AG News: Ag Economic Barometer Up
**The Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer moved higher again in February.
At 140 points, producer sentiment, based on monthly surveys of 400 agricultural
producers across the country, reached its second-highest level in more than two years.
Sentiment is also higher for the second-consecutive month, providing a strong 14-point boost since December.
According to agrimarketing.com, the survey suggests uncertainty among producers regarding the future of NAFTA with 39 percent providing a neutral rating and 34 percent thought withdrawal was likely.
**The Department of Agriculture is taking final steps to withdraw the organic animal welfare rule, setting an effective date for the regulation’s repeal.
Agri-Pulse reports, USDA plans to withdraw the rule in December, saying the regulation as written “would exceed its statutory authority.” The USDA formally published in the Federal Register Tuesday, documentation to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule, effective May 13.
USDA reports a number of commenters, which includes organic farmers, state departments of agriculture, and trade associations, agreed the rule went beyond authority.
**Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater expressed his disappointment after the President formally announced import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
He said these "Trump Tariffs" will put U.S. equipment manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, risk undoing the strides our economy has made due to tax reform, and ultimately pose a threat to American workers' jobs.
Steel accounts for roughly 10 percent of equipment manufacturers' direct costs.