterson said in a statement last week. "I will not be continuing negotiations with the chairman per the unanimous request of all Democratic members of the committee."

    Post date: Fri, 03/23/2018 - 14:52
  • SARL member, Cindy Hyde-Smith Gets Appointment to Mississippi Senate Seat | Roll Call

    Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith will be going to the U.S. Senate next month. Gov. Phil Bryant formally tapped the Republican agriculture and commerce commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who is poised to go out with a win on an omnibus spending bill. Currently in his seventh term, Cochran is resigning effective April 1 for health reasons. The senator-designee highlighted her work as agriculture commissioner, while praising President Donald Trump’s work on rolling back regulations, making specific reference to the Waters of the United States rule. Hyde-Smith, a former state senator, also noted her involvement in what was also one of Cochran’s many priorities: the establishment and maintenance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s catfish inspection program. The regulation of catfish and a similar species from Asia has been key to the domestic catfish industry.

    Post date: Thu, 03/22/2018 - 06:53
  • Cheese plant expansion signals South Dakota dairy poised for growth | Tri State Neighbor

    South Dakota officials have been working for decades to rebuild the state’s dairy industry, and now they’re seeing results. One of the state’s biggest cheese plants is expanding, tripling its production capacity to make it not only the largest plant in South Dakota, but one of the biggest in the U.S.Government officials and company leaders were in Lake Norden late last month for an official ground breaking celebration at the Agropur cheese and whey plant where construction is already started to make the plant capable of processing more than 9 million pounds of milk per day.

    Post date: Thu, 03/22/2018 - 06:50

Ag and Rural Leaders

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Talk to your governor about the Opportunity Zones in your state

30 January, 2018

Qualified Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017


Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  


Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.