Texas Agriculture April 7, 2017 : Page 20

Perdue talks trade, farm bill, federal regulation By Jessica Domel Multimedia Editor In a hearing on March 23, former Georgia Governor George “Sonny” Perdue shared with the Senate Com-mittee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry what he would do if con-firmed as the 31st Secretary of Agri-culture. Perdue, a Republican, grew up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia. He holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is the founder and operator of three agribusiness and transporta-tion firms serving farmers across the Southeastern United States. If confirmed by the Senate, Per-due said he would work tirelessly to advance four goals, all of which are focused on American agriculture. The first, he said, is to maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusi-ness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world and to reap the earned reward of their labor. “We want to remove every obsta-cle, and give them every opportunity to prosper,” Perdue said. The second goal, according to Per-due, is to prioritize customer service. “They expect, and have every right to demand, that we conduct the people’s business efficiently, ef-fectively and with the utmost integ-rity,” Perdue said. American consumers expect a safe and secure food supply. Perdue said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under him will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table meets the nation’s strict safety standard. If confirmed, Perdue said his fourth objective is to take care of the land and natural resources entrust-ed to the USDA. During the confirmation hearing, members of the committee ques-tioned Perdue on other issues facing the USDA like the 2018 Farm Bill. Perdue told the committee he looks forward to the process as a facts-based, data-driven decision maker. The next farm bill is an opportu-nity, Perdue said, to meld the wis-dom of USDA’s career employees with what constituents tell their lawmakers to ensure the bill meets the needs of America’s farmers, ranchers, dairymen, consumers and American taxpayers. Ranking Committee Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told Perdue she has concerns for Ameri-can dairy farmers who have not been able to qualify for Title I programs. Perdue said he would work with Stabenow and others on the com-mittee to use the administrative au-thority available to him to provide reliable risk management tools. Pointing to funding American cot-ton farmers received last year from the USDA to help with the cost of ginning cotton, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont urged Perdue to provide dairy farmers with support outside of the farm bill. Leahy also asked USDA to ad-dress issues with a temporary visa program, which allows only for sea-sonal farm workers. Proposed cuts in the USDA bud-get were also discussed. Since Per-due has not yet been confirmed, he was not involved in the budget pro-cess. He said he too has concerns with the budget, but he views it as he did as a governor when a revenue estimate he didn’t like came in. As the farm economy struggles and farm income is down, Perdue said he understands economic pres-sures can be eased by looking to oth-er markets to trade. “There are new and developing markets, and I hope that we can work very closely with Trade Rep-resentative [Robert] Lighthizer as well as Secretary of Commerce [Wil-bur] Ross in order to put agriculture first in their repertoire of things to trade,” Perdue said. An official vote to confirm Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture has not yet been scheduled. If confirmed, Perdue would be the first southerner to lead the USDA in more than 20 years. The American Farm Bureau Fed-eration supports and has endorsed Perdue to lead USDA. Some Mexico grain buyers shift focus south for supplies By Gary Joiner TFB Radio Network Manager United States officials aren’t ex-pected to begin negotiating new trade agreements with Mexico and Canada until later in the year, but intentions to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have al-ready had a chilling effect on the ex-port sale of American grain, accord-ing to the U.S. Grains Council. “We’re having some difficult con-versations down in Mexico. Our cus-tomers that we’ve developed over generations, really, are suddenly get-ting a little bit frosty relationships,” said Thomas Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, in an interview with the Texas Farm Bu-reau (TFB) Radio Network. “They’re looking south, instead of looking north, for supplies. We are losing sales. So that’s something that we’re very concerned about.” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wil-bur Ross has said he hopes to com-plete trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada in less than a year and that the administration wants to re-solve issues as rapidly as it can. The American Farm Bureau Fed-eration (AFBF) is a strong advocate of fair and open world trade. It be-lieves aggressive efforts must be made at all levels to open new mar-kets and expand existing ones for U.S. agricultural products. “Again, with Mexico, we’re rein-forcing our supply capability. They can get grain by rail, by truck, by sea, however means they want to, they can get,” Sleight said. “We are also reminding folks in the admin-istration, in the U.S. Trade Repre-sentative’s office, that trade is im-portant, that trade is important to agriculture and that agriculture is important to the U.S. economy.” The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, grain sorghum and related products, including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Sleight said about a third of all U.S. grain is currently going to export markets in one form or another. He said the international market-place is responding to U.S. supply capabilities right now. The pace of overall grain exports, he said, is up some 70 percent from 2015 levels. “Right now, obviously, the price is competitive. Farmers may not like to hear this, but it’s a very competitive price. We have great transportation systems. We have excellent contract sanctity and a great grading sys-tem,” he said. “When you put all of those things together, countries re-ally like to work with the United States because they know what they’re going to get from the United States, and they know when they’re going to get it, too.” Sleight said he hopes positive el-ements from the Trans-Pacific Part-nership (TPP), which the U.S. has withdrawn from, can be salvaged. “There’s a lot of good negotiating that went into TPP,” Sleight said. “We want to take some of that good work and build on it. And make sure we sustain and expand key markets, like in Japan.” Founded in 1960, the U.S. Grains Council is a private, non-profit cor-poration with 10 international of-fices and programs in more than 50 countries. Its membership includes producer organizations and agri-businesses with a common interest in developing export markets. 20 A PRIL 7 , 2017

Some Mexico Grain Buyers Shift Focus South for Supplies

Gary Joiner

United States officials aren’t expected to begin negotiating new trade agreements with Mexico and Canada until later in the year, but intentions to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have already had a chilling effect on the export sale of American grain, according to the U.S. Grains Council.

