Do you know what your net farm income was in 2016? On average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 20 percent of your NFI was due to exports. So take your income minus 20 percent and see how you feel about losing export markets. And consider that the top export markets are reliably Mexico, Canada and China. Perhaps you will begin to understand why ag leaders are nervous about negotiations to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement as renegotiations begin.
Those of you who live and work in rural America already know the problems associated with poor connectivity. It's hard to do business or keep in touch with loved ones when your cell phone calls drop off and you can't connect to the internet. The Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has been learning this first hand, and it's not just in the mid-section of our country where farms and towns are sometimes spread several miles apart.
A lot has changed since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994. So shouldn't we look for ways to improve and update the deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico? President Donald Trump thinks so. After initially calling it a "disaster" on the campaign trail, he decided to renegotiate rather than withdraw from the trade pact completely. And now the process is moving forward, with official talks scheduled to begin Aug. 16 in Washington.
The future of a new farm bill is tied up in negotiations over a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that Republicans want to pass in order to enact one of their top priorities — tax reform. Passage of a budget resolution allows Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to move a tax bill that won't need Democratic votes to pass the Senate.
Jurors determined more than 7,000 Kansas corn growers who did not use Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera or Duracade seeds should be compensated $217.7 million — the full amount they requested for sales and reduced prices following China's suspension of U.S. corn imports for about a year starting in November 2013 after China found traces of the MIR 162 trait in Viptera in U.S. corn.
Most of us who live or have lived in rural America understand that the pace is usually a little slower and the cost of living is much less expensive than urban areas like Washington, D.C., New York or Los Angeles. And that's often one of the lifestyle reasons people choose to live in small towns or places off the beaten path. But what if you want to live in rural America and sell your products or services? Or what if you just want to stay connected with friends and relatives who live elsewhere? It's certainly possible, if you have a high-speed connection to the internet.
Driving across state and county roads is a great way to see some of the most beautiful spots in America and gauge how different parts of the country are doing, both economically and socially. It's not for anyone who is in a hurry. However, it's something that my husband and I do quite frequently because driving to many places in rural America is usually easier than flying. For example, it would take a couple of flights and several hours of drive time even if we tried to fly to our farm near Almont, N.D., or my hometown of Marengo, Iowa.
It's official: After months of bashing the North American Free Trade Agreement on the campaign trail last year, the Trump administration informed Congress in mid-May that it intends to begin renegotiating the decades-old trade pact with our neighbors in Mexico and Canada. The much-anticipated notification gives Congress a 90-day window to work with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Commerce Department and other agencies to help develop priorities in overhauling the pact with two of our largest trading partners.
Sonny Perdue was confirmed as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture just over two weeks ago, but he's already had dozens of U.S. Department of Agriculture meetings, traveled to Kansas, Iowa and Arkansas, met with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, and even sat down with a few media outlets for one-on-one interviews. Our Agri-Pulse team interviewed Perdue on May 3 to learn more about the former Georgia governor and his key priorities, much of which he said were shaped during visits with 75 Senators as part of his lengthy confirmation process.
Almost everyone agrees that it's a bad idea to shut down the federal government. The last shutdown, which lasted from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, stopped all but "excepted" programs and personnel from working and created a whirlwind of uncertainty across the country. But as the continuing resolution that's currently funding the government is set to expire on April 28, congressional negotiators and the White House are finding it difficult to find compromise on key issues.