MN Farmers Voice Concerns at Farmfest

Tough growing conditions and trade were all part of the House Agriculture Committee Listening Session at Farmfest on Wednesday. At the beginning of the discussion, farmer-leaders asked for continued bipartisan work on trade. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson responded. “I’ve done what I can to get others to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. I’ve had some success. We have a ways to go, but I think it’s going to pass.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed the concerns of the validity of USDA data. Perdue said USDA staffers are professionals and facts are facts. “Your complaints aren’t the first time I’ve heard farmers don’t believe what the National Agricultural Statistics Service says,” said Perdue. “What I’ve found by looking at the research is the NASS numbers, in the end, are more likely than what I heard.”

Watch the Farmfest listening session.

Dry Bean Trade Mission to Argentina

U.S. Dry Bean Council representatives traveled to Argentina in June 2019 to meet with growers, agronomists, processors, agricultural technology experts and traders/exporters. While there, they gained a better understanding of the dry bean value chain in Argentina and trends in production and international marketing. Representatives from the Northarvest region included John Berthold, dealer and president of Green Valley Bean Company in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and Mark Dombeck, a bean grower near Perham, Minnesota.

McKinney: Ag Must be Included in EU-US Trade Negotiations

If agriculture is not included, the United States and European Union will not be able to reach a trade agreement. USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney made that point during his visit to Brussels. Europe wants a trade deal with the United States, but is refusing to discuss increased market access for U.S. farm products.

Mexico Approves the USMCA

On Wednesday, the Mexico Senate approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by a vote of 114 to 4. Mexico is the first of three countries to ratify the trade deal. Now, all eyes are on Canada and the U.S. to approve the agreement. An implementation bill has been introduced in the Canadian Parliament. Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Democratic concerns with labor and environmental provisions in the USMCA can “be sorted out quickly.”

Mexico Dry Bean Sales are Slow

Dry bean traders in the different Mexican markets consider the economy, in general, is very slow. With slow sales, there is therefore more dry bean product in storage than expected. This is not allowing for regular trading flow, and reportedly payments for imported beans have been delayed.
Mexico Imports from January to April 2019
  • Mexico’s accumulated bean imports from all origins totaled 35,573 metric tons, with a value of $27,611 ,060 U.S.
  • From these, 31,323 MT were U.S. beans with a value of $23,559,075 U.S.
  • Since January 2019, 18,297 MT of U.S black beans, 9,979 MT of U.S pinto beans and 3,047 MT of U.S white beans have been imported by Mexico.

Trade Assistance Package Provides Support for Dry Bean Industry

U.S. dry bean growers and producers feeling the impact of ongoing global trade disruptions will soon feel relief with USDA’s announcement of a new assistance package. Dry beans are included in a list of over 20 crops that will receive a payment through USDA’s Market Facilitation Program for 2019.

“While we remain hopeful that we can soon reach deals to resume trade flows, we are very grateful for this support from the administration through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help our industry stay productive during this challenging time,” says U.S. Dry Bean Council President Deon Maasjo of Oakes, North Dakota. “Our public/private partnership with USDA remains strong and we remain committed to working through this together,”

In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, U.S. Dry Bean Council Executive Director Rebecca Bratter shares more details on the new trade aid package.

Dry Bean Scene

USDA is distributing a new round of Market Facilitation Program payments, and dry edible beans will receive a piece of those funds. Get the details in this week’s Dry Bean Scene on the Red River Farm Network, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

Dry Bean Council Meets with Cuban Officials

The U.S. Dry Bean Council, along with representatives from other agricultural trade groups, met with Ambassador Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, General Director for U.S. Affairs for Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, in Washington DC earlier this month.
Despite the renewal of several regulations limiting trade with Cuba, Cuba remains interested in engaging with U.S. entities whose commercial activities are still permitted by regulations. Fortunately, those regulations remain favorable to agriculture.
For the first time, the 2018 Farm Bill included language allowing for the use of marketing funds granted under the MAP and FMD programs to conduct trade development activities in Cuba. USDBC will continue to provide updates on this opportunity as it develops.

Dry Beans Included in New MFP Program

The new round of trade-related assistance totals $16 billion with $14.5 billion going to Market Facilitation Program payments. Rather than different rates for the various commodities, USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey said farmers will now be paid based on a single county rate. “The team has gone through and looked at the trade damage each county is feeling and we then divide that by the acreage planted within the county and will have a single payment, no matter which of the crops you plant.” This relief strategy is still being reviewed by OMB, but payments will be expedited. “The payments will come out in three different times of the year; we’re looking at a first payment coming out in July or August.” The second payment can be expected in November and the third will come in January. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said payments will likely be front-loaded, coming out shortly after the Farm Service Agency acreage reporting is wrapped up in mid-July. The first tranche of payments are the only ones guaranteed. The second and third tranches will be made if market and trade conditions are warranted.

Department of Agriculture Working on New Trade Mitigation Package

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in the middle of developing a trade assistance program for farmers. According to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, there are very few details available at the moment. The new trade package is expected to cost between $15 and 20 billion, which is the general calculation of the damage to U.S. farmers due to trade disputes. Direct farmer payments and market development programs will likely be in the package, as they were last time. Some new elements will also be included.