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Mexico is the No. 2 market for whole beans, meal and oil while Canada is the No. 4 buyer of meal and No. 7 buyer of oil for U.S. soybean farmers. USMCA is essential to sustaining these markets. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

SENATE PASSAGE OF USMCA LIKELY DELAYED BEYOND THIS WEEK
A full Senate vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement will be put off until next week at the earliest, after the deal was referred to multiple committees for review, according to a GOP aide.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 on Tuesday to advance the legislation to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal. However, the accord was also referred to six other panels that could take weeks to consider it, even though the committees can’t change the content of the deal.

The committees on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Environment and Public Works; Appropriations; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Budget haven’t announced whether they will take time to examine it.

The final vote could be delayed further if the House sends the Senate two articles of impeachment it adopted against  President Trump in December. The House of Representatives still has not sent the articles of impeachment against the president to the Senate. As soon as it does, they will take precedence and any progress on ratifying USMCA would come to a stop.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking to reporters Thursday, would not give a specific timeline on when she will transmit the impeachment articles.

CHINA'S VICE PREMIER LIU TO SIGN U.S. TRADE DEAL IN WASHINGTON NEXT WEEK
China’s Vice Premier Liu He, head of the country’s negotiation team in the trade talks, will sign a “Phase 1” deal in Washington next week, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

Liu will visit Washington on Jan. 13-15, said Gao Feng, spokesman at the commerce ministry.

Negotiating teams from both sides remain in close communication on the particular arrangements of the signing, Gao told reporters at a regular briefing.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Dec. 31 that the Phase 1 deal with China would be signed on Jan. 15 at the White House. Trump also said he would sign the deal with “high-level representatives of China,” and that he would later travel to Beijing to begin talks on the next phase.

FARMERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE EVEN AS THEIR PERCEPTION OF CURRENT ECONOMIC CONDITIONS DROPS
Producer sentiment regarding current economic conditions of the agricultural economy dropped 12 points in December, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The Index of Current Conditions registered a reading of 141, down from 153 in November. Meanwhile, the Index of Future Expectations remained strong, up 2 points in December, to a reading of 155.

The Ag Economy Barometer, which encompasses results from both indices and is based on a mid-month survey of 400 U.S. crop and livestock producers, dropped 3 points in December to a reading of 150, down from 153 in November.

“Agricultural producers in December were less optimistic about current economic conditions on their farms than a month earlier but remained optimistic about future economic conditions,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

SUBMIT YOUR 2020 IOWA AGRICULTURE WATER ALLIANCE IOWA WATERSHED AWARD APPLICATION
Iowa’s watershed coordinators are critical to the future success of improving water quality and meeting the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), in collaboration with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Conservation Districts of Iowa, created the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance Iowa Watershed Awards to honor watershed coordinators for the important work they do every day to improve Iowa’s water quality. Sponsored by IAWA, the award will recognize up to five honorees, with each receiving funding for their local watershed program and for their own professional development. Click here to see the winners from 2019 and learn more about their projects.

NOMINATE CONSERVATION LEADERS FOR THE 2020 IOWA FARM ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER AWARDS
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon invite Iowans to nominate farm families for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. Farmers who voluntarily take action toward improving soil health and water quality are eligible. Nominations will be accepted until Monday, May 4, to be considered for the 2020 awards ceremony held at the Iowa State Fair. The application is open earlier than past years to allow additional time to nominate outstanding farmers.

To qualify, individuals must take action toward improving water quality and soil health. These farmers incorporate best management practices into their operation because they know sustainable practices extend beyond the fields and impact those in our state and downstream. They must also actively serve as leaders in the farm community.

“Iowa farmers have been feeding and fueling the world for generations, and are leaders in conservation,” said Gov. Reynolds. “They go above and beyond improving water quality and soil health, serving as a model for others to follow. The 2020 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards is one way we say thank you, and recognize farmers for all they do.”

For media inquiries, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjames@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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