• President Donald Trump suggested that the deadline for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement might need to be extended. A Reuters report says Canada is agreeable to the idea. Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that “a lot of things are hard to negotiate” as the Mexican presidential election is coming up in July.
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  • Next to the cost of feeding their animals, the cost of labor on dairy farms will always take up a large share of the budget. A Milk Business Dot Com article says labor costs will rise in the new year.
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  • Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts says President Donald Trump “really listened to our concerns” regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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  • A DTN progressive farmer survey shows optimism for 2018. According to the survey; "farmers attitude about their current economic situation is about twice as positive as it was in November 2016." That's despite growing concerns from ag lenders and the unlikelihood that commodity prices rise.
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  • In a recent corn growing contest the winner, from Virginia, recognized some Iowans who helped him achieve a record 546 bushels per acre yield.
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  • Year-end production numbers were up for both beef and pork, but the market for milk is a bit sour as 2017 ends.
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  • The Farm Credit Administration released a quarterly report on economic issues affecting agriculture and updated the financial condition of the Farm Credit System. The report says the USDA is predicting farm income will stabilize near its historical average.
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  • Officials from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will begin a technical round of meetings on the North American Free Trade Agreement on Monday. Top negotiating officials aren't scheduled to be in Washington next week. They'll appear at the next formal round of talks, which will be next January in Montreal.
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  • Cargill is launching a new campaign to provide stories that consumers can understand regarding how trade helps feed the world. The new initiative is called FedbyTrade, highlighting how companies are speaking up against the Trump Administration's public criticisms of trade and the trade deficits.
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  • Oil-state Republican legislators met with President Trump on Thursday to discuss the Renewable Fuels Standard. They left with a directive from the President to figure out a compromise that would work out for both the oil and renewable fuels industries.
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  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue predicts fiscal year 2018 farm exports will remain strong. Responding to the Department of Agriculture’s export forecast published last week, Perdue says “exports continue to be a major driver of the rural economy,” mentioning that exports generate 20 percent of U.S. farm income.
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  • The U.S. Senate's passage of tax reform, after having already being passed in the House, sends the bill to a conference committee to see whether or not it will ultimately pass and become law. What do the particulars in the tax bill mean for Iowa farmers?
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