Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he'll have a decision "sooner rather than later" — maybe by Friday or maybe next week in Iowa with the president — on whether unplanted cropland will be eligible for Trump tariff payments this year. The USDA initially said unplanted land would not be eligible for the up to $14.5 billion in trade-mitigation payments, but the huge amount of flooded land in the Midwest prompted a second look at the question.
Three days ahead of the arrival of a Chinese trade delegation, President Trump said he would impose 25 percent tariffs on $525 billion of Chinese products as leverage for a resolution of the Sino-U.S. trade war that led to retaliatory duties on U.S. exports including soybeans. "The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!" said Trump on social media.
Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators may be within four weeks of resolving the Sino-U.S. trade war, said President Trump on Thursday. Trump said the nations are working on a comprehensive agreement. “And whether it’s our farmers or our technology people, all of them will be really happy.”
On Wednesday, in his latest threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump demanded that Congress “immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border.” The American Farm Bureau Federation asked that agricultural trade be exempted from any restrictions, and the National Farmers Union said a closure would be disastrous.
An agreement between China and the United States to resolve the trade war “is coming along nicely,” said President Trump on Wednesday, although U.S. tariffs could remain in force for some time to assure that China lives up to the terms of the deal.
After calling NAFTA an historic trade blunder, President Trump called on Congress on Tuesday to pass its successor, saying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would expand American agriculture. Wheat growers responded by warning against withdrawing from NAFTA, a tactic Trump has discussed, before the new trade agreement is ratified.
In a speech to the largest U.S. farm group, President Trump asked American farmers on Monday to take his side on the partial government shutdown over a border wall and said that with a secure border, "I'm going to make it easier" for farmworkers to enter the country. "Because we want to take people in to help our farmers, et cetera. Very important," he said.
The Sino-U.S. trade war, which as stymied U.S. farm exports, "is going to be a long one, and we keep delivering the message, 'We're with you, Mr. President,'" said the leader of the largest U.S. farm group on Sunday, adding a caveat. "The runaway of our patience is going to be determined by the financial situation of our farms. We went into the battle very weak." (No paywall)
The farm bill "is in very, very good shape," according to President Trump, who hinted that he will sign the bill into law this week. "So we’ll get the farm bill. Got to take care of the farmers. But it’s just been something very, very exciting," said Trump over the weekend.