March 5, 2020

March 5, 2020

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 –

I will be on my farm in Illinois this week and next week I will report what I find. For
now, realizing that almost 30% of our ag production is exported, world markets can be the
difference between farm profitability and loss. We now have negotiated favorable agreements
with Canada and Mexico (USMCA). We have a deal with China also. Now, they need to be
enforced. The United States and our ag industry will see big benefits.

Next on the list, our trade negotiations will begin with talks with the UK. As UK splits
from the European Union, they are anxious for a new trade agreement with the US. British
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the UK wants to “rigorously protect their National Health
Service.” Johnson said, “We want to uphold our high standards of food safety and animal
welfare.” My reaction is – there shouldn’t be any barriers there. Our food safety and animal
welfare can measure up to any other country in the world. We are already talking to the Europe
Union in hopes of negotiating a big reduction in their Ag trade barriers. Their barriers are not
based on science. They have shut the door on most genetically modified food products while we
eat them every day. We can’t feed the world if we refuse to use new technology to increase food
production. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue challenged Europe to accept genetically modified
crops and animal growth hormones. He said, “overly burdensome and unnecessary regulatory
restrictions hold farmers back from taking advantage of new technologies and producing more
food with fewer inputs.” Reform won’t be easy. French President Macron says he will fight to
protect E.U. farm subsidies.

According to the USTR many of our trading partners use huge trade tariffs to protect
select industries. Under World Trade Organization rules, those tariff rates are locked in place
with no sunset clause. President Trump does not want the US to exit the World Trade
Organization, but it must be reformed. That’s enough on trade.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to
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