**U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gave members of the House Ways and Means Committee an update on trade talks with China, saying much remains to be done in order to get a trade deal, but real progress is being made.

Agweb.com reports, he told committee members the administration is pressing for significant structural changes, especially intellectual property rights and technology transfers.

An agreement won't need Congressional approval because it would be an executive accord.

**A handful of President Trump's key cabinet officials testified on Capitol Hill answering questions about tariffs, trade and farm income.

Asked about the state of the rural economy, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told the House Ag Committee, It’s tough out there, but he expects more profits in 2019 due to the potential trade deals and the new farm bill.

Perdue tells agweb.com, “Our economists are projecting net farm income of $77.6 billion,” an increase over last year, not including the market facilitation program.

**The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production, but it is likely to be 2020 before the USDA produces the regulatory framework for the new crop.

That’s according to Perdue who says “We want to proceed slowly,” in order to preclude a land rush that could “blow out a market before it can get started.”

Illinois Representative Rodney Davis asked about hemp saying it could become the “third rotation crop in the Midwest,” where corn and soybeans dominate.


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