The agency has taken on a leadership role regarding the politics of insurance and has become a valuable resource to our legislators and policymakers. While in Washington D.C. last year, we helped accomplish the final signing of our current farm bill. We have now focused our efforts on trade, additional trade aid, financing, and education on cool wet spring. For the agency’s most recent efforts in lobbying, I asked Mark Simon from our Fargo office and Bill Schmitz from our Oakes office to join me in Kansas City for CIPA’s annual meeting. We were the only three agents from North Dakota in attendance.
- National Crop Insurance Services: Dr. Tom Zacharias – NCIS President
- Economist Panel: Dr. Art Barnaby, Dr. Brad Lubben, Dr. Joe Outlaw
- Risk Management Agency Roundtable: Martin Barbre – RMA Administrator, RMA Staff
- Representative Filemón Vela (TX) – Chairman House Committee on Agriculture General Farm commodities
- Representative Abigail Spanberger (VA) – Chairwoman House committee on Agriculture Conservation & Forestry
- Representative Angie Craig (MN) – Member House Committee on Agriculture General Farm Commodities
- Representative Jeff Van Drew (NJ) – Member House Committee on Agriculture General Farm Commodities
It was a fun and productive two days of meetings and conversations! I have broken out three key areas and summarized them.
Over the past 20 years, trade delegations from every commodity organization has spanned the globe with the mission to open markets and find new uses to their respective products. These missions have largely been successful with new markets, new uses, and prices. The Unites States is currently in a trade war with our top 6 export markets all at once! Politics aside, it is hard to imagine why we have initiated these wars simultaneously. With NAFTA 2.0 sticking points everywhere, I do not anticipate this deal closing anytime soon. The economic benefit of having NAFTA 2.0 would be close to $500 million and the economic downside with no NAFTO 2.0 would be $12 billion. In my opinion, the juice is not worth the squeeze in this fight.
We also had the pleasure of listening to John Gilliland, an international trade consultant and trade lawyer who spoke about the anticipated trade talks between the United States and European Union. The two sides are expected to decide whether ag and autos will be included in discussions. As for the US and China, there is not enough time and words for the way negotiations are going, but everyone seems optimistic.
Additional Trade Aid
On Monday, May 6th, White House Economic Adviser, Larry Kudlow, noted that the White House has pledged $12 billion in aid to ag producers affected by trade retaliatory tariffs. This was the main focus of our efforts in Kansas City. The race is on for commodity groups to assemble their rationale and formulas for their piece of the pie! Last time it was not expected, and no input was asked for or used. This time around, everyone will be lobbying for their formula to be used. I do not anticipate any information being sent out prior to the end of planting, by design, as to not interfere with intentions. If a plan is announced, I would expect it to be in late June or July and for implementation to start in September. I would caution that Sonny Perdue has stated that they do not anticipate, nor should the ag sector anticipate a 2019 Market Facilitation Program.
Due to cold and wet conditions and flooding this spring, there was a lot of talk about Prevent Plant. These talks included procedures, added land with existing causes of losses, adjusting, and remedies. We put forth a proposal to eliminate the penalties for planting past the final plant date. In our discussions, I learned that we are not as bad as other areas in the Midwest! Please consult with your individual agent for any Prevent Plant questions.