Winter Weather and USTR on NAFTA Talks
**West Coast states could really use a friendly long-term weather forecast following the typically rainless summer in Southern California and recent months of drought across Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
As reported in Agri-Pulse, U.S. Forest Service numbers show wildfires have charred nearly 800,000 acres of Oregon and Washington this year, 55% more than last year, and in California, more than 880,000 acres have burned, 57% over 2016.
Relief could be on the way with a 3-month outlook from the National Weather Service suggesting above average rainfall in the Pacific Northwest.
**Critics of crop insurance are laying the groundwork for winning amendments to the next farm bill that could slash premium subsidies and support to the insurance industry.
Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, of Kansas, told Agri-Pulse he's preparing to argue against any amendments attacking crop insurance or other farm programs.
Crop insurance critics will argue the crop insurance program provides more assistance than farmers and companies deserve. They are also prepared to argue the farm economy is in better shape than is being portrayed.
**U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is disappointed with the lack of progress in the 4th round of NAFTA renegotiations. After the round concluded last Tuesday, Lighthizer says Mexico and Canada are reluctant to give up existing unfair advantages.
According to Brownfield, Lighthizer, Mexico's Economy Minister and Canada's Foreign Minister issued a joint statement saying there are "significant conceptual gaps" to resolve.