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Montana Ag Network: June 20th report — USCMA, rising feed costs, MDOL meetings

In trade news, Mexico has become the first nation to vote and ratify the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement. Yesterday, Mexico’s Senate voted 114 to 4 to pass the trade deal that will replace NAFTA.

Canada is expected to pass trade agreement in the coming weeks. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Washington this week meeting with the Trump Administration to show support for the trade deal.

Now, all of agriculture looks to House Speaker Pelosi who must now schedule a House vote. Democrats in Congress largely oppose the USMCA.

The prospect of higher feed costs is generating both challenges and opportunities for cattle producers. As we shared earlier this week, the latest reports show farmers are likely to forgo planting millions of acres in corn and soybeans. Market experts say that is already having impacts throughout the entire beef supply chain.

Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel says producers should expect higher feed prices as a result of the spring crop struggle.

“The cattle market situation has changed significantly in the last month or so, and it’s largely driven by what’s going on in the crop side,” said Peel. “So, we’ve got the latest corn and soybean planting progress on record. And at this point it’s very clear that we’re going to plant less Acres have lower yields. We’re going to have a smaller crop. We don’t yet know how small it will be. But inevitably it means that we’re going to see some higher feed prices.”

While feeders might be reeling from this situation, stocker and cow-calf producers have a potential opportunity to drive up their profits. According to Peel, higher feed prices often raises the value of gain at the stocker level

“Obviously feedlots are probably looking at maybe locking in some feed prices at this point,” Peel added. “We’ve already had some run up, but there is still risk of some higher prices yet. So that’s one consideration. It may for cow-calf producers also translate into a potential for retaining ownership beyond weaning this fall. It’s at least something that you want to keep in mind and certainly pencil out as the time gets closer.”

Many ranchers are anxious to see what cattle contracts will look like in the coming weeks. We will continue to track those prices and share them with you here on the Montana Ag Network.

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) has announced three educational meetings to help pork producers better prepare for a disease outbreak, such as African Swine Fever (ASF).

These meetings will focus on the ways producers can continue business amid restrictions placed on animal movement to control the spread of a disease. The department will walk through the Secure Pork Supply requirements and discuss available resources with producers and meeting attendees.

Meetings will take place in Great Falls on Tuesday, June 25, and Tuesday, July 9, at Montana Expo Park. Then on Tuesday, July 3, in Lewistown at the Elks Club. Each meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. and run until noon.

For more, and to RSVP, visit the Montana Department of Livestock online.

The Public Lands Council (PLC) applauded the advancement of Rob Wallace from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Wallace is nominated to serve as the assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior.

“When it comes to balancing the interest of all of the Department of the Interior’s multiple use stakeholders, Rob Wallace has the ranching industry’s confidence,” said PLC executive director Ethan Lane.

PLC added that Wallace has a proven conservation track record and a deep understanding of federal land management. Livestock producers welcomed his confirmation and look forward to partnering with him on a range of priorities, including modernizing the Endangered Species Act and managing the impact of unchecked recreation.

Wallace is a Wyoming native, where he still resides with his family. He is president of the Upper Green River Conservancy and a founding member of Grand Teton National Park Foundation.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News

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