READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 14th

Trump Delays Tariff Hike Until December

The Trump administration will delay part of a planned tariff increase on China until December. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office made the announcement Tuesday the administration would not implement the planned tariffs. Instead, the tariffs will be implemented December 15, 2019. USTR Robert Lighthizer says certain products are even being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face the additional tariffs of 10 percent. The move likely gives Lighthizer more time to negotiate with China, which the two sides are set to meet next month in Washington. However, the tariffs threaten to again stall the negotiations as China responded by announcing a halt of purchases of U.S. agricultural products. President Trump claims the delay is part of an effort to avoid the impact of the tariffs on holiday shopping. However, the two sides did talk over the phone this week, and Trump called the talks positive, adding a deal could be coming soon.

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Private Firm Predicts 12 Billion Bushel Corn Crop, 3.7 Billion Soybeans

A private firm forecast of the nation’s crops greatly differs from Department of Agriculture data released this week. That’s true for many expectations, but the data from USDA still sparked a negative market reaction for corn futures. Generated by Indigo Ag’s living map, Atlas, forecasts for both corn and soybeans are down from the company’s July report. Corn production is forecasted at 12 billion bushels and soy production is forecasted at 3.7 billion bushels, down 3.2 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. USDA predicts corn production at 13.9 billion bushels, and soybeans at 3.68 billion. Over the past month, favorable weather conditions – including hot weather and adequate rainfall – have aided crop health across the United States. Given the late start to the season, however, crop development is still significantly delayed. That development will be monitored over the next month. Indigo Atlas combines remote sensing equipment, weather and historical data to deliver models that assess crop health and production at the field, county, state and national level.

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Kind: Purdue Ignoring Wisconsin Farmers, Gives Trade Aid to Largest Producers

A Wisconsin lawmaker is demanding changes to Department of Agriculture trade aid distributions. Democrat Ron Kind, a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, says the current Market Facilitation Program favors large farmers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Kind says a study shows the top one percent of large farms received an average of $183,000 in trade aid, while the bottom eighty percent received under $5,000, on average. Additionally, 82 large farms received more than $500,000 and 95 percent of all payments went to the top 50 percent of farms. The report also found that over $38 million in payments were sent to those living in large U.S. cities. In the letter, Representative Kind asked Secretary Perdue to outline what changes USDA would be making to ensure the second trade aid package is “effectively spending taxpayer dollars” and ensure the payments will be provided “solely to farmers facing the current difficult trade environment to export their products abroad.” USDA expects to send the next of payments soon.

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WSSA Issues Statement Regarding Glyphosate Registration Process

An organization of weed science professionals is voicing concerns regarding the glyphosate reregistration and recent court decisions. The Weed Science Society of America released a statement Tuesday supporting a science-based approach to evaluating glyphosate by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is currently conducting a review of glyphosate as part of its standard, periodic reassessment of herbicides to ensure they can still be used safely. In April 2019, the organization issued an interim registration decision reiterating that glyphosate is not likely a carcinogen and that risks to public health are low when its used by following its current label. The EPA’s position has been echoed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and other major regulatory organizations around the globe. WSSA President Larry Steckel says, “We appreciate the rigorous review process undertaken by the EPA and other regulatory bodies,” adding the reviews have consistently concluded glyphosate herbicides are “unlikely to pose significant health risks when used as directed.”

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AEM Releases July Ag Equipment Sales Numbers

July 2019 saw decreases in U.S. sales of combines and four-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. two-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to July of last year. Monthly data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows U.S. four-wheel-drive tractor sales decreased 4.7 percent in July, compared to last year. U.S. July combine sales decreased 25.9 percent. And, total U.S. sales of two-wheel drive tractors in July decreased .1 percent compared to July last year. For Canada, January four-wheel drive tractor sales were negative, down 32 percent, and combine sales decreased 43.8 percent. July two-wheel-drive tractor Canadian sales were down in all size categories. A weak farm economy and trade tensions are part of the reason farmers are holding off on purchasing equipment. AEM’s Curt Blades says the association is “encouraging a swift passage of USMCA and continued focus on renewable fuels to help provide some stability for farmers in the months ahead.” Blades adds AEM is “committed to advocating for pro-growth trade policies and the end to retaliatory tariffs.”

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Growth Energy and GasBuddy Partner to Launch Unleaded 88 on GasBuddy App

Growth Energy and GasBuddy Tuesday announced the inclusion of Unleaded 88 in the GasBuddy mobile app and database. Unleaded 88 is a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel approved for cars 2001 and newer, and, is now available for sale at the pump all year. The Trump administration this year amended rules to allow E15, or Unleaded 88, to be sold through the summer months. GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations. The new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at retail locations around the country. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan says by including the availability of Unleaded 88, is part of “continuing our commitment” to users. More than 16 fuel retail chains are participating and offering Unleaded 88 at more than 1,800 locations across 31 states.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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