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Transition

By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block.

The transition to a new President and new team to lead our country is in process.  However, Joe Biden will not step into the White House until January 20th.  In the meantime, there is still work to be done. The federal government will shut down on December 11th unless Congress passes legislation to fund and keep our government operating.  Also, there is still some hope that along with that bill, the Congress will include some money to support those unemployed and those suffering from the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Other unfinished business, what about China?  President Trump has challenged China’s trade policies and policies of international dominance.  Now other countries in Europe, Asia, and around the world may be ready to join with us and demand reform.  Did you know that China is designated as a “developing country” by the World Trade Organization?  Therefore, China is authorized to use mass subsidies and distort world trade.  That is outrageous.  I’m not sure tariffs and a trade war are the best way to hammer China into line, but we did get their attention.  Now, maybe with the support of other developed nations, we can get China to play by some new rules.

Speaking of new rules, we need some new rules for the EPA.  They need to stop giving special favors to the small refineries.  The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that 15 billion gallons of ethanol must be blended.  Maybe President Biden could get this done.  We can only hope that President Biden will keep the pressure on the member nations of NATO to pay their agreed share of the cost.  That share is 2% of their nation’s GDP.  Only 10 member nations out of 30 are paying that.  The European nations need to realize that their security is at risk.  They need to understand it is not just a U.S. responsibility.  I’m afraid that President Trump’s insistence on cutting regulations will be turned back by the new political team.  That could be very costly to our country and to the food and ag industry.  I can just imagine government regulations telling us how to run our farms.

Finally, who will be our next Secretary of Agriculture?  Let’s hope it is someone with close ties to rural America and agriculture.  Next week Randy Russell, a close friend and respected ag advisor here in DC will deliver the commentary.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill.  If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com.

USDA

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