Ag Policy Blog

DTN's Annual 2016 Policy Outlook

By Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor

The award for Best Annual Forecast goes to DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom. No, wait a minute, Steve. You read the card wrong. The award goes to Chris Clayton.

Me? Ohmygosh! I never dreamed it could happen. You love me, you really love me.

Sorry Darin. Maybe next year.

And with that, it's time to unveil my annual exclusive outlook for top agriculture and policy news stories of 2016:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spends most of his last year in office trying to resolve issues over GMO labeling. He ends up in mental therapy before becoming the new president of AGree.

Hillary Clinton eventually wins the Democratic presidential nomination, but she loses the Iowa Caucuses after photos surface of Bill Clinton at a Rose Bowl after-party with the Hawkeye cheer squad.

A small meat locker in Hays, Kansas, adds 1,000 employees and has one of the nation's biggest IPOs of the year after consumers embrace its marketing campaign with actor Sam Eliot and the slogan, "Beef, 100% Born and Raised in the U.S.A." Tyson, JBS and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sue the company in the WTO.

Top U.S. ag trade negotiator Darci Vetter wins widespread praise for resolving the elusive geographical indicator problem with the European Union. Parmesan cheese in the U.S. will now be spelled "Parmezian." Feta is now "Fetta."

McDonald's buys back its stake in Chipotle because "Food with Integrity" also should mean "Food without E. coli."

New Orleans bans Commodity Classic from the city after 7,500 farmers and industry partners do more damage to Bourbon Street than Hurricane Katrina.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is arrested and charged with violating the Clean Water Act after a federal judge rules that EPA's toxic river spills are subject to the waters of the U.S. rule.

EPA quietly ditches the waters of the U.S. rule.

Oil drilling and shipping take off after the end of the export ban, leading to one of the industry's biggest spills in history. In the midst of contaminated water, dead wildlife and ruined landscape, Environmental Working Group's Scott Faber reminds everyone that gasoline is better for the environment than corn ethanol.

Farmers figure out how ARC-County works. NASS reports a record response to its annual survey with county yields for corn and soybeans coming in surprisingly low.

Cotton planting increases from 8.5 million acres to 16 million acres thanks to commodity certificates and USDA designating cottonseed as an oilseed eligible for PLC payments. The U.S. also files its annual report assuring the World Trade Organization that none of its commodity programs are market-distorting.

NASS tries to create a marijuana acreage and production report, but can't find anyone to pass the drug screening needed to oversee the analysis.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe builds a snowman on the Senate floor after a violent July snowstorm hits Washington, D.C.

Mergers continue in the seed business as the blockbuster "SynDowDuPontSanto" Corp. gets an OK from the Department of Justice.

The Obama administration announces in its final months it will revisit issues over corporate consolidation in agriculture.

President-Elect Trump and Vice President-elect Cruz decline to name a new agriculture secretary because USDA will be eliminated in the FY 2018 spending bill.

In a related item, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a tighter immigration policy and plans to build a 6,437-kilometer wall along the country's southern border.

The TransPacific Partnership fails by one vote in the U.S. Senate during the December lame-duck. Vermont's Bernie Sanders is seen giving the bird as he casts the deciding vote.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.


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