READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 25th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 25th

Presidents Trump and Xi Will Talk Trade at G-20

U.S. President Donald Trump will be off to the G-20 summit in Japan at the end of this week. He’s scheduled to meet with China’s President Xi (zhee) Jinping face-to-face for a high-stakes discussion on trade, as well as other issues. While most officials don’t expect a long-awaited breakthrough yet, it is possible that Trump could be talked into not putting new tariffs on even more Chinese imports. Politico says Trump has continually preached patience during high-profile negotiations with China, North Korea, Iran, and other nations. It’s both for strategic reasons and as a way to smooth over any frustrations with the slow pace of progress. Politico also says the “no rush” approach could also be a result of Trump’s confidence that the U.S. can simply outlast its adversaries in trade disputes. However, the go-it-alone foreign policy seems to be leaving the U.S. president increasingly isolated from key U.S. allies. Politico says that may become even more apparent during the upcoming G-20 gathering.

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New Tariffs Could Hit Pesticides

The pesticide industry is asking the Trump administration to exempt its chemical imports from China from the potential $300 billion in new 25 percent tariffs the president is threatening to impose next month on Chinese goods. CropLife America and a specialty chemical trade group filed comments with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. Those comments say the tariffs would hit a wide range of products that farmers rely on to do their jobs. Those products would include glyphosate, 2,4-D, atrazine, and dicamba. The groups say, “Many of the chemicals that would be subject to the proposal are just not available from American sources, and many others are not reasonably available from sources outside of China in the volumes we need and within a useful time period.” An Agri-Pulse report says Chris Novak, President and CEO of CropLife America, was scheduled to speak on Monday during the USTR’s sixth day of hearings on the list of products targeted for the Section 301 tariffs.

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NBB says E-15 Rule Alone Doesn’t Undo Economic Damage

The National Biodiesel Board sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler highlighting the economic damage caused by small refinery waivers. The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry have been hit hard by the retroactive small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuels Standard that the EPA has given out in recent years. At issue in the letter is Wheeler’s recent comments that the approval of year-round E15 sales will make up for the economic damage done by the exemptions. “The E15 waivers will not provide growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel, but small refinery exemptions have had a detrimental impact on demand for those fuels,” the NBB says in its letter. “EPA is required to repair the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel resulting from the agency’s flood of unwarranted retroactive small refinery exemptions.” The NBB says when they compare the size of the exempted refiners to biodiesel producers, the threat to agriculture is easier to understand. The University of Illinois says the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel could reach 2.45 billion gallons. The economic loss could reach $7.7 billion in the next few years.

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Drought at Record-Low Levels

A Farm Futures report points out that the typical weather-related challenges for farmers during each growing season is extremely dry weather. That’s not been the case this year because of rampant flooding in a good-sized portion of farm country. While this spring did see drought in a few areas of rural America, its influence has steadily dropped over the last few months. The latest updates to the U.S. Drought Monitor say that drought conditions are affecting just over 10 percent of the country. That’s up from a record low of 8.84 percent last month but it’s still among historical low numbers. Brad Pugh (Pew) is a climatologist who put this week’s Drought Monitor Report together. He says, “Excessively wet conditions still continue to hamper the development of corn and soybeans across the Corn Belt. However, drought is intensifying across northern North Dakota due to a serious lack of rainfall since April.” Only 3.1 percent of the Midwest is currently listed under drought conditions, while that number was 15 percent last year at this time. In the Plains, just 5.9 percent of the region is being affected by drought, compared to 49 percent a year ago. Pugh says the chances for above-normal precipitation in the next six to ten days is strong in the eastern U.S., including the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi River Valleys, as well as the southern Great Plains.

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Laos Joins List of Countries Affected by African Swine Fever

A Reuters report says China has banned direct and indirect imports of pigs, wild boars, and related products from Laos after the first outbreak of the African Swine Fever virus was found in that country. The southeast Asian nation reported the first outbreaks late last week. China’s General Administrator of Customs says if illegally imported pigs, wild boars, and their products are intercepted by officials at the Chinese border, they’ll be destroyed under the supervision of customs agents. The World Organization for Animal Health says Laos confirmed the first deadly outbreaks of African Swine Fever in a southern province. African Swine Fever is deadly to pigs but doesn’t harm human beings. Officials in Laos say seven separate outbreaks have led to the deaths of almost 1,000 animals. Thailand has officially joined China in banning imports from Laos. ASF has hit the entire country of China hard. Officials report outbreaks in all of its mainland regions, as well as Hainan Island and Hong Kong. The Chinese ASF outbreak was first reported back in August of last year.

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Minnesota Co-op Manager Gets Eight-Year Jail Sentence

Jerome Hennessy, age 56, was once the manager of the Ashby Cooperative Farmer’s Elevator in Minnesota. An elevator employee from 1988 to 2002, he became the manager in 2003. From that point on, law enforcement officials say he began using his position to steal millions of dollars from the co-op. He wrote hundreds of checks to himself and other people for things like renovations to his home and a cabin, buying real estate, furniture, jewelry, credit card balances, hunting trips, taxidermy services, and more. Hennessy was sentenced to 96 months in jail for mail fraud and income tax evasion by a U.S. District Judge in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. At the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said, “As a manager, Mr. Hennessy held a position of trust over the Co-op’s members and their financial interests. Unfortunately, he chose to violate that trust by committing egregious fraud, stealing from his own friends, colleagues, and neighbors.” In order to cover the co-op’s legitimate expenses, as well as the millions of dolla

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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