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President Trump has asked the Secretary of Agriculture to protect U.S. farmers from the trade dispute with China. However, there aren't many options for Sonny Perdue.
Last week Sonny Perdue was on the road for his second RV tour of farm country. His first tour was last summer. That's when he told producers he would be their salesman to the world. Now he's being asked to be their protector in the face of trade restrictions, some in place others proposed, as President Trump sets about rectifying what he sees as unfair trade with China. However, Perdue isn't saying what he'll do for farmers and there may be a good reason that's the case says University of Illinois Ag Policy Specialist Jonathan Coppess, "There are not a lot options for the Secretary when it comes to the covered commodities."
Typically USDA lawyers will explain there is flexibility in the original CCC charter act and the general powers to improve prices. Yet, because Congress has stepped in and directed spending for commodities via programs like ARC and PLC, the Secretary's administrative powers are limited. Most of the heavy lifting to protect farmers from any trade war blowback then, says Coppess, would need to be done by Congress.
The first week of April has been tumultuous for American agriculture. Todd Gleason talks with Jonathan Coppess about how the Trump Administration has been handling trade with China, the NAFTA negotiations, and biofuels.
The Chinese government has responded to the Trump Administration's list of products to be tariffed in order to halt intellectual property theft. The administration released the list of targetted products yesterday. China's response is to target soybeans imported from the United States among other products. None of the tariffs, U.S. or Chinese, are set to go into effect, yet. White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro says “What China is doing, to try to weaken our will and resolve, is to target our agricultural sector because they think they can do that for political reasons and some how President Trump will not be resolute. That’s not going to happen.” Navarro made his comments during an NPR interview Wednesday morning.
As the growing season approaches it is important for farmers to understand how to use dicamba on resistant soybean varieties. Todd Gleason has more with University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager.
The following is an excerpt from the March 23 farmdocdaily article posted by University of Illinois Weed Scientist Aaron Hager.
Steps for Successful Weed Management in Dicamba-Resistant Soybean
plant dicamba soybean seed into a weed-free seedbed
achieve a weed-free seedbed through the use of preplant tillage, an effective burndown herbicide(s), or a combination of tillage and burndown herbicides
select and apply within 7 days of planting a soil-residual herbicide that targets your most problematic weed species; if desired (and labeled), add dicamba and an appropriate buffer
for waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, select a product containing the active ingredients from one of the following categories of control:
Excellent: greatest efficacy on Amaranthus species and longest residual control
Good: good efficacy on Amaranthus species, residual control generally not as long
Acceptable: stronger on grass species but with some activity on Amaranthus species
scout fields 14 days after planting, apply dicamba at 0.5 lb ae/acre when weeds are less than 3 inches tall and when conditions allow for the application, consider adding an approved soil-residual herbicide to the tank mix
scout treated fields 7 days after the dicamba application; if control is not complete or another flush of weeds has emerged, consider using non-dicamba options for complete control; examples include alternative herbicides, cultivation, and hand roguing goal should be zero weed seed production