• Exports of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles to Southeast Asia have increased 16 percent this marketing year. The U.S. Grains Council says the region currently represents the third largest market for U.S. DDG's.
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  • A report by a Farm Credit Administration economist told the Administration's board members last week that the current downturn in the farm economy is not likely to reach a 1980s-style crisis.
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  • We are close to the start of renegotiating the North American free trade agreement (NAFTA). Meanwhile, U.S. corn shipments to Mexico have slipped in recent months and Mexico is no longer the number one buyer of American corn.
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  • The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee advanced the fiscal year 2018 spending bill for discretionary programs at USDA and other agencies at just over $20 billion. That’s a $1.1 billion cut from last year’s funding bill and 5.2 percent less than current funding levels.
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  • In a historic ceremony on Friday, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association helped welcome the first shipments of American-produced beef into China since 2003.
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  • Ag groups are weighing in on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the U.S. has suspended all fresh beef imports from Brazil due to safety concerns. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden supports the move to suspend Brazilian imports because it’s a result of USDA’s science-based testing protocol of imported beef.
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  • A verdict was announced this week stemming from the Viptera line of corn seed Syngenta sold to farmers in 2011. At the time, Sygenta hadn’t received Chinese approval of the trait (MIR162) within the seed that gave it insect resistance. China began rejecting U.S. grain shipments in 2013 because it detected the unapproved trait in corn which led to lower corn prices and lost sales stateside.
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  • The U.S. government found Mexico guilty of violating America’s anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws when it flooded the American market with subsidized sugar in 2013 and 2014. The two countries reached an agreement to stop the practice late in 2014, but the agreement didn’t work.
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  • President Trump’s announcement on reinstating limits on travel to and business with Cuba may result in lost economic opportunities for corporations, small businesses, and farmers. The new policy will keep U.S. companies from doing direct financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military.
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  • Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack now leads the U.S. Dairy Export Council and is talking about a new deal for the Council with a large trading power.
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  • The Rodale Institute has started a new industrial hemp research project focused on examining the crop's role in soil health and regenerative organic agriculture. Rodale's pilot project is one of 16 growing industrial hemp. The project will mark the first legal cultivation of the crop in Pennsylvania in 80 years.
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  • The United States and Canada met earlier this week, discussing trade and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While no negotiations took place during the meeting, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pair did lay out concerns on agricultural trade issues, including dairy.
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