The House version of the Farm Bill passed through committee after some debate on Wednesday, and it did so along party lines. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) tells AgriTalk Host Chip Flory that will likely not be the case for the Senate’s version of the bill. Thune says he has no problem with the way the nutrition program is laid out in the House bill, and similarly the Senate will look to expand acreage under the Conservation Reserve Program. Thune expects the Senate bill to be taken up by committee in the next few weeks.
Flory also asks Sen. Thune about the U.S. potentially getting back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Thune says there is support and hopes “as they look at this they will consider the fact that it was a republican Congress, House and Senate, that actually gave President Obama that authority to negotiate the deal,”. He says there are parts of the agreement that some in Congress didn’t like, but there are, “a lot of features in that agreement that were very good for South Dakota and midwestern agriculture,”
Thune also offers insight on the issue of E15 after the President stated he would support its sale year round…something that Thune supports. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, says during that year round sales would be a “huge bump” and the president’s stance is “very encouraging”. She also confirms that, after conversations her organization has had with policy makers, this move could be coming soon. Skor says that conversations are focused around an increase in standard octane levels. However, before that happens there needs to be “guardrails” in place to guarantee renewable fuel will be the designated source of that octane because, “a decade of market dynamics, we have seen that oil refiners will walk away from ethanol octane if they can.”
Casey Guernsey, spokesperson for Americans for Farmers and Families, finishes off the show. He says that news around NAFTA negotiations is encouraging. As it pertains to tariffs and trade relations with China he says that, “every market is an important market,” and the current state of relations is “concerning”. He also says there is more to that concern than China since, “something like 40% of all ag exports go to top steel producing countries, so it isn’t just China”