READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 8th

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

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S. Optimistic on China Trade Talks

China’s Foreign Ministry says the nation has “good faith” to resolve trade issues with the United States. Talks began this week in Beijing as the two nations look to end a trade war. On Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said talks were being held with appropriate-level staff and would help determine how the administration moves forward. Ross also said he saw “a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement that China can live with,” according to Reuters. The U.S. delegation in Beijing, led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, includes officials from the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, and senior White House officials. An end to the trade war, desired by U.S. agriculture, could further reopen China to U.S. commodities, including soybeans. China’s tariffs on soybeans stalled purchases until a recent agreement that restarted some buys of U.S. soybeans by China.

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Trade War: ASA Says Long-Term Consequences to Intensify

Soybean farmers seek a resolution to the trade war between the U.S. and China, warning long-term impacts of the conflict are harming farmers. Six months ago, China placed tariffs on U.S. soybeans as part of the tit-for-tat trade war. While China has begun some purchases of U.S. soybeans, and trade talks are ongoing, the American Soybean Association points out that U.S. soybean growers have faced a nearly 20 percent drop in soy prices since the threat of tariffs began last summer. ASA president Davie Stephens of Kentucky says: “We cannot withstand another six months,” noting farmers “need stability returned to the market.” The value of U.S. soybean exports to China has grown 26-fold in ten years, from $414 million in 1996 to $14 billion in 2017. China imported 31 percent of U.S. production in 2017, equal to 60 percent of total U.S. exports and nearly one in every three rows of harvested beans.

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2019 Starting with More Uncertainty for Farmers

Farm bill passage in late 2018 was thought to provide certainty to U.S. agriculture moving forward. However, 2019 started with perhaps more uncertainty than ever before. The government shutdown has USDA Farm Service Agency offices across the nation closed, just as farmers are seeking advice for the upcoming planting season. Meanwhile, the farm bill, which provides critical programs, promotion and research for agriculture, will be delayed in implementation as the bulk of federal agencies, such as USDA, are unfunded and closed. Adding more fuel to the uncertainty fire, the Department of Agriculture Friday officially suspended this week’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report, along with Grain Stocks, Rice Stocks, Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings, and Cotton Ginnings reports, all of which were scheduled for Friday, January 11th. The federal agency says the date of all USDA National Ag Statistics Service reports and World Ag Outlook Board reports will be determined and made public once funding has been restored.

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Food Stamps Threatened by Shutdown

SNAP benefits are in jeopardy as the funding fight in Washington drags on. The government shutdown, if prolonged, will result in a lack of funding for the program. The Department of Agriculture has not commented on the amount of reserve funding the program has and is reportedly weighing options for SNAP. Politico reports Congress generally builds in a $3 billion cushion for the program, and it’s estimated to need more than $4 billion a month. Other experts suggest USDA has closer to $6 billion in reserve funding for SNAP. Roughly 39 million people depend on the program each month. However, if past government shutdowns provide an outlook for the current shutdown, SNAP should continue without interruption. Despite shutdowns, Congress has never let funding for SNAP run out to the point where the program defaulted on benefits.

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Separate Explosions Occur at ADM Facilities in Iowa, Illinois

An explosion at an Iowa ADM facility has resulted in the death of a firefighter, and another injured. Employees at the Clinton, Iowa facility discovered smoldering material Saturday morning, and a later explosion with firefighters on scene occurred. The incident occurred in a silo storage bin at the loading facility. AN ADM spokesperson told a local newspaper of the company that, they “greatly appreciate the quick response, bravery and dedication of all of the emergency responders,” adding the company is “deeply saddened at the turn of events.” Meanwhile, no injuries were reported Friday night at an ADM corn processing facility in Decatur, Illinois, when an explosion occurred in the unit’s conveyor belt system. ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers in the world.

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Mosaic Gets Florida Phosphate Mine Approval

The Mosaic Company announced last week it has acquired the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit for a phosphate mine project in Hardee County, Florida. The permit was the final approval needed for the project that opens 160.2 million tons of phosphate rock for future mining Southeast of Tampa, Florida. The overall project covers 22,400 acres with 16,700 acres of land permitted for mining. Permitting efforts for the project began in 2011. Mining permits from the State of Florida were issued in 2015 and local government permits were secured in July 2018. The Mosaic Company, a producer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, is self-described as a single-source provider of phosphate and potash fertilizers and feed ingredients for the global agriculture industry.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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