LINCOLN, NEB. – “Japan’s passage of the new limited trade agreement with the U.S. is a big deal for Nebraska farm and ranch families. As the nation’s leading exporter of beef, and Japan being our largest customer, Nebraska stands to make significant gains from the agreement.
This deal will put tariff reductions on Nebraska beef on par with our international competitors. According to Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates based on USDA data, Nebraska exported more than $253 million of beef to Japan in 2017. The reduction of tariffs from nearly 40 percent down to 9 percent when the agreement is fully implemented, will likely cause that number to grow.
This agreement is also about more than beef. Japan is a leading importer of Nebraska corn, pork, wheat, poultry, ethanol, and dairy products; all of which will see a significant or complete reduction in tariffs under the new agreement. Between 2015-2017, Nebraska exported roughly $550 million in agricultural products per year to Japan. Given our experience with tariff reductions, we fully expect that dollar amount to increase.”
“We thank President Trump and his trade team for their work to get this agreement across the finish line. We also thank Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation for providing the necessary push to the administration, which helped us get to this point. However, while we can celebrate this win, a lot more work must be done to reduce the uncertainty of our international trade situation. Today, we renew our call to Congress to pass President Trump’s US – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). With the agreement sitting on Congress’ To-Do list for more than a year, we urge Speaker Pelosi to bring the agreement up for a vote before the end of 2019. Lastly, President Trump must also work to finalize an agreement with China. Nebraska farmers and ranchers have patiently waited while the administration has worked to right the many wrongs that exist with the U.S./China trade relationship. While we know not everything will be solved overnight, we hope a proposed multi-phased approach starting with agriculture will be finalized before the end of the year.”
The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results are out this week, showing that over 231,400 farms irrigated 55.9 million acres. That included 83.4 million acre-feet of water in the United States.
By way of comparison, the 2013 survey showed there were just over 229,230 farms that irrigated 55.3 million acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that even though the number of farms irrigating, and the amount of land increased slightly over those five years, the total amount of water used to irrigate land actually declined.
The 83.4 million acre-feet of water used to irrigate land in 2018 represent a 5.8 percent drop from 2013. The average acre-feet applied to land was 1.5, which is lower than the 1.6 in 2013. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.
The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the U.S. was dedicated to cropland, including grains and oilseeds, vegetables, nurseries, greenhouses, as well as hay crops. The survey also shows that more acres are irrigated with sprinkler systems than with gravity irrigation.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is hoping that a third round of trade aid payments to farmers will be unnecessary in 2020 because of a new trade deal with China.
The Hagstrom Report says Perdue spoke with reporters last week shortly after returning from a “successful” trade mission to Mexico. Farmers “would rather have trade than aid,” Perdue says. At the same time, he did say the second round of 2019 trade aid is approved and will be heading to farmers soon. “We have just gotten authorization on the second tranche,” he said. “I expect payments to be out to farmers by late November or early December.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was one of the big topics of conversation on the trip to Mexico.
Perdue says Mexican officials are hoping Congress will sign off on the agreement as soon as possible. “They’ve done their work, as you know, and they’re anxious for us to complete our task as well,” Perdue says. Immigration was another topic of conversation with Mexican officials. Perdue is hopeful that the Mexican government will begin a program to “pre-certify” workers southeast Mexico for the H-2A Program. Southeast Mexico is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.
The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.
Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.
The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.
In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.