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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, July 8th

China: ASF Outbreak is Slowing

The African Swine Fever death toll in China has risen to 1.2 million animals. An Associated Press Report says the infection has begun pushing global pork prices higher, even though a Chinese deputy ag minister says the rate of infection has “significantly slowed.” The official says Chinese authorities are “stepping up” their efforts to contain the African Swine Fever outbreak but describes the situation as “complicated and grim.” The Chinese government is reportedly working on a vaccine, but that work has a long way to go yet. Pork is a big part of the overall Chinese diet, with the country producing and consuming two-thirds of the world’s pigs. Major Chinese cities are short on pork because bans were imposed on shipping pigs out of infected areas since August. Importers are said to be filling the demand by bringing in pigs from abroad, pushing up prices in Asia and Europe. The AP quotes the Chinese ag minister as saying it’s an indisputable fact that the outbreak of swine fever in China has significantly slowed. However, he also admitted that some local authorities have failed to report or contain outbreaks. “We can’t promise that it never happens,” he admitted, “but if it does, we will punish it strictly and immediately.”


ASF Hurting North Korea Pork Production; Philippines Stopping More Imports

Reports say North Korea is bracing for a major drop in production due to an African Swine Fever outbreak spreading across the Asian continent. Officials in the Philippines say they’ve added two more countries to the list of nations not allowed to send them pork. South Korea’s News Agency reports that North Korea’s pork industry “foresees sizable production decreases in the months ahead, as well as other nations in eastern and southern Asia.” North Korea had its first outbreak less than two months ago. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations issued it’s latest update, saying that the situation poses a “serious threat to the livelihood and food security of large numbers of people relying on the production and processing of pigs.” Vietnam recently culled 2.8 million hogs because of ASF, which computes to about 10 percent of the country’s total hog population. Elsewhere, the United Nations says Philippine officials added Laos and South Korea to a list of countries it will no longer accept pork imports from because of the ASF virus. The ban includes domestic and wild pigs, as well as products like skin, meat, and semen used for reproductive purposes.


U.S. Makes First Rice Sale to China in Spite of Trade Dispute

Reuters says a private importer in China purchased rice from the U.S for the first time ever, even though the two countries are in the middle of a trade war. Michael Klein, a spokesman for USA Rice, says a Chinese importer bought two containers, or about 40 tons, of medium-grain rice from Sun Valley Rice, based in California. USA Rice is an industry trade group that promotes the sale of U.S. rice. The American rice was then milled and packaged into bags for consumer and food service use. China was a major buyer of U.S. soybeans and pork before the trade war between the two countries began. Last week, President Trump had said that China agreed to make unspecified purchases of U.S. farm products after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping while in Japan. Those purchases of major export crops have been few and far between, so far. A rice industry report says it wasn’t clear if the rice purchase was another goodwill gesture from China to the U.S after the Japan meeting.


Winter Wheat Harvest Reports Up and Down

A DTN report says any winter wheat that survived the growing season is likely looking pretty good come harvest time. However, field survival between planting and harvesting could be a little “iffy.” A delayed harvest is finally getting underway in the Southern Plains. Mike Schulte, executive director for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, says, “It’s been a trying year for producers, especially from April through harvest. It seemed like every night, the potential existed for us to lose the crop.” Between the delayed planting and overwhelming amounts of rain, plus the typical spring and summer hailstorms, a lot of wheat fields were either left unplanted or lost altogether. However, a Kansas State University Extension Wheat Specialist says the fields that did survive were able to benefit from plenty of soil moisture and below-average temperatures during the grain fill period. The biggest concerns this year was that the crop was so far behind in development during the spring that it was going to catch a lot of the summer heat during grain fill. However, the crop benefited from very good weather, featuring near-perfect temperatures that stayed cool even into July. Kyle Krier is a Kansas farmer who tells DTN that the early-planted wheat is doing better than the crop that was late getting into the ground.


ASA Disappointed in Reduced Duties on Biodiesel Imports

The American Soybean Association expressed the concerns of soybean farmers across the country regarding the preliminary decision to reduce duties on Argentinian biodiesel imports. The U.S. Department of Commerce made the preliminary decision to reduce existing countervailing duties on imports of unfairly subsidized biodiesel from Argentina. The decision was first announced last week on July 2. Countervailing duties on those imports would drop significantly, while the antidumping rates would remain the same. Those duties were just imposed in 2018 following an in-depth analysis by the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission. Just a few months after the duties were imposed, Argentina requested, and the Commerce Department undertook what’s called a “changed circumstances” review. Rob Shaffer, an ASA board member, says, “Given the administration’s strong view on addressing unfair trade practices and leveling the playing field for U.S. producers, this decision is very surprising.” Shaffer says biodiesel is an important homegrown fuel source and it makes sense that the blend requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency are filled by domestically-produced biodiesel.


NBB says EPA Proposal “Flatlines” 2020 RFS Volumes

The National Biodiesel Board is unhappy with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule for the 2020 Renewable Fuels Standard and 2021 Biomass-based Diesel Volume. The NBB says the proposal undermines market growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel. The agency’s proposed advanced biofuel volume of 5.04 billion gallons provides no additional market growth for biomass-based diesel. Also, the proposal to set the 2021 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons is the same as the 2020 volume, which flatlines growth potential for the industry. EPA’s proposal could actually reduce market space for biodiesel and renewable diesel compared to this year because it doesn’t account for the wave of small refinery exemptions it’s handed out in recent years. “EPA’s proposed rule would turn the RFS program on its head,” says NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik. “It’s very likely to reduce America’s use of cleaner, lower-carbon biodiesel and renewable diesel for transportation over the next several years, encouraging more petroleum use.” He says it sends a chilling signal to America’s biodiesel and renewable diesel producers of EPA’s intent to limit market growth for cleaner fuels.

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.