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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 20th

China, U.S., Seek Agreement in Trade Talks

Trade talks between the U.S. and China resumed Tuesday as both nations seem optimistic to reach an agreement that would mark the end of a tit-for-tat trade war. Mid-level talks are ongoing, with higher-level talks expected Thursday that will include U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, according to the Washington Post. The two sides “made headway” on “important and difficult” issues last week, according to Lighthizer. An agreement would be welcomed by U.S. agriculture, as China targeted U.S. farm goods throughout the trade war, including soybeans. However, more long-term damage may be lurking. China has been working to overhaul its agriculture structure in recent years, and a recent policy statement by China announced the nations intent to stimulate its rural economy. The policy statement includes increased farm subsidies and the promotion of increased plantings of soybeans and other oilseeds. The statement is seen as another measure by China to increase domestic production of soybeans to reduce dependence on foreign nations.

New TPP Giving Canada Trade Boost in Japan

The new Trans-Pacific Partnership is boosting Canada’s beef sales to Japan. The new trade deal that does not include the United States has led to a surge in beef exports from Canada, although official numbers are not yet available. The Financial Times reports the new TPP, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, could be costing the U.S. beef sector through the protectionism policies by the Trump administration that withdrew from the original trade deal. Well-noted by the U.S. beef industry, the new TPP cut Japanese tariffs on imports of chilled beef from 38.7 percent to 27.5 percent, giving Australia, Canada and New Zealand and 11 percent tariff advantage over U.S. beef. The recent government shutdown delayed planned bilateral trade talks between the U.S. and Japan, but the talks are supposed to start soon. Japan has indicated it would give the U.S. similar tariff concession made to those in the TPP agreement.

Farm Bureau Analysis Shows 2018 Farm Bankruptcy Statistics

An analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows 2018 Chapter 12 family farmer and family fisherman bankruptcies nationwide were down from prior-year levels. Chapter 12 filings in 2018 totaled 498 and were down one percent, or three filings, from the 2017 calendar year, according to the AFBF Market Intel report. AFBF notes, however, that the U.S. had fewer farmers in the U.S. in 2018 compared to 2017. And, the data shows bankruptcy filings in 19 states were higher than prior-year levels. In the Midwest, bankruptcies totaled 223 filings, up 19 percent from 2017 and double decade-ago levels. Farm bankruptcies in Wisconsin, the second largest dairy state, totaled 49 filings in 2018 – the highest in the nation.  AFBF says the situation is likely to worsen. Farm debt is record-high, and farm debt as a proportion of annual farm income is at 97 percent, a 32-year high. However, AFBF also points out that bankruptcy does not mean the loss of the family farm. Through a successful Chapter 12 bankruptcy, a farmer may have an opportunity to retain assets and continue the farm operation in some capacity.

No Hemp Crop Insurance Coverage Yet

A Department of Agriculture official says the crop insurance coverage for hemp is not ready. Martin Barbre, USDA Risk Management Agency administrator, told the crop insurance industry this week that agents could discuss crop insurance with hemp farmers, but must tell them “there is no coverage at the present time.” The 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the list of controlled drugs, and USDA says it will help growers of hemp, including through crop insurance. However, getting a program set up takes time, and Barbre did not say when crop insurance might be available for crop insurance, according to the Hagstrom report. He said the Risk Management agency cannot work on the issue until the Agricultural Marketing Service develops regulations for producing hemp. Meanwhile, other insurance changes from the farm bill include the new dairy insurance program, which Barbre said is in its infancy, but has “really taken off.”

Perdue to Speak at Commodity Classic

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Commodity Classic next week. Held February 28th to March 2nd in Orlando Florida, close to 10,000 attendees are expected. Perdue will speak during the general session of the event, planned for Friday, March 1, at 9:00 a.m. Before Secretary Perdue, the General Session will include comments from leaders of the five associations that present Commodity Classic each year: American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Perdue is expected to share current news and perspectives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with topics including international trade, farm bill implementation, rural development and the role of agriculture in America’s food security and economic health. Detailed information about Commodity Classic schedule is available

Applications Now Open for 2019 Pork Industry Scholarships

The National Pork Board has opened the application process for the 2019 Pork Industry Scholarships. The program, now in its tenth year, is open to college juniors and seniors who have plans to pursue a career in swine production management or a related field. Additionally, students who will be seeking to attend veterinary or graduate school with an emphasis on swine are encouraged to apply. The National Pork Board will award up to 20 scholarships in 2019 totaling $46,000. The top applicant will receive $5,000, the second-ranked applicant will receive $3,500 and all others will receive $2,000. The guidelines for the scholarship application and the online form can be found at The deadline for application submission is March 15, 2019. Following review and selection, recipients will be notified in April. Approximately 80 percent of the previous recipients of the Pork Industry Scholarship have pursued advanced degrees as they prepared to serve the industry as veterinarians, nutritionists, reproductive biologists and management consultants.

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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