News Briefs, Jan. 5, 2019 |

News Briefs, Jan. 5, 2019

FSA updates shutdown status

The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency updated its shutdown advisory Jan. 4.

Among FSA’s announcements:

▪ County offices are closed until funding resumes.

▪ Signup for the Market Facilitation Program ends on January 15 but Agriculture Secretary Perdue will determine if the deadline should be extended since county offices cannot now accept applications.

▪ All commodity loan activity ceased as of Thursday.

Temporary exemption: Livestock haulers not required to maintain Electronic Logging Devices

A brief statement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said: “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.”

While some media reported that this meant the ELD exemption was made permanent, NCBA and others clarified via social media that the examption is not permanent.

“Lots of buzz about the #ELD delay for livestock haulers today. Here’s the upshot: According to the @FMCSA, livestock haulers have an implementation delay until ‘further notice.’ Unfortunately, this exemption is not permanent,” was NCBA’s Twitter response.

GIPSA updates struck down by 8th Circuit Court

Statement from Organization ofr Competitive Markets, the organization that filed the suit alleging that USDA was being arbatrary and capricious in pulling the Farmer Fair Practices Rules: “We took the USDA to court to hold Secretary Perdue accountable for gutting key protections for independent farmers and ignoring a Congressional mandate to act. The Eighth Circuit declined to reinstate those protections or to order the agency to comply with Congress’s directive. We are disappointed in the Court’s ruling in light of USDA having ignored a clear command of Congress. Importantly, however, the Court noted USDA’s commitment to continue rulemaking on this issue in Spring 2019–announced for the first time at oral argument in our case–and we hope Secretary Perdue will take that opportunity to make markets more fair. Either way, OCM will keep fighting for an even playing field for independent farmers, in Congress, in the courts, and in future administrations.”

Keystone XL still on hold

U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., sent a letter to President Trump to urge any immediate action necessary to move construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline forward.

The letter, led by U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont., and signed by 40 other members of Congress, asked Trump to take every practicable step to help get the project over the finish line.

“The Keystone XL pipeline will bring nearly 6,600 high paying jobs in the near-term and nearly $4 billion in new capital investment next year alone,” the letter stated. “[O]ne of your first actions as President was to expedite the approval and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across six western and rural states. While we sincerely appreciate your strong leadership on this issue, we write now to encourage that leadership and attention to continue so that this important infrastructure project can become a reality.”

–Senator Mike Enzi

USDA meat production forecast, December 2018

Changes in production and exports will likely lead to 2019 export shares of production that are similar to 2018 ratios. For beef, the 2019 forecast increases both production (+3.1 percent) and exports (+2.4 percent), pointing to an 11.8-percent share of U.S beef production being exported next year. This would be about the same export ratio that 2018 forecasts imply. For pork, lower prices from further industry expansion next year are expected to attract added foreign buying interest. Forecasts for increases in production (+5.3 percent) and exports (+7.8 percent) imply that more than 23 percent of U.S pork production next year will be exported, slightly higher than the 22.7 share expected this year. For broilers, a small increase in the 2019 production forecast (+1.4 percent), coupled with an expected increase of less than 1 percent in broiler exports, suggests that slightly more than 16.4 percent of production will be exported next year, just under the 16.5-percent share expected in 2018. Turkey production next year is expected to increase in 2019 by less than 1 percent—as opposed to this year, where 2018 production declines will likely amount to almost 2 percent—while turkey exports are likely to be marginally lower (-0.2 percent). Thus, roughly 10 percent of turkey production is expected to be exported next year, about the same as in 2018. For eggs, forecast production and export increases in 2019—an increase of 1.5 percent in production and 1.8 percent in exports—imply that almost 4 percent of U.S egg production will be exported in 2019, the same ratio as in 2018.

Cattle/Beef: Packer demand has accelerated the pace of fed cattle slaughter in fourth-quarter 2018, which supports a slightly higher beef production forecast for 2018. The 2019 forecast was reduced fractionally on lighter cattle carcass weights. Higher fourth-quarter fed steer prices, forecast at $113- $116 per cwt, reflect current price strength. Beef import forecasts are lowered for both 2018 and 2019. The lower 2018 forecast reflects lower-than-expected October beef imports, while the reduction in the 2019 forecast is due to expected tighter supplies in Oceania. Cattle exports are forecast upward on strong feedlot demand in Canada.

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