READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 5th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 5th

China, U.S., Nearing Trade Deal

The U.S. and China are inching closer to an agreement on trade that could be reached this month, according to those close to the talks. Bloomberg reports an agreement could be reached and finalized later this month during a planned summit between China’s President and President Donald Trump. As part of the potential agreement, China would lower tariffs on agricultural products. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the 2019 Commodity Classic last week told reporters,  a “magnificent conclusion to the U.S.-China negotiations will involve doubling and tripling our farm exports to China.” Perdue also said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the prospects for a final agreement. President Trump put off a planned round of tariff increases to start the month. However, the U.S. wants to continue to have the threat of tariffs as leverage to ensure China will comply with any agreement.

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Trump Asks China to Drop Ag Tariffs

President Donald Trump has asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products because trade talks are going well between the two nations. Trump also delayed plans to impose more tariffs on China last week, scheduled as a motivator to conduct negotiations. The request to remove agriculture tariffs includes beef, pork, soybeans and others. Trump called the request “very important for our great farmers.” The tariffs are part of the tit-for-tat trade war last year when China retaliated over U.S. tariffs by targeting agriculture. Earlier this year, Derek Haigwood, a representative of the American Soybean Association, said he expects to see the impact of trade issues in the next, 2018/2019, marketing year. That’ because shipments to China virtually halted when the trade war began. Despite the trade woes in the 2017/2018 marketing year, farmers exported a record 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products.

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NPPC Supports Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act

The National Pork Producers Council applauded the reintroduction of federal legislation that would identify barriers to the transportation of agricultural commodities. The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act would establish a working group and “deliver an action plan for reforms that support the continued safe, humane transportation of agricultural commodities.” Specifically, the bill would reform the Department of Transportation’s Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device regulations. The proposed working group would be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, transportation safety representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the transportation secretary must propose regulatory changes to the Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device regulations, based on the group’s findings and recommendations. The legislation was reintroduced last week by Senate Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota, and Senate Democrat Michael Bennet of Colorado.

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Amazon Supermarket Plan Seeks Price-Conscious Shoppers

Amazon’s plan to enter the brick-and-mortar supermarket business appears to be a move to target more price-conscious consumers compared to Amazon’s Whole Foods chain. The Wall Street Journal reports the new chain will look more like a traditional supermarket. Amazon is seeking to launch the business separate from Whole Foods and it’s Amazon Go stores, but a name of the new chain has not been announced. The company has signed leases on space in reportedly three locations and may also acquire regional grocery stores to enter the market quickly. Amazon is currently evaluating opening dozens of the stores across the U.S. with the first potentially opening in Los Angeles. Amazon supermarkets aimed at mainstream customers could also compete directly with Amazon’s competitors, such as Walmart and Target. The company has not yet commented on the report.

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General Mills to Advance Regenerative Agriculture Practices

General Mills Monday announced a commitment to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030. The company will partner with organic and conventional farmers, suppliers and farm advisors in key growing regions to drive the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. In a press release, General Mills claimed that the global food system accounts for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and 70 percent of water consumption. The company says Regenerative agriculture is a holistic method of farming deploying practices designed to protect and enhance natural resources and farming communities. The practices focus on pulling carbon from the air and storing it in the soil in addition to helping the land be more resilient to extreme weather events. The company says it will partner with key suppliers to drive adoption across key ingredients including oats, wheat, corn, dairy feed and sugar beets. General Mills is also granting $650,000 to non-profit organization Kiss the Ground to support farmer training and coaching through Soil Health Academies.

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NFU Hosting 117th Anniversary Convention

More than 450 farmers are wrapping up the National Farmers Union 117th Anniversary Convention in Washington State. The event celebrates farm families and is used to set NFU’s policy direction for the coming year. Concluding Tuesday, attendees have used the event to discuss current agriculture events, including the state of the farm economy, international trade disruptions, extreme consolidation in the agricultural sector, climate change and sustainability, and the success of the next generation of family farmers. With the challenges of the current farm economy in mind, NFU President Roger Johnson says,  “This year’s policy deliberations will be especially important.” Keynote remarks were delivered by Andrew Winston, a globally recognized expert on helping businesses thrive and create a more sustainable world, and Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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