Sara Wyant / Agri-Pulse Communications
If you are looking for a lot of details about what's in the trade deal with China in terms of purchases, you will need to keep watching sales announcements over the coming months to see if the promises materialize. President Donald Trump, along with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, signed the agreement on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in front of a jam-packed crowd of farmers, ranchers, agri-businessmen and media.
President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping are expected to sign an ambitious "Phase One" trade package with China on Jan. 15, Trump announced on Twitter on Tuesday, Dec. 31. The agriculture community is patiently waiting to learn more, as uncertainty over ag export markets continues to hang over commodity markets.
I can still remember the speech I gave several years ago about the end of direct payments in the 2014 Farm Bill. Policy makers had been moving in this direction since before 2008 and it was clear that sending about $5 billion annually into farm country — regardless of what was planted — was no longer politically workable.
Ever since hemp was finalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, producers have been eager to learn more. We've covered several different meetings on this topic and just about every one of them is packed with growers who wonder if this might be the next best way to diversify and find new revenues.
It's never easy to pick up from a place where you really enjoy living and working. I can't even imagine how difficult it was for my grandparents — who lost their farm during the Great Depression — to drive across country from Iowa to California in order to find work. Some of my relatives from North Dakota couldn't find work in the late 1960s and headed to Alaska — where they found good jobs and settled down to raise families. As one of them said to me recently, "We went where the work was and never looked back."
As our summer travel season ramps up, we'll be driving or flying to at least 10 different states, including Alaska. One of my biggest concerns is the ability to stay connected — either by finding cellphone service or connecting to my home and office via high-speed broadband.
For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump showed up at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting to talk about how he much he cares for farmers and wants to improve their livelihoods over the longer term. "The great harvest is yet to come," he said in his second appearance to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this time on the group's 100th anniversary.
McDonald's announced recently that it aims to lessen the use of medically important antibiotics in the cattle supplying its beef. Hurrah for that press release, but farmers and ranchers have an important response for one of their premier vendors: It's already happening in a big way. Just ask the Food and Drug Administration.
After weeks of predicting that a new farm bill, might happen this year, we now have a final product that's ready to be rolled out next year. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 was quickly passed by the U.S. Senate, 87-13, and the House of Representatives by a whopping 369-47 margin. Now comes the next phase — figuring out all that's included in the 540 pages of legislative text and figuring out how all 13 titles of the bill will be implemented.
Getting a nationwide group of notoriously independent and private people to voluntarily turn over information to the government can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. USDA made a major push to identify and track livestock in 2007, back when South Dakota native Bruce Knight was undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. The "primary emphasis is about supporting animal health," and supporting producers, Knight said at the time.