National Ag Weather Review & Forecast

*  Upper Midwest Rains, Flooding and Ag Impacts-Parts of three states in the Upper Midwest are experiencing harvest delays and flooding.
*  A Cold Front and Potential Mid-Atlantic Rains-How is a cold front in the Upper Great Lakes connected to what could be heavy rain showers later this week in the Mid-Atlantic?
*  Impacts Expand from Extreme Southeastern Heat-Drought is intensifying in parts of the interior Southeast, due in part to a recent heat wave.
*  National Weather Forecast for Oct. 4 – 10, USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey, notes warm and dry conditions in the East, and cool, wet, fall weather in the West for the period of October 4 – 10.
*  NOAA Alert >>> National Hurricane Center  advisories. Stay updated at http://www.agrinet.com/noaa-weather/.

Government Tightening Controls/Oversight of Some Biological Research Labs

The federal government is working to improve safety practices of research laboratories that work with potentially dangerous biological materials such as anthrax.  Dr. Mark Davidson, Associate Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), telling a House panel that his agency is constantly working to improve the security of potentially dangerous biological research agents.  Gary Crawford, Dr. Timothy Persons and Dr. Mark Davidson.

USDA Still Doing Preliminary Work to Clear Brazilian Beef for U.S. Market

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is still proceeding to do the work that will open the U.S. to Brazilian beef, with studies showing FMD risk is negligible. Challenges To researching and producing foot and mouth vaccines-The U.S. is working on researching and producing vaccines for foot and mouth disease, but there are challenges to that effort. New Kansas facility will not open for six years.

Statement by U.S. Trade Representative on China’s Announcement to Resume U.S. Beef Trade

September 22, Washington, D.C. – USTR recognizes today’s announcement from China’s Ministry of Agriculture that it has lifted the ban on U.S. beef following a recently concluded review of the U.S. supply system. While this announcement is a critical first step to restoring market access for U.S. beef and beef products, China and the United States must complete other steps before U.S. beef can be exported to China.

USTR and USDA look forward to China’s final audit report on beef, and subsequent discussions between the United States and China on the specific conditions that will allow trade to resume.  True access to China’s beef market -consistent with science-based, international standards for trade- remains a top priority for the United States. The United States produces the highest-quality beef in the world, and China’s 1.3 billion consumers are an important market for U.S. producers. The Obama Administration, USTR and USDA will continue to press trading partners to eliminate unfair barriers to trade that hamper American farmers and ranchers.

Background on the current U.S. Beef Market

Following the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003, U.S. beef and beef product exports fell. Since 2003, USTR and USDA have led a multi-agency, full-court press, dedicating significant resources to restore foreign market access for U.S. beef. As a result, U.S. beef shipments had regained pre-BSE volumes by 2011 and even reached record values by 2014. Another central element of the U.S. strategy to maintain and expand foreign market access is insistence on policies that are based on the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Since January 2015, the United States has gained additional market access for U.S. beef in 16 countries, including: Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia,  South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam and Brazil.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products surpassing $1 trillion between fiscal years 2009 and the present.

Snapshot of the Beef Export Market in 2003

In FY 2003, U.S. beef exports (excluding beef products) totaled $3.0 billion (0.9 million tons) to 112 countries. As a result of the December 2003 BSE case, U.S. beef exports fell to $1.1 billion (0.3 million tons) in FY 2004.

Snapshot of the Current Market

In spite of some remaining restrictions, U.S. beef exports have recovered to pre-2003 levels. In FY 2015, U.S. beef exports totaled $5.8 billion (0.8 million tons) to 112 countries.

Senate Splits Over Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

September. 22, 2016, WASHINGTON — (REUTERS)-A behind-the-scenes congressional battle to avoid a U.S. government shutdown broke into public view on Thursday when Republicans produced a stop-gap funding bill that Democrats immediately rejected.

The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 and Congress must pass a spending measure by then to keep the government open. In recent years, lawmakers have seldom been able to agree on a full federal budget and instead have relied on stop-gap measures.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell capped weeks of labored negotiations by proposing a continuing resolution that would fund government agencies from Oct. 1 through Dec. 9 at an annual rate of just over $1 trillion.

The measure also includes $1.1 billion to combat the spreading Zika virus, $500 million in flood relief for states including Louisiana and funding for U.S. military operations overseas at an annual rate of $74 billion.

“There have been broad requests for a clean continuing resolution. So that’s what I’ve just offered,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, who described the measure as a product of bipartisan negotiations.

Democrats quickly opposed the resolution as “a Republican-only bill” that would not help Flint, Michigan, cope with lead-contaminated water and would leave in place a prohibition against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requiring public companies to disclose political spending.

“We Democrats cannot vote for that,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that plans were already in place for an orderly government shutdown in the event that Congress cannot agree on a funding measure.

McConnell left out a provision backed by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his former White House rival, Senator Ted Cruz, that would have stopped the U.S. government from moving oversight of the internet’s technical management to a global community of stakeholders on Oct. 1.

Also absent was language that would have enabled the U.S. Export-Import Bank to approve loans or guarantees of more than $10 million. Republicans and Democrats had sought to include a provision, but the issue proved too controversial for the must-pass funding resolution.

A senior Republican aide said the Senate would begin voting on the funding legislation as early as Monday.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Peter Cooney)

Should Limits Be Doubled on USDA Loans to Individual Farmers?

There are upper limits to the amount of money the USDA can loan to individual farmers. Should those limits be raised?

Options are very limited for immediate help for the dairy industry.  Gary Crawford, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sec’y Tom Vilsack.