WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2016 - The Obama administration is not letting up on its push to convince the public and Congress that the Trans-Pacific Partnership needs to be ratified this year. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the USDA and other agencies have broken down the benefits of the 12-nation trade pact by commodities and other ways, but now they are making the case state by state.
The Tennessean on Friday published an op-ed from USTR Michael Froman, who argued that TPP would be especially beneficial to the music industry in Nashville. Trade deals like the TPP help the U.S. strengthen international copyright protections, he said.
The Office of the USTR even capitalized on the World Series by highlighting an article in the Chicago Tribune that laid out TPP benefits for Illinois.
Meanwhile, U.S. trade officials continue to push forward this week. Darci Vetter, chief agriculture negotiator for the USTR, will be extoling the virtues of TPP on Wednesday at the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City, Mo. On Thursday USTR Michael Froman is scheduled to sit down for a breakfast meeting in DC with ambassadors from TPP countries.
Canada kicks off multi-herd bovine TB investigation. The Canadian government is conducting a massive investigation into bovine tuberculosis infections that could take months to complete and involves multiple herds in Alberta over a five-year span, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The CFIA announcement comes on the heels of the USDA reporting that a Canadian cow sent for slaughter in the U.S. was infected with the highly contagious disease.

“During a bovine TB investigation, quarantines and movement restrictions are placed on any implicated farms. Testing, humane destruction, and disposal are carried out as required,” the CFIA said in a statement. “As this investigation involves a significant number of herds and requires the tracing of the movement of animals for the past five years plus testing, it is not expected to be completed for several months.”

Jess Peterson, a spokesman for the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, said it will be important for Canada to kill all of the infected animals in order to stamp out the disease. “You have to be very aggressive,” he told Agri-Pulse.

Cuban agency wants to buy U.S. rice, but not without credit. Officials from ALIMPORT, the Cuban government’s import agency, said this week they want to buy U.S. rice again, but won’t be able to do it so long as the U.S. ban on credit is in place. That’s according to an account by the USA Rice Federation, which participated in 34th annual Havana International Fair.

“ALIMPORT informed USA Rice that they have always had a good impression of U.S. origin rice quality and would like to once again be able to import from the United States, but that the main barrier to trade remains the lack of ability to negotiate credit terms/financing with U.S. companies,” the U.S. group said. “Currently Cuba imports around 80 percent of their rice from Vietnam, Brazil, and Uruguay. These purchases enjoy 100 percent credit with terms averaging 120-180 days.”

Farm groups defend Democratic candidate in Missouri governor race. The farm and ranch vote has been trending toward the GOP in more recent elections, but in at least one state, farmers are doing everything they can to elect a Democrat for Governor.
Missouri farm groups spent the weekend barnstorming across the state to support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster against attacks from the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and the GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens who has described Koster’s supporters as “corrupt cronies.”

The Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Pork Association are all supporting Koster because he has consistently supported their key issues.

HSUS “is at it again, using their huge out-of-state war chest to condemn Missouri agriculture by running attack ads against Chris Koster,” said Keith Stevens, president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. “HSUS should leave Missouri alone!”

Koster came under fire from HSUS for his support of the Missouri Right-to-Farm amendment and also because he filed suit against California’s Proposition 2, arguing that the effort to regulate the size of enclosures for egg-laying hens ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause because it would have imposed new and costly regulations on out-of-state egg producers.

Purdue University shows danger of losing GMO crops. The cost of food worldwide would increase and the environment would take a big hit if farmers could no longer plant genetically modified seeds, according to the conclusions of a study from Purdue University that was published in the Journal of Environmental Protection.

Researchers said they found that if farmers only had access to non-GMO corn, soybean and cotton seeds, food costs would jump between .27 and 2.2 percent.

Conversely, if countries that already plant GMOs expanded their use of genetically modified crops to match the rate of GMO planting in the United States, global greenhouse gas emissions would fall by the equivalent of 0.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and would allow 0.8 million hectares of cropland (about 2 million acres) to return to forests and pastures.

"Some of the same groups that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also want to ban GMOs. But you can't have it both ways," said author and professor of agricultural economics Wally Tyner. "Planting GMO crops is an effective way for agriculture to lower its carbon footprint." 


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