Ag Chat with Kristin Smith - Feb 1st

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be a featured speaker at the 22nd World Meat Congress taking place May 30 through June 1, in Dallas, Texas. Perdue has been a strong voice for trade in the Trump administration, stressing the importance of market access for U.S. agricultural exports and preserving the gains achieved through NAFTA and other free trade agreements. He also participated actively in the reintroduction of U.S. beef in China, including a media reception announcing U.S. beef's arrival in the market.

President Donald Trump has decided to ask Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority for three years. The 2015 TPA law expires June 30, unless President Trump formally requests a three-year extension by April 1. According to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Congress could block the renewal by passing a resolution of disapproval, but Lighthizer was upbeat. He said, "I shouldn't maybe be making an announcement, but the reality is the president has decided. We're going to ask for fast track."

Tyson Foods has invested in a food tech startup that's developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells. Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, Inc., has invested an undisclosed amount for a minority stake in Memphis Meats. The investment is an example of Tyson Foods' commitment to explore innovative ways of meeting growing global demand for protein. Many farmers and ranchers criticize Tyson's embrace of alternative protein sources, but Memphis Meats has already attracted investors such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Last August, Cargill invested an undisclosed sum as part of a $17 million round of financing for the company. The company plans to use the Tyson investment to support its beef, chicken and duck meat research and accelerate product development. The meat substitutes market will be worth nearly $6 billion by 2022, according to research firm Markets and Markets.

Wisconsin farmers received an average price of $17.80 per hundredweight for their milk in December according to the latest USDA Agricultural Prices report. That was a drop of $1.20 from November's price and $1.90 less than the same time last year. The U.S. milk price for December was $17.20 per hundredweight, 60 cents lower than Wisconsin's price and 90 cents less than December 2017. Twenty two of the 23 major milk producing states had a lower price when compared with November, while only Florida had an increase in price.

Cooperatives Working Together has accepted 25 requests for Export Assistance from cooperatives to sell almost 4.4 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered now through April. CWT has assisted member cooperative in the sale of 9.7 million pounds of American-type cheeses and almost 730,000 pounds of butter to 10 countries on three continents.



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