WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2016 - More than a year of campaigning comes to an end today when we choose the next president. While the farm bill may actually be a bigger event for U.S. agriculture, there’s a lot riding on the election today for farmers, ranchers, exporters, seed companies, meat packers and many others.
Hillary Clinton has said she supports immigration reform, a key issue for farmers across the country that constantly struggle for a stable labor force to bring in the crops. Donald Trump has said he’d be the president that would do away with the overregulation that farm groups say threaten to strangle their productivity.
Trump, in a response to a query from the American Farm Bureau Federation, had this to say about regulation: “Our nation’s regulatory system is completely broken. Terrible rules are written by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who often know nothing about the people they are regulating. The regulators have all of the power, and our nation’s farmers are often forced to endure costly, burdensome, and unwise regulations that are bad for American farmers and consumers. In many instances, extreme environmental groups have more influence in setting the regulations than the farmers and ranchers who are directly impacted.”
And here’s what the Clinton campaign had to say to the Farm Bureau about immigration reform: “Hillary knows that migrant farmworkers play a critical role in developing and supporting our agricultural economy. She has heard from farmers across the country who have expressed their frustrations about our broken immigration system … Hillary understands that the agricultural industry needs comprehensive immigration reform to protect both farm owners and the workers they employ, and ensure American families are able to put affordable, fresh food on their tables.”
National polls put Clinton slightly ahead going into the final stretch, but it would be a completely different situation if it was America’s farmers who had the final say, according to Agri-Pulse’s own survey. About 55 percent of those surveyed in the latest Agri-Pulse Farm and Ranch Poll said they would vote for Trump and just 18 percent said they would vote for Clinton.
In case you’d like to take one more look at where the nominees stand on ag and rural issues, check out our position papers on Clinton and Trump.
New NFU survey shows staunch opposition to TPP. With the daily barrage of material bolstering the Trans-Pacific Partnership coming from the U.S. Trade Representative and the long list of farm groups that support the trade pact, it can be easy to forget that not all of U.S. agriculture wants to see Congress ratify it this year.
A new poll of Wisconsin Farmers Union members showed that 80 percent of those surveyed don’t trust that TPP benefits will materialize, especially for dairy farmers. The study, released Monday by the National Farmers Union, is a loud reminder that there remains significant opposition to the massive trade deal that includes the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Brunei, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam.
“In the case of TPP, we will be opening our borders to a flood of low-cost [milk protein concentrates] from New Zealand, which will displace Wisconsin milk in cheese production,” said WFU President Darin Von Ruden. “This loss will supposedly be offset by giving U.S. dairy producers access to the Japanese market, but that access could evaporate overnight if Japan manipulates its currency to make U.S. imports more expensive. TPP should be put on hold until it includes binding provisions against currency manipulation.”
For more on the latest TPP support among farmers and ranchers, check out our story in this week’s edition of Agri-Pulse. 
USDA report: Fracking can help and hurt farm incomes. Farms in regions that are rich in shale formations that contain natural gas can either profit or suffer from the situation, according to a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Farmers may have a hard time competing with hydraulic fracturing companies for labor, energy and transportation resources, but there’s also money to be made by agricultural producers if they own the mineral rights tied to their land, the report concluded.
“Royalties or leases associated with energy production can form an important part of farm-related income,” the report said. “In 2014, energy-related income accounted for 4 to 6 percent of gross cash farm income in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. And total payments to farm businesses from energy companies reached $2.9 billion in 2014, up from $2.3 billion in 2011.”
U.S. Wheat Associates choose new president. The U.S. Wheat Associates Board of Directors announced Monday they have chosen Vince Peterson, the head of the group’s overseas operations, to be the next USW president. USW has been looking for months for a new president, ever since Alan Tracy announced in June his plans to retire. 
Tracy, who has led USW for 20 years, will step down as president in June next year.
“Protecting and expanding export demand for wheat has always been critical, but never more so than in this depressed market,” said USW Chairman Jason Scott. “The entire board believes that Vince Peterson is the right person at the right time to fill the President’s position after Alan retires. He has spent his entire career in the grain trade and has been a steady hand directing overseas marketing efforts for USW over the last 31 years. This also represents a very practical way to make this transition.”


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