READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 13th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 13th

USDA Releases July WASDE, Crop Production Reports

The recent World Agriculture Supply and Demand report by the Department of Agriculture projects corn and soybean farmers will grow more crop than previously anticipated. USDA on Wednesday increased 2017-18 corn production to an estimated 14.255 billion bushels and soybean production to 4.26 billion bushels. Corn production came in slightly above the highest pre-report estimates while soybean production came in higher than the pre-report average estimate as well, according to DTN-The Progressive Farmer. The farm price for the 2017-18 soybean crop was pegged at an average of $9.40 a bushel, a 10-cent bump from last month’s estimate. For corn, USDA estimated an average of $3.30 a bushel, down 10 cents from earlier estimates. USDA also raised All-Winter Wheat production to 1.279 billion bushels, up 29 million bushels from the June report estimate.         

NAFTA Boosted Canada’s Corn Syrup Consumption

A new study claims the North American Free Trade Agreement has drastically changed the Canadian diet by boosting consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. The peer-reviewed study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that as tariffs on high-fructose corn syrup dropped over a four-year period, consumption grew from 21.2 calories of corn syrup per day in 1994 to 62.9 calories-per-day by 1998. The study linked the increase as a possible contributing factor to increasing obesity and diabetes rates over that time. The connection between free-trade agreements and health has not been well-studied, according to the study’s researchers, who say that to date, most research on globalization and nutrition has examined the effects of foreign direct investment: how consumption patterns change when multinational food companies, such as Coca-Cola, begin producing and advertising in new markets. Former U.S. Department of Agriculture chief economist Joe Glauber told the Washington Post that: “This connection between trade and nutrition is getting to be a very big question,” while cautioning that the research is in its early days. High fructose corn syrup is commonly used as a sweetener in soft drinks.


Politico: Nebraska Ag Director Being Considered for USDA Under Secretary

Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach (eye-bah) is said to be in the running for a top post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Politico reports that several unnamed sources say Ibach is being considered, which would put yet another Midwestern farmer at the top of the department. Ibach has led the Nebraska Agriculture Department since 2005. Politico speculates that Ibach is most likely in the running for undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, which oversees the Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney are reported to be in the running for the newly created undersecretary posts for domestic farm services and trade, respectively. Also, Iowa economist Sam Clovis, a longtime Trump ally, is said to be the pick for the undersecretary for research, education and economics.

Former U.S. Ag Trade Chief Named to University of Nebraska Position

Former U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter was recently named as a diplomat in residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The former Obama-era trade negotiator will work with leadership from the university’s College of Law, College of Business and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to launch the Clayton K. Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance in her new role, according to the Hagstrom Report. Vetter, who has worked in the Agriculture Department and on Capitol Hill, grew up on a Nebraska family farm, received her undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master of public affairs degree and a certificate in science, technology and environmental policy from Princeton University. Yeutter, a former U.S. trade representative and Agriculture secretary, was a Nebraska native and Nebraska alumnus who died in March.

Germany Pork Consumption at 11 Year Low

Pork consumption in Germany has fell to an 11 year low, as the nation is cutting back on the world-recognized Bratwurst and hot dogs in favor for more vegetables. Bloomberg News reports Germans last year consumed the smallest amount of pork since at least 2005, and the drop will continue in 2017. Pork still accounts for more than half the meat eaten in Europe’s top economy, but pork is losing market share to poultry and beef and competing more with vegetarian options at shops and restaurants. The shift, according to researchers, reflects changing German attitudes about healthier diets and climate-friendly, sustainable food production. There’s also been an influx of refugees who don’t eat pork. Total pork consumption in Germany has plunged 10 percent since 2011, to about two million tons last year, according to data compiled by researcher Euromonitor International. Over the same period, demand has increased in neighboring Poland, France and Austria.

Chinese Fund Purchasing Dow Seed Business in Brazil

A Chinese investment fund has paid $1.1 billion to purchase Dow Chemical Company’s corn seed business in Brazil, a move Reuters calls a further sign of China’s fast-expanding role in the global seed sector. The assets, which generated revenue of about $287 million in 2016, are being sold by Dow to meet conditions set by U.S. antitrust regulators for its $130 billion merger with DuPont. The deal will boost China’s share of the global seed business, which now includes the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta by state-owned ChemChina. ChemChina officials said recently the company is looking to snap up seed assets that rival Bayer must sell to gain regulatory approval for its takeover of Monsanto.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service