Trade with Japan and Reinstatement of Rural Development Undersecretary
**In the wake of the European Union's massive free trade agreement with Japan, the U.S. Ag sector is increasing pressure on the Trump administration to do the same with the Asian importing powerhouse.
National Pork Producers Council president Ken Maschhoff says "We can't stand by while countries around the world negotiate agreements that give them a competitive advantage."
U.S. cattle ranchers, pork producers, soybean growers and dairy farmers thought they had a win with the Trans-Pacific Partnership largely because the proposed 12-nation trade pact included Japan.
**Senate Ag appropriators will seek to reinstate the Under Secretary for rural development position eliminated by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Following the subcommittee's approval of a spending bill for fiscal 2018 that largely rejects cuts proposed by the Trump administration, Ag Appropriations subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven says a bipartisan "manager's amendment" would be offered to the spending bill when considered by the full committee.
**Two farm bill energy programs that President Trump proposed to eliminate are now running into trouble in Congress, too. In writing the Ag Department's fiscal 2018 budget, the House Appropriations Committee rejected most of Trump's proposals to gut or eliminate USDA programs, including in the Rural Development area.
But the committee notably didn't spare the two RD energy programs which is known as the Section 9003 program, for the portion of the farm bill that authorizes it.
The Ag Energy Coalition's Lloyd Ritter says these cuts will set back ag energy progress that serves every state and can help every ag sector.