There was another huge anti-Trump rally in D.C., this time focused on climate change. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly requested 24/7 personal security protection from the U.S. Marshalls. That costs $1 million a month but I expect that he needs it. The tree-huggers can get every bit as angry over what they perceive as a threat to Mother Nature as the more radical pro-lifers do abortion doctors. Considering some of the actions Pruitt is taking, his request for security should be complied with. His life is in danger. Pruitt says that they are able to roll back regulation for clean water and clean air because both have gotten a lot better with quality significantly improving in recent years. It doesn’t appear to have dawned on him that the reason that the water and air quality has improved may have been the increased EPA regulation that he is now eliminating. Removing these regulations should be a good way to find out. The EPA is being purged of environmentalists and its enforcement funding is being drained. Likely if air and water quality does deteriorate, with the new staffing at EPA, no one left there would be able or career suicidal enough to tell us.
Back in the Stone Age when I was eating school lunch they were as good as home cooked meals when I was in junior high. You would walk to class smelling fried chicken cooking. Then, in high school they took advantage of government food subsides. They would serve beets, spinach and sauerkraut and other commodity provisions and all that happened is it filled the garbage cans at the end of the lunch hour. They could claim they served food but few ate the lunches. (I was the exception liking sauerkraut getting all that I wanted on those days). Now, beet, spinach and cabbage producers loved these commodity programs as they supported prices, but nevertheless it was a waste of taxpayer money.
For a while things changed again to where schools served lunches: pizza, hot dogs and chips that the kids would eat. Then Michelle Obama decided that the cuisine was un-healthful and helped USDA with new food guidelines for schools that altered menus to more “healthful” fare. To receive federal funding, schools had to meet guidelines for whole grain, sodium and milk. There is nothing wrong with serving healthy food but kids do have to eat it or the program is mute. It didn’t take long for Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to put together a new order that will give schools more flexibility in school lunch menus.
For example, they can serve 1 percent flavored milk instead of fat-free. Kids will actually drink this milk. The order will ease restrictions on calorie limits, salt intake, and restrictions on meat and fat. They can have vending machines and bake sales again. The foodies are frustrated because they had 99 percent of schools in compliance with the restricted food program but what had they accomplished? Perdue said, “If the kids are not eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they are not getting any nutrition-thus undermining the intent of the program.”
This is a lesson that they seem to have to keep on learning over and over.
Argentine President Macri visited the White House April 27 and asked Trump to open the U.S. market to Argentine lemons. The market had been closed for 16 years because of disease concerns but work had been done to open the market before Trump. Donald told Macri that he was “favorably disposed” toward opening our market to Argentine lemons and USDA will lift the ban May 26.
Why was Donald favorably disposed toward Argentine lemons? First off, Sonny Purdue had not been confirmed yet as Ag Secretary but if he had been and he had rolled the map of the U.S. out in the Oval office like he did to explain the impact of NAFTA, he would have told the President that 90 percent of lemons grown in the U.S. are produced in California. California was most of the reason Donald lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. The California citrus industry was reportedly livid over the decision to import Argentine lemons but hey, they didn’t vote for him. He owes them nothing and believe me, he keeps score. One thing on Argentina’s side is that the U.S. runs a trade surplus with the country ($5.4 bln in 2015). Lemon imports won’t impact it all that much.
Something that will impact trade with Argentina a great deal more is the antidumping study of biodiesel imports that the administration will use to block biodiesel imports. Argentina exported 2 mmts of soyoil to the U.S. in 2016 that ended up qualifying for the $1/gallon biodiesel blending credit. It is nuts that U.S. taxpayers would be subsidizing Argentine imports. The biodiesel blender’s credit expired again. The plan around this is to bring it back as a producer’s credit so that imports would not qualify. That may conflict with WTO rules but so-be-it. I think that they have a hurdle to start with to bring the biodiesel credit back at all. Then again they were leaving Big Oil subsidies in the tax code in Trump’s plan.
REG investors need the blender’s credit reinstated and many of them did vote for Trump.
I also prefer California lemons even if they discriminate against Iowa corn ethanol.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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