READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 23rd…

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Vietnam: TPP Not Open for Renegotiation

Trade negotiators from Vietnam say the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is not open to renegotiation, pushing back against calls from select U.S. politicians that say the deal needs amended to their liking. Bloomberg reports a Vietnam trade official said the agreement strikes the best possible balance among the interests of the deal’s 12 members. Amid election-year politics, several lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have said they will note vote for TPP. Further, both candidates for President have taken stabs against the trade deal, putting approval in jeopardy. The Obama Administration is expected to send a bill that would authorize the trade agreement to Congress following the November elections.

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Senator Says TPP Will be A ‘Challenge’

One U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee member is not optimistic the Trans-Pacific Partnership will pass Congress. Senate Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is a proponent of trade, but says in regards to TPP “I think it’s going to be a challenge.” Her comments come despite a plan by the Obama Administration to send the agreement to Congress soon. North Dakota farmers stand to benefit from the trade agreement through agricultural exports. However, Politico reports as a result of the campaign-influenced climate in Congress, Heitkamp says “I don’t hold out a lot of hope that we can get TPP done — but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be wrong.”

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U.S. Panel Clears Syngenta Takeover by ChemChina

The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has given its approval to the ChemChina takeover of Syngenta. Reuters says the decision removes significant uncertainty over the takeover of the world’s largest pesticides maker after the two companies agreed to a deal in February. However, Syngenta did not disclose whether it had made concessions to secure approval. If completed, the $43 billion takeover would be the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company. Syngenta reiterated the company expects to finalize the deal by the end of the year. Syngenta says closing the transaction is still subject to “anti-trust review by numerous regulators around the world and other customary closing conditions.”

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John Deere Slowing Tractor, Combine Production

Deere & Company said last week production at its Waterloo, Iowa plant will be cut until at least October. The move comes as the world’s largest maker of farm equipment waits for used inventory levels to decrease at many of its dealerships. The Des Moines Register reports work hours at the Waterloo tractor manufacturing facility will drop 20 percent during Deere’s fourth quarter, compared with a year ago. Cuts will be even deeper at its Harvester Works plant in East Moline, Illinois, where the combine facility expects production hours to be down about 60 percent. A Deere spokesperson attributed the move to low commodity prices, weakening farm income and elevated used equipment levels. Overall, agricultural equipment sales are expected to be down 15 to 20 percent this year in the United States and Canada, according to the company. 

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Pesticide Resistant Whitefly Poses Threat to U.S. Crops

Fruit and Vegetable growers are raising concerns over an invasive whitefly that is resistant to pesticides and carries crop-devastating viruses. The Q-biotype whitefly was found outdoors within the U.S. for the first time this spring in Florida. Its discovery outdoors comes more than a decade after it was first found in a U.S. retail nursery in Arizona. Since 2005, the whitefly has also been found in about two dozen U.S. states, but only in greenhouses. The Q-biotype whitefly is already considered a major invasive pest worldwide. Researchers say pest poses a serious threat to crops such as tomatoes, beans, squash, cotton and melons. Whiteflies draw fluid out of a plant’s leaves, and excrete a sticky residue that allows fungus to grow, turning the leaves black and making it harder for them to photosynthesize. University of Florida researchers say the whiteflies have been found in more than 40 locations across the state, including residences, wholesale nurseries and retail plant outlets.

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U.S. Egg Production up Nine Percent in July

United States egg production totaled 8.5 billion during July, up nine percent from last year. The Department of Agriculture released the monthly U.S. Chicken and Eggs production report Monday. The agency says production included 7.36 billion table eggs, and 1.1 billion hatching eggs, of which one billion were broiler-type and 97 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during July 2016 averaged 358 million, up seven percent from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,378 eggs, up two percent from July of 2015. Egg production in the U.S. has been increasing following the decline high pathogenic avian influenza. HPAI shot egg prices higher in 2015 as the outbreak decreased the table-egg-laying flocks in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest by 11 percent.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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