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Congress must pass USMCA soon

Congress should move promptly to pass the new U.S. trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. The Trump administration and congressional Democrats need to wind up negotiations now so the process can move forward.

The proposed trade agreement would maintain the existing free trade benefits under NAFTA and make various improvements. It would address e-commerce for the first time, safeguard intellectual property and enable customs efficiencies.

Passing the agreement would provide a measure of much-needed stability in the agricultural sector, which has been buffeted by trade tensions and weak prices. The longer the delay in approval, the worse for ag producers in terms of uncertainty.

Mexico and Canada "are the U.S. corn industry's largest, most reliable market," the National Corn Growers Association notes. Mexico is the No. 1 importer of Nebraska corn and wheat, and it's No. 2 for Nebraska's exports of soybeans and soybean products, dry edible beans, sorghum and distillers grains.

Now is the time for the administration and lawmakers to get this agreement across the finish line, for the sake of U.S. ag producers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

- Omaha World-Herald


Don’t ignore plague of suicide

Some stories we need to hear for our own good, and, like it or not, we're responsible for our reaction.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years of age, the fourth-leading cause among people 35 to 54 and the eighth-leading cause among people 55 to 64 years of age.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death for all ages in the United States, responsible for nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016, approximately one every 12 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 129 deaths by suicide occur per day, and there are an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts per year.

Often lost in the gun debate is the fact that the person most likely to be killed by a gun is the owner. Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.

In September, National Suicide Prevention Month, don’t flip the channel, turn the page or click a different link if the subject of suicide comes up.

- McCook Daily Gazette


Outbreak shows need to end trade war

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China should be filtering down to pork producers, but another development is easing the blow while injecting uncertainty into the industry.

China slapped tariffs of 50% on American pig products, curtailing U.S. access to the world's largest market for pork consumption. But wholesale pork prices continue to rise — they're up 60% this year — because an outbreak of African swine fever is decimating China's own swine population and forcing the company to lean heavily on imports.

By some estimates, China's total meat imports increased 90% in July, compared to the same period last year. Even if those imports come from countries other than the United States, our domestic producers feel the impact as China's appetite for pork drives up prices worldwide.

The longer-term issue centers on a need to keep African swine fever out of the United States. A domestic outbreak could cost the U.S. pork industry as much as $8 billion a year, according to the National Pork Board.

This outbreak shows how much the world, and not just U.S. producers, need a deal to end this trade war.

- St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press

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