READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 15th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 15th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Drops Ban on U.S. Poultry Imports

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are both pleased that China lifted it’s “unwarranted ban” on U.S. poultry imports. “This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” Lighthizer said. “China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry each year to China.” He says reopening China to U.S. poultry will also support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry. Perdue says, “America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it’s critical they can sell to consumers in other parts of the world.” China had banned all U.S. poultry imports since January of 2015 because of an avian influenza outbreak, even though the U.S. has been free of the disease since August of 2017. The U.S. had exported more than $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013. The United States is the world’s second-largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products totaling $4.3 billion last year.

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Poultry Organizations say China Access Worth Billions

The National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council all applaud China’s decision to lift its ban on U.S. poultry products. The ban had been in place since 2015 when the U.S. was hit by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in America’s poultry flocks. In a statement, the groups say, “Lifting the ban has been a top priority of the U.S. poultry industry for the past four years. “We thank administration officials, congressional leaders and their staffs, all of whom worked tirelessly to reach an agreement with China and ensure the poultry industry has access to this vital market.” This represents a potentially significant opportunity for U.S. chicken and turkey producers. Renewed access to China could results in $1 billion every year for chicken paws alone. Because China has been hit hard by African Swine Fever, it could mean up to another $1 billion worth of potential exports of other chicken products like leg and breast meat. Turkey exports could be worth another $100 million in sales and poultry breeding stock worth at least another $60 million dollars. The groups say, “America’s poultry producers are pleased to once again have a chance to share their high-quality, nutritious products with Chinese consumers in the weeks to come.”

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Japan Likely to Vote on U.S. Trade Pact Next Week

Media reports in Japan are saying that the parliament is likely to start voting on a trade pact with the U.S. sometime next week. The lower house of the Japanese Diet will take up the pact next Wednesday, while the upper house, called the House of Councilors, will begin considering the deal the next day. A Japan Times report says Japan’s parliament had wanted to hold their votes this week, but complications came about from opposition lawmakers, who demanded that minutes of the meetings between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (AH-bay) be released. Trump wants the deal implemented by January 1, which will likely happen as both houses of parliament are expected to pass the agreement. Trump and Abe announced in September that the countries had reached a deal on the first phase of a trade pace that will have a positive impact on U.S. commodities, including beef, wheat, and pork. An Agri-Pulse report says Japan agreed to cut or eliminate tariffs on $7.2 billion worth of American ag products. The Asian country will also install new quotas that will help to boost import levels of U.S. farm goods even further.

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U.S., China Negotiations still Working through Sticky Subjects

The U.S. and China are still trying to put the final touches on a limited trade agreement that will involve Chinese purchases of U.S. ag commodities. The question appears to be just how much those purchases will amount to. A CNBC report says the two sides appear to be stuck in a stalemate, even though they announced a tentative agreement a month ago. A Wall Street Journal report says China is hesitant about writing down a specific amount of agricultural purchases in the actual text of the trade agreement. President Donald Trump said last month that China had agreed to purchase up to $50 billion in U.S. farm products. The two sides are still expecting to sign the limited trade agreement later this month. China is still insisting that the two sides roll back their tariffs as part of the agreement, something the U.S. opposes. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow tells CNBC that no agreement will be made on rolling back tariffs until the trade deal is signed. He did say the U.S. and China have progressed in talks on subjects like IP theft, financial services, currency stability, commodities, and agriculture. The administration has slapped tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese imports, while China has retaliated with duties on $10 billion worth of American imports.

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Emergency Funds Secured to Dredge Mississippi River

Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind, along with Minnesota Representatives Angie Craig and Betty McCollum, announced they have secured emergency funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The funds will help the Corps to address the impacts of this spring’s devastating floods on the Mississippi River. As a direct result of the flooding, the Mississippi River and many others in the Inland Waterway System have higher sedimentation levels in their riverbeds. The system is responsible for one-sixth of the nation’s intercity cargo and 25 percent of foreign exports. The Army Corps of Engineers needs to increase dredging to overcome those rising sediment levels, allowing barges to navigate successfully. “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues across the Mississippi River to obtain the funding,” Kind says. “How, the Corps will have the resources they need to make sure the Mississippi remains open for business. Craig points out that farmers, families, and communities depend on the Mississippi River to export goods and to drive economic growth. McCollum says, “This disaster aid will help agricultural businesses fully recover so they can look to the future.”

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USDA Offering Flexibility on Crop Insurance Premiums

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency says it will continue to defer accrual of interest for 2019 crop year insurance premiums to help farmers hit hard by extreme weather. More specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on 2019 crop year insurance programs to the earlier of the applicable termination date or January 31 of 2020, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. The extension is necessary because harvest has been very delayed, and crop insurance claims typically aren’t settled until after the harvest. That puts an even bigger squeeze on farmers and their cash flow. USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey made the announcement during the NAFB convention in Kansas City. “USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers impacted by the weather challenges this year, and we hope this deferral will help ease cash flow challenges for producers, many of whom are dealing with serious harvest delays.” The extended deferral builds on other steps USDA has taken to support farmers and ranchers impacted by flooding and other disasters. More than $3 billion in assistance is available through the disaster-relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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