READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 22nd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 22nd

China Says There is No Rush to Restart Trade Talks

Beijing says it’s in “no rush” to get talks going again between the U.S. and China. That’s from the South China Morning Post. The Chinese newspaper says the country is prepared to not meet with President Trump if he’s “not prepared to be realistic.” In the article the Chinese government appeared to invite a U.S. delegation to make a trip to Beijing for more discussions. However, there’s no schedule set in stone yet and CNBC says negotiations are “in flux.” The South China Morning Post says Chinese state media outlets have gone on the offensive. An international relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences tells the paper, “There’s no need to get into frantic calculations about when he (Trump) will come if the U.S. continues to lack sincerity. After all, enough has been said by both sides in many different rounds of talks.” A Peking University international relations professor says, “The standoff should last for a while because the U.S. has refused to make even the slightest compromise, to a point that’s somewhat unreasonable.” China put retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to President Trump increasing tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

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China Holding Up Shipments of Soybeans, Canola, From Canada

Chinese purchases of Canadian soybeans have “slowed to a trickle,” according to the Financial Post. Those purchases have dropped 95 percent in the first few months of 2019 because of “tensions between Ottawa and Beijing.” The purchase decline comes in addition to Chinese authorities ramping up pre-entry inspections of shipments from Canada. Soybean shipments from Canada to China plunged to just 3,282 tons between January and March, down from just shy of 73,000 tons during the same period a year ago. The sudden drop in exports is even more eye-opening when compared to Chinese purchases late last year. China purchased a record 3.2 million tons of Canadian soybeans over the last four months of 2018. “Trade with China fell off a cliff,” says Ron Davidson, Executive Director of Soy Canada. “They slowed to a trickle after December. Now, exporters are being told that their shipments are being held for further testing and that China is testing for things it never has before.” China also stripped the import permits of two Canadian canola exporters. They’ve also halted more purchases of canola over concerns about “prohibited pests” found in shipments.

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Growth Energy Applauds House Biofuels Caucus

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor had positive things to say to the 20 members of the House Biofuels Caucus. The Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in support of year-round E-15 sales. The lawmakers in the caucus called on the EPA to finish lifting outdated restrictions on the biofuel blend in time for this summer’s driving season. “We are grateful for the continued support of champions on both sides of the aisle who are fighting for a strong rule that will ensure more biofuels reach consumers at the pump,” Skor says. “The rural economy is at a breaking point. It’s vital that the EPA act by June 1 to uphold the president’s commitment to farm families and allow retailers to keep more homegrown fuel on the market this summer.” The congressional letter to Wheeler says, “Our farmers, renewable fuels producers, and retail gas stations stand to benefit from the adjustment of volatility requirements for E-15 during the summer driving season of June 1 through September 15.” The group says they are concerned that the EPA proposal would create inefficiencies in the marketplace due to “unnecessary restrictions on the components that can be used for fuel blending.”

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Senate Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Climate and Agriculture

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the issue of climate change and the agricultural sector. In written testimony, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson thanked the committee for addressing the negative effects of climate change on the agricultural industry. He also emphasized the need for federal policies to assist farmers with implementing practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and build resilience to extreme weather events. In the meantime, Committee Chair Pat Roberts says, “Maintaining the health of our planet for future generations is, of course, of paramount importance. So is feeding the billions of people that populate the planet today and in the years ahead.” Roberts did note that there’s no single silver-bullet solution that has brought about the Ag sector’s enhancements in environmental sustainability. “Rather than a silver bullet, it’s like a recipe that includes many ingredients,” says the Chair. Biotechnology, precision Ag, voluntary conservation practices like no-till farming, veterinary care, livestock nutrition, and genetics all have helped U.S. producers improve environmental sustainability. “Climate change is a complex and global issue,” Roberts adds. “We must be thoughtful and deliberate in considering potential responses and consequences for the Ag industry.”

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Economic Growth Means Higher Demand Ahead for Animal Proteins

USDA economist Mildred Haley expects pork production to increase 3.5 percent to 28.3 billion pounds in 2020. The increase comes in response to higher international pork prices caused by pork deficits in China, which are caused by the African Swine Fever outbreak. As a result, experts predict higher international pork prices brought on by the ASF-driven losses in China. Those higher prices mean farrowings likely will accelerate in late 2019 and on into the following year. Pork Business dot Com says in the May Economic Research Service Outlook Report, all animal proteins should increase in 2020. Beef production will rise by one percent, broiler production should jump by 1.3 percent, and other chicken production will rise by 1.4 percent. Turkey production is also expected to increase for the first time in three years, Producer response to forecasts of continued positive U.S. economic conditions is what’s driving higher production. Prices of live equivalent 51-52 percent lean hogs are expected to average $60 per hundredweight, more than 10 percent higher than average prices in 2019. Haley says U.S. pork exports are forecast at 6.7 billion pounds in 2020, almost seven percent higher than the 6.2 billion pounds estimated for this year.

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Alltech, Lyons Family, Establish new Foundation with UK HealthCare

Alltech and the University of Kentucky’s UK HealthCare this week announced a partnership supporting lifelong wellness in farm country and beyond. Speaking during ONE19: The Alltech Ideas Conference, Alltech CEO Dr. Mark Lyons, along with UK HealthCare officials, announced the collaboration. Leaders say the effort partnered with the Lyons Family Life Foundation will focus broadly on total wellness, including mental health and opioid abuse, “empowering people to both live well and die well.” The initiative was inspired by Alltech patriarch Dr. Pearse Lyons’ lifelong endeavor to “make a difference.” Pearse Lyons passed away in March 2018 and his final days were spent in the care of UK HealthCare. Dr. Phillip Chang of UK HealthCare says the partnership is an opportunity to “take patient safety and advocacy to the next level,” and will include clear communication in healthcare, and a focus on personal wellness. The long history of collaboration between Alltech and the University of Kentucky also extends to music, nutrition, and education. In 2012, Alltech committed to a five-year strategic research alliance with the UK for work within agriculture, pharmacy, and medicine.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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