Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - January 2

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Most people thought import tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into this country from Canada and Mexico would be lifted when the new 3 nation trade deal was worked out. But that hasn't happened because U.S. officials want both countries to agree to new quotas on how much steel and aluminum they can ship to the United States in order to keep prices high. But agriculture, especially the U.S. dairy industry is unhappy and suffering because of the continuing disagreements on steel and aluminum. Mexico is the largest foreign buyer of U.S. dairy products but those products continue to face a 25% tariff in Mexico, lowering sales totals. And industry officials say the small gains we made in getting more dairy products into Canada do not offset the losses we're seeing in the Mexican market. So the industry is asking Congress to impose Section 232 to take some the President's power away when it comes to trade sanctions.

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Later this week the new Congress will be sworn in and that means Democrats will be in charge of the House. And Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson will once again take over as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee., the first person to chair the committee twice in the last 50 years. Peterson said last week one of his first priorities will be oversight of the USDA. He said he is getting repeated complaints that checkoff programs are nothing more than piggy banks for large commodity groups. And he will also look closer at Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's decision to move 2 research agencies out of Washington.

In Wisconsin the Senate has selected members to serve on its many committees. Chosen to serve on the Agriculture Committee are Jerry Petrowski of Marathon who will be the vice chair. He will be joined on the Republican side by Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls. On the Democratic side will be newly elected senator, Jeff Smith of Eau Claire.

The annual National FFA convention isn't changing locations anytime soon. Last week the organization said it has reached agreement with Indianapolis to keep the convention there through 2031. Indianapolis has hosted FFA members since 2016 and is also the national headquarters of the FFA. Last fall's event drew almost 70,000 people and brought almost $40 million in economic impact to the city. This year's convention will run October 30th through November 2nd.