READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Drastically Decreasing U.S. Soybean Imports

China dropped imports of U.S. soybeans by 80 percent in September and increased Brazilian imports by 28 percent. Reuters reports this is the first time that China has provided data on the country of origin for its commodity imports since the month of March. China, which typically buys many of its soybeans during the fourth quarter from the U.S., is sourcing soybeans from Brazil as a direct result of the trade war with the United States. Chinese buyers imported 7.59 million metric tons of Brazilian soybeans in September, up from 5.94 million metric tons a year ago. Soybean imports from the U.S. were 132,200 metric tons, compared with 937,000 in September last year. China implemented a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans in July as part of the tit-for-tat tariffs between the two countries. Corn and sorghum shipments from the U.S. were reported significantly lower, as well.

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USDA Inspector General to Review USDA Reorganization Proposal

The Department of Agriculture’s inspector general will investigate the proposed movement of two USDA agencies outside of the Washington, DC area. Politico reports the investigation will look into whether USDA followed proper procedures when deciding to move the agencies. Earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan that would move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture outside of Washington. The investigation also seeks to see if USDA has the authority to make the moves. The investigation could trigger further efforts by Congress to block or restrict the USDA decision. USDA is planning to relocate the agencies next year, but many in Congress, along with others including USDA employees, have criticized the move. Perdue says the move would save the agency money.

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USCA Expresses Concern for Possible U.S.-Brazil Free Trade Agreement

The U.S Cattlemen’s Association has concerns with a potential U.S-Brazil free trade agreement. News of a potential bilateral agreement emerged following the recent presidential election in Brazil. President Donald Trump recently spoke with the newly elected Brazilian President, and said after the conversation that he sees an agreement “happening” between the two. USCA expressed concern, saying Brazil is “historically, a bad actor when it comes to following through on trade commitments.” In a statement, the organization noted that in 2016 and 2017, USCA called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to halt importation of Brazilian beef upon finding that the country was attempting to ship tainted beef to the United States. The organization says a “system of corruption” was later exposed throughout the Brazilian production chain, as multiple meat inspectors were prosecuted for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing tainted meat through inspection checks. The organization asked the Trump administration to reach out to industry partners when crafting any agreement with Brazil.

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Beef Exports Remain Solid; Pork Exports Still Facing Headwinds

U.S. beef exports remained very strong in September while pork exports continued to be impacted by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports cooled from the record results posted in August, but were still significantly higher year-over-year. September beef exports totaled 110,100 metric tons, up six percent from a year ago, valued at $687.1 million – up 11 percent. Pork muscle cut exports improved over last September’s volume, but were offset by sharply lower shipments of pork variety meat. September pork export volume was down two percent from a year ago to 179,400 metric tons, while export value fell seven percent to $470.2 million. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says pork exports have held up relatively well, “but unfortunately the obstacles U.S. pork faces in China and Mexico are putting a lot of pressure on export value.”

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WTO Members Support Policy Approaches to Enable Innovation in Agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week announced the United States has joined 12 other nations to support policies that enable agricultural innovation, including genome editing. The International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology was released in Geneva at the World Trade Organization Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Perdue says of precision biotechnology that it “can play a critical role in helping farmers address many of the production challenges they face.” Unfortunately, Perdue says, these technologies “too often face regulatory roadblocks.” The effort is an attempt to embrace science-based regulatory systems. Countries and organizations supporting the statement include Argentina, which led the effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

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FAS Administrator Isley Leading South Korea Trade Mission

Representatives from nearly 50 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations are with the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ken Isley on a trade mission to South Korea this week. Participants will meet one-on-one with potential customers and learn firsthand about local market conditions through a series of briefings and site visits, ultimately positioning themselves for successful business dealings in South Korea. Isley says in a statement that “Korea is consistently among the largest and most reliable export markets for U.S. agriculture.” He says KORUS, the U.S-Korea Free Trade Agreement, has opened “even greater opportunity.” This is the first trade mission led by Isley as Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator. Along with agribusiness leaders, Isley is also joined by Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring, and officials from the Georgia and Missouri departments of agriculture.

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Correction: National Ag News included a story Friday titled “CA Groundskeeper Accepts Settlement; Bayer Planning Appeal” There was no settlement in the case. Johnson did accept a reduced award. Bayer has not settled and will appeal. Please update if you have posted this online, to a headline of “CA Groundskeeper Accepts Reduced Award; Bayer Planning Appeal”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.