November 21, 2018

3 Ag Policy Issues You Need To Understand By Thursday

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Everybody has that uncle. You know the guy, super opinionated about politics but doesn’t actually know what’s going on. Don’t be that guy. Here’s three ag policy issues we think you should know. Don’t worry, we boiled them down, so they are easier to understand.

1. The farm bill is currently expired. Some programs included in the bill that do not have permanent funding are taking a forced vacation. Think: foreign ag marketing services, some conservation programs and most of the international food aid programs. However, your elderly neighbor who uses the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is not going without his benefits. SNAP and Crop Insurance are two farm bill programs with permanent funding meaning they continue to operate even when the bill is expired. 


2. The USMCA has not been ratified by Congress. President Trump successfully negotiated the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement in October. However, it will not go into effect until it is ratified by the governments of all three countries. Also, tariffs are still very much in place between our neighbors and both countries say they will be, until President Trump lifts the steel tariffs.


3. The trade war with China will likely be prolonged. While nobody knows for sure how long the trade war will last, analysts say it’s not going to be over any time soon. That’s even though President Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 later this month. Chinese officials have outlined a series of potential concessions to the Trump administration, but it’s unclear whether or not the administration will cooperate. The commitments for now fall short of the type of major structural reforms that President Donald Trump has been demanding. Smithfield Foods, is owned by Chinese conglomerate WH Group, the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, but the company did not receive trade aid payments because of the gross revenue cap. However, they were awarded a $240,000 purchase contract through the Food Distribution and Purchase arm of the aid package and recently terminated the contract.