READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 12th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Trump says No Agreement with China on Easing Tariffs Yet

Late last week, the Chinese government stated that the U.S and China had reached an agreement to begin rolling back tariffs after a phase one trade deal is signed. That statement led to some optimism and a jump upward in financial markets. Politico says it was just 24 hours after that when President Donald Trump poured “cold water all over the positive vibes.” The president said during a press conference on Friday that there’s no such understanding between the two countries to scale back duties on each other’s goods. “I haven’t agreed to anything,” Trump said on the White House lawn. “China wants to get somewhat of a rollback in tariffs, not a complete rollback, because they know I won’t do it.” White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro sent an email on Friday complaining about the media coverage of the apparent deal on tariffs, saying too many journalists are “getting the trade stories on China wrong.” Politico points out that they asked the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to confirm the Chinese claims on an agreement to cut back on tariffs. Both refused to comment on the record and didn’t make any attempt to contradict the Chinese statement.

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USDA Set to Allow Chinese Poultry Imports as a Sign of Progress

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking steps to allow poultry imports from China. Farm Progress Dot Com says it’s a sign of ongoing progress in the talks between Washington and Beijing that will hopefully lead to a resolution in their trade dispute. The new regulation covers birds as well as poultry parts and products slaughtered in certified Chinese facilities. A compromise on poultry came out of advanced discussions between the two nations as they gradually work toward a “Phase One” partial trade deal. China said last month that it was prepared to lift a ban on U.S poultry imports that had been in place since 2015. A report last Thursday said that China’s General Administration of Customs and Ministry of Agriculture were looking into the removal of curbs on American supplies. China is currently allowed to send poultry products into the U.S. that are slaughtered in America or certain other countries. However, the new regulation would allow China to send processed poultry products made from birds slaughtered in the Asian country. If Beijing ultimately lifts its ban on U.S. poultry imports, that would be a major win for U.S. producers and processors. China banned U.S. poultry imports in 2015 after an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the U.S.

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USDA Announces Aid Package for Southern Farmers Hurt by Hurricanes

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says his agency is making $800 million available to agricultural producers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, who were affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence. These state block grants are part of a larger $3 billion package to aid producers in recovering from natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. The broader package includes the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program, as well as programs for loss of milk and stored commodities. “Natural disasters hit producers with some hefty blows in the past couple of years,” Perdue says. “This relief complements USDA’s tool chest of disaster assistance programs and crop insurance.” He says the additional aid helps producers who’ve suffered losses beyond what the regular USDA programs can cover. USDA is working out the final details of the grants with the Florida governor’s office and the state departments of agriculture in Alabama and Georgia. The grants are designed to cover all of the qualifying losses not covered by other USDA disaster assistance programs. Grant funding covers losses of timber, cattle, poultry, as well as necessary expenses related to the loss of horticulture crops and present-value losses associated with pecan production.

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Brazil Taking Cotton Exports Away from U.S. Producers

While soybeans have gotten a lot of attention during the U.S. trade war with China, U.S. cotton is one of the lesser-known victims of the trade dispute. Just 14 million acres of the crop were planted this year across states like Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi. That’s compared with 76.5 million acres of soybeans and almost 90 million corn acres. The U.S. is the world’s top exporter of cotton and over 75 percent of the crop is sent overseas. The U.S. cotton industry depends heavily on Chinese purchases. Bloomberg says even if the U.S. and China were to strike a trade deal, the global demand outlook isn’t solid and industry experts say harvest doesn’t look encouraging, due in large part to a hot and dry summer in many key cotton regions. The global customers that are out there are currently looking to Brazil for cotton. The lagging Brazil economy is making its supply of cotton more affordable for other countries when compared to U.S. cotton. The forecast supply from this season’s crop will likely boost domestic supplies to their highest point since 2009. This will bring down cotton futures, which dropped over eight percent last year and are down another 10 percent this year.

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Rabobank: China’s Hog Herd Won’t Bounce Back for Five Years

Rabobank says China’s pig herd, once the largest in the world, will take more than five years to recover from the African Swine Fever outbreak. Even then, Rabobank International says their meat consumption won’t be the same as it was before the disease outbreak. The world’s biggest pork market won’t stabilize until 2025 and meat imports won’t make up for the shortfall. China’s once giant hog herd is more than half of what it was, down to less than 200 million since the first case of ASF was made public in August of 2018. A Rabobank analyst notes that China is rapidly trying to increase its domestic production, while importing more pork and other proteins like beef and chicken, in hopes of satisfying consumer demand. The crisis will change the way China consumes protein. Rabobank says pork will remain the meat of choice in China, but its overall share of meat consumption will fall from 63 percent to 53 percent. Poultry’s share of Chinese meat consumption will increase by 30 percent by 2025. Restocking and importing will take place through 2021 before hog output increases through 2025. However, Rabobank says even then, the total herd is unlikely to return to its peak size in 2018.

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New Tractors Presented to Farmer Veteran Coalition Members

In partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Kubota presented five farmer veterans with new tractors as a part of its “Geared to Give” program. In observance of Veterans’ Day, each farmer received the keys to their new tractor during a ceremony in their respective hometowns. Hundreds of applications came in for the giveaway program, with Kubota selecting five winners in each of their operating divisions. Winners included three Army veterans, an Air Force Veteran, and a U.S. Marine. Alex Woods, Kubota’s Vice President of Sales, says, “The program empowers farmer veterans to achieve their dreams. We’re very happy to have selected the five veterans to receive their awards.” Michael O’Gorman, Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, says, “One of the great joys of doing this work is being able to make a positive impact on our farmer veterans by providing them with the tools to succeed on their operations. Having horsepower on the farm is the ultimate gift for a farmer.” Farmer veterans can apply every year to the FVC Fellowship Fund to be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the “Geared to Give” program.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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