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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 30th

Big Trade Week On Two Fronts

The U.S. and China are trying to “reset” trade discussions after talks broke down back in May. Politico says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will hold face-to-face conversations with Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday. There are a lot of important items on the discussion schedule, including agriculture, intellectual property, forced technology transfers, trade deficits, and enforcement. There’s a lot at stake for U.S. farmers as President Trump is still seeking major Chinese agricultural purchases from the U.S. after reaching a short-term truce with Chinese President Xi (Zhee) in late June. However, Beijing recently approved new wheat and soybean imports from Russia as the two countries are looking to increase their agricultural-trade activities. Also on the trade front, the Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for trade talks with Lighthizer. The U.S. is looking for a limited trade agreement in the coming weeks aimed primarily at agriculture and automobiles. Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (AH-bay) will meet in late August and late September, which Politico says could be two chances to either sign or shake hands on a mini-deal.

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Trump: China May Delay Deal Until After the 2020 Election

President Donald Trump spoke last week with reporters as he prepared to send officials to Beijing for trade negotiations. He says China may delay an agreement until after the 2020 presidential election because “they would prefer to reach a deal with a Democrat.” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Muh-NOO-chin) are in China this week for the first high-level negotiations since the talks broke down back in May. Bloomberg says officials will cover a wide range of issues this week, including intellectual property, agriculture, and trade imbalance. Trump met with Chinese President Xi at the G-20 in Japan last month and reached a tentative truce in their trade war which has stretched out over the last year. After the G-20, the two leaders of the world’s largest economies directed their officials to resume negotiations. Bloomberg says the gap between the two countries may be widening as both Trump and Xi are facing pressure to resist key demands from the other side. The big sticking point from China’s perspective is the U.S. keeping the tariffs in place until Beijing actually implements some of the reforms the U.S. is looking for. However, it’s politically not likely that Xi will sign a deal that doesn’t immediately lift the U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

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Commerce Department: Mexico is Dumping Tomatoes in the U.S.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it found Mexico is guilty of dumping tomatoes into the United States. Commerce says the preliminary dumping margin is just over 25 percent. The announcement refutes the Mexican claim that the data that they submitted to the Department of Commerce will prove that it’s not dumping the produce into the U.S. The evidence that Mexico is dumping tomatoes into the United States isn’t exactly surprising to U.S. tomato growers, who say they’ve had to compete against unfairly dumped Mexican imports. The Florida Tomato Exchange says the U.S. industry is looking forward to the chance to show the U.S. International Trade Commission that it has suffered economic damage by the rising amounts of unfairly traded Mexican imports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says tomato imports have swamped U.S. markets, increasing from just 20 percent of the market in 1994 up to 60 percent as recently as 2017. Mexican tomatoes account for 90 percent of that rise in imports. Meanwhile, the market share for U.S. farmers has dropped by half, going from 80 percent down to 40 percent, all while hundreds of growers have gone out of business.

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Poultry Outlook is Bullish

Despite a recent increase in the cost of feed and softness in the price of breast meat, chicken producers are expected to prosper over the rest of 2019. An industry analyst who spoke with the website Meating Place Dot Com says turkey prospects are progressing, albeit at a slower pace. Poultry supplies are remaining manageable in 2019, with wings and leg quarters selling well above last year’s prices. A cooler-than-normal spring resulted in higher bird weights this year, putting some price pressure on boneless chicken breast in the near term. Analysts say warmer summer temperatures will likely turn that around. However, it was wetter and hotter spring weather that resulted in late crop plantings that have led to a rise in the cost of feed. While the African Swine Fever has been hard on the pork industry, the impact on poultry demand will be a “multi-year positive for the protein industry.” Analysts say an expected shortfall in pork products from the deadly disease should prompt shifts among consumer diets on a global basis. The pace of recovery for the turkey industry’s profitability remains slower than anticipated. The analysts who spoke with the trade industry website say they “remain optimistic” about supply cutbacks and rising global demand for other proteins because of the ASF outbreak.

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RFA: Legislation Seeks to Prop Up “Big Oil”

The Renewable Fuels Association says Congress once again has legislation before it that’s designed to gut the Renewable Fuels Standard. Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are the main sponsors of the legislation. Geoff Cooper, RFA President and CEO, says Toomey and Feinstein appear to be confused about the RFS. “There is no ‘corn-ethanol mandate’ under the program and there never has been,” Cooper says. “Yet, the senators are once again seeking to bolster fossil fuels by trying to kill one of the most successful environmental and climate policies ever enacted by Congress.” He says the RFA is confident that, as with previous attempts, the legislation will go nowhere. The legislation is titled the Restore Environmental Sustainability to our Renewable Energy Act. “It’s particularly ironic today that the senators would dare suggest this legislation would ‘restore environmental sustainability,’ when it, in fact, won’t,” Cooper says. “It would force more petroleum into our nation’s fuel supply. Whether it’s oil spills in the Gulf, increased carbon emissions, or earthquakes in fracking country, what’s sustainable about today’s oil industry?” Cooper says renewable fuels like ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50 percent compared to gasoline, while also slashing harmful tailpipe pollutants.

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NCGA Corn Yield Contest Deadline Extended

Because many farmers are going through planting difficulties due to weather, the National Corn Growers Association has extended the entry deadline for its National Corn Yield Contest. The new deadline is Thursday, August 15, and the NCGA is hoping that all interested growers will be able to participate because of the additional time. All harvest forms will be due by November 15. Contest winners will be chosen on December 16. For access to additional contest information and a detailed list of the entry and harvest rules, click here. Winners get national recognition in publications like the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash, trips, or other awards from participating sponsors, which include seed, chemical, and crop protection companies. The winners will also be honored during the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Contact the direct call line at 636-733-5512 or email ncyc@ncga.com with any questions.

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.