“We’re having some difficult conversations down in Mexico. Our customers that we’ve developed over generations, really, are suddenly getting a little bit frosty relationships,” said Thomas Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. “They’re looking south, instead of looking north, for supplies. We are losing sales. So that’s something that we’re very concerned about.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has said he hopes to complete trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada in less than a year and that the administration wants to resolve issues as rapidly as it can.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is a strong advocate of fair and open world trade. It believes aggressive efforts must be made at all levels to open new markets and expand existing ones for U.S. agricultural products.

“Again, with Mexico, we’re reinforcing our supply capability. They can get grain by rail, by truck, by sea, however means they want to, they can get,” Sleight said. “We are also reminding folks in the administration, in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, that trade is important, that trade is important to agriculture and that agriculture is important to the U.S. economy.”

The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, grain sorghum and related products, including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Sleight said about a third of all U.S. grain is currently going to export markets in one form or another.

He said the international marketplace is responding to U.S. supply capabilities right now. The pace of overall grain exports, he said, is up some 70 percent from 2015 levels.

“Right now, obviously, the price is competitive. Farmers may not like to hear this, but it’s a very competitive price. We have great transportation systems. We have excellent contract sanctity and a great grading system,” he said. “When you put all of those things together, countries really like to work with the United States because they know what they’re going to get from the United States, and they know when they’re going to get it, too.”

Sleight said he hopes positive elements from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the U.S. has withdrawn from, can be salvaged.

“There’s a lot of good negotiating that went into TPP,” Sleight said. “We want to take some of that good work and build on it. And make sure we sustain and expand key markets, like in Japan.”

Founded in 1960, the U.S. Grains Council is a private, non-profit corporation with 10 international offices and programs in more than 50 countries. Its membership includes producer organizations and agribusinesses with a common interest in developing export markets.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Some+Mexico+Grain+Buyers+Shift+Focus+South+for+Supplies/2755007/398143/article.html.

Perdue Talks Trade, Farm Bill, Federal Regulation

Jessica Domel

In a hearing on March 23, former Georgia Governor George “Sonny” Perdue shared with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry what he would do if confirmed as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture.

Perdue, a Republican, grew up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia. He holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is the founder and operator of three agribusiness and transportation firms serving farmers across the Southeastern United States.

If confirmed by the Senate, Perdue said he would work tirelessly to advance four goals, all of which are focused on American agriculture.

The first, he said, is to maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world and to reap the earned reward of their labor.

“We want to remove every obstacle, and give them every opportunity to prosper,” Perdue said.

The second goal, according to Perdue, is to prioritize customer service.

“They expect, and have every right to demand, that we conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively and with the utmost integrity,” Perdue said.

American consumers expect a safe and secure food supply. Perdue said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under him will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table meets the nation’s strict safety standard.

If confirmed, Perdue said his fourth objective is to take care of the land and natural resources entrusted to the USDA.

During the confirmation hearing, members of the committee questioned Perdue on other issues facing the USDA like the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue told the committee he looks forward to the process as a facts-based, data-driven decision maker.

The next farm bill is an opportunity, Perdue said, to meld the wisdom of USDA’s career employees with what constituents tell their lawmakers to ensure the bill meets the needs of America’s farmers, ranchers, dairymen, consumers and American taxpayers.

Ranking Committee Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told Perdue she has concerns for American dairy farmers who have not been able to qualify for Title I programs.

Perdue said he would work with Stabenow and others on the committee to use the administrative authority available to him to provide reliable risk management tools.

Pointing to funding American cotton farmers received last year from the USDA to help with the cost of ginning cotton, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont urged Perdue to provide dairy farmers with support outside of the farm bill.

Leahy also asked USDA to address issues with a temporary visa program, which allows only for seasonal farm workers.

Proposed cuts in the USDA budget were also discussed. Since Perdue has not yet been confirmed, he was not involved in the budget process. He said he too has concerns with the budget, but he views it as he did as a governor when a revenue estimate he didn’t like came in.

As the farm economy struggles and farm income is down, Perdue said he understands economic pressures can be eased by looking to other markets to trade.

“There are new and developing markets, and I hope that we can work very closely with Trade Representative [Robert] Lighthizer as well as Secretary of Commerce [Wilbur] Ross in order to put agriculture first in their repertoire of things to trade,” Perdue said.

An official vote to confirm Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture has not yet been scheduled. If confirmed, Perdue would be the first southerner to lead the USDA in more than 20 years.

The American Farm Bureau Federation supports and has endorsed Perdue to lead USDA.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Perdue+Talks+Trade%2C+Farm+Bill%2C+Federal+Regulation/2755009/398143/article.html.

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