President Signs National Mandatory Bioengineer Food Disclosure Into Law

July 29, 2016 The White House – The President signed into law S. 764, which directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard.

“We are grateful to President Obama for swiftly signing into law a bill that is crucial for American farmers and consumers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling.  “His signature brings consistency to the marketplace and prevents the negative ramifications of conflicting state and national food labeling standards.”

With the President’s signature, the next step will be implementation of a national labeling system by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Meets with U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met this week with the new U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, who is making his first trip abroad in his new role. Secretary Pritzker and Secretary Fox both emphasized the importance of U.S.-U.K. commercial ties in light of the Brexit vote, and the indispensable partnership between the two countries not only in leading the world economy, but in addressing regional and global challenges. 

Secretary Pritzker, who traveled to Europe earlier this month for meetings with U.S. executives in London on the topic of Brexit, noted that many U.S. companies have shared their concerns about the considerable uncertainty that has arisen as a result of the vote. She asked Secretary Fox about the U.K.’s plans to pave a steady path forward that creates minimal disruption to the global economy, businesses, and workers. Secretary Pritzker also reiterated that the Obama Administration is firmly committed to the completion of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership this year, which remains the top priority in terms of engagement with Europe on trade.

Presidential Delegation to Lima, Peru, Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

July 28, 2016, Lima, Peru-Michael Froman, USTR, leads the U. S. Presidential Delegation attending the inauguration of His Excellency Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, President-elect of the Republic of Peru. Kuczynski, a 77-year old economist, today succeeds Ollanta Humala as Peru’s president, having edged out right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori.

Kuczynski is the son of a French teacher and German Jewish doctor who fled the Nazis.  Educated at Oxford and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs-Princeton, Kuczynski held positions at both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund before being designated as general manager of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank.  Kuczynski later served as Minister of Energy and Mines in the early 1980s and as Minister of Economy and Finance and served as Prime Minister of Peru from 2005 to 2006.

John Kirby, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, stated,“This election is a demonstration of Peru’s strong democratic values. We look forward to working with President Kuczynski and his government to further enhance our bilateral relations and to promote democracy, development, and prosperity, as we have done with the government of President Humala.  We will continue furthering the strong ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between the United States and Peru on both bilateral and multilateral issues.”

Bilateral Trade Agreement expected to further increase beef exports to Peru, which topped $25 million in 2015

Trade background:  March 24, 2016 LIMA, Peru – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced  that the U.S. government has reached agreement with the government of Peru to remove barriers for U.S. beef exports to Peru that have remained in effect since 2003, opening one of the fastest growing markets in Latin America to all American beef and beef products. In 2015, the United States exported $25.4 million in beef and beef products to Peru. Since the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) entered into force in 2009, U.S. beef and beef products have grown substantially but have been hampered due to burdensome certification requirements installed by Peru in 2003. This agreement, during Secretary Vilsack’s trade and investment mission to Peru, removes those barriers – called the export verification program – and assures American ranchers of expanded market access.

“Since 2009, the United States and Peru have enjoyed one of the strongest bilateral trade relationships in the Western Hemisphere, and today it became much stronger,” said Vilsack after meeting with officials from the government of Peru. “Since 2003, USDA and USTR have worked diligently to reopen and expand markets once closed to U.S. beef. This is another win in a long line of successes that led to a near-record U.S. beef and beef product exports in 2015. The Obama Administration will continue to work hard around the world to remove unfair barriers and create a more level playing for America’s farmers, ranchers, producers and rural communities.”

“Peru has been a growing market for American beef and this agreement will only further expand opportunities for American producers and exporters,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “Not many years ago, there was little American beef going to Peru, but through the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, and agreements like this, we are seeing increased demand for high-quality American beef.” 

Bilateral trade of agricultural, fish, and forestry products between the United States and Peru topped $3 billion in 2015 and has grown more than 110 percent since 2009.

The agreement reflects the United States’ negligible risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Through an exchange of letters, the United States and Peru have agreed to changes in certification statements that will allow beef and beef products from all federally-inspected U.S. establishments to be eligible for export to Peru, rather than only those beef and beef products from establishments that participated in the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Export Verification (EV) programs under the previous certification requirements.

