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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 7th

China Appears Ready to Purchase U.S. Ag Products

China appears to be getting ready to follow through on commitments it made with the White House in a short-term trade bargain with the U.S. Politico calls it a potentially encouraging sign for U.S. ag producers. A Chinese government official said the two countries reached agreement in sectors like agriculture, autos, and energy. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a short-term trade truce during discussions in  Buenos Aires. Politico quotes a Bloomberg report saying Beijing officials are preparing to resume importing products like soybeans and liquefied natural gas. That appears to confirm White House statements that said China will begin buying more American farm goods “immediately.” It’s not known for sure if China will drop its retaliatory tariffs on soybeans and other commodities, or possibly compensate customers. It’s also unclear yet when the promised purchasing will begin. In another positive sign for the long-term discussions, China also announced new punishments for IP theft. That’s one of the central disputes the U.S. hopes to resolve through further negotiations over the next three months.


U.S. Beef Gains Access to Morocco

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that Morocco will begin importing U.S. beef and beef products this year. 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to the Moroccan market under the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. Morocco already opened up its market to U.S. poultry back in August. “New access to Morocco for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that our farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” says Lighthizer. “American beef is the best in the world,” Perdue says, “and as soon as the Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more.” As of last month, U.S. ag exports to Morocco were worth more than $512 million dollars. Initial estimates say that Morocco could be an $80 million export market for U.S. beef and beef products. In 2017, the U.S. was the third-largest beef exporter in the world, with global sales of beef and beef products worth $7.3 billion.


Market Facilitation Program Payments Stuck at OMB

Farmers thought they’d have more details on the second round of USDA trade-aid payments by now. However, Farm Journal says the payments are still under negotiations. USDA is negotiating with the Office of Management and Budget for that second round of payments under the Market Facilitation Program. USDA had originally intended to release the information on Monday. The agency had wanted to assess the potential impact of the temporary U.S. and China trade truce. The OMB is tasked with making sure the cost of what the government projects it will spend is kept in check as much as possible. Following the China news, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told farmers that payments would still be happening. “From my perspective, nothing has changed as far as the damages farmers have experienced,” Perdue says. How large those payments will be is unclear, but they will likely be a different amount than the first round of payments. The Farm Journal report says the prospect of a more normalized trade flow with China going into 2019 might mean this round of aid payments will be a little less than they were before.


Some Crops Still in Fields with Crop Insurance Deadlines Approaching

Extremely wet or snowy conditions have caused lengthy harvest delays for a number of farmers across rural America. It’s possible in some cases that the moisture content has gotten so high, the crop can’t be physically harvested with normal harvesting equipment. With the end of the insurance period on December 10 for most of the spring-planted crops, farmers need to know they have options they can take with regards to crop insurance coverage. Farmers need to call their agents to talk about the possibility of more harvest time so claims can be settled based on harvested production. Approved insurance providers can allow more harvest time if certain conditions are met. The requirements include timely notice of loss to each agent. A farmer’s insurance provider must determine and document that the delay in harvest was due to an insured cause of loss. Farmers must also demonstrate to their agent that harvest wasn’t possible due to insured causes. They also must show the delay in harvest wasn’t because the farmer didn’t have sufficient equipment or manpower to harvest the crop by the end of the insurance period. More information is available on the Risk Management Agency’s website.


OK Considers Rules Addressing Poultry Farm Growth

Oklahoma’s board of agriculture is considering adopting setbacks and other rules addressing the increasing number of poultry operations in the northeast part of the state. Local media reports say the operations are using up the local water supplies. The proposed rules are available on the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture’s Food and Forestry website. If adopted, the rules would require new or expanding operations to be located at least a quarter-mile from the nearest occupied residence, as well as at least a half-mile from a public school or incorporated city limit. Board members are expected to discuss the proposed rules during a meeting next week. The industry website Meating Place Dot Com says 207 new poultry operations were established in eastern Oklahoma over the past year. The farms support an expansion of a Simmons processing facility in nearby Arkansas. Back in November, Oklahoma placed a moratorium on applications to build new poultry feeding operations to allow more time to consider the issue.   


National Chicken Council Website Helps With Consumer Education

The National Chicken Council is one of many Ag organizations that recognize consumers are interested in more information about the food they eat when dining out. The NCC recently launched a new website to help foodservice and culinary professionals pass on the information to consumers. The website offers information on how the chickens served to consumers is raised and processed. The new Chicken Check In Foodservice website provides information on how broilers (chickens raised for meat) are raised and produced in the U.S. The information also includes frequently asked questions, a glossary of chicken labeling terms, as well as additional resources. The 2018 U.S. Chicken Consumption Report says chicken consumption outside the home is growing and consumers want to learn more about the product. As many as 68 percent of consumers have eaten a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment in the past two weeks. They also anticipate eating more chicken from food service establishments over the course of the next 12 months.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.

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