READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 12th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

NAFTA Replacement Predicted to Boost Protein Exports

Industry experts say the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement could lead to modest export gains for U.S. poultry, pork, and beef. A new report from CoBank says the agreement is expected to keep tariffs on food and agriculture between the three countries at zero. The report says the U.S. chicken sector exports are predicted to rise 47,000 metric tons in Canada during the first year of the USMCA. U.S. turkey shipments are predicted to increase by 1,000 metric tons annually. The CoBank report says the major holdup to increasing growth in other U.S. protein sectors is the pending removal of Canadian tariffs on prepared beef products, as well as Mexican tariffs on pork that were also put in place earlier this year. The report also says that the USMCA seems to be a combination of terms from NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the president dumped just days after taking office. CoBank expects the new USMCA agreement to be ratified by all three countries sometime in 2019.

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Hurricane Michael’s High Winds Threaten Carolina Cotton Crops

North and South Carolina farmers are preparing for a different hurricane-related challenge than they faced from Hurricane Florence. The biggest challenge from Florence was very heavy rainfall that flooded fields and livestock operations. USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says Michael’s high-powered winds are the big story of this storm. Politico says the category four storm strength makes it the most intense storm to hit the Florida panhandle. It was downgraded to category one while moving into Georgia and heading to the Carolinas. Less than 10 percent of the cotton had already been harvested in both Georgia and the Carolinas. Cotton from the southeastern U.S. makes up 30 percent of the country’s total production. Between the harsh weather and the 25 percent tariff on cotton going into China during the trade war, growers are literally caught between a rock and a “wet” place. Wayne Boseman, president of the Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative, says they started off the year doing well. “Now, the hurricane is taking away the crop and the trade war is taking away the price,” Boseman says. “That combination is putting farmers in severe financial constraints.”

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Casey’s Announces Partnership with Prime the Pump

The Casey’s General Store chain announced a new partnership with Prime the Pump, a Growth Energy partner and nonprofit organization dedicated to helping give more consumers E15 at their local pumps. Casey’s says it will expand the offering of E15 to potentially more than 500 of its locations over the next few years. E15 is currently approved for nine out of ten cars on the road today and American drivers have surpassed five billion miles on it. Nathaniel Doddridge, Casey’s Director of Fuels, says, “We’re excited to partner with Prime the Pump and Growth Energy to build on the success and accelerate the offering of E15 to more of our customers.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says they’re very happy to see the partnership between Prime the Pump and Casey’s, saying they’re taking it to record-breaking heights to give more American drivers access to a clean-burning option at the pump. “Casey’s has seen the value E15 brings to their business and their customers, and will soon become the nation’s largest E15 retailer,” she says. “The announcement underscores the critical need for lawmakers to approve the year-round use of E15.”

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Judge May Slash Award in California Glyphosate Cancer Case

Bayer won a tentative ruling that could slash most of the $289 million dollar award in the California trial regarding claims that glyphosate in Roundup causes cancer. A California judge is also considering the possibility of ordering a new trial on whether the company is really at fault for an ex-school groundskeeper’s illness. During a Bayer challenge in a San Francisco court this week, a judge says she’s inclined to set aside $250 million in punitive damages against Monsanto, which was recently acquired by Bayer. A Bloomberg report says the ruling could put some momentum back in Monsanto’s favor as the company prepares to defend itself against thousands of similar lawsuits. The California Superior Court Judge says even if she doesn’t set aside the punitive damages, she is likely to grant a new trial “on the grounds of insufficiency of the evidence to justify the award for punitive damages.” She also questioned whether the evidence in the first trial actually supported the jury’s conclusion that Bayer was liable for the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma based on his exposure to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup. The Bloomberg report says if the company persuades the judge to slash or eliminate the previous verdict, it might make some plaintiffs less likely to move ahead with their claims.   

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U.S. Farm Equipment Sales Rises in September

The Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s monthly “Flash Report” says U.S. sales of all tractors back in September were up two percent compared to the same time frame in 2017. For the first nine months in 2018, a total of 181,515 tractors were sold, which compares to 168,651 sold through the first nine months of 2017. That represents an eight percent increase for the year. For September, the smaller two-wheel drive tractor (under 40 HP) sales were up two percent over last year. Tractors between 40 and 100 horsepower sales were down seven percent. Sales of two-wheel drive tractors over 100 horsepower were up 29 percent, while four-wheel drive tractors were up 52 percent. For the year, smaller two-wheel drive tractor sales were up 10 percent, while 40 through 100 horsepower tractor sales were up two percent. Sales of two-wheel drive 100-horsepower tractors were up nine percent. Four-wheel drive tractors were up 19 percent. Combine sales were up nine percent for the month and 21 percent over the year.

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WASDE Anticipates Lower Harvests for Corn and Soybeans

The October World Ag Supply and Demand report predicts corn and soybean yields will both be lower than previously expected. Corn production is forecast at 14.78 billion bushels, down 49 million bushels due to a reduced yield forecast. Corn supplies going into harvest are forecast to be a record-high number, exports were raised by 75 million bushels, and USDA also forecast reduced feed and residual use. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.50 per bushel. Soybean production is forecast at 4.69 billion bushels, down 3.5 million as higher yields will be offset by lower harvested area. The season-average soybean price is predicted to range from $7.35 to $9.85 per bushel, unchanged from the previous month. The wheat forecast predicts larger supplies, reduced domestic use, unchanged exports, and higher ending stocks. The season-average farm price range is unchanged at the midpoint of $5.10 per bushel and the range is narrowed to $4.80 to $5.40.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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