October 6, 2017
We hope you enjoy this week’s edition of KAWG E-News.
Governor Brownback questioned by Senate for confirmation hearing
WASHINGTON (WIBW)- Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) is in Washington pleading his case for a new job. President Donald Trump nominated Brownback to become the Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom, a post that would put the governor in charge of combating religious persecution worldwide. Brownback faced a Senate Committee Wednesday to answer questions about the job.
“Look, this is a fundamental right that you have,” said Brownback.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs questioned the governor on his ability to combat religious persecution around the world.
“I look forward to working with people, working with you, working with everybody regardless of their ideas or views on how we can advance the agenda of religious freedom,” said Brownback.
The position calls for Brownback to keep an eye on religious issues around the world. Brownback’s fellow Kansan Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS) says he is ready for the post.
“Governor Brownback’s been a long time advocate even back when he was in the Senate in helping folks with religious issues,” said Estes.
Some have concerns over Brownback’s nomination. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) questioned Brownback on his LGBTQ equality record, specifically Brownback’s executive order to do away with non-discrimination protections for state employees.
“Do you feel like you have high standards in the people you appoint?” said Kaine.
“Yes,” said Brownback.
“Wouldn’t it be appropriate in terms of setting a standard for your cabinet secretaries and agency heads for you to say to them, ‘I don’t think you should discriminate against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation?'” said Kaine.
“I think that would be a rational thing,” said Brownback.
Kaine also asked if Brownback found it acceptable for nations to support murdering or criminalizing members of the LGBTQ community in the name of religion.
“I would continue the policies that had been done in the prior administration in working on these international issues,” said Brownback.
Gary Nordlinger, a professor at George Washington University say it should be no surprise a President Trump candidate would act conservatively on the international stage.
“It has given every sign since the day of the election of being a conservative administration and conservatives want religious tolerance,” said Nordlinger.
The timeline for Brownback’s confirmation is uncertain.
What An Author Learned Chronicling A Year In The Life Of A Midwest Farm Family
Every year on the farm has its challenges. There are weeds, insects and random hailstorms. Unpredictable global markets can make or break a profitable crop. Recent years, though, have been especially troubling for the Hammond farm in York County in eastern Nebraska.
Rick Hammond raises corn, soybeans and cattle with his wife, Heidi, on land that has been in her family since the 1870s. Their daughter, Meghan, recently joined the farm with her husband Kyle Galloway – the sixth generation of the family to farm the land.
The farm economy for the last four years has been in a slump that many compare to the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Times are tense and profits are hard to come by.
Rick Hammond farms corn and soybeans and raises cattle on a family farm in eastern Nebraska.
That’s the conflict that author Ted Genoways entered when he set out to chronicle life on a modern family farm. He wrote about the Hammond family for Harper’s, the Food and Environment Reporting Network and in a new book, This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm. The book follows the Hammond family farm over the course of a year, detailing daily obstacles like a critical breakdown during soybean harvest and spring planting interrupted by rain.
For Genoways, the Hammond family is also a showcase for the struggles and successes faced by farmers today. Genoways writes about how the Hammond family is influenced by some of the big trends affecting modern agriculture across the globe. [Read More]
SENATE CONFIRMS CENSKY AND MCKINNEY AS SENIOR USDA EXECUTIVES
One day after a committee cleared their nominations, the Senate confirmed by voice vote Steve Censky as deputy agriculture secretary and Ted McKinney as undersecretary for trade, the first Trump appointees to reach USDA since April. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the new members of his executive team and urged the Senate to act on other USDA nominees.
The Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on Bill Northey, nominated for undersecretary for farm production and conservation, and Gregory Ibach, nominated for undersecretary for regulation and marketing. Senate Democrats have threatened an all-out fight on the remaining Trump nominee for agriculture undersecretary, Sam Clovis, who also would serve as chief scientist without a pedigree in ag research or education.
“Steve Censky will help us be responsive to producers reeling from the effects of multiple hurricanes and also offer prudent counsel as Congress continues work on the 2018 farm bill,” said Perdue. “Ted McKinney will take charge of the newly created mission area focused on trade.”
Perdue had a historically late start to his tenure at USDA, 13 weeks after President Trump took office. Perdue has an executive team of the deputy secretary and seven undersecretaries to run USDA programs. The White House has yet to announce nominees for the undersecretary of food safety, public nutrition, and national forests.
“Secretary Perdue, help is on the way,” said Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, crediting bipartisan support for the swift Senate vote.
News from National Association of Wheat Growers
Fiscal Conservative Groups and Farm Bill “Reformers” Meet on Capitol Hill
On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, a few dozen critics of the farm bill from across the ideological spectrum held a national summit on farm policy reform. In addition to the R Street Institute, the event was co-hosted by National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, The Heritage Foundation, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Heartland Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Campaign for Liberty and Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Read NAWG’s release pushing back on this event and these groups’ proposals here.
Wheat Growers Call for New Trade Agreements
Today, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) issued a release strongly urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to pivot from re-negotiating existing free trade agreements (FTAs) to negotiating new deals. This comes in light of yesterday’s announecment that the United States and South Korea will begin negotiations around KORUS. Read the release here.
