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Montana Ag Network: April 10th Report – Temporary lift on hours of service for fertilizer haulers

With a compressed spring planting schedule and an increased fertilizer delivery demand facing farmers across Montana, Governor Bullock signed an executive order temporarily exempting certain carriers from hours of service regulations.

The order pertains only to carriers actively involved in transporting anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers. The executive order requires that carriers and commercial drivers operate their commercial motor vehicles in a safe and prudent manner, and that “hours of service” requirements must be followed if a driver needs immediate rest. The order will expire at midnight on June 6th, 2019.

In trade news, many farmers and ranchers are asking the question, “When will the trade war with China end?”

President Trump said a deal could be struck in the next month or so. If you recall, there was a lot of excitement in the countryside back in May of 2017 when China restored market access for U.S. Beef. It’s clear that China is a large market opportunity for U.S. beef, which may help beef prices.

Kent Bacus is Director of International Trade and Market Access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He shared a glimpse on the trade situation.

“I think when you look at the negotiations with China, this is not going to be a one and done type of negotiation,” said Bacus. “This will be a series of conversations and hopefully beef will be part of the announcements that come out soon. But this is an ongoing negotiation. It’s not just about trade. This is about the broader relationship between the US and China.”

Bacus shared how the Chinese market could boost the U.S. livestock industry.

“This is something that’s going to be ongoing, but I think it’s important to understand the potential that China holds for U.S. beef exports,” Bacus said. “If we could remove some of the tariff and non-tariff barrier specifically the restrictions on hormones and beta-agonists. Then China could be a four billion dollar market for the US beef industry. Keep in mind last year. We sold eight point three billion dollars’ worth of beef globally and if we could open up China that number could be significantly higher.”

Trade talks are now expected to conclude sometime within the next few months, well beyond the original deadline set by President Trump of March first.

Chicago wheat fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday after the USDA said U.S. winter crops were in a better condition than analysts had expected. The April 9 USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report was pretty much as expected, but continued to reflect a burdensome U.S. supply of all three primary ag crops.

Wheat came out about 11 million bushels higher than the average trade estimates for a total of 1.087 billion bushels. Hard red winter exports increased 10 mb, but that was more than offset by a reduction in hard red spring exports of 15 mb.

The further drop in export demand is likely attributed to aggressive wheat selling by Black Sea exporters and competition from both the EU and Argentina. World wheat ending stocks also rose by a greater-than-expected 5.1 million metric tons to to 275.6 mmt.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken steps to close debate on the nomination of David Bernhardt to lead the Interior Department, setting up a final confirmation vote for later this week.

Environmental groups like The Natural Resources Defense Council and Center for Western Priorities oppose the nomination of Bernhardt on the grounds of his background working in the oil and gas industries.

Agriculture groups like the Public Lands Council support the nominee and say, “His knowledge of rural western communities and their relationship to large federal land holdings will be critical to this Administration’s ability to continue advancing policies that protect ranchers.” A vote is expected on Thursday.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News

MTN News

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