Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse Communications
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently returned from negotiations in Shanghai and they are expected to resume formal in-person conversations with their Chinese counterparts in September. But increasingly, the trade war with China looks likely to drag on for several more months and potentially until 2021. Goldman Sachs Group Inc said recently that its economists expect the ongoing trade war to lead to a U.S. recession and a resolution will not likely be reached before the 2020 elections.
Over the last few decades as a reporter, I've learned that most farmers love to get a good price from the marketplace, rather than a good check from the federal government. But what's a person to do when export markets are being shut down as a result of tariffs and an ongoing trade war with China and other trading partners? Hope the government props up your revenues.
The rural vote that was key to electing President Donald Trump in 2016 has focused a spotlight on rural America. Welcoming this new attention, academic researchers are zeroing in on identifying the best ways to revitalize the rural economy and dampen rural discontent. presidential candidates are also joining the fold. "There's a reason rural people have felt forgotten and disadvantaged by federal decision makers. It is because they are. There is no question about that," Chuck Fluharty, founder and president emeritus of the Rural Policy Research Institute tells Agri-Pulse.
While the immediate ratification of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is widely supported by the U.S. ag sector as another way to expand exports, many lawmakers, union leaders, auto sector workers, machinists and others still feel stung by the previous agreement between the U.S. Mexico and Canada. As a result, it could be a long hot summer of debate before the U.S. Congress will consider the new trade pact. Many fear that approval may be delayed until the end of the year.
The U.S. has agreed to lift its steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, removing major obstacles for ratification of the renegotiated North American free trade pact by all three countries. But gaining congressional approval could still be a heavy lift.
Many of you think it's planting season, but in the world of politics, it's presidential campaign season. That means you're going to start hearing a lot more about how President Donald Trump and a field of more than 20 Democrats plan to make life better for those of you who farm and live in rural America.
Decades ago, political pundits frequently talked about the importance of farm and rural voters in presidential elections. During the early 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt connected the economics on the farms to jobs in the cities as he tried to build political support from both.
Should a plant-based food product that's developed to look and taste like a hamburger actually be labeled as meat? How about a food product that's been developed in a lab from animal cells? Those are some of the questions that lawmakers in at least 17 states across the West, Plains, and South are considering, primarily in response to folks who raise cattle, pork and poultry. These farmers and ranchers maintain that, unless it's from a slaughter plant, these products are "fake" and "misbranded." But some plant-based advocates are challenging these new laws in court.
Farm families in the Midwest have been fighting for their livelihoods as historic floodwaters killed livestock, destroyed bins, damaged homes and buildings and wiped out crucial roads and bridges. The bad news is that the devastating losses are likely to rise as the snow continues to melt across the nation's midsection. In Nebraska, flood costs are "in the millions" and approaching "a billion dollars of direct impact to agriculture," Nebraska Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said recently.
President Donald Trump likes to talk about how much he "loves our farmers" but his most recent budget once again tries to slash key programs that farmers have long supported and even the president previously supported. The whopping $4.75 trillion 2020 budget proposal calls for nearly a 5 percent increase in military spending, $8.6 billion for a border wall and sharp cuts in domestic programs, including a 15 percent cut in many farm bill programs that the president signed into law less than three months ago.