Ag Chat with Scott Schultz- January 20

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) --
There could be a third round of trade-loss payments made to U.S. farmers despite the signing of a phase one trade deal with China. U.S. agriculture secretary said that third round could be issued soon, depending upon actions by the federal Office of Management and Budget. Two rounds already have been released to help American farmers who suffered financial losses because of the U.S.-China trade war that resulted after the Trump Administration increased import tariffs last year on a wide range of Chinese products. China retaliated by halting purchases of U.S. products, with American farmers taking much of the brunt of those actions. As part of the phase one agreement, Administration officials have said China has committed to make $40 billion in U.S. agriculture purchases during the next two years.

Some of Wisconsin's top young farmers will gather in the area this week for the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award program. A half-dozen young farm couples selected in December as finalists for the 66th annual award will attend workshops and interviews Friday and Saturday, with the winner named Saturday night at the Avalon Hotel and Conference Center at Chippewa Falls. The 2019 winners were Adam and Chrissy Seibel of Bloomer; they'll be participating Feb. 6-9 in Connecticut for the National Outstanding Young Farmer award. The 2021 National Outstanding Young Farmer presentation will be in Green Bay.

Farm and food groups are studying the latest changes the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made to the nation's school-lunch program regulations. Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday announced changes he said would give schools more flexibility in what the school-lunch programs can serve, which includes what he called an expansion in allowable vegetables that can be served. The flexibility also will create less food waste, he said. The changes are more steps away from Obama Administration rules set up to improve nutritional and health values in federally supported school-lunch programs.

Recently elected Wisconsin Farm Bureau president Joe Bragger of Independence has been named to the American Farm Bureau's Water Advisory Committee. The committee will help set the organization's policy on Clean Water Act issues, national and regional water storage issues flood control and Army Corps of Engineers efforts.