READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, December 5th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, December 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Survey Shows Farmers Concerned with Lack of Farm Bill

Farmers are expressing concern over the lack of a new farm bill in the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The monthly survey in November asked producers how concerned they were regarding the farm bill. 75 percent of respondents said they were either somewhat or very concerned about the lack of a new farm bill with 33 percent of respondents indicating they were very concerned. Just 24 percent of survey respondents said they were not at all concerned about the lack of new farm bill legislation. The November survey reading announced Tuesday was 134, a decline of just over one percent from a month earlier when the barometer stood at 136. The November reading leaves the barometer six percent below its most recent peak, which was reached back in June before the impact of trade disruptions were felt throughout much of U.S. agriculture. The Barometer surveys 400 agricultural producers monthly. Overall, a rating below 100 is negative, while a rating above 100 indicates positive sentiment regarding the agriculture industry.

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Traders Await Tariff Reduction Before Moving U.S. Soybeans to China

While the U.S. and China have reached a deal for China to buy U.S. agricultural goods, the market is waiting for China to drop tariffs before transactions take place. Reuters reports no substantial purchases can happen with a 25 percent duty still in place on U.S. soybeans, corn, sorghum and wheat, according to buyers and analysts. China over the weekend agreed to a trade war ceasefire, and the White House said China had promised to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, with purchases of farm goods to start “immediately.” Though, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the purchases will likely start next month. China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the two presidents had instructed their economic teams to work towards removing all tariffs. Until then, Brazil is nearing harvest season of its soybean crop and, being cheaper, could instead supply China’s soybean needs.

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China-U.S. Deal Threatens Brazil Soybean Harvest

China’s pledge to buy more U.S. ag products will likely come at the expense of Brazil. The South China Morning Post reports a deal between the U.S. and China could turn Brazil’s expected bumper crop of soybeans into a glut. Brazil is nearing harvest time of the crop as it was thought to be the primary supplier of soybeans to China due to the U.S.-China trade war. But, with China and the U.S. halting further tariffs and working through a 90-day period to strike a deal, along with China’s promise to buy more U.S. ag products, Brazil farmers seem likely to lose the China demand. China imported 6.92 million metric tons of soybeans in October, of which 6.53 million, or 94 percent, from Brazil – almost double the 3.38 million metric tons imported from Brazil a year earlier. China has depleted Brazil’s market regardless over the last few months, meaning China would have to eventually turn back to the U.S. for soybeans. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said earlier this week that the Chinese purchases of U.S. ag products are likely to start around the beginning of January and 2019.

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USDA Announces 2019 Trade Missions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will sponsor seven trade missions in 2019 to expand export opportunities for U.S. agriculture across the globe. The missions were announced by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney Tuesday. McKinney says the markets were carefully selected as ones that “offer the best prospects for sales of U.S. farm and food products.” The markets include Taiwan, Canada, Colombia, Vietnam, Kenya, Mexico and the United Kingdom. USDA calls the seven markets the trade missions will visit next year “both developing and established.” In 2018, McKinney says six USDA missions enabled more than 200 U.S. companies and organizations to engage in 3,000 one-on-one meetings with foreign buyers, generating more than $140 million in projected 12-month sales.

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NBB Asks Commerce for Rigorous Review of Argentina’s Biodiesel Subsidies

The National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition has submitted comments for the record on how the U.S. Department of Commerce should conduct recently initiated changed circumstances reviews of U.S. duties on Argentine biodiesel imports. The Coalition’s comments state, “Commerce must conduct a rigorous, comprehensive review of all relevant facts, and not limit its consideration to the limited facts and narrow time period showcased by the Government of Argentina in its requests for reviews.” The Commerce Department imposed countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders in January and April 2018, following investigations that found massively subsidized and dumped biodiesel imports from Argentina had significantly injured U.S. biodiesel producers. However, recently, the Commerce Department issued a changed circumstances review on the actions. The Commerce Department invited the comments following a November 19 meeting with National Biodiesel Board representatives.

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USDA Invests in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 46 States

The Department of Agriculture announced $1.2 billion of investments Tuesday to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states. Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced the funding, stating “Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities.” USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. Eligible communities and water districts can apply online, or through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices. A list of projects is available online at http://www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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