Opinion: New trade agreement deal a loss for U.S. agriculture

Conventional wisdom from some pundits when the POTUS followed through on his campaign promise to withdraw from Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations was that the deal would die without U.S. leadership. Well, not only did the deal NOT die, but a new deal – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) –  was inked last month by the remaining nations:   Brunei, Chile, Australia, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. The 11 nations together account for about 15 percent of global trade. When I heard of the signing, the 1977 Fleetwood Mac mega hit “Go Your Own Way” came quickly to mind:
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
Because it’s clear that Asia-Pacific nations sent U.S. trade negotiators the message that they are willing and able to step in and fill the America trade void. Let’s pull no punches here.  As the U.S. withdraws from what is becoming a world-wide multilateral trading system in favor of defensive bilateral trade agreements of relatively low ambition and scope, U.S. agricultural interests will suffer.

Opinion: Monsanto faces court reckoning on ghostwriting scheme

Later this year – June 18 to be specific – the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco will hear evidence on whether Monsanto hired and paid supposedly neutral mouthpieces under the table to present false or biased information to the public on the safety of its Roundup chemical glyphosate. On the surface, written evidence unsealed by the court is damning. A minority report prepared for members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released in February is especially enlightening in laying out the case for accusers. The scheme is tangled and complicated, but here is the rough outline. Create or find a front-group with a creditable sounding name from which academics could write pieces attacking opponents of the chemical industry and its products.

Opinion: U.S. agriculture will be big loser in the steel-aluminum trade dispute

The POTUS says he is prepared to start a trade war with the world over U.S. steel and aluminum, imposing tariffs of 25 percent on foreign steel and 10 percent on foreign aluminum.

The White House is citing national security concerns for the tariffs.

But I’m here to tell you that if the tariffs come to fruition it will be U.S. agriculture that will suffer.  Bigly.

Opinion: White House proposal to change SNAP won’t fly

In early February, the White House proposed sweeping changes to the farm bill’s Supplemental Nurtrition Assistance Program. Under the plan unveiled by White House Budget director Mick Mulvaney, SNAP would look very little like it does currently.

Opinion: Aging farmer population threatens U.S. food chain

The aging of America’s farmer is quickly reaching a crisis which threatens to disrupt and destabilize the U.S. food system. Ag companies both big and small are living in the reality that unless something is done to repopulate the U.S. farmer community, they’ll one day be in a locker room of hurt.

Opinion: WOTUS just entered the mosh pit

“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war” —  William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor did not actually quote Shakespeare last month in her unanimous decision for the court over which jurisdiction(s) should hear cases regarding the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule that attempts to clarify which wetlands and streams receive automatic protection under the nation’s Clean Water Act … but she could have. Writing for the court, Sotomayor says:

“Congress has made clear that rules like the WOTUS Rule must be reviewed first in federal district courts.”

Last July, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided it had national jurisdiction over the WOTUS deliberations and slapped a stay on the law taking effect pending its ruling. In doing so, the Sixth Circuit pushed aside WOTUS cases in federal district courts including North Dakota where a preliminary injunction was issued preventing WOTUS from going into effect across several states. These include North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico.

Opinion: ADM-Bunge merger may leave farmers in the cold

An ADM-Bunge merger would form a commodity trading behemoth of refineries and factories with an international network of marine terminals and barges.
 American grain and oilseed farmers should have some reason to be concerned, writes Dave Dickey

Opinion: This is no way to negotiate a trade deal

Earlier this month NAFTA dysfunction at the White House sent shock waves through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures after Canadian sources suggested the U.S, will soon announce plans to pull out of NAFTA, putting the odds over 50 percent.  You need look no further than the dysfunctional train wreck that resulted in a governmental shutdown earlier this month to see that it is no longer possible for Congress and the White House to do anything in a bipartisan manner that serves Americans, farmers included.