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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, February 5th

China Buys U.S. Soybeans Following Trade Meeting

China continues to purchase U.S. soybeans with a more than one million metric ton buy on Friday, and another 600,000 metric ton purchase reported Monday. Following a round of trade talks last week, China pledged to purchase another five million metric tons of U.S. soybeans. Friday’s purchases by state-owned firms were believed to be destined for China’s state reserves, and thus immune from high import tariffs, according to Reuters. The 25 percent tariffs, imposed last summer in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, remain in place for U.S. soy imports by commercial crushers in China. With ongoing trade talks, China began purchasing U.S. soybeans at the end of December. China halted the purchases of U.S. soybeans when the tariff was put in place and purchased most of its needed supply from Brazil. Trade talks between China and the U.S. have a March 1 deadline set by the Trump administration, and Trump said over the weekend “we have a good chance to make a deal.”

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Ag Officials from Canada, Mexico, to Attend USDA Outlook Forum

Agriculture leaders of Canada and Mexico will speak at the USDA 95th Agricultural Outlook Forum later this month. The Department of Agriculture recently announced Minister Lawrence MacAulay of Canada and Secretary Victor Villalobos Arambula (Villa-bus Arm-bew-lah) of Mexico will join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the forum’s keynote address on February 21. The session will mark the first time the three ministers have spoken jointly at a public forum since the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in November 2018. Secretary Perdue says the forum will focus on how USMCA will facilitate agricultural trade among the three countries. USDA says this year’s Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “Growing Locally, Selling Globally,” highlights current issues and trends affecting agricultural production and global markets. USDA says the event also offers a platform for exchanging ideas, information and best practices among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations.

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USDA, USTR Seek New Members for Trade Advisory Committees

The Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative’s Office are accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Announced Monday, nominations received by Friday, March 1, 2019, will be considered for the next round of appointments. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says farmer input on the panels can “help guide President Trump’s trade strategy” in opening markets for U.S. agriculture through ongoing trade negotiations. Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements, and on other trade policy matters. Members of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production. Committee members represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses.

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American Soybean Association, USMEF, Top Trade Funding Recipients

The American Soybean Association will receive $21.8 million from the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program as part of the $200 million of trade promotion funds. The funds are part of the Trump administration’s efforts to curb trade war impacts on agriculture. U.S. Soybeans were targeted by tariffs from China as a retaliation to U.S. trade policy. The U.S. Meat Export Federation will receive the second-highest funding amount at $17.5 million. USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom says the funding will help agriculture organizations “defend existing market share and develop new destinations for U.S. agricultural products.” The U.S. Grains Council will receive $13.9 million. Meanwhile, the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and the Food Export USA Northeast organizations each received more than $13 million. 57 organizations were named to receive funding in the announcement last week. The program provides assistance to eligible groups for consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, trade fair participation, and market research.

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Despite Trade Turmoil, U.S. Soybean Exports Set Record

The United States exported a record-breaking 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products, valued at more than $28 billion last market year, ending in September. The U.S. also set a record high in combined volume of the whole soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil exported in 2017/2018, with soybean meal exports accounting for the greatest growth. The records were achieved despite the ongoing trade war with China that hindered U.S. soybean exports. However, the official marketing year runs from October 1 to September 30, and exports during the 2017/2018 marketing year would not have been largely impacted by the tariffs introduced by China as shipments abroad normally take place after harvest. In response to the data, U.S. Soybean Export Council chairman and United Soybean Board director Derek Haigwood says at a time when global trade flows have dramatically changed, “it is critical that we ensure access in all markets that want to purchase U.S. soybeans and soy products.”

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Rodale Institute Opens the Midwest Organic Center

The Rodale Institute Monday announced the opening of the Midwest Organic Center in Iowa. The center will open at Etzel Sugar Grove Farm, part of the Indian Creek Nature Center, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year. The center will research organic farming methods and seeks to help expand organic acreage in the Midwest. In 2016 The Department of Agriculture reported that Iowa has more than 103,000 certified organic acres on 732 farms. This places Iowa fifth in the nation for number of certified organic farms. However, the Rodale Institute says the region “lacks truly progressive, widespread access to research and training in regenerative organic practices.” In 2019, researchers and farm staff will begin transitioning the land to organic, a process that requires three total years. They will designate areas for grain production, vegetable production and a long-term systems trial similar in design to Rodale Institute’s flagship Farming Systems Trial. The center plans to host an education day for farmers sometime this year.

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.