WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 - In the third and final presidential debate last night, Donald Trump refused to say whether he would accept the result of the election. 

"I will look at it at the time,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace in an answer that is likely to dominate the campaign in coming days. Clinton called Trump’s answer  “horrifying.”

Trump’s refusal to commit to accept the election results probably will overshadow just about everything else that was said in the rest of the debate, which saw Trump and Clinton tangle over the Supreme Court and immigration, among other issues. 

During the opening exchanges, Trump pledged to nominate pro-life conservatives to the court. And he suggested that Clinton was weaker on border security than President Obama, noting that Obama had deported “millions” of illegal immigrants. 

Clinton reiterated her pledge to introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation during her first 100 days in office. Clinton also insisted that she isn’t budging on her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “I'm against it now. I'll be against it after the election. I'll be against it when I'm president,” she said. 

Clinton surrogate: New farm bill needed ‘on time.’ It appears that farm groups may be able to expect support from a Hillary Clinton administration for enacting a new farm bill during the next Congress. Kathleen Merrigan, a former deputy agriculture secretary who represented Clinton at a Farm Foundation forum yesterday, listed a new farm bill as a top priority for Clinton. 

“We can’t afford delay after delay. …. We need a farm bill and we need it passed on time,” she said. Merrigan also emphasized that Clinton supported the 2002 and 2008 farm bills when she was in the Senate. “She has a great capacity to work across the aisle,” said Merrigan, who was armed with a series of note cards detailing Clinton’s priorities. 

Merrigan was recently at USDA where she met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about transition issues, according to the secretary’s calendar.  

Sam Clovis, who is Donald Trump’s chief adviser on agricultural policy, represented the GOP candidate at the forum. Clovis suggested that Trump wouldn’t support attempts by House Republicans to cut nutrition spending. 

Clovis said the right way to reduce the cost of nutrition programs is to grow the economy. He also made clear that Trump would oppose splitting the farm bill, a position that Trump surrogates have been emphasizing for some time, at least in private. 

“We’re looking for common ground,” Clovis said. “We want to make sure we can get a bill passed.”

Merrigan will be on Farm Journal’s AgriTalk today to discuss what’s at stake in the election with Agri-Pulse’s Sara Wyant and Dale Moore of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Merrigan and Clovis make the case for the candidates.

Pelosi sees tight House margin. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is still holding out hope that her party could take over the House in November. But even if they don’t, she says the Republican majority in the House will only be in the single digits next year. Republicans currently control 246 seats to 186 for the Democrats. Three are three vacancies. 

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday, Pelosi says it’s still difficult but not impossible for Democrats to overcome a natural advantage that Republicans because of the way congressional lines were drawn after the 2010 census. 

Pelosi: Pass all spending bills. Pelosi is warning congressional Republicans against passing some - but not all - of the fiscal 2017 spending bills in the upcoming lame duck session. Republicans say they don’t want to enact a government-wide omnibus spending bill in December and instead will bundle some of the bills into small packages, or minibuses. 

Democrats fear that would mean that agencies such as Interior and the EPA would be stuck with their FY16 spending levels throughout the rest of the 2017 fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. “When you do minibuses they have to add up to an omnibus,” Pelosi told reporters.

EPA advances RFS rule. A final rule for implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2017 has moved to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review, according to Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. EPA officials wouldn’t confirm that the rule had been sent to OMB. 

In May, EPA proposed an overall renewable fuel mandate for next year of 18.8 billion gallons with the potential for 14.8 billion gallons of that to come from traditional corn ethanol. 

NCBA: $400,000 a day at stake for cattle producers in TPP.  Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says his industry will lose $400,000 a day without the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

Woodall used the estimate while speaking yesterday on AgriTalk  An NCBA spokesman tells Agri-Pulse that the calculation comes from an estimate produced by the consulting firm Global Agri-Trends. The estimate is based on the advantage that Australia has over the U.S. when it comes to beef trade with Japan.

Japan and Australia entered a free trade and economic partnership pact in 2014, reducing Japanese tariffs on Australian beef. Japan has pledges to cut tariffs in U.S. beef in the TPP deal.

“If we do not get this done by the end of the year, we doubt we will ever have the opportunity to get TPP,” Woodalll said in the interview. 

USDA study: Precision ag lifts farm profits. USDA economists say that various precision agriculture techniques, including GPS-based mapping systems, appear to increase farm profits by a small amount. 

According to a study by the Economic Research Service, GPS mapping boosted operating profits by nearly 3 percent on corn farms. Net returns were about 2 percent higher. Guidance systems raised operating profits on corn farms by 2.5 percent and lifted net returns by 1.5 percent. Variable-rate technology raised both operating profit and net returns by about 1 percent.

Bill Tomson contributed to this report. 



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