May 25, 2016

International Trade Commission Boost Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement

thXS9767WEYesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released its report on the economic benefit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the U.S. economy. Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said this report underscores the importance of TPP for America’s farmers and ranchers and called on Congress to pass the agreement this year.
“The ITC report confirms what we already know: the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a win for U.S. agriculture. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, TPP would be a big step in the right direction for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said Bowling.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a landmark global trade deal whose 12 nations represent about 40 percent of the world’s economy. The agreement must be passed by Congress.
According to the ITC report, TPP would increase agricultural exports by $7.2 billion. U.S. beef exports are expected to increase by $876 million, pork by $219 million, and poultry by $174 million, for a total meat export gain of almost $1.3 billion. Although corn exports would decline slightly, the dip would be more than offset by increased domestic demand for corn as a feed source for the livestock industry.
“NCGA is committed to helping the livestock industry grow demand for U.S. meat and dairy, here and around the world – which in turn increases demand for U.S. corn,” said Bowling.
The ITC projects that agricultural output and employment would both rise under TPP. According to a separate analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation, TPP would raise farm incomes by $4.4 billion.
The ITC report also highlights the importance of TPP’s provisions on biotechnology and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures to help address non-tariff trade barriers faced by the U.S. corn industry. Bowling hopes Congress will move quickly to pass the agreement.
“The National Corn Growers Association has been pushing for TPP on the Hill because it is important for the entire U.S. farm economy. We urge Congress to vote in favor of TPP as soon as possible.” US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack echoed those sentiments in renewing his call for Congress to approve the TPP, saying the report “echoes what every major reputable study on TPP has now found,” that being strong benefits for the U.S. agriculture sector.

Frustrated on the Farm and Ranch By Government Over-Regulation

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing Tuesday focused on the impact of environmental regulations on the farm economy.

Among the witnesses on the first panel Tuesday morning was Patrick O’Toole, President of the Family Farm Alliance. The Alliance is focused on one mission – To ensure the availability of reliable, affordable irrigation water supplies to Western farmers and ranchers.  O-Toole ranches in Wyoming, and he expressed his frustration to lawmakers.

          O’Toole on Regulatory Overkill

O’Toole also expressed concerns about getting adequate help on his ranch and challenges of the H2A legal immigration program.

O’Toole on H2A Workers

On the Senate side of Capitol Hill, Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts recently expressed his frustration with too much regulatory oversight coming from the administration.

           Pat Roberts on Regulatory Overkill

Richard Ebert is President of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and a dairy producer from Blairsville, PA.

Ebert on Dairy


U.S. Beef Arrives In South Africa For The First Time in 13 Years

raw-beefThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today confirmed that the first shipment of U.S. beef recently arrived in South Africa following the reopening of the South African market earlier this year.

“The arrival of U.S. beef in South Africa represents another important milestone in efforts by USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to regain access to this important market,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Along with U.S. poultry, South African consumers now have access to high quality, safe and wholesome U.S. beef, and U.S. producers and exporters have gained another valuable market for their products.”

On January 7, 2016, after more than two years of intense discussions, the United States and the Republic of South Africa concluded an agreement on sanitary barriers and related health certificates for U.S. beef, pork and poultry products exported to South Africa. The South African market had previously been closed to U.S. poultry since 2000, beef since 2003 and pork since 2013. With the removal of the barriers, U.S. exports of meat to South Africa could reach $75 million annually.

The United States began shipping poultry to South Africa earlier this year under the terms of the agreement. As a result, U.S. poultry exports to South Africa totaled almost 12,000 metric tons, worth $7.2 million, in the first quarter of 2016.

The Obama Administration has worked aggressively to expand markets for American-made goods, including agricultural products. Six of the past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $919.6 billion between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across the country. Additionally, the Administration has concluded negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that will help expand U.S. agricultural exports to some of the fastest growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and will now work with Congress to secure its passage into law.

Last year, USDA also engaged trading partners to eliminate all remaining animal health barriers related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) for U.S. export markets. Fourteen countries removed all BSE restrictions and granted access to U.S. beef and beef products, including Australia, Macau, Philippines, New Zealand, Singapore, Ukraine, Vietnam, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Costa Rica, Guatemala, St. Lucia and Iraq. The total value of U.S. beef and beef products exported to the 14 countries that lifted their BSE restrictions is in excess of $180 million.