READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 6th

U.S., China to Meet in October on Trade

Negotiators from the United States and China will meet face-to-face next month. Chinese officials told reporters Thursday the agreement was reached in a phone conversation this week. China’s Vice Premier visited over the phone Thursday morning with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Following the call, China announced negotiators plan to travel to Washington next month for high-level talks, and will continue consultations through September ahead of the meeting in October. The announcement from China comes as President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week that China wants to reach a deal with the United States. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has yet to confirm the planned October meeting, but did say discussions will take place in the coming weeks. The tit-for-tat trade war with China has dropped U.S. ag exports to China from more than $20 billion in 2017, to $9 billion last year. A breakthrough in negotiations would be welcome news for agriculture.

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Federal Reserve Beige Book: Agriculture Sector is Weak

The Federal Reserve Bank Beige Book released this week reports continued weak economic conditions in farm country. Released Wednesday, the report states agricultural conditions remained weak as a result of unfavorable weather conditions, low commodity prices, and trade-related uncertainties. Districts with agricultural ties, but especially in the Midwest, report declining agricultural economy measures, with further farm income declines expected. The Tenth District in Kansas City reported earlier this summer that farm income and credit conditions showed some signs of stabilizing. Demand for agricultural lending remained high, but bankers anticipated slower growth in coming months. The Kansas City district reports the share of new farm operating loans denied by bankers declined slightly in the second quarter of 2019 after reaching a five-year high a year ago. The Beige Book, published eight times a year, is a Federal Reserve publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from district sources.

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Trade War Costing Nebraska Farmers $1 Billion

A new analysis by the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural exports will cost Nebraska producers $943 million in lost revenues in 2019. The projected losses would be in addition to tariff-related losses in farm-level income estimated between $695 million to $1 billion in 2018. The analysis was conducted to provide an assessment of losses independent of the Market Facilitation Program assistance available to farmers. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the results show “how critical it is that we resolve the prolonged trade conflicts that have created the tariff pressures.” The analysis shows that Nebraska soybean and corn growers will likely see the greatest cumulative losses. Soybean producers as a group are projected to lose out on nearly $589 million from retaliatory tariffs, and corn producers are estimated to lose roughly $251 million. Pork producers in the state are projected to see $40 million in losses, while sorghum and wheat growers will collectively experience losses around $20 million.

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National Milk Producers Federation Urging Farmers to Sign up for DMC

With the signup deadline for the Dairy Margin Coverage program quickly approaching on September 20, the National Milk Producers Federation is urging all dairy farmers to enroll in the program. The program is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50 per-hundred-weight coverage level for at least every month of production this year through July, according to USDA data. The latest enrollment numbers indicate that 68 percent of dairy operations with an established production history have enrolled so far for this year. This represents more than 18,000 producers nationwide. Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO, says the program “offers better support for dairy farmers than its predecessor,” and is “worthwhile for every farmer.” The Dairy Margin Coverage program replaced the Margin Protection Program for dairy. NMPF says the new program offers a more robust safety net for dairy producers of all sizes. NMPF has a resource page on its website, www.nmpf.org, to help farmers sign up for the program.

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USDA: U.S. Food Insecurity Declined in 2018

The Department of Agriculture says food insecurity declined in 2019. Data released this week by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that in 2018, an estimated 88.9 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, meaning they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households, 11.1 percent, were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 4.3 percent that experienced very low food security. However, the prevalence of food insecurity overall declined from 11.8 percent in 2017. The reported decline was statistically significant, according to USDA, and continued a decline from a high of 14.9 percent in 2011. Very low food security was not significantly different from its 4.5-percent rate in 2017.USDA says that in very-low-food-secure households, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times because the household lacked money and other resources for obtaining food.

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Kellogg Introducing Incogmeato Plant-Based Products

Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms announced this week it will introduce a new plant-based product line, called Incogmeato. The company says the new product line will include the company’s first ready-to-cook plant-based burger and fully prepared plant-based chicken tenders and nuggets. The company claims the new product line offers a “delicious and satisfying meat-like experience.” The new Incogmeato plant-based portfolio will hit retail meat cases in grocery stores and foodservice in early 2020. Sold in the refrigerated meat case, the four-ounce plant-based patties are made with non-GMO soy, according to the company. The plant-based chicken tenders and nuggets will be placed in the freezer section next to traditional chicken offerings. Morningstar is the plant-based brand owned by Kellogg and includes many different plant-based products, from plant-based sausages to corndogs. Morningstar Farms was introduced in 1975 by Worthington Foods. Kellogg purchased Worthington Foods in 1999, including the MorningStar brand. Kellogg then sold Worthington Foods in 2014, but retained the Morningstar Farms product line.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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