Ag Policy Blog

Perdue on Tour as Farm Bill, NAFTA Deadline Loom

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is undertaking his fourth “Back to Our Roots” tour this week as the House attempts to take up the farm bill and a Thursday deadline looms for the U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators to complete a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement if Congress is going to consider it this year.

Perdue will make stops in New Mexico today and continue on to Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska through Thursday.

Farm bill schedule

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to write a rule on general debate for the farm bill on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and to consider how to handle amendments on the bill on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Friday that the House would take up the farm bill beginning Wednesday. The House is scheduled to be in session until 3 p.m. on Friday.

The House Rules Committee website lists 103 farm bill amendments that have been filed.

NAFTA deadline Thursday

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said last week that Congress must have “the paper — not just an agreement, we have to have the paper — from USTR by May 17 for us to vote on it this year, in December, in the lame duck.”

But prospects do not look good for achieving an agreement by that deadline.

On Friday, President Donald Trump again called NAFTA a “horrible, horrible disaster,” adding that Canada and Mexico “don’t like to lose the golden goose. But NAFTA has been a horrible, horrible disaster for this country. And we’ll see if we can make it reasonable.”

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Friday that she and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will be “on call” and ready to return to Washington if it looks like an agreement is nearing, Washington Trade Daily reported.

Perdue’s tour schedule

Perdue is scheduled to begin his tour in New Mexico today by visiting the Santa Fe National Forest headquarters to greet employees and cooperators during the annual Forest Management Plan consultation meeting. Then he will tour the Santa Fe Watershed with Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, and participate in a roundtable discussion with New Mexico agriculture leaders in the state Capitol.

Later today Perdue is scheduled to visit Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford, Colo.

Perdue will continue his visit to Colorado Tuesday with a visit to Food Maven, a food distribution center in Colorado Springs, and participate in a luncheon with state officials and American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall at the Colorado Agriculture Department in Broomfield. The luncheon is hosted by the Colorado Ag Council.

Tuesday afternoon, Perdue and Duvall will attend a labor roundtable at Sakata Farms in Brighton, Colo. He will also hold a media availability with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

Later Perdue and Duvall will tour the headquarters of Leprino Foods in Greeley, Colo.

On Wednesday, Perdue will visit the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation & National Seed Storage Lab in Fort Collins, Colo. Then, also

in Fort Collins, he will visit the Animal and Plant Health Service National Wildlife Research Center to hear an overview of the national feral swine damage management program and the feral swine research program.

Perdue also will tour the facility’s genetics and toxicology labs, see a drone/ unmanned aircraft systems demonstration, and a rabies research remote darting demonstration.

Later on Wednesday, in Cheyenne, Wyo., Perdue will visit Climb Wyoming, a program that trains women in indus¬trial systems tech¬nol¬ogy, con¬struc¬tion trades and office and healthcare careers, before participating in a roundtable discussion with program graduates, employer partners, training providers, and other stakeholders.

While In Cheyenne, Perdue will also participate in a roundtable discussion with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and other Wyoming agriculture stakeholders.

On Thursday in Alliance, Neb., Perdue and Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts will visit Ackerman Ag Service and Supply and participate in a discussion on rural issues with local leaders.

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