Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is hoping that a third round of trade aid payments to farmers will be unnecessary in 2020 because of a new trade deal with China.
The Hagstrom Report says Perdue spoke with reporters last week shortly after returning from a “successful” trade mission to Mexico. Farmers “would rather have trade than aid,” Perdue says. At the same time, he did say the second round of 2019 trade aid is approved and will be heading to farmers soon. “We have just gotten authorization on the second tranche,” he said. “I expect payments to be out to farmers by late November or early December.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was one of the big topics of conversation on the trip to Mexico.
Perdue says Mexican officials are hoping Congress will sign off on the agreement as soon as possible. “They’ve done their work, as you know, and they’re anxious for us to complete our task as well,” Perdue says. Immigration was another topic of conversation with Mexican officials. Perdue is hopeful that the Mexican government will begin a program to “pre-certify” workers southeast Mexico for the H-2A Program. Southeast Mexico is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.
The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.
Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.
The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.
In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.
U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Frank Lucas (R-OK), introduced the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act, a bill that would provide grants to certain state land-grant universities to better equip livestock producers with risk management training.
The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act would authorize the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to provide resources to improve livestock producers’ knowledge of futures markets to better manage market volatility. An understanding of futures contracts and risk management strategies will allow producers both large and small to better anticipate cattle prices. This new authority would allow land-grant universities, such as South Dakota State University, to partner with grower associations to more directly reach producers.
Todd Wilkinson, South Dakota cattle producer and NCBA Policy Division Vice Chair was proud to see the legislation saying, “NCBA applauds Representative Dusty Johnson’s introduction of the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act yesterday on the House floor. This legislation will provide boots-on-the-ground cattle producers with critical resources and opportunities to increase their understanding and engagement with risk management tools. This bill speaks directly to our core values as an industry – arming producers with the latest farm management resources and tools in order to help them navigate ever-changing and dynamic market conditions.
“In a market environment that continues to challenge even the most experienced multi-generational operations, NCBA believes that it is critical for producers to understand their options for managing risk. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act policy will provide the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture the authority and flexibility to collaborate with industry to ensure that cattle farmers and ranchers have access to those options and the knowledge base to determine which ones are right for their operations. As the oldest and largest national trade association representing the U.S. cattle industry, securing these kinds of educational resources for our members is critical to our vitality into the future.
“NCBA members passed policy that directs us to engage in developing comprehensive programs for NCBA members regarding the mechanics of the commodity futures and options markets and the application of risk management tools. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act does just that, and NCBA is proud to support this legislation and we look forward to engaging with Congress to advance this bill.”