USDA’s Release of Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments Reflects Need for Reauthorizing the Farm Bill
On October 03, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program payments for the 2016 crop year and conservation payments through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 2017. USDA is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017.
NAWG applauded the USDA for announcing these payments so quickly at the beginning of the new fiscal year. This shows that the Agency recognizes the growing economic hardships being faced by farming families in Rural America. Read NAWG’s release and positions on ARC, PLC, and Conservation can be found here.
NAWG Congratulates USDA Nominees on Appointment Confirmation
On October 3, 2017, the Senate confirmed Stephen Censky to be USDA deputy secretary and Ted McKinney for the newly created position of undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Censky and McKinney are the first Senate-confirmed nominees to join USDA since Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took the helm in April. Read NAWG’S Release congratulating the both Censky and McKinny here.
Trudeau to Meet with Trump, Peña Nieto as NAFTA Round Four Convenes
According to Politico Pro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to Washington and Mexico City this month for talks with President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto just as negotiators from Canada, the United States and Mexico are holding the fourth round of talks on renegotiating NAFTA, which is scheduled for Oct. 11-15. “The United States is Canada’s top economic partner, and it’s important that we continue to work together to strengthen trade, investment and economic opportunity for people on both sides of our border,” Trudeau said in a statement announcing the Oct. 10-11 visit to Washington. “I look forward to discussing with President Trump how to enhance our mutual prosperity and security.” Trudeau will travel to Mexico City on Oct. 12-13 to meet with Peña Nieto to discuss trade, regional cooperation and ways to further strengthen Canada-Mexico ties.
State Department Expels Cuban Officials from the U.S.
The U.S. Department of State released the following statement in response to expelling Cuban Officials from the United States. “On October 3, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.” Read more here.
Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship Opportunity for Students in Agriculture
Jerry Minore was a longtime friend of the wheat industry and advocate for wheat farmers. To honor his work and life, his company, BASF, has partnered with the National Wheat Foundation to establish a scholarship for students with connections to the wheat industry who are planning careers in agriculture. The Minore Memorial Scholarship will fund four college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year: two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2017. For more information on how to apply, visit the National Wheat Foundation site.
NAWG Opens Registration for Fall Conference!
NAWG has opened its registration and hotel links for its 2017 Wheat Industry Fall Conference. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 16-20, 2017 at the Embassy Suites North Charleston in North Charleston, SC. For more information and scheduled visit: http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/meetings-events/fall-wheat-conference/.
LARRY GLENN COMMENTARY: FALLOUT FROM GRAIN REPORTS\
The wheat price continued its downward spiral which started last Friday. The release of the Small Grain Report and the Quarterly Stocks Report sent bearish traders into the wheat market with a reason to sell. Both reports deemed bearish. The Small Grains Report listed a higher production number for spring wheat than the trade expected. The other classifications were in line with previous reports. The Quarterly Stocks Report had a low feed usage number that the trade did not predict. Feed usage is at a 35 year low. At this price level, it is hard to believe wheat feeding will decrease at a pace predicted by the USDA. One can debate the information but wheat traders trade the numbers from the USDA.
The selling pace was steady this week for the wheat. The volume was light. The wheat price feels like it is trying to find a bottom. Can the wheat price rally? This question comes from producers who hear all the negative fundamental news. I believe the wheat price can rally but the rally will be slow, steady. This could occur during the winter months as demand news surfaces. It will take an improvement in the export for both the United States and the world. We have the high quality wheat for milling purposes. The rest of the world has the lost cost wheat.
It has been a wet week for both the hard and soft red winter wheat production areas. The planting pace had been slow but once the wheat fields dry up next week, the drills will be running at full throttle. Winter wheat production should get off to a good start. This piece of negative news is already built into the wheat price.
As a wheat producer, I would stay focused on the new crop wheat price. July Kansas City wheat is running 50 cents above the old crop. A 50 percent retracement of this year price range for that July contract would put the July Kansas City wheat price back in the $5.30 area. This is one area for a hedging opportunity.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS AN INHERENT RISK OF LOSS ASSOCIATED WITH TRADING FUTURES AND OPTION CONTRATCS EVEN, WHEN USED FOR HEDGING PURPOSES. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER YOUR FINANCIAL CONDITION BEFORE INVESTING IN FUTURES AND OPTION CONTRACTS. FUTURE’S TRADING IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. OPTIONS CAN AND DO EXPIRE WORTHLESS. IF YOU PURCHASE A COMMODITY OPTION, YOU MAY SUSTAIN A TOTAL LOSS OF THE PREMIUM AND OF ALL TRANSACTION COSTS.
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.
SEASONAL TENDENCIES ARE A COMPOSITE OF SOME OF THE MOST CONSISTENT COMMODITY FUTURES SEASONALS THAT HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. EVEN IF A SEASONAL TENDENCY OCCURS IN THE FUTURE, IT MAY NOT RESULT IN A PROFITABLE TRANSACTION AS FEES AND THE TIMING OF THE ENTRY AND LIQUIDATION MAY AFFECT THE RESULTS.
Kansas Wheat Staff
Source: Kansas Association of Wheat Growers