Current Week

Trade

July 18, 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Some listeners might get tired of hearing about trade disputes.  Why are they important?  Well, for the ag industry it makes the difference between profit and loss because we export 20-30% of our farm production.  Chinese tariffs have been very costly.  Our government will be providing assistance to farmers hurt by the trade war.  Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production says qualified farmers could start getting some money from the $16 billion Market Facilitation Program next month.  Farmers received government support last year and will get some this year.  That will be welcome, but we really want an end to the trade conflict with China. 

Now we have some trade war hawk voices crying out that “a China deal could cost Trump the election next year.”  I don’t agree.  A deal should help the President.  President Trump and President Xi are expected to meet in September.  It would be a victory if something could be worked out by then.

China isn’t the only trade question.  We have negotiated a new agreement with Canada and Mexico.  USMCA needs to be passed by our Congress.  There is strong bipartisan support for the bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t let the House vote on it.  She is demanding significant changes.  To me it is all politics. 

Here is what the National Corn Growers Association had to tell us.  “Over the past 25 years American agriculture exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico.  Times are tough across the farm belt and reaffirming our relationship with Mexico and Canada will provide a more certain future for American farmers.  It’s time for Congress to pass USMCA!”  Well, I second that motion.

Next week the European Commission’s new Director General for Trade will come to Washington to talk trade.  The EU is a problem.  At this point they have refused to include agriculture in the trade talks.  Let’s not forget about Japan.  We are working with them now to cut a trade deal.  The word is that we could have one by some time in September.  Stay cool.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com.

Previous Weeks

Down on the Farm

July 10 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

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Here I am on the farm in Illinois.  I will update you on what I see, but first I still have our Independence Day Celebration on my mind.  All the national attention and…

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We have just celebrated another Independence Day – parades, fireworks, flags waving.  My flag is up and waving all the time, but on the 4th of July it is really showing…

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Issues of the Day

June 27 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

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Hot issues of the day – Are we going to war with Iran?  They did shoot down one of our drones worth more than $130 million.  News reports tell us that in response,…

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Uncertainty in Agriculture

June 19 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. 

They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and a prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

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Agri-Pulse Daybreak reported “when asked if he could say when the U.S. and China would reach an agreement to end this trade war, the U.S. Chief Agricultural…

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Did You Know

June 13 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

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Finally – my corn and soybeans are in the ground.  However, as of last Sunday there were 15.8 million U.S. corn acres still unplanted.  The wet spring and ticking time…

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Tariffs

June 6 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

We all have priorities.  I was delighted when USMCA -- our new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada -- was completed and agreed to.  The next step is to get all three…

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Another Memorial Day Passed

May 30 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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Over the last week with Memorial Day we have honored our service men and women that have fought for our country. Some of them paid the ultimate price. Think of the thousands…

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Anxiety in Farm Country

May 22 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

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I was on the farm last week.  We did get some corn planted but then the rain came again.  Last year at this time we had all our corn and soybeans planted.  The later we…

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Cannabis – The Wild, Wild West

May 15 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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Global Economy

May 9 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Is this a global economy or what? We have been in a trade war with China for nearly 2 years. Farm and ranch exports have suffered a dramatic set back. Soybean prices are in…

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