**Senate Republicans narrowly advanced a sweeping package of business and individual tax cuts after a series of last-minute deals, including a bigger reduction in taxes for farms and other small businesses.

As reported in Agri-Pulse, a new deduction on pass-through business income was increased from 17.4 percent to 23 percent, effectively reducing the overall tax bills for S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships.

Farms would qualify for the deduction, although experts say the benefit could be muted for large operations.


Since reopening to U.S. beef last year, South Africa has quickly emerged as a top 10 volume market. This year it is the fifth-largest market for U.S. beef variety meat and second-largest, behind Egypt, for beef livers.

Monty Brown, with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, says while livers currently make up most U.S. beef sales in South Africa, he sees potential for higher-end muscle cuts.

Brown sees opportunities to differentiate the unique attributes of U.S. beef.


**Slowing grass growth at New Zealand dairy pastures is raising the prospect of tighter-than-expected milk supply, opening a possible window for U.S. exports.

The Pasture Growth Index, which measures grass conditions and growth potential, is near the lowest in more than 21 months in New Zealand, the world’s largest dairy exporter.

Kyle Schrad, with FC Stone in Chicago, says any drop in New Zealand’s milk production “should help bolster demand for U.S. exports.”



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