READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 30th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 30th

Soybeans to Overtake Corn in 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a preview of its long-term planting projections Tuesday. The USDA considers a lot of factors when making the projections, including macroeconomic conditions, GDP growth, and farm policy. An important projection from the early release is the overall number of planted acres. Total planted acres for the eight principal crops and land in the Conservation Reserve Program was 275.8 million acres. The forecast for 2018 calls for an increase in acres for all crops except upland cotton and wheat, with the total increase of 1.8 million acres. From 2019-2027, USDA projects acreage to remain steady between 276 to 278 million acres, slightly lower than the 280 million acres over the last decade. Another big takeaway from the report is that USDA predicts soybeans will overtake corn in planted acreage starting in 2019. Projected acres for both corn and soybeans are both at 91 million acres in 2018. In 2019, soybeans will stay at 91 million acres while corn is projected to drop to 90 million. If this forecast comes true, it would be the first-ever market-driven shift in which soybeans overtake corn in planted acreage in the U.S. USDA says one of the biggest reasons behind the increase in soybean acres is demand for soy products from China


Trump Asks Roberts for Raincheck on NAFTA Discussion

President Trump took a trip to visit Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday with a focus on finding more votes for the tax-cut bill. However, Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts took the opportunity to bring up agricultural concern over the NAFTA negotiations. As the president walked out of the meeting, Politico says he asked Roberts, “How are your farmers?” Roberts told Trump they’re worried about NAFTA and he’d like to talk to the president. Trump responded with, “I’ll get back to you.” Roberts told Politico he wants to work with the president to achieve his goals on NAFTA but, “We’d like to point out that starting a clock on NAFTA is not the answer.” He’s talking about an idea Trump had about notifying Canada and Mexico that the U.S. would be pulling out of the deal in six months. The goal would be to force the other two countries into making concessions in order to keep the deal alive. Roberts says that agriculture has to really come together and demonstrate what withdrawal means in terms of lost jobs and lost opportunity because of the rough economic patch that the ag sector is in.


NAFTA Withdrawal Threat Already Affecting U.S. Trade

Even though the Trump Administration hasn’t followed through on a potential threat to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, the possibility is already affecting the U.S. Grain Trade. The fifth round of talks wrapped up last week in Mexico, with all sides promising to get the deal done “as soon as possible.” U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently said he’s concerned about the lack of headway in the negotiations in spite of reports that some progress has been made to modernize the agreement. Farm groups like the U.S. Grains Council are expressing their concern that the potential threat of withdrawal is already affecting grain trading with other countries. Tom Sleight, president of the U.S. Grains Council, says U.S. competitors are already starting to increase their trade to current U.S. trading partners. “The U.S. is no longer seen as a reliable supplier, which is really alarming to us in terms of the investment we’ve put into making our economies and businesses intertwine over the last 35 years,” Sleight adds. Lighthizer says there’s no evidence that Mexico and Canada are willing to make the concessions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement.


Brazil Company Expecting to Resume Exports to U.S. in 2018

The fourth-largest beef company in Brazil, Minerva SA, expects to resume exporting fresh beef to American in the first quarter of next year. A Reuters report says Minerva Chief Executive Fernando Galletti (Guy-eht’-tee) made the announcement to local media this week, saying he believes it because of his company’s communication with the government. Galletti says, “That’s the expectation we are hearing from the agriculture ministry.” The ministry didn’t respond to a Reuters request for comment. USDA originally halted Brazilian beef imports in June of this year after a large part of Brazilian shipments didn’t pass safety inspections. USDA said at that time that the ban would stay in place until the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry took action to correct problems with their exports. The Brazilian beef industry received another blow last week when Russia placed a ban on both beef and pork imports. The ban means Minerva will have to supply Russia with beef and pork exports from plants outside of Brazil. Even as exports are potentially set to resume to the U.S. next year, Galletti says the situation with Russia remains unchanged.


Canada Looking to Boost Pork Exports to China

A recent ten-day trade mission to China gave Canada an opportunity to showcase its pork products in a market of 1.3 billion people hungry for more pork. Farm Scape Dot Com says Federal Ag Trade Minister Lawrence McCauley led the mission, accompanied by multiple representatives of the Canadian pork industry, which stopped in three cities over the ten-day trip. Neil Ketilson, Chair of Canada Pork International, says Canada considers China an extremely important market for its pork. He says, “Pork is the meat of choice in China. They consume 50 percent of the world’s pork supply. As their economy continues to grow, they’re continuing to expand their imports.” Last year, China was the third-largest importer of Canadian pork, purchasing $500 million worth of the product. He says China consumes all of the most popular cuts of pork, but the market is also there for products the western hemisphere doesn’t typically consume. Those products include lungs, heart, and liver. Ketilson says the mission was an important opportunity to showcase Canadian pork to a large number of potential pork buyers and consumers during a short trip.


NCBA Membership Drive Encourages Commitment

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has helped the industry secure several wins in Washington, D.C., including against the “Waters of the United States” rule and the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 rule. The NCBA also played a role in helping American beef exports to return to China. The organization is asking it’s members to help with recruiting new members to the organization during it’s “Just Ask” fall membership drive. NCBA is asking its members to recruit at least one new member from their community. The goal is to help encourage and sustain support for NCBA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. NCBA President Craig Uden says, “NCBA worked diligently this year to secure several major policy victories that ensure that cattlemen and women will be able to continue their operations successfully. While that’s important, NCBA is encouraging more cattle producers to join the fight and engage on the issues that are critical to the future viability of our industry.” Issues the cattlemen are currently working on include tax reform, the Endangered Species Act, and establishing strong new foreign markets with no unfair trade restrictions on American beef.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service