Agricultural exports have climbed more than 35 percent in value since 2009 under the Obama Administration, totaling a record $919.6 billion over the past seven years. Agricultural exports support more than 1 million American jobs. Since 2009, USDA has removed numerous unfair restrictions to U.S. trade to help farmers export more. USDA has also led more than 225 U.S. agribusinesses and more than 20 State Departments of Agriculture on agricultural trade missions to countries around the world, including Peru. Peru is also a member of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which concluded negotiations in October 2015 on a historic trade agreement. Passage of TPP by the U.S. Congress will provide new market access across the board for America’s farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs, eliminating barriers, boosting exports and supporting jobs in America’s rural economies.

 

President Obama’s Comments After Signing Global Food Security Act

Global Investment in Food/Farmers Seen as Investment in Peace/Security

President Barack Obama’s comments to the White House Summit on Global Development talking about progress in helping farmers around the world and signing the Global Food Security Act.

Experts say U.S. and global peace and security may hinge on efforts to boost farmers and food production and reduce poverty in developing nations. Gary Crawford, Sec’y Tom Vilsack, Willy Foote and Shenggen Fan.   Willy Foote, CEO of Root Capital, telling the White House Summit on Global Development that investment in farmers in developing countries can lead to big changes and boost the entire economies of those nations.

Helping Cattle Avoid Heat Stress

What can cattle producers do to help their herds beat the heat and humidity connected to extreme summer conditions?  And some examples of both short-term and long-term strategies to help cattle herds cope with extreme heat and humidity.  Rod Bain and Rob Eirich of University of Nebraska Extension

USDA To Have Presence in U.S. Embassy in Cuba; Greater Support of Rural America

USDA will have at least one person in Cuba, working with U.S. State Department people.

Greater Support of Rural America in the next Farm Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the National Governors Association meeting in Des Moines, Iowa saying that when debate begins on the next farm bill, it should not start with the need to save a certain amount of money.   What is the need in rural America and how much does it cost to meet that need.  Gary Crawford and Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Dow and DuPont Stockholders Approve Merger

Companies Achieve Key Milestone in Merger and Subsequent Intended Separation into Three Highly Focused, Independent Companies

July 20, 2016, WILMINGTON, Del. and MIDLAND, MI- DuPont (NYSE: DD) and The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both companies have voted to approve all stockholder proposals necessary to complete the merger of equals transaction – a key milestone in the process to merge the two companies and subsequently pursue the intended spins of three highly focused, independent companies. The companies expect the merger transaction to close in the second half of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

“The overwhelming support of Dow and DuPont stockholders to approve this historic merger transaction is a clear testament to the compelling value proposition and enhanced shareholder value that DowDuPont represents,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Today is a pivotal step toward bringing together these two iconic enterprises, and to the subsequent intended separation into three leading, independent technology and innovation-based science companies that will generate significant benefits for all stakeholders.”

Ed Breen, chair and chief executive officer of DuPont, added: “We are pleased to receive such strong support from our stockholders, which represents an essential milestone in the combination of our two companies and our intention to subsequently separate into three independent companies. We are now focused on important next steps toward completing the merger transaction, including working with regulators in the appropriate jurisdictions. We are confident that this merger will create long-term, sustainable value for stockholders and superior solutions and choices for customers.”

DuPont and Dow intend that, following the consummation of the merger, the combined company will pursue the separation of the combined company’s Agriculture business, Material Science business and Specialty Products business into three independent, publicly traded companies, subject to approval by the DowDuPont board and receipt of any required regulatory approvals.

The intended subsequent separation into three independent, publicly traded companies is expected to be consummated as soon as practicable following the merger closing, but consummation of the separations is not expected to exceed 18-24 months after the merger closing.

The final voting results on all agenda items for each company’s special meeting will be filed with the SEC in separate Form 8-Ks and will also be available at http://www.dow.com/en-us/investor-relations/financial-reporting and http://investors.dupont.com, respectively, after certification by each company’s inspector of elections.  Additional information is available at www.dowdupontunlockingvalue.com.

Journey Of The GMO Food Labeling Measure

One state’s law to label food items with GMO ingredients has led to a mandatory, national GMO labeling measure. Rod Bain. Representatives Peter Welch of Vermont and Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.