exports

Steelworkers from around the country were in D.C. this week to ask Congress to strengthen its support for the domestic steel industry.

Among them was Billy McCall, who’s worked at U.S. Steel’s huge Gary Works mill for more than 20 years.

He and other United Steelworkers union members talked with federal representatives this week about an ongoing trade investigation into the effect of excess Chinese steel imports on national security.

McCall says that’s about not just defense, but infrastructure and people.

Indiana’s top agriculture official has been tapped to oversee global farm trade for the Trump administration.

Indiana Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney now faces a Senate confirmation to become the USDA’s first-ever trade undersecretary.

He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received since getting the news.

“I am so honored to be nominated by the president, and I look forward to serving if confirmed,” McKinney says.

Indiana corn growers hope a deal on sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico will protect their stake in the high-fructose corn syrup industry.

Mexico could slap new tariffs on imports of the syrup if the deal isn’t finalized, and the effects of that tariff could trickle down to farmers.

About a third of all high-fructose corn syrup produced in the U.S. goes to Mexico, and it includes a lot of Hoosier corn. As much as 5-10 percent of Indiana’s corn crop goes to factories that produce the syrup, such as Tate & Lyle in Lafayette.

As Indiana farmers hurry through planting season – the corn crop is nearly three-quarters planted as of Monday, with soybeans nearly half done – they’re also watching big changes at the USDA.

The department is reorganizing its trade and rural development programs, while the White House takes aim at those issues in its own way.

Indiana’s ports had one of their best years ever in 2016, moving nearly 11.3 million tons of cargo.

That included rising grain and coal exports, the kind that could see major changes under Trump administration trade reforms.

 

Generations of farmers, agronomists, lawmakers and other alumni of Purdue’s College of Agriculture met for their annual Fish Fry, amid a lot of political and economic uncertainty for the farm industry.

That fact wasn’t lost on the hundreds of Purdue agriculture alumni who flocked to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday.

Most of them rely on farm exports to Mexico, China and other countries where President Donald Trump has pledged to reform trade deals. And Indiana Agriculture Secretary Ted McKinney says it’s on people’s minds.

Threat Of Trade War Could Impact Indiana Industries

Dec 20, 2016

 

President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on his criticisms of U.S. trade relationships with China and Mexico, which has some wondering if a trade war is in the works.

Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer says the hallmark of a trade war is retaliation.

For example, higher U.S. taxes on Chinese steel imports could make China chooser to buy fewer American products, including those from Indiana, like soybeans or engine parts.

But DeBoer says even threat of a trade war is already affecting Hoosiers.

Consolidated Grain & Barge

A major soybean distributor will spend more than $30 million to expand its operations on the Ohio River.

Consolidated Grain & Barge, or CGB, is aiming to capitalize on growing export markets in countries like China by expanding its plant at the Port of Indiana-Mt. Vernon in Posey County.

The expansion will more than double CGB's soybean processing capacity there, with a new daily output that will fill 130 semi-trucks, or around three river barges.

CAFNR / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cafnr/10580373474/

There's a better-than-expected outlook for Indiana agriculture in a report out this week on what would happen if Congress ratifies the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP is President Obama's big trade deal to reduce tariffs and open new markets with Pacific Rim countries. Congress could vote on it this year, and asked for this forecast from the U.S. International Trade Commission as part of that debate.

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.