Agricultural Crossroads Dilemma – June 24, 2019

Difficult choices when crop insurance, disaster aid and Trump’s bailout intersect

The farm safety net offers many strands of support to farmers swamped by a historically slow planting season, but the strands pull in different directions, says associate professor Bradley Lubben, of the University of Nebraska. “The complexity for producer decision-making is compounded,” he said, when potential Trump tariff payments and disaster aid are woven into traditional crop subsidies and crop insurance.

USDA keeps its mouth shut about climate research

Since President Trump took office, the USDA “has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change,” reports Politico on Sunday. In a lengthy piece, it said at least 45 studies produced by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) did not receive any promotion, including a groundbreaking report that rice loses its vitamins in a carbon-rich atmosphere.


Chinese ag official elected as FAO leader (The Hagstrom Report): Qu Dongyu, China’s vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, was elected to a four-year term beginning on Aug. 1 as director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. He is the first Chinese and first communist to lead FAO.

A few rich people own a lot of land (New York Times): One hundred families own 42 million acres of land across the United States, up 50 percent since 2007, and their neighbors are uneasy about management practices that include road closures and a cut-off of timber sales.

Trump asks for review of RFS waivers (Reuters): After getting complaints from farmers during a E15 victory visit to Iowa, President Trump has ordered a review of EPA’s stepped-up practice of exempting small-volume refineries, some owned by big oil companies, from compliance with the federal mandate to mix ethanol into gasoline.

Restoring the grasslands of the Southeast (Yale Environment 360): Before white settlement, native prairie and savanna covered vast areas from Maryland to Texas, a “great but forgotten grassland” region where scientists and local activists hope to restore imperiled habitat.

Conaway promotes Russell to chief of staff (House Agriculture): The Republican leader on the House Agriculture Committee, Mchael Conaway of Texas, announced that legislative director Matthew Russell will become his chief of staff with the departure of Mark Williams, who held the job for five years.

A dairy breakfast for 3,000 in Wisconsin (New York Times): In Bangor, farmers carry on the tradition of an annual dairy breakfast despite the steady decline of the state’s dairy industry.


– The House resumes debate on HR 3055, which provides fiscal 2020 funding for USDA and six other federal departments as well as FDA and EPA, 2 p.m. ET, The Capitol. House Democratic leaders plan to complete work on the bill this week. Lawmakers have acted on more than 220 of the 290 amendments approved for debate. The White House threatens a veto.

– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue drives his 1968 Formal 656 tractor in the Great Iowa Tractor Ride, 7:45 a.m. CT, Council Bluffs, Iowa.

– National Council of Farmer Cooperatives holds annual Washington Conference, through Wednesday, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Speakers include chief US agricultural negotiator Gregg Doud on Monday and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday.

– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

– Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, “The state of the derivatives market and prospects for CFTC reauthorization,” 10 a.m. ET, 328A Russell. Witnesses include chief executive Walter Lukken of the Futures Industry Association.

– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “Managing for soil health: Securing the conservation and economic benefits of healthy soils,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.

– House Interior subcommittee hearing, “Chronic wasting disease: The threats to wildlife, public lands, hunting and health, 2 p.m. ET. 1324 Longworth.

– USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET. At present, food price inflation is forecast for a lower-than-average 2 percent this year.

– USDA releases annual Honey report, covering honey production, value and stocks, and number of honey-producing bee colonies, delayed from April 30 by partial government shutdown, 3 p.m. ET.

– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “Brexit and other international developments affecting U.S. derivatives markets,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.

– USDA releases congressional district rankings for ag production, noon ET. In the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Nebraska’s 3rd House District, covering three-fourths of the Cornhusker state, led the nation in value of production, $17.7 billion, and for number of farm operators, 54,806.

– International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.

– USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices report, 3 p.m. ET.

– USDA releases annual Acreage and quarterly Grain Stocks report, noon ET. Due to a remarkably rainy and slow planting season, analysts say the USDA estimate of crop area will be less definitive than usual. In mid-June, the USDA’s WASDE report projected that corn area, at 89.8 million acres, would be 3-million acres smaller than farmers intended in early spring.

– G20 summit, through Saturday, Osaka, Japan. President Trump is expected to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines to discuss the trade war.

Bookmark the permalink.