READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 4th…

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USDA Report shows Biobased Industry Contributes Billions to U.S. Economy

A new report released Monday by the Department of Agriculture shows the U.S. biobased industry in 2014 contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to America’s recovering economy. The report also indicates that the sector grew from 2013 to 2014, creating or supporting an additional 220,000 jobs and $24 billion over that period. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the report shows America has an appetite for everyday products—including plastic bottles, textiles, cleaning supplies and more—made from renewable sources. The new report shows that the industry directly supported 1.53 million jobs in 2014, with each job in the industry responsible for generating 1.76 jobs in other sectors. In 2013, the industry was found to contribute $369 billion and four million jobs to the U.S. economy. Vilsack announced the report Monday at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.


China May Impose Duties to Support Domestic Soybean Production

China may soon impose measures to protect its soybean industry, based on remarks from a leading figure in the country’s agricultural production sector. A trade official at China’s Agriculture Ministry said it might be necessary to introduce anti-dumping tariffs and other measures to curb imports and protect domestic production. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports trade officials in China have long talked about protecting China’s agricultural industries, both to ensure food security and to alleviate poverty, which is most prominent in China’s rural areas. However, one industry contact questioned the potential moves, questioning “they want to protect their domestic industry and their consumers?” Noting that  import protection leads to higher prices, the source said the talk “sounds more like jawboning prices down further.”


U.S. District Court Dismisses HSUS Lawsuit on Regulating CAFO Emissions

A U.S. District Court last week dismissed a Humane Society of the United States lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the agency would not regulate confined animal feeding operations or CAFOs. The group requested in 2009 that EPA begin rulemaking under the Clean Air Act to regulate air emissions from CAFOs. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out the case because the plaintiffs did not give EPA 180-days’ notice of their intent to sue, which is required. In 2006, nearly 1,900 pork producers and other livestock and poultry farmers entered into agreements with EPA, settling what the agency believed were issues with air emissions associated with livestock production. However, the National Pork Producers Council says the studies were blocked by activist groups that filed the lawsuit. HSUS indicated it would re-file the lawsuit after providing the 180 days’ notice.

Hog Futures the Biggest Commodity Loser in 2016

A new report by Bloomberg says hog futures were the worst investment in commodities last quarter and the past year. That’s because there are too many pigs coming to market, forcing slaughterhouses to add weekend shifts in November and December. Those increased supplies come at a time of sluggish export demand. China more than doubled U.S. pork purchases in the first half of the year but has now put the brakes on buying. Bloomberg further notes that hog futures also face devaluation of the peso which threatens shipments to Mexico, the destination for 40 percent of U.S. hams. PCI Advisory Services broker Dustin Guy says “we have a black cloud over the market as a whole,” as the slaughter numbers have scared some investment positions away. The Department of Agriculture’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from last week showed there were 70.9 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, up two percent from last September and four percent higher than June of this year.

Fruit Growers Fight for Market Share in China

Demand for fruit in China continues to rapidly grow and U.S. exporters are fighting for market share. A report by the Department of Agriculture shows exports rose threefold to 3.8 million metric tons in 2015, representing nearly seven percent of total market share by value. Politico says that while the U.S. continues to be a major supplier of fruit like bananas, grapes, oranges and apples to China, it faces increasing competition from both Chinese growers and neighbors of Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Combined, those three countries supply more than half of China’s fresh fruits each year. Still, USDA researchers say the export outlook to China remains good as the nation carries out a five-year plan to move citizens from rural areas to cities and modernize its agriculture industry. Analysts say the move means consumers will have more purchasing power.

USDA Launches New Apprenticeship Program Targeting Veterans

The Department of Agriculture announced a new jobs program that will use the national apprenticeship system to hire new employees as agricultural commodity graders. The graders are a key role in USDA’s mission to protect American consumers. The program, piloted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, combines on-the-job training with theoretical and practical instruction in the classroom and online. Apprentices who complete the paid training program will meet the qualifications for a position as a USDA Agricultural Commodities Grader. USDA employs more than 11,000 veterans and since 2009 has provided more than $505 million in direct farm loans to help more than 7,400 veterans start, maintain or grow their farming operations. Find more information online at AMS dot USDA dot gov (

SOURCE: NAFB News Service