May 31, 2016

Chief Ag Negotiator Darci Vetter Said Agriculture Key To T-TIP Talks

VetterAgriculture has been skeptical thus far of trade negotiations with the European Union, but the administration’s top agricultural negotiator hopes they come around and support a potential agreement.

Ag groups lined up to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but haven’t been as vocal in their support of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. Representatives from many of the groups told Agri-Pulse they were concerned an agreement with the EU would have to include too many concessions to get over the finish line.

Ambassador Darci Vetter, the chief agricultural negotiator with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, says support from American agriculture would be key for a potential T-TIP agreement…


Vetter T-TIP 1

Much like Japan agreed to open up their sacred products in TPP negotiations, Vetter says there is a chance EU officials could be open to a wide range of discussions…

Vetter T-TIP 2

But it looks to be unlikely that the Obama administration will be the around to finish up the talks, and Vetter says that there will be a delay in installing a new USTR team no matter who is elected…

Vetter T-Tip 3

Whoever takes Vetter’s place would require Senate confirmation. The same goes for the next U.S. Trade Representative, a role currently occupied by Ambassador Michael Froman.


Waterway Bill Defeated By House Ahead Of Memorial Day Holiday

MississippiA key bill to modernize locks failed in the United States House in an embarrassing defeat for Republican leadership.  G-O-P rank and file largely abandoned the bill over a controversial amendment.

It should have been routine. The bill contained $6 billion for Army Corps civil works, and more than $370 million for inland waterways projects.

But, in a year of the unpredictable and even absurd, the locks bill is ‘dead in the water’ over an LGBT bathroom rights amendment, falling 112-305 with Republicans largely bolting.

Debra Calhoun is the Waterways Council Senior Vice President…

Calhoun – Waterway Defeat 1

Even more problematic for House Speaker Paul Ryan is the collapse of the appropriations process, with ag, interior, and most other spending bills unfinished.  He’s planning a “family discussion” with the G-O-P rank and file after the Memorial Day recess.  Calhoun says…

Calhoun – Waterway Defeat 2

Which Calhoun says could actually be better for locks modernization, with $30 million more in the Fiscal Year 2016 law, than the recently passed Fiscal Year 2017 bill.

Separately, House Transportation and Infrastructure advanced the latest water resources development, or “WRDA” bill, rejecting lockage fees or tolls to finance projects on the Illinois waterway.  75 farm and other groups opposed the fees.


USDA NASS Collecting June Survey Data – AUDIO

usdaNASSUSDA’s National Ag Statistics Service will begin collecting data for the June surveys on crops and livestock. In the first two weeks of June, NASS will survey U.S. producers and visit tracts of farm land to collect information. Responses to these surveys provide the foundation for estimates in the upcoming growing year and will first be released in the Acreage and other reports on June 30th. NASS Pacific Region Director Chris Messer explains the surveys…

Messer – June Surveys

For the area survey, NASS representatives will make personal visits to farmers. The June Agricultural survey will be sent by mail and can be completed online. Messer says the information provided by farmers plays a critical role in determining the current crop outlook…

Messer – Information

Messer says farmers can use the data to finalize their cropping and marketing plans this year, while the industry looks to the reports to gauge exports…

Messer – Importance

The first reports will be released Noon, Eastern Time, June 30th. Other reports using the data will be released later in the year…

Messer – Data

Once released, all NASS reports can be found online at