NAWG Weekly Updates, May 31, 2018

White House Announces Tariffs on China; NAWG Continues to Communicate Importance of Expanding Trade
The White House has announced that they will be moving forward with tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, details of which will be released on June 15.  When these potential tariffs were first publicly proposed, China announced they would retaliate in kind, mainly focusing on agricultural and chemical goods, including a 25 percent tariff on U.S. wheat. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will be traveling to China this week to continue the trade negotiations. NAWG is monitoring the situation and expressing concerns regarding the negative impacts that tariffs on U.S. agricultural products will have on producers.

In addition, NAWG Treasurer, Dave Milligan of Michigan, participated in a Farmers for Free Trade event in Wisconsin on Wednesday, encouraging trade policies that expand agricultural exports. Further, NAWG Board of Director Michelle Erickson-Jones was also asked by Politico to respond to the recent back and forth by the Administration on implementing tariffs – “It’s so hard to tell what’s rhetoric and what’s real, though it would surprise me if we went forward with these tariffs,” Michelle Erickson-Jones, president of the Montana Grain Growers Association. “The uncertainty created by the U.S.-China trade feud — as well as the NAFTA renegotiation — is bad for commodity markets, and jeopardizes relations with buyers of American farm goods, Erickson-Jones added. Countries are looking for other suppliers. Mexico, for example, recently purchased wheat from Argentina for the first time in modern history.”

National Group Letter to Senate Ag Committee Urging Them to Move Forward with Farm Bill
On May 30, 2018, NAWG and several other Ag groups sent a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee urging them to move ahead with Committee consideration of the Farm Bill. In the letter, the groups argued that between extreme drought conditions, low prices, and uncertainty in the market, producers need access to programs in the Farm Bill now more than ever. To see a list of co-signers and to read the letter in its entirety, visit NAWG’s site here.

Reuters: Bayer Wins U.S. Nod for Monsanto Deal
On May 29, 2018, it was announced that Bayer won U.S. approval for its planned takeover of Monsanto after agreeing to sell about $9 billion in assets, clearing a major hurdle for the $62.5 billion deal that will create by far the largest seeds and pesticides maker. Makan Delrahim, who heads the U.S. Justice Department’s (DoJ) Antitrust Division, said the asset sales agreed to by Bayer were the “largest ever divestiture ever required by the United States.” Reuters covered the announcement here.

AgriPulse Releases Final Article in Series on Trade
AgriPulse shares it’s is the fifth and final article in a new series of Agri-Pulse in-depth stories, “Export or Bust,” dealing with the challenges and opportunities for U.S. agriculture when it comes to selling more commodities and value-added products to overseas customers. While “US exporters on the offensive to maintain, build market share” focuses on how soybeans are in search of new international markets, this piece also explores U.S. farmers and agribusinesses across sectors have worked with officials from USDA (and since the 1960s, a special trade representative) to tear down barriers, open export markets, and build sales that ultimately support farm income and American jobs.

ASTA and NAPB Launch 2nd Annual “Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest
Graduate and undergraduate students pursuing agriculture disciplines are invited to participate in the second annual Better Seed, Better Life student video contest sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB). The 2018 contest theme is: “Rumor Has It.” Videos should help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry and plant sciences. This could include any aspect of the seed industry (from plant breeding, to seed treatments, gluten, organics, GMOs, big corporate, the role of seed in everyday life, etc.). Videos should incorporate “man on the street” style interviews along with your own original content. Video submissions are due August 31, 2018. Videos will be judged by an expert panel, and cash prizes will be awarded for winners. For more information, including video specifications and submission requirements, visit the contest webpage.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Spring Wheat Deadline August 1st!  
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) annual National Wheat Yield Contest continues to drive innovation in the industry by spotlighting the best practices among American wheat growers. In its third year, the contest is working on adding a quality requirement, raising the bar for what constitutes the greater grain among U.S. wheat growers. For more information on contest guidelines, deadlines, and to register, visit https://yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org/!