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 –
Here I am looking at a full-page picture of damage and destruction delivered by deadly tornadoes. Hog barns, grain elevators, family homes, churches, everything destroyed. Kentucky was hit the worst, but a number of other states were not spared. Our support and prayers must reach out to the suffering families.
Now to focus on some issues of the day. Before you know it, we will be planting next year’s crops. As we approach planting season the EPA is considering denying farms the use of a number of herbicides that we have been using for years to kill weeds in our fields. If the EPA shuts the door now, I think it could be very difficult to find needed weed killers in time for planting.
Here is some good news. EPA announced the 2022 renewable fuel volume obligation of 20.77 billion gallons to be blended into our fuel. That will be good for our atmosphere because it burns cleaner. That will also be good for our corn farmers. In recent years EPA has given small refineries an exemption to avoid blending in ethanol. But not this year. We are cheering. We still need one more EPA action. They should authorize year-round E15.
Now I want to compliment the Biden Administration. With a national labor shortage, we broke the record for more H-2A farm workers coming to the U.S. this year than ever before. We needed help.
Let’s talk trade now. First, we have a free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada (NAFTA). Those countries are two of our biggest trading partners. Our biggest ag trading country is China. President Trump’s Phase One deal with China has delivered big time for our ag industry. Recently our negotiators hammered out a new trade deal with the European Union. If we can keep the agreements in place, they can be a solid foundation for marketing. But we still have a lot to do.
President Trump began talking trade with the UK, but President Biden has done nothing. Now the UK is negotiating with Canada on trade. We are left behind. Turn to Asia. We were part of a big trading agreement with a large number of Asian countries, but President Trump pulled us out of the deal. I don’t know if we can get back in or not. Why do farmers focus on trade? 25 or 30% of our production is bought by other countries.
Until next week, this is 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.