John R. Block Reports from Washington November 13, 2019 “Issues at NAFB”

 

          Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

After I record this week’s radio commentary, I will head for the airport to fly straight to Kansas City to attend the Farm Broadcasters Convention.  There is no shortage of issues to talk about.  I am so sick of listening to the left wing politicians’ constant attack on President Trump and the impeachment hysteria.  Get over it!  If you don’t like him, we have an election next November and you can vote for his challenger.  Of course, no one knows who that will be.  It is all politics.  USMCA, which is a much-improved trade agreement over NAFTA, is just sitting there waiting for the House to vote.  They don’t want to give Trump a victory.

We will run out of money to run the government this month if we don’t get some kind of a deal to fund operations for a period of time.  We would hope for the rest of the year.  The biggest road block is that the President wants some money for his wall to help secure our southern borders.  Of course, Democrats don’t want that.  Many of them want an open border.  Also, they are critical of President Trump because he continues to press our European allies to pay their fair share (2% of their GDP) to fund NATO for their common defense.  Germany, the richest European Country, pays less than 1.5% of their GDP.  We are paying 3.2%.

There will be a lot of discussion at the Farm Broadcasters Convention focusing on our industry, agriculture.  We had some good prices for corn and soy beans in years 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Then they crashed and have not recovered yet.  Farm debt is expected to hit a record $416 billion this year.  That debt number is up 40% from 2012.  On top of that most farmers struggled through a tough weather year.  Our crop production is down which should help support prices.  Some industry analysts expect this year’s corn production to be cut by 6% and soybean by as much as 20%.  Look at the demand side and it’s not very encouraging unless you raise pigs.

The African Swine Fever epidemic is expected to slash global pork production by 20%.  Those dead pigs won’t be eating our corn or soybeans.  I shouldn’t say it, but we need a drought in some of the countries that are our competitors.  That would lift prices.  We have a lot to talk about at NAFB.  It will be fun.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com.