Mr. Trump’s suggestion that it is “impossible” for American farmers to sell their products to the European Union is wrong. In fact, the 28 countries of the European Union are the United States’ fifth-largest export market for agricultural goods, like tree nuts and soybeans, totaling $11.5 billion in 2017, according to the Department of Agriculture.But the United States did import about $10 billion more in agricultural products, like wine, beer and chocolate, from the European Union than it exported there. (Overall, the United States has had an agricultural trade surplus with the rest of the world since 1960.) The European Union does impose a higher average tariff on agricultural products (11 to 12 percent) than the United States (about 5 percent), but about a third of farm goods enter both the European Union and the United States tariff-free, according to the World Trade Organization.
North Dakota's attorney general is suing the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline over agricultural land the company owns in violation of a state law banning large corporations from owning farmland. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a civil complaint in state district court against Dakota Access LLC, a company formed by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to build the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline began operating a year ago. Dakota Access in September 2016 bought about 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) from a ranch family in an area of southern North Dakota where thousands of pipeline opponents had gathered to protest. North Dakota law prohibits large corporations from owning and operating farms, to protect the state's family farming heritage, but Stenehjem reached a deal with the company under which he agreed not to immediately sue. He deemed the purchase temporarily necessary to provide a safer environment for pipeline workers. The agreement with the company expired at the end of last year but was extended through June. The company's "continued ownership of the land constitutes a continuing violation of state law,"
Black farmers, whose numbers already have dwindled precipitously over the past century, face new hardships after suffering poor yields last year because they were sold "fake" soybean seeds marketed at a Memphis trade show, members of a group representing African-American growers said. Leaders of the Memphis-based Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association have filed a class-action lawsuit against Stine Seed Co., the nation's largest independent seed-producer, accusing the Adel, Iowa, firm of targeting African-Americans for sales of defective seeds. The suit alleges that black farmers who attended the 67th Annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in March of last year bought more than $100,000 worth of Stine seeds. But the "certified" seeds the growers had paid for were switched with inferior ones at a warehouse near Sledge, Mississippi, according to the suit.
Canada has implemented a 10 percent retaliatory duty on imports of prepared and cooked US beef in response to US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. US Meat Export Federation’s Jessica Spreitzer says Canada imported about $770 million of US beef last year and the duty on this subset of products represents a significant portion of what is being exported. “There were imports of $164-million last year of these products,” she says. “That means our impacted beef products would account for 21 percent of the import value we sent to Canada last year.” Through April of this year Canada had imported $52 million worth of these products, a 3 percent increase from the same period in 2017.
Nations including Mexico and China have retaliated after President Donald Trump imposed several different tariffs on imports to America. And now, it’s impacting the U.S. dairy industry.own a dusty dirt road in rural northwest Wisconsin is Penokee Range Holsteins, a dairy farm owned by Morgan Peck.“We farm about 1,000 acres. We milk 325 cows,” Peck said.Peck, his wife and their two sons have operated the farm for three and a half decades. It produces roughly 1 million gallons of milk annually, which is turned into cheese.“It’s everything, I guess. It’s our career, it’s our passion,” Peck said.That passion recently took a big hit, as Mexico and China announced big tariffs against the U.S. – Mexico with a 25 percent tariff on cheese, and China with tariffs on more than $34 billion on U.S. goods, including cheese.“It feels kind of limiting,” said Peck, who added that it’s too early to tell the exact dollar impact it will have on his farm, but the long-term outlook isn’t great.“If it doesn’t change from what it is now, we’re going to have a lot less dairy farms,” Peck said.He said dairy is cyclical, running in three-year downturns. But this year, he said, is the fourth year in a row dairy has been down – and the tariffs could prolong that downturn.
The milk giant Dean Foods is closing one of its Illinois facilities this year.A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter sent by the Texas-based corporation says 131 people will lose their jobs at the Huntley dairy plant and office. The Northwest Herald reports that the layoffs will occur Sept. 14-28.The facility is one of several Dean Foods plants to close this year. In its 2017 annual investors report, the company attributed shutting down plants to decreased dairy consumption trends and a highly competitive industry.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held June 28 through July 1 in Los Angeles, Ca. The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups. According to conference organizers, the Animal Rights National Conference is the world’s largest and longest-running gathering of animal rights activists with the shared belief that “animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.” Speakers at the conference made it clear that their objective is the liberation of animals, not enhancing animal welfare. “Animal rights is different from animal welfare. It’s not about better cages; it’s about empty cages,”said Anita Krajnc of The Save Movement, a group who conducts “vigils” at slaughterhouses across the country. Speakers agreed that any form of meat production is inherently inhumane, making statements such as “There is no such thing as humane slaughter” (Michael Budkie, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!), “You cannot humanely kill something that doesn’t want to die”(Justin Van Kleek, Triangle Chicken Advocates), “I do believe that all farming and slaughterhouses are cruel”(Jaya Bhumitra, Animal Equality) and “All farms are factory farms, no matter the size”(Hope Bonahec, United Poultry Concerns).
In recent weeks, cash corn prices have declined by $.50 per bushel and soybean prices by $1.80 per bushel, resulting in much lower 2018 income expectations. Crop revenue and returns are projected for corn and soybeans on high-productivity farmland in central Illinois. These per acre returns then are used to project 2018 net income on a 1,500 acre grain farm. At prices of $3.40 for corn and $8.45 for soybeans, 2018 net incomes could approach the average for the past two years if three conditions are met: 1) a significant amount of grain produced in 2017 was sold in 2018 for a marketing gain, 2) at least 25% of 2018 expected production was forward contracted at prices above those currently offered by the market, and 3) yields are at high levels similar to those in the past several years. Not meeting any of these conditions could result in much lower incomes. Of course, price increases could change the income outlook.
The recent award of $25 million in damages to residents who sued a Smithfield hog farm prompted a rally this week in support of hog farmers, and proposals that could restrict such lawsuits are moving through the state legislature. Several hundred people gathered in Duplin County, N.C., to support hog farmers across the state that could become targets of what the protesters called nuisance lawsuits over the disposal of hog waste or other environmental impacts. The protesters contend that many complaints were not launched by residents, but by teams of lawyers who filed class-action suits.The report quotes the state’s commissioner of agriculture, Steve Troxler, saying the family at the center of the Smithfield lawsuit could lose their hogs and possibly go out of business in the wake of the decision.Smithfield is expected to appeal the $25 million damage ruling, which the report said could be reduced to about $500,000.
Undocumented workers are an integral part of industries such as farming. Reducing our reliance on undocumented workers will have big impacts for farming communities and American consumers.While the nation’s attention is currently focused on the southern border, what’s being forgotten is that millions of undocumented immigrants continue to live in the U.S. – and most of them work.And in fact, these workers play vital roles in the U.S. economy, erecting American buildings, picking American apples and grapes, and taking care of American babies. Oh, and paying American taxes. About 8 million of them have jobs, making up 5 percent of the U.S. workforce, figures that have remained more or less steady for the past decade.Geographically, these unauthorized workers are spread throughout the U.S. but are unsurprisingly most concentrated in border states like California and Texas, where they make up about 9 percent of both states’ workforces, while in Nevada, their share is over 10 percent.