WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2016 - The election is over and now comes the transition to a Trump administration. Rural America was a major source of support for New York real estate mogul and President-elect Donald Trump.  The agriculture sector is already counting on a brighter future, Kansas wheat farmer Doug Keesling tells Agri-Pulse.
Keesling, a member of the Trump’s agriculture advisory committee and possibly a part of the next administration, said farmers should look forward to less regulation and taxes in the years to come. Keesling agreed that the much-hated Waters of the U.S. rule and the estate tax would be particular targets for Trump.
Meanwhile, the Corn Refiners Association was one of the first of a multitude of agriculture groups to congratulate Trump on his election victory.
“The Corn Refiners Association congratulates President-elect Trump, Vice President-elect Pence and Members elected to the 115th Congress,” John Bode, the group’s president, said in a statement. “We salute President-elect Trump’s gracious victory speech and look forward to working with the Trump Administration to build jobs and the better, brighter future a return to stronger economic growth will bring.”
Next ag secretary? It didn’t take long for speculation to renew on who would in Trump’s cabinet. One of the easiest places to get a head start on potential USDA and ag-related jobs? Just pull up our August story on Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Team and look at the long list of potential candidates. Of course, there are a few others who played an unofficial supporting role like Don Villwock, former Indiana Farm Bureau President and FOP (Friend of VP Mike Pence). We’ll keep you posted as more names surface.
Farm leadership on Capitol Hill looks stable.  The 2016 election will usher in a major change in the White House, but the Senate and House farm leadership positions look stable as lawmakers prepare for a big leadup to the next farm bill. Had the Democrats taken the Senate as some predicted, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow might be considering the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. As it stands now, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is expected to keep the title. Both are expected to be intrinsic in the writing of the next farm bill.
There are expected to be three Republican and three Democratic vacancies on the House agriculture committee, according to the calculations of OFW Law. Texas Republican Michael Conaway is expected to keep the chair of the committee and Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson is expected to stay on as the ranking member. Both won their reelection bids on Tuesday.
Capitol Hill has been dormant in recent weeks as lawmakers campaigned for themselves or others, but signs of life are returning. The House Agriculture Committee announced Wednesday that it will be meeting next week for yet another hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP).
Conaway will be chairing the full committee for a hearing that’s titled “Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: Opportunities for Improving Access to Food.”
Citrus greening taking less of a toll than expected on Florida oranges.Florida groves are still being ravaged by the citrus greening disease, but the decline in production this year won’t be as bad as predicted last month, according to a new report released Wednesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Florida is now forecast to produce 72 million boxes, or 3.24 million tons, of oranges for the 2016-17 growing season, according to the report. That’s a 3 percent increase from what the USDA agency predicted in October, but it’s still a 12 percent decline from the 2015-16 season.
“Our projected drop was not as bad as we initially forecast,” according to NASS statistician Mark Hudson, who said farmers were working hard to fight the damage from citrus greening. “Some of the growers are using biocides that can help mitigate (early fruit) drop.”
The damage from the disease is still high and farmers are expected to lose a third of their crop, making this season the fifth year in a row of overall production decline.
Border patrol finds bug infestation in Brazilian fruit. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency may be better known for detecting and stopping illegal drugs from coming into the country, but inspectors are also often the last line of defense against agricultural threats.
The CBP announced Wednesday that inspectors at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a commercial shipment of 7,000 pounds of Brazilian papayas that were infested with mealy bugs and “multiple egg masses” of the unborn pests
Florida already suffers from previous introductions of the papaya mealybug, a pest that devastates fruit production and kills trees, according to a report from the University of Florida,
The mealybug “feeds on the sap of plants by inserting its stylets into the epidermis of the leaf, as well as into the fruit and stem. In doing so, it injects a toxic substance into the leaves,” the report says. “The result is chlorosis, plant stunting, leaf deformation, early leaf and fruit drop, a heavy buildup of honeydew, and death.”
On average, the CBP says its inspectors discover about 470 agricultural pests in cargoes every day.
He said it: “I am proud to continue to be a champion of rural Americans and will continue to put our needs first. I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to ensure the days of our government forcing a partisan agenda upon our daily lives by executive order are finally over.” That was Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, as quoted by the KSN-W television station


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