READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 12th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 12th

Corn Market May Need Disruption

A banking official from Nebraska says the market may need “some disruption in production,” to reach higher prices for corn. Tom Jensen of First National Bank of Omaha told the Omaha-World Herald there is nothing on the horizon to increase corn prices, unless something disrupts the market. A disruption of the corn market means, generally, some form of natural disaster, such as drought or wide-spread storm damage. Meanwhile, assurances around U.S. foreign trade policy are lacking, and that has some bankers convinced that prices could go even lower, according to a rural Nebraska banker, who says “being able to maintain our markets as trade agreements potentially fall away could be hard and have a bad impact on prices.”

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Farm Bill Coming Early Next Year

House Agriculture Committee leadership says the 2018 farm bill should be ready to move in the first quarter of next year. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson told the Red River Farm Network that markup on the bill will begin at the end of January, or the first part of February. A spokesperson for Committee Chairman Mike Conaway could not confirm the timing, but did say the bill will be ready in the first quarter of 2018. Peterson expects the bill to reach the House floor in February or March. That would follow a timeline outlined by Conaway earlier this year, whose office started working on the farm bill late this fall. Conaway said in August that he expected the farm bill to be ready for a House vote in early 2018.

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Pilot Program Gives Canada Beef and Pork Exports Expanded Access to China

A pilot program is allowing exporters of Canadian beef and pork expanded access to China. The bilateral pilot project announced Monday will expand access to China for Canadian chilled beef and pork, and commit China and Canada to “fully implementing” an agreement reached last year to expand market access for Canadian frozen bone-in beef, according to AgCanada. Canadian beef exports until now have been limited to frozen boneless beef, with bone-in access approved last year, subject to setting up documentation requirements. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says China represents “massive potential” for Canada, and the Canadian Pork Council says the announcement comes at a “critical time” for the industry. Canada’s pork sector ships more than 70 percent of its product out of the country, and China is the second-biggest volume export market after the United States.

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Record Number of Soybean Processing Facilities Under Construction

As global demand for soybeans increase, so does the need for soy processing facilities. Reuters points out that U.S. agricultural cooperatives are building new soybean crushing plants at the fastest rate in two decades. That comes as U.S. farmers again are predicted to plant a record number of soybean acres next year. U.S. processors are expected to open plants with capacity to process at least 120 million bushels of soybeans in 2019, up around five percent from existing capacity of an estimated 1.9 billion bushels. The industry attributes the boom to the growth worldwide in the number of consumers with income to spend on pork and chicken, which has led to a rapid rise in demand for animal feed products. U.S. soy plantings totaled a record 90.2 million acres this year and the USDA in a preliminary forecast set plantings next year at 91.0 million acres.

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Wool Exports Increase 24 Percent

Wool exports increased 24 percent during the 2017 marketing year. Exports of U.S. wool increased 8.64 million lbs. to total more than 25 million lbs. for the year. The American Sheep Industry Association says work in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service has been “vital in the expansion of American wool exports.” China remains the top export destination with a very significant increase of 51.3 percent in United States exports. Meanwhile, Western Europe was the second-ranked destination, followed by India and Eastern Europe. Stronger world demand and steady world wool production also resulted in record wool prices as indicated by the Australian Eastern Market Indicator. In U.S. dollars, this represented a 30.7-percent increase year-on-year as of early November, and prices have continued to increase.

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EU to Lists Objections to Bayer-Monsanto Deal

The European Union is setting up potential reasons to reject Bayer AG’s takeover of Monsanto. This week, the EU is expected to send Bayer a so-called statement of objections that list potential reasons for the EU to block the $66 billion proposal. Bloomberg News reports regulators are looking “very carefully” at the competition issues in the combination of Bayer and Monsanto to make sure farmers still have choice and “affordable prices, both when it comes to seeds and pesticides.” A precise list of objections, however, should allow Bayer and Monsanto the opportunity to address and correct issues of concern by regulators. Representatives from Bayer and Monsanto met with EU regulators last week, and are in regular contact with EU officials.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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