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

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October 4 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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September 13 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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September 5 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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The agriculture industry in the U.S. is dealing with a lot of uncertainty. Falling prices and trade wars top the list. We expect our exports to grow faster than our imports.…

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Labor Day 2018

September 1 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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August 23 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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Wild fires in California and other Western states have burned more than 1,000 square miles of timberland and grassland. 14 people have died and thousands of homes have been…

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August 16 2018

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I am talking to you on the phone from our farm in Illinois. Our corn and soybeans are beautiful. I picked some ears. Most ears are 18 rows round – some are 16 rows. That is a…

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This and That 2018

August 9 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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Good news – ethanol exports are up 33% so far this year. By year’s end, we should exceed last year’s record of 1.38 billion gallons.

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August 2 2018

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 healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

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The current Farm Bill runs out at the end of September. Will we get a new one? If so, when? Thanks to the efforts of Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Democrat…

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