Long Range Weather Outlook Stuck In “ENSO Neutral”?

Usually El Nino or La Nina dominates U.S. weather, but another climatic pattern this summer could pose weather forecast challenges for the rest of 2017. Rod Bain and USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey questioning whether our long range weather outlook is stuck in “ENSO Neutral.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Leadership Announces First Farm Bill Field Hearing in Kansas

January 25, 2017, WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, announced the Committee will hold its first field hearing of the 115th Congress in Manhattan, Kan., on the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.

“It’s time to get to work on another Farm Bill, and we’re heading straight to the heartland to talk directly to producers,” said Chairman Roberts. “I can’t think of a more appropriate venue to hold this hearing than Manhattan, Kan., the home of Kansas State University, the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

“Our producers have had time to employ the programs in the current Farm Bill, and they have a lot to say. We need clear direction on what is working and what is not working in farm country, and we will be listening to see what needs to be adjusted. 

“As I said at the beginning of the 114th Congress, I will put farmers and ranchers first in the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

“As we begin to have discussions about the next Farm Bill, we will need input from farmers and families all across the country,” said Ranking Member Stabenow. “I am looking forward to this first field hearing in Chairman Roberts’ home state to hear directly from producers and others who care about rural America so we can craft a bill that continues to strengthen American agriculture as well as small towns and rural communities.”

The hearing will feature testimony from a variety of agricultural producers, who will be announced shortly.

Title:   Hearing from the Heartland: Perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill from Kansas

Date:  Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time:  TBA

Place:  McCain Auditorium, Kansas State University, 1501 Goldstein Circle, Manhattan, Kan. 66506

The hearing will be webcast live at www.ag.senate.gov.

2017 Prospects for Livestock. USDA To Hold Stakeholder Meetings on Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting

A Look Ahead at 2017 Prospects for Livestock.  Many producers of meat animals may have another year of belt-tightening ahead says Rob Johansson.

USDA To Hold Stakeholder Meetings on Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting. Is the Mandatory Livestock Reporting System doing what it was designed to do? Should it be changed in any way? Officials at USDA will be gathering information to help answer those and other questions. Gary Crawford and Mike Lynch.

Possible Repeal of Federal Estate Tax in 2017

January 24, 2017, Washington DC-  H.R.198 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 was introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13), House Ways & Means Committee.  Sen. John Thune (R-SD), member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee,  reintroduced legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, better known as the death tax.

In the proposed legislation the estate tax is levied on the net value – less an exemption – of an owner’s assets transferred at death to an heir or heirs. For the 2016 tax year, the exemptions for the estate tax is $5.45 million for an individual and $10.9 million for couples. Transferred estates valued at more than those figures are subject to a maximum tax rate of 40 percent on the amount of assets above those levels.

Thune said, “In an environment where it’s frequently too difficult and costly for family-owned farms to be passed from one generation to the next, we should be knocking down hurdles to find ways to incentivize families to retain these multi-generation businesses. Repealing the death tax would be a big step in the right direction. I’m committed to working as hard and as long as it takes to get rid of this onerous tax, and I’m glad so many of my colleagues are willing to take up this fight as well.”

According to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, for every $1 of tax revenue raised from the estate tax, which accounts for less than 1 percent of federal revenues, $1 is wasted in compliance and tax planning costs.  A 2015 study from the Tax Foundation found that repealing the estate tax would “gradually increase U.S. capital stock by 2.2 percent, boost GDP, create 139,000 jobs and eventually increase federal revenue.”

Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement

January 23, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC – Soon after taking the oath of office, President Donald J. Trump signed a series of Presidential Memoranda to fulfill his promise to make America Great Again on trade and other issues.

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement

The first executive action the President took was to permanently withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade agreement that is not in the best interest of American workers.

This action ushers in a new era of U.S. trade policy in which the Trump Administration will pursue bilateral free trade opportunities with allies around the world, wherever possible, to promote American industry, protect American workers and raise American wages. It is the policy of the Trump Administration to represent the American people and their financial well-being in all negotiations, particularly the American worker, and to create fair and economically beneficial trade deals that serve their interests.

China Imposing Higher Tariffs/Duties on U.S. DDG’s

China’s tariffs and duties on imports of U.S. distillers dried grains could cause price pressure on DDG’s and possibly corn as well. Gary Crawford and Seth Meyer.
U.S. meat production on the way up. Livestock prices on the way down. If it’s meat, chances are there will be more of it coming out of U.S. packing plants this year. Gary Crawford, Rob Johansson and Seth Meyer.

Sonny Perdue, Nominee for Agriculture Secretary

Here’s a bit of background on the nominee for Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue. Gary Crawford and Sonny Perdue.

Inaugural Visitors Voice Opinions about Agriculture.  Tens of thousands of people have descended on Washington, D.C. for inauguration activities. Some of them voiced their views on agricultural issues. Stephanie Ho and several visitors to D.C.