Trump Calls Ag American Backbone; USTR Wants Speedy NAFTA
**During a visit with Ag leaders in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last week, President Trump delivered an optimistic campaign-style speeches embracing farmers and ranchers as the “backbone of America.”
The president has come under fire from rural Democrats for proposed cuts in his first budget outline and for lacking specifics about plans to deliver some of his ambitious plans.
Trump pledged to “rebuild rural America” and announced there will be a rural section with a focus on broadband connectivity in his soon-to-be released $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
**U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers he expects a speedy conclusion to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but said he does not have a deadline.
Lighthizers says, what he does have is a responsibility to get a new NAFTA deal that reduces the U.S. trade deficit, stops U.S. companies from moving factories to Mexico and protects provisions of the current trade pact that have boosted U.S. Ag exports to Mexico and Canada.
**The USDA reports big week to week jump for beef, pork exports. Net beef sales totaled 16,600 tons, an increase of 96% from the previous week and 60% more than the 4-week average.
The listed purchasers in order of most to least were South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Canada, with cancellations by Brazil and the Ivory Coast.
Net pork sales totaled 24,700 tons, quite a big bigger than the prior week and 49% larger than the 4-week average.