READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, January 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, January 4th

Shutdown Delays USMCA Trade Agreement

The government shutdown could stall progress on President Trump’s North American Free Trade Agreement replacement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Analysis of the agreement has stopped during the shutdown as the U.S. International Trade Commission, responsible for examining the trade agreement, remains at a standstill. If continued, Politico reports the shutdown could delay release of the report on the economic impact of the new agreement. The Trade Commission is required to submit the report, which many lawmakers will use to craft their positions on the deal, by March 15th. USMCA was signed by Trump and his counterparts on November 30th, last year. Trump followed a day later with notification that he would withdraw the current NAFTA if lawmakers didn’t move to approve USMCA quickly.

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Pro Farmer: Shutdown to Delay WASDE

The government shutdown, ending soon or not, is likely to delay the January World Agriculture Supply and Demand report. Scheduled for next Friday, January 12th, the World Agricultural Outlook Board needs a full week to release the report, once the government opens. Farm Journal’s AgWeb reports that while most of the information was gathered before the shutdown, analysis of the data remains. Even if lawmakers were to end the shutdown quickly, the delays are still likely at this point. However, reaching a budget agreement appears to be a tough battle with Democrats taking leadership of the House of Representatives and Republicans rejecting a spending plan by House Democrats before the new Congress began Thursday. Traders worry a prolonged shutdown could end with an excess of data flooding the market, including Department of Agriculture WASDE numbers, export sales data, and updates from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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China Purchasing More U.S. Soy

China is making more purchases of U.S. soybeans this week ahead planned trade talks in Beijing between the U.S. and China next week. China’s biggest food company was asking for prices Wednesday. The alleged purchases come after the most recent buy just before Christmas when China purchased roughly 1.2 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans, according to data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, data on the latest expected sales may not be published, as much of USDA is closed as part of the government shutdown. Sales of other commodities are expected to China, as well. Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone told Bloomberg News China could seek U.S. corn this month, but the market has not seen confirmation. Suderman notes “Supplies are ample, but the balance sheet would quickly tighten if China re-enters the market with significant purchases.”

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China Changing Slaughter Rules Amid ASF

China is tightening rules for slaughterhouses as the nation deals with an outbreak of African swine fever. This week, China’s Agriculture Ministry announced slaughterhouses must test for African swine fever on pig products before selling them to market. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the announcement from China’s agriculture ministry comes amid a new outbreak of the disease on the largest farm to date in northeastern China that is home to 73,000 pigs. The new regulations take effect in February and require pigs from different origins to be slaughtered separately. If African swine fever is found, the facilities must cull all pigs and suspend operations for at least 48 hours. Last month, China warned feed imports should be tested after finding the virus in a protein powder made from pig blood. China has reported more than 90 cases of the deadly virus since August.

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Milk Production Dependent on Annual, biological Rhythms

The amount and composition of milk produced by dairy cows appears to be more regulated by internal, annual biological rhythms than by environmental factors. A new study released by Penn State University found peak yield, fat concentration and protein concentration occurred in winter months, when days are shorter, and lowest in summer months, when days are longest. And the amplitude of the rhythms were greater in the north and declined depending how far south herds were located. A researcher involved in the study noted that being more precisely aware of their cows’ rhythms allows dairy farmers to better judge the effectiveness of management strategies. Although researchers have long recognized an annual pattern of milk composition in dairy cattle – with higher milk fat and protein concentrations observed during the winter and lower levels occurring in the summer – the rhythms of milk yield and composition previously have not been well quantified, according to the research.

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Plant-Based Burger Hits Carl’s Jr Menu

Fast food restaurant chain Carl’s Jr announced it will add a plant-based burger to its menu in an effort to attract vegans and vegetarians. The Beyond Meat burger will be sold as a version of the Carl’s Jr.   Famous Star burger, as a quarter-pound patty. The new Beyond Famous Star is available at participating Carl’s Jr. starting at only $6.29. Jason Marker, CEO, CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr, called the plant-based burger a “true industry game changer,” saying it has appeal among meat eaters who want to “continue to eat the things they love,” while incorporating more plant-based options. The restaurant chain cited retail data that claims more than 90 percent of customers who purchased The Beyond Burger also purchased animal-based protein. The Beyond Beef burger is advertised as being GMO free, gluten and soy, and has lower saturated fat than regular beef, but still delivers “tons of flame-broiled flavor” and 20 grams of protein.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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