Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - March 7th

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Most, but not all, agricultural organizations are united against President Trump's plan to put import tariffs on steel and aluminum. R-Calf USA , a Montana based Cattlemen's group is asking the president to add import tariffs for cattle, beef, sheep and lamb on countries that maintain a substantial trade surplus with the United States. The group blames NAFTA for the 20% drop in U.S. cattle operations and the big drop in cattle numbers across the United States.

The 7th round of the renegotiation talks concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement is over with only limited progress made in Mexico City. Only about 6 of the 30 chapters involved in the talks have been settled with major issues like autos and agriculture still on the table. The talks were originally scheduled to be wrapped up by the end of this month but now it looks like it will be sometime in 2019 before they're finished. Negotiators from all 3 countries said President Trump's plan to put those tariffs on aluminum and steel really held back any progress they hoped to make last week. And while the next round is scheduled for sometime next month in Washington, the negotiators couldn't even agree on an exact date to start that 8th round.

Lower corn prices and consistent demand has been good for the ethanol industry, located mainly in Midwest corn country. The Energy Information Agency has just released some numbers that show 2017 was the 5th year in a row that ethanol plants have reported margins over 20 cents a gallon. Last year margins averaged 22 cents a gallon as production averaged over 1 million gallons a day. The last time the ethanol industry saw red numbers was during the drought of 2012-2013 when corn prices went to $8 a bushel.

You won't see Peyton Manning hustling Papa John's pizzas anymore during NFL games. That's because Pizza Hut is now the official pizza of the National Football League. That means Pizza Hut can now use team logos and marks from all 32 NFL teams in its promotions. NFL officials weren't happy when Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter criticized the league for the way it handled player protests during the national anthem at games.
Some area youth livestock judges did very well last weekend at the annual state livestock skillathon contest at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. A team from Jackson County won the mixed competition where teams had members from all age divisions competing. That team included Rachel and Kaden Moseley and Trent and Austin Laufenberg. The Marathon County team took second in that competition. But the team from Marathon County did win the Skillathon contest which is an in depth written contest as well as breed and equipment identification. That team, which will represent Wisconsin at the national Skillathon contest in Louisville in November, includes Stephanie Witberler, Kailen Smerchek, Cortney Zimmerman and Emilie Pauls.

Yesterday, in conjunction with the Eau Claire Farm Show, the Chippewa Valley Technical College held its annual ag skills contest for high school students. The students took exams in 9 different areas of agriculture. And when the scores were figured, Kaden Bowman of Osseo-Fairchild came out on top. Tied for second were Ben Milas and Taylor Licht from Stanley-Boyd with Cordell Black of Menomonie in 4th place and Jaryn Schesel of Stanley-Boyd finishing 5th. The farm show runs again today at the Chippewa Valley Convention Center at Menard's Old Mill. Doors will open at 9 this morning with the show running until 3:30. Parking and admission are free.

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