READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 11th

China Ready to Purchase U.S. Ag Goods

China is expected to agree to purchase more U.S. agricultural products in hopes of a better trade agreement. The South China Morning Post reports working-level officials were discussing the text of a deal, which would be reviewed when trade officials meet in Washington next month. The text is based on details negotiated back in April, before talks fell apart in May, after China backtracked on several previously agreed-upon issues. China offered to purchase more U.S. agricultural products in exchange for the U.S. delaying implementation of further tariffs. China may also offer more market access and better intellectual property protection, according to a Chinese source familiar with the talks. A Chinese official told a group of U.S. business representatives Tuesday that China wats a “mutually accepted solution to the trade dispute.” However, U.S. trade experts based in China suggests the October meeting is an attempt to peacefully get past the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, suggesting talks will stall in 2020.

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Navarro: Congress Will Pass USMCA yet This Year

Peter Navarro says there is a 100 percent chance Congress will pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The advisor to President Donald Trump told CNBC news that he “can’t imagine that Nancy Pelosi would not put this on the floor to at least have a vote.” He expects the vote will occur before the end of this year. Navarro has played a critical role in the negotiations with Canada and Mexico, as well as in the current U.S.-China trade war. Democrats in the House are still voicing concerns over labor and environmental standards included in the trade agreement. Speaker of the House, Pelosi, has not offered comment in response to Navarro’s claims. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement and offers improved trade for U.S. agriculture. Farm groups are planning a rally Thursday at the capitol in support of the agreement, and urging lawmakers to pass the trade deal. Mexico has already approved the agreement, and Canada is in the process of gaining approval for the trade deal.

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Report: Lack of Infrastructure Investment Threatens Export Future

An independent report says a lack of funding for infrastructure improvements could put more than $72 billion in additional GDP and 77,000 new jobs at risk. The report by Agribusiness Intelligence was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The study examined three scenarios that included potential impacts of reduced investment for U.S. waterways, maintaining the status quo of less than two percent growth, or increased investment of $6.3 billion during the next ten years. Currently, appropriated funds, which are considered maintaining the status quo, do not enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep pace with barge-volume traffic, or growth and infrastructure maintenance needs. As a result, the percentage of vessels delayed on all waterways has increased from 35 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2017, which, in turn, adds to the total shipping cost. A spokesperson concludes, “the U.S. inland waterways infrastructure needs major rehabilitation and construction to restore it to its full capability, to forestall major disruptions, and provide opportunities for growth.”

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NBB Asks President Trump to Save Small Biodiesel Producers

The National Biodiesel Board is urging President Donald Trump to protect small biodiesel producers. The organization penned a letter to the President this week, asking he “save” small biodiesel producers harmed by his administration’s small refinery exemptions. The letter indicates that more than 200 million gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity has been idled as a result of policy instability. NBB anticipates additional facilities will close over the next several months if the President does not “take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel.” The letter highlights additional policy headwinds that NBB says are harming the biodiesel industry, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent proposal to “virtually eliminate” trade protections against heavily subsidized biodiesel imports. Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Its important for President Trump to keep his word and continue supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard.” NBB is asking the administration to restore RFS volumes undercut by exemptions and to provide growth opportunities for biodiesel.

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Organic Sector Set to Harvest Record Acreage

Organic farmers will harvest a record number of acres across the U.S. this year despite the weather and trade challenges plaguing agriculture in 2019. According to the Annual Acreage Report by Mercaris (mur-car-us), farmers will harvest 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic production, an increase of seven percent over 2018. The increase is driven in large part by a surge in new certified organic field crop operations across the nation. The West and High Plains regions saw the largest jump in organic harvested field crop acres this year. Overall total organic acres, which includes pasture, rangeland, and organic crop area, will reach 8.3 million acres this year. Additionally, more than 18,000 U.S. farm operation are now certified compliant with the USDA National Organic Program standards, a three percent increase from 2018. A Mercaris spokesperson says the increase comes despite weather challenges this year, and that “with better weather in 2020, the industry will likely see even more growth in the year to come.”

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Alltech Announces Industry-wide Survey on Women in Agriculture

Alltech has launched a survey to gather insights into the professional landscape for women in agriculture. Announced Tuesday, the survey aims to collect feedback about the barriers that impede progress, and to identify the resources needed to ensure workplace equality. The survey is open to all sectors of agriculture, and the results will be revealed at the Women in Food & Agriculture Summit this December in Amsterdam. Alltech CEO Mark Lyons says, “we hope to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing women in ag and identify opportunities for growth.” Lyons says the industry needs to make sure “young people see themselves represented and can envision a future career in the industry.”  Alltech has partnered with AgriBriefing to conduct the survey. Women and men in agriculture are encouraged to participate in the survey that will contribute to global conversation about gender equality in agriculture. A link to the survey can be found online at Alltech.com/news.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Preview/?sm=wWIjPbPIAds3wb30xO0ZIZs54Tqhjv7Gxn4Tw_2FLMzE4GNXmtquF1wTj7WrhQ_2BQ17

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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