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Agriculture News

China says U.S. farmers may never regain market share lost in trade war

Politico | Posted on August 13, 2018

China can easily find other countries to buy agricultural goods from instead of the U.S., its vice agriculture minister said, warning that American farmers could permanently lose their share of the Chinese market as a result of the trade war. “Many countries have the willingness and they totally have the capacity to take over the market share the U.S. is enjoying in China. If other countries become reliable suppliers for China, it will be very difficult for the U.S. to regain the market,” Han Jun told official Xinhua news agency in an interview. He also warned that American farmers could lose the position in the Chinese market they have spent several decades building up. Han said they may not be able to make up the losses brought by retaliatory tariffs, even with the White House’s planned $12 billion aid package for farmers caught in the dispute.He said Beijing had imposed duties on 90 percent of the agricultural goods the country imports from the United States since the trade war kicked off at the start of last month, with limited impact on China.China has been buying more soybeans from other countries and promoting alternatives to soybeans to feed livestock, as well as pushing farmers to plant more domestic crops. Before the trade war erupted, China was on track to import 300 million tons of soybeans from the United States this year.The country imported about $24.1 billion of agricultural products from the United States last year, accounting for 19 percent of its total farm imports worth some $125.86 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Trump's trade aid plan could breach WTO farm subsidy limit

Politico | Posted on August 10, 2018

President Donald Trump’s $12 billion plan to compensate farmers for financial losses stemming from his decision to impose tariffs on imports could push U.S. trade-distorting farm subsidies to their highest level since the late 1990s and potentially exceed WTO limits, former U.S. agriculture officials said.The highly controversial trade aid package creates a policy contradiction as the U.S. gears up for trade talks with the European Union. The administration is preparing to pay out additional subsidies to American agricultural producers at the same time it says it is embarking on talks with the EU to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and non-tariff barriers across the Atlantic, though the two sides disagree on whether agriculture will be part of those negotiations.And on a practical level, the Trump administration's aid plan could lead some farmers to get paid twice for losses, if they signed up for federal price support and insurance programs, the former officials said.“I think it's very, very likely that there will be some double-dipping on these losses,” said Joe Glauber, a former USDA chief economist.


Giant shipload of soya beans circles off China, victim of trade war with US

The Guardian | Posted on August 10, 2018

A shipment of soya beans worth more than $20m (£15.5m) has been bobbing aimlessly in the Pacific Ocean for a month, a casualty of the escalating trade war between China and the US.Lingering uncertainty over the cargo’s fate offered a timely reminder of the fallout from a dispute that intensified on Wednesday, as the US president, Donald Trump, unveiled a second round of tariffs on $16bn of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to respond in kind.China hits back against latest US tariffs; pound hit by Brexit worries – as it happened. The Peak Pegasus, a 229 metre bulk carrier weighing 43,000 tonnes, has become the reluctant symbol of the potential consequences of this tit-for-tat trade spat. The ship, owned by JP Morgan Asset Management, was scheduled to unload about 70,000 tonnes of American soya beans in the Chinese port of Dalian on 6 July, shortly after Trump imposed a first round of tariffs on $34bn-worth of goods.

2018 is shaping up to be the fourth-hottest year. Yet we're still not prepared for global warming.

The New York Times | Posted on August 10, 2018

This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the future that scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change, and it’s revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet. The disruptions to everyday life have been far-reaching and devastating. In California, firefighters are racing to control what has become the largest fire in state history. Harvests of staple grains like wheat and corn are expected to dip this year, in some cases sharply, in countries as different as Sweden and El Salvador. In Europe, nuclear power plants have had to shut down because the river water that cools the reactors was too warm. Heat waves on four continents have brought electricity grids crashing.And dozens of heat-related deaths in Japan this summer offered a foretaste of what researchers warn could be big increases in mortality from extreme heat. A study last month in the journal PLOS Medicine projected a fivefold rise for the United States by 2080. The outlook for less wealthy countries is worse; for the Philippines, researchers forecast 12 times more deaths.


Genetics technology could lead to more crops, fresher food

San Francisco Gate | Posted on August 9, 2018

J.R. Simplot has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer.  Simplot Co. announced the agreement with DowDuPont and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of the nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license.

Minn. hog producer, other Midwest ag businesses targeted in sweeping ICE raid

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 9, 2018

Minnesota’s Christensen Farms, one of the nation’s largest pork producers, was among the nearly dozen agriculture businesses to receive warrants Wednesday from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau on allegations that they are exploiting illegal immigrants. ICE issued search warrants for worksite violations at Christensen Farms hog production properties in Appleton, Minn.; Sleepy Eye, Minn.; and Atkinson, Neb. The bureau did the same at a number of other agricultural facilities including a cattle feedlot, a cattle ranch, tomato farms and potato farms — centering mostly in O’Neill, Neb. — and rounded up a total of 133 allegedly illegal workers in the process. The multi-state operation, meanwhile, issued criminal arrest warrants for 17 people on allegations of a conspiracy to “exploit illegal alien laborers for profit, fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in Nebraska and Minnesota,” ICE officials said.

Court orders ban on widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos

The Hill | Posted on August 9, 2018

The Ninth Circuit decision orders the EPA to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos within 60 days. A federal appeals court has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which former Administrator Scott Pruitt refused to do last year.The decision is a major win for environmentalists and health advocates. The EPA’s own research, as recently as 2016, linked chlorpyrifos to developmental and neurological disorders, especially in children and infants.The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the federal law governing pesticides, requires the EPA to ban the allowance of a pesticide on food if it finds any harm from exposure to it.

House, Senate pass animal drug user fee legislation

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on August 9, 2018

Legislation would expand conditional approvals beyond minor uses and minor species. The U.S. House and Senate have passed the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018 (HR 5554/S 2434), which are vital to increasing veterinary access to drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.The House passed the bill on July 16, and the Senate passed the bill on July 31. The legislation includes language that would expand conditional approvals beyond minor uses and minor species.The animal drug user fee amendments will reauthorize the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to continue collecting animal drug and animal generic drug user fees from the drugs’ sponsors. These fees, coupled with annual appropriations, support FDA’s animal drug review processes and ultimately improve veterinary access to FDA-approved drugs. Conditional approval of new animal drugs will incentivize the development of new and innovative products for conditions that prove particularly difficult to study, according to the AVMA.

Shortage Of Large-Animal Vets Leaves Markets Vulnerable To Disease Outbreaks

NPR | Posted on August 9, 2018

Large-animal vets ensure the health of cows, pigs and horses, but they're also the first line of defense against diseases that can spread from animals to humans — so a shortage leaves producers, and global markets, vulnerable to devastating outbreaks. In rural towns across the country, there's a shortage of veterinarians for farm animals. The pay is low. The hours are long. And it can be hard to get vets to work in areas where there are more cows than people. This is a problem that could leave farmers and the U.S. food supply vulnerable.

A Dip in the Farm Economy

Kansas City Fed | Posted on August 9, 2018

A decline in farm income accelerated slightly in the second quarter as crop prices plummeted in June. In contrast to earlier signs of income stabilization, more District bankers reported a decrease in farm income (Chart 1). The sharp decline in crop prices likely contributed to reduced income. In June alone, prices for U.S. soybeans dropped 17 percent. In addition, from the beginning of May to mid-July, corn prices also dropped 17 percent. Despite the steep declines in crop prices, however, the effect on farm income was somewhat limited with several months remaining before harvest begins.