READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, August 26th…

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China’s Zika Rules Raise Fears for U.S. Exporters

China’s recent move to add the U.S. to a list of Zika-infected countries is worrying U.S. exporters. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports U.S. exporters fear they will be required to fumigate all containers destined for China, costing an estimated $100 to $200 per container. Exporters who ship everything from agriculture products and chemicals to engine parts say they fear that conflicting information from Chinese customs officials about the new requirements could result in delays and lost business. Small and medium exporters say they stand to be hurt the most from any supply-chain disruptions. American exporters ship about 5.1 million containers, worth about $255 billion a year to China, according to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.


Chicago Tribune Editorial: Pacific Trade good for the Midwest

The Chicago Tribune editorial board says “global trade is the reality, and should be promoted.” Published this week, an editorial by the Tribune says failure by Congress to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership would leave farmers in the Midwest vulnerable because trade is a competitive game and market share is always in flux. The editorial calls trade a healthy form of competition. The TPP trade agreement represents 40 percent of global gross domestic product and would mean billions of dollars in added exports and farm income for the United States. President Obama will push for passage of TPP during the lame-duck session of Congress, following the November elections. However, as the Tribune points out, trade has gotten a dirty name this election cycle, blamed for gutting American factories when nearly every American manufacturing job that disappears is “a victim of productivity gains,” not foreign competition.


Sugar Industry Responds to Recommendations for Added Sugars

The sugar industry is fighting back against the American Heart Association’s strict new recommendations for added sugars for kids. The Sugar Association described the guidelines as “baffling” and said the added sugars dialogue “has lost its scientific integrity.” Politico reports that the trade group scolded the American Heart Association for going beyond what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend — that consumers should limit calories from added sugars to 10 percent of daily intake. In regards to the recommendations, the Sugar Association asks “where is the science to support this?” The Sugar Association questioned why the Heart Association’s guidance fails to align with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which the association acknowledges that “sweetness can offer an effective tool to promote consumption of nutrient-dense foods and beverages.”

Algeria Returns to U.S. Corn

U.S. corn sales to Algeria are making a strong showing in 2016, doubling 2014-15 marketing year imports. A U.S. Department of Agriculture’ export sales report showed 527,000 metric tons—20.7 million bushels—of U.S. corn being exported to Algeria in the 2015-16 marketing year, more than double the sales from the last marketing year of 238,000 metric tons. The U.S. Grains Council says while Algeria is a relatively small market in terms of total U.S. corn exports, Algeria and its neighbors in North Africa show potential for growth that the Council is seeking to capture through marketeting. Among the Council’s coming programs are procurement courses for Algerian buyers of U.S. corn, and a workshop to continue to provide traders with the latest data on the U.S. corn crop and pricing.


CFTC Approves First Exchange for Hemp Derivatives

Trading hemp derivatives is becoming a reality in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved the first exchange for hemp derivatives when it allowed Seed SEF to register a swap execution facility, which is a trading platform. The hemp industry has long sought to distance the crop from marijuana, hemp’s biological cousin. Hemp contains less than .3 percent of THC, the compound that produces a high in marijuana. Hemp is used in an array of products from biofuels to clothing. Since 2014, the federal government has allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and 30 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp. But the Drug Enforcement Administration still includes industrial hemp in its schedule of controlled substances along with marijuana, presenting legal risks to those who grow and sell it unless they are licensed by their states.

Using Chickens to Repel Mosquitos

Scientists say malaria-transmitting mosquitoes actively avoid feeding on certain animal species such as chickens, using their sense of smell. The new findings show odors emitted by chickens may provide protection for humans at risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases. Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences says the research indicates that, unlike humans, cattle, goats and sheep, chickens are a non-host species and mosquitoes have developed ways of distinguishing them from host species. The research team collected data on the population of human and domestic animals in three Ethiopian villages. Meatingplace reports the researchers found that significantly fewer mosquitoes were caught in traps baited with chicken compounds than in other traps.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service