The Chinese government announced on Oct. 29 that it would modify its total ban on the trade of rhinoceros and tiger parts, allowing rhino horns and tiger bones from animals raised on farms in China to be used on a limited basis by accredited doctors in Chinese hospitals. An outright ban on trading has been in effect since 1993. The use of these animal parts, often ground into a powder, have a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, along with genitalia from bulls, deer, and snakes and elephant tusks. But, say Chinese medicine experts, there is no proven or unique medical benefit to these and similar ingredients from other animals, many of which come from endangered creatures.Advocates for the elimination of trade in parts from tigers, rhinos, elephants, and other endangered animals say that because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between farmed and wild animals, it effectively creates a market for poaching.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan to outline the key priorities the agency will pursue to support innovation in plant and animal biotechnology while advancing the agency’s public health mission. The overall goal of the action plan is to ensure the safety of plant and animal products of biotechnology while avoiding unnecessary barriers to future innovation.The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is launching a pilot of this program today to offer intensive technical and programmatic assistance to developers of certain innovative veterinary products, including animal biotechnology products. VIP includes a set of tools to guide sponsors through the regulatory process, options to develop alternative strategies for generating necessary evidence, pre-submission reviews of data packages, and cross-disciplinary and coordinated FDA review.CVM, along with representatives from FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), will host a live-cast webinar on Dec. 3, 2018 to discuss FDA’s flexible, risk-based regulatory approach and current scientific evidence and regulatory science questions that are important for the agency’s decision-making for genome editing in animals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not planning to extend an up to $12 billion aid package for farmers into 2019, Secretary Sonny Perdue said, to mitigate farmer losses due to the imposition of tariffs on American exports. “Farmers are very resilient and adept in making their planning and marketing decisions based on the current market,” Perdue told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington.
Another tariff deadline imposed by the Trump administration is fast approaching, and a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month at the Group of Twenty summit may be the last chance for a breakthrough. The White House has said that the tariff rate already slapped on US$200 billion in Chinese goods will increase from 10% to 25% starting next year.That has increased the stakes for trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, but reporting on Thursday suggests that the Trump administration won’t even come to the table until Beijing presents a firm offer of concessions.
A University of Nebraska Extension policy specialist foresees a large gap in the farm safety net for crop producers in 2019. Nebraska crop producers, for example, have received 500 to 600 million dollars in total payments on each of the 2014 through 2016 crops. But Brad Lubben says that support, most of it coming from the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program, is quickly disappearing as the current farm bill expires.“We’re somewhere less than 200 million this year and heading to much less than that next year,” Lubben says.He thinks there could be a “wholesale shift” to the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill.“If that happens, and if we have the current price outlook we have for not much recovery, then we could see some substantial payments due on the ’19 crop—but that’s not paid until 2020,” he says. “So the safety net is still there and it might kick back in again, but we have some cash flow challenges in the meantime.”
In August 2017, $27 million worth of soybeans shipped to China through Washington state’s port of Vancouver. This August’s total shipment: $0.The drop, driven by President Trump’s escalating trade war with China, has meant real pain for the longshoremen responsible for transporting the cargo at the port. With fewer crops to load onto ships bound for China, the number of shifts available for longshoremen has fallen. Last month, longshoreman Cager Clabaugh canceled a planned family trip to Disneyland, even though he had already bought five plane tickets and put a $500 deposit on a Los Angeles hotel. With the soybean slowdown, Clabaugh was no longer sure his family could afford the trip.If Clabaugh were a soybean farmer, he might be eligible for some of the $12 billion in federal funding the Trump administration has made available to specific U.S. farmers, an effort to shield them from China’s new tariffs on their products. Those farmers started getting their bailout checks last month, but the bailout is available only to specific groups of producers, excluding other firms and workers along the long supply chain built to connect Chinese markets with U.S. products.The incomplete nature of the farm bailout underscores the administration’s challenge in assessing the broad fallout from Trump’s trade war and deciding which victims should be compensated for their losses and which should have to pay for them out of pocket.
As the Trump administration increases immigration enforcement actions against working adults, grandparents and other extended family members — often immigrants themselves — are stepping in to care for many of those children left behind.One in five children being raised by extended family members — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — live in an immigrant household, more than half a million children, a new report shows. And as the number of deportations continues to rise, the number of immigrant “grandfamilies” will increase as well, researchers say.These immigrant grandfamilies face formidable challenges: traumatized children, lack of easy access to social services such as Medicaid and food stamps, and a fear of engaging with government agencies lest caregivers be deported as well.Immigration advocates have called for greater resources from federal, state and local officials. Some state governments have stepped in, to help immigrant parents prepare for the prospect of being separated from their children, who often are American citizens, and to help caseworkers ensure that minors will be cared for if parents are deported.
In many ways the programs of the USDA serve as a validation of the list of basic goods and services set forth by Reinert. In his discussion of the merits of providing unrestricted cash transfers directly to people for the purchase of food compared to providing conditional cash transfers that set restrictions on the items that can be purchased we found Reinert speaking directly to most of us.He writes, “[A] way of enjoying oneself is to purchase things other than food even when your diet is far less than ideal. These could include televisions, festivals, videogame parlors, and much more. It is not that the poor are stupid in this regard. It is just that the poor are very much like the nonpoor in their behaviors. Indeed, the pursuit of something tasty is a part of what drives the obesity rates in both rich and poor countries.” How many of us have to say, “guilty as charged”?He then discusses policy interventions that have been shown to be useful including “pregnant mothers and their infants…. Evidence suggests that programs that improve the nutrition for these individuals have positive repercussions for for both health and education throughout the children’s lives.”While there are many who believe that American farmers will play a significant role in reducing the number of people around the world who suffer from significant undernutrition, the picture is more nuanced than that. It is clear that exports are important to the financial health of the US farm sector, but the solution to world hunger goes beyond the corn, wheat, and soybeans produced on US farms.
The Federal Reserve Board released its October 2018 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.Sixth District- Atlanta– “Agriculture conditions across the District remained mixed. By late September, most of the District was drought-free. District corn, soybean, cotton, and peanut harvests were close to their five-year averages although by late September, significant rain in Tennessee resulted in some crop damage and delays in harvesting. Year-over-year prices paid to farmers in August were up for corn, cotton, rice, and eggs, while soybean, beef, and broiler prices were down.Seventh District- Chicago– “Greater-than-usual precipitation slowed the harvest and reduced the quantity and quality of crops, and expectations for net crop income fell accordingly. While expectations for yields were lower than in the prior reporting period, it was still likely that they would reach record levels.
Federal officials were caught off guard when the Trump administration announced its “zero tolerance” immigration policy on migrants crossing the southwest border. The policy to criminally prosecute anyone who crossed the border illegally, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April, was reversed months later by President Trump, but only after it caused a public outcry due to the separation of parents and children.The policy was fully instated in May, but because they did not know in advance about the policy, officials at the two agencies tasked with processing the migrant families were not prepared to enforce it.