Christmas became a little more merry and bright thanks to some good news about two important trade agreements.
Bipartisan passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in the U.S. House of Representatives is a big win for South Dakota and U.S. agriculture. Canada and Mexico are South Dakota’s two largest export markets. Nationally, Mexico is the No. 1 foreign buyer of U.S. corn and Canada is No. 5. Canada is also the No. 2 buyer of U.S. ethanol and Mexico is a growing market with high potential.
“A vote on USMCA has been a long time coming, but we’re very pleased the House has passed this significant trade agreement. Canada and Mexico are vital trade partners for our state and our nation,” South Dakota Corn Growers President Doug Noem said. “We thank Rep. Dusty Johnson for his strong support and we look forward to passage in the U.S. Senate next month. This is a great example of what can be accomplished with broad support, cooperation, hard work and bipartisanship. This gives us a level playing field.”
The agreement will provide farmers with certainty that they can continue selling their products to the United States’ two largest agricultural export markets – vitally important at a time when the agricultural economy has slumped.
Another major step that could open huge doors for exports of U.S. agricultural products is the trade deal that U.S. and China are finalizing. This is being called “phase 1” and many details still haven’t been released, but things are looking very positive with China promising tariff waivers on U.S pork and soybeans.
China also represents a huge potential market for American ethanol. That nation intends to mandate a 10-percent ethanol blend by the end of 2020. To reach that goal, China would need to import a great deal of ethanol, and possibly purchase additional corn for its own ethanol plants.
U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson said a U.S.-China trade deal has the potential to make a big impact over the long term.
“It is going to be the shot in the arm that our ag producers need,” he said.
Those two trade deals are just what the doctor ordered to help the ailing agricultural economy.
However, the ag and ethanol industries did receive one lump of coal in their Christmas stockings. That came in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation rule. The EPA rule uses a three-year average of Department of Energy recommended waivers as an estimate rather than an average of actual gallons waived.
The South Dakota Corn Growers and other corn and ethanol groups will continue to fight for the EPA to the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol, as the law requires.
“We will use future rulemakings and other opportunities to hold the EPA accountable,” National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross said.
SDCGA Annual Conference Jan. 18
2019, with all of its challenges, was a year that a lot of farmers would like to forget.
As we put the year behind and move forward, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association plans to get the new year rolling with our annual conference Jan. 18 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. We always have a variety of interesting, informative speakers, and this year will be no different.
Delaney Howell, host of Market to Market, returns as master of ceremonies and also will have the final word at the end of the day’s program. The enlightening educational sessions will begin with a grain marketing presentation by David Kruse, producer of the CommStock Report and president of CommStock Investments, an agricultural risk management company.
Appropriately, following the wettest year in South Dakota history, the next presentation will focus on weather, featuring Don Day Jr., president and chief meteorologist of Day Weather Inc.
In the afternoon, a panel will discuss a variety of water issues. Panelists will include Jeff Zimprich, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service of Sioux Falls; Gary Leistico of Rinke Noonan law firm, a leader in agricultural and environmental law; and Sally Flis, senior director of agronomy at The Fertilizer Institute.
No SDCGA conference is complete without a relaxing, fun and entertaining evening banquet. Everyone will get a chance to visit, share stories and catch up on old times during the evening social, followed by dinner. The evening’s events will include an always-popular silent auction, awards and a keynote address by Paul Mobley, a renowned photographer and author of the very popular book, “The American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country.”
The conference is only a few weeks away, so don’t forget to register by going on our website at www.sdcorn.org or by calling the South Dakota Corn office at 334-0100.
For now, enjoy this very special holiday. We wish you and your families a fantastic Christmas and a healthy, prosperous new year!