READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 18th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 18th

Analyst Predict Eight Million Ares to go Unplanted

U.S. farmers this year may not plant roughly eight million acres due to wet conditions. Industry analysts polled by Bloomberg News say farmers are expected to forgo planting on 2.2 million acres of soybeans, and 6.7 million acres of corn. The Midwest is facing another seven-day forecast of near-daily rain chances, continuing the wettest 12-month period on record. For soybeans, the 2.2. million unplanted acres are just below a 2.23-million-acre record set in 2015. Last week, the Department of Agriculture cut its corn planting and production forecast, but made no changes to soybeans, making note that there are still some windows of opportunity to plant soybeans. Monday, the USDA weekly Crop Progress report showed farmers had planted an estimated 83 percent of corn, and 60 percent of soybeans this spring. USDA reports 62 percent corn and 34 percent of soybeans have emerged. For this time of year, the five-year average shows corn plantings are usually finished with 93 percent of soybeans planted.

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Grassley Calls for Long-term Solution to Prevent Flooding

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for long-term solutions to prevent flooding along the Missouri River. Many reaches of the Missouri River below Gavins Point dam have experienced flooding since early March. President Trump recently authorized billions of dollars in disaster relief for flood victims in a disaster aid package passed by Congress. Meanwhile, in an Omaha World-Herald editorial, Senator Grassley says it’s time to change how the Missouri River is operated. Grassley says changes need to be made to the Army Corps of Engineers Master Manual, which the Corps follows in managing the river. From 1979 until the changes in 2004, the Master Manual stated the top priority was flood control. Changes to the manual since 2004 required the Corps to balance the purposes of the river. Since then, Grassley contends “there has been a dramatic increase” in flooding. Grassley has cosponsored the Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control Civilian Advisory Council Act, which would advise the Corps and Congress on river management changes.

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Flooding Stalling River Traffic at New Orleans

The ongoing flooding along the Mississippi River is stalling river traffic in New Orleans, where a majority of U.S. ag exports leave the nation. For many operators along the river, the disruption started nearly a year ago, when a wet fall swelled water volume in the river system. Flooding has stalled traffic in New Orleans, with one-way passageways and restrictions at locks imposed by the Coast Guard, leaving cargo ships at anchor because the barges can’t reach them. It cost $25,000 a day to anchor a cargo ship, and nearly 27 are currently parked along the river, according to one river pilot who spoke with the New Orleans Advocate. Silting of the navigation channel is threatening river traffic, too. The flooding is expected to last at least another month along nearly all major U.S. rivers. Experts predicted 2019 flood damages exceeded $3 billion last month. Meanwhile, the lower Missouri River was closed to all traffic last week, and many stretches of the Mississippi have experienced temporary closures.

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USTR Holding China Tariff Hearings

Hearings are underway this week regarding the expanded tariffs the Trump administration plans to impose on China. The tit-for-tat trade war escalated last month when the two nations failed to reach an agreement, and President Trump has pledged to impose tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods coming into the United States. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is holding the hearings this week as part of that process. Most of the hundreds of companies and trade groups giving testimony are opposed to the increased tariffs. In written comments submitted by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, CEO Barb Glenn stated the organization believes there “is a better solution to advancing free and fair trade with China.” While agreeing with the administration’s findings of China’s restrictive economic and trade policies, NASDA says trade actions that trigger retaliation “threaten rural jobs and fall disproportionately on agriculture.” NASDA, like many other agricultural groups, says, “there should be no increased or additional tariffs.”

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U.S., Canada, Agree to ASF Zoning Measures

The United States and Canada Monday announced a plan to allow for “safe trade” to continue if African swine fever is reported in either country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have worked to modify their export certificates to allow trade of live swine, pet food and animal by-products and meat to continue in approved disease-free zones in the event of an ASF outbreak. Zoning is an internationally recognized tool used to help manage diseases and facilitate trade. If a case of ASF is identified, geographic boundaries are defined to contain the outbreak. Geographic boundaries are control zones established under the World Organization for Animal Health guidelines. The areas outside of these control zones are disease-free zones. A global threat, the two agencies say, “ASF cannot be addressed in isolation.” The agencies contend that working together is the best way to address the threat of ASF while maintaining trade of pork products which are important to the North American economies.

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CDC Reports 200 More Illnesses Related to Backyard Poultry Flocks

More people are getting sick from backyard poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an additional 227 people have become ill from Salmonella in backyard poultry flocks since May. The ongoing investigation has overall confirmed 279 illnesses in 41 states. People who got sick reported getting chicks and ducklings from places such as agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries, and about one-third of the illnesses were reported in children under the age of five. People can get sick from Salmonella from touching poultry or their environment, even as birds carrying the bacteria can appear healthy and clean. The CDC recommends consumers should always thoroughly wash their hands after handling poultry. Further, health experts say to keep backyard poultry out of the house, and away from young children and the elderly, and advises against kissing or cuddling them. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12-72 hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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