Billboard: Trump threatens tariffs with no ag in trade with the EU, and more on trade talks with China and Japan in today’s headlines. Meanwhile, water quality and quantity issues take the stage as President Trump signed a water conservation plan for the Colorado River and Senators seek a USDA-wide water quality plan. Finally, Missouri farmers are upset about the state granting a transmission line company eminent domain.
Trump Responds to No Ag in EU Talks, Threatens Tariffs
Trump is saying he will impose tariffs on EU cars and auto parts if the European Union doesn’t agree to talk agriculture at the trade table. The EU has been clear it won’t include ag, and would walk away from the talks over ag and tariffs, and even retaliate. However, the move by Trump was urged by the U.S. agriculture industry.
U.S., Japan to Accelerate Trade Talks Towards Agreement
The U.S. and Japan talked agriculture and autos this week in the first installment of trade negotiations and plan to accelerate the process, meeting again next week in Washington. Japan is seeking to avoid U.S. tariffs on cars exported to the U.S., while President Trump is seeking greater access for agricultural goods to Japan and many measures similar to those found in the Trans-Pacific Partnership
China Could Lift Poultry Ban in Trade Agreement, But No Ractopamine Ban
Reuters says China may lift its ban on U.S. poultry, enacted in 2015 over avian influenza concerns, as part the ongoing trade talks with the United States. However, China for now, won’t budge on its 2002 ban on ractopamine use in livestock, effectively leaving the market closed for a major section of the U.S. pork sector. China claims ractopamine, used to promote growth, is harmful to human health.
Senators Seek USDA-Wide Water Quality Initiative for Conservation Measures
A letter from farm state Senators tells USDA to develop an agency wide National Water Quality Initiative. The goal is to prioritize conservation measures in the 2018 Farm Bill to address water quality. The bill reformed and improved all major conservation programs in order to provide new tools to assist farmers, ranchers, and landowners in addressing water quality concerns.
Trump Signs Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans
Passed through Congress last week, President Trump has signed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act. This is a voluntary agreement between seven states on water conservation and use efforts. Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has experienced historic drought and dry conditions. Currently, the combined storage in Lakes Powell and Mead are at their lowest levels since Lake Powell initially began filling in the 1960s.
Missouri Farmers, Lawmakers, Seek to Block Transmission Line
The Missouri House gave initial approval this week to a bill that would bar the use of eminent domain for overhead transmission lines. The legislation, supported by a statehouse rally of farmers, would bar the Grain Belt Express approval by the Missouri Public Service Commission. However, opposition to the measure claims it’s an attack on green energy, as the state allows eminent domain for oil pipelines and other projects.