This is a significant time for global trade. Eleven nations, not including the United States, have signed the Trans Pacific Partnership. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, prompting threats of a trade war. In addition, the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations may be approaching a conclusion. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Trump Administration wants fairness in all trade policy, including dairy. “Canada, our neighbor to the north, keeps our dairy products out of there. They have what is called a supply management system, but they don’t manage the supply and they’re dumping milk solids on markets that depress our dairy industry here in the United States.”
 
April timeline for Senate farm bill action
    Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts hopes to mark up the new farm bill in April. Speaking at a child nutrition event in Washington, D.C., Roberts said he wants to act on the bill this month, but floor time will be taken up by immigration and the appropriations bill. The majority and minority staffs are already working on the farm bill language.
 
A tough time to write a farm bill
    Compared to 2014, there is a different financial environment for the writing of the new farm bill. “The economy continues to drag in rural America, said National Farmers Union Senior Vice President of Policy and Communications Rob Larew. “Predictions say that will continue for a while.”
 
Judge rules on air quality standards
    A federal judge has ruled the EPA must designate areas for ambient air quality standards by April 30. Farm groups are concerned about the standards for particulate matter. Simple things, like driving on a gravel road, may be an issue. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Fertilizer Institute are opposed to the changes.
 
Special orders of business
    The National Farmers Union has approved nine special orders of business. The policy positions include the establishment of an incentives-based supply management program for the dairy industry. NFU delegates also called on Congress to reject any proposal to eliminate Section 199a, which provides incentives to farmers and farmer-owned cooperatives.
 
Supply/demand forecast
    USDA’s Supply/Demand Report forecast U.S. milk production at 219 billion pounds for 2018. That’s up 300 million pounds from the last forecast. The all-milk price is expected to average $15.75 to $16.35 per hundredweight, changing slightly from last month’s prediction. Cheese and butter prices for the year are revised higher, while nonfat dry milk and dry whey prices declined.
 
CCFN rejects EU restrictions
    The Consortium for Common Food Names is urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to reject any efforts by the European Union to restrict the use of generic food names, like parmesan or provolone. The EU is actively negotiating new trade agreements with restrictions on names based on geography. The CCFN made its case to USTR in its annual review of intellectual property rights.

Protecting dairy farmers from manure emissions reporting rule
    A bill has been introduced in the House that would exempt livestock operations from reporting manure emissions under the Superfund law, also known as CERCLA. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last month. Timing is critical for this legislation since implementation of the reporting mandate takes effect May. The National Milk Producers Federation released a statement with its full support for this bill.

Addressing groundwater concerns
    During the first go-around, it was known as the nitrogen fertilizer rule. After release of Governor Dayton’s proposed groundwater protection measure, some Minnesota agriculture organizations feel it is overly broad and will burden farmers. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Fredrickon said the department will try to address all concerns. “Particularly, in parts that will be significantly impacted. It really starts in the central sands and moves down through the far southeast corner.” The Minnesota Legislature will have a chance to review the rule. Fredrickson said there are a couple of bills coming from the northwest part of the state. “They would just assume remove rule-making authority from MDA on this specific issue. I just think that’s bad government. They could go ahead and pass those bills and put them on the governor’s desk.” The final rule will likely be published in May, with a series of public meetings to follow. If accepted, the rule would take effect in 2020.
 
Supporting 4-H and FFA with a license plate
    Minnesota House Agriculture Finance Committee Chairman Rod Hamilton has introduced a bill that would create a specially-designed license plate that celebrates FFA and 4-H. “In addition to the registration taxes required, there would be an annual contribution of $20. That $20 would go back to support FFA and 4-H programs,” said Hamilton. Minnesota FFA Foundation Executive Director Val Aarsvold said this effort could support current and existing leadership development programs. “Minnesota auto owners are receptive to paying additional fees to support causes they value,” Aarsvold said. “We have already heard support from Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, CHS and Compeer Financial, just to name a few. There are currently over 665,000 special plates in circulation across Minnesota. We’re convinced the agriculture community would rally for our youth through this.”
 
Doud on the job
    Gregg Doud is officially on the job as the chief agricultural trade negotiator. Doud has been sworn in by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Doud is the former president of the Commodity Markets Council and worked for the Senate Agriculture Committee and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Schutz to lead U of M Animal Science Department
    The University of Minnesota has named the new head of its animal science department. Dr. Michael Schutz is an alumnus at the University of Minnesota who is now at Purdue University. Schutz will officially begin his duties on the St. Paul campus on June 11.

NFU elects new VP
    Wisconsin dairy farmer Patty Edelburg was elected vice president of National Farmers Union. “I want to be known as a young, female leader stepping into a sea of not necessarily young, female leaders on the board. There’s not a lot of diversity on our board, and I’d like to be that change.”  

Alltech leader passes
    Alltech founder and president Dr. Pearse Lyons has died. Lyons, 73, began the company in 1980 and now has over 5,000 employees worldwide. The animal nutrition company uses yeast-based technology.

Trivia challenge
    Cheddar is the most consumed cheese in the world. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, what country leads the world in per-capital cheese consumption? We’ll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.