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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 15th

Chinese International Relations Experts: Trade War Could lead to Cold War

Chinese experts on international relations claim the current U.S.-China trade war could lead to a cold war. The South China Morning Post reports one expert claims: “If ideological rivalry were to become a core component of U.S.-China competition, proxy wars would break out between the two nations, similar to the U.S.-USSR clashes during the cold war era.” However, given the propaganda nature of China, it’s hard to verify the legitimacy of those claims. The U.S. recently did comment on reports of Chinese military near the Hong Kong border, as a protest in Hong Kong continues. The U.S. State Department says it is “deeply concerned” by the action. The trade war, which prompted China to halt purchases of U.S. farm commodities, threatens a once $24 billion market for U.S. agriculture. However, the recent move by Trump, delaying a round of tariffs until December, may be an inclination of negotiation progress. Trade leaders from China and the U.S. spoke over the phone this week and will meet in Washington next month.

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Trump Asking Japan to Purchase U.S. Ag Products

President Trump is asking Japan to purchase U.S. farm products as the two nations seek a small trade deal including agriculture. Trump asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy a “huge amount” of U.S. wheat and soybeans as the negotiations continue, according to Reuters. Japan and the United States are targeting an agreement by September on trade issues, including tariffs on U.S. beef and the automobile sector. Trump has made a similar request of China as part of the talks around the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China. A Japan deal would be welcomed by U.S. agriculture, disadvantaged in the market as competitors enjoy smaller tariffs. The off-balance tariffs stem from Trump removing the U.S. from the then-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says sales have remained strong, considering the higher tariffs. Sales figures remain flat, but not losing market share is positive. Japan represents a significant opportunity for U.S. beef exports, if the tariffs are reduced.

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Record Number of Poultry Facilities Recognized for Outstanding Safety Performance

During the 2019 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry in Florida, a record 230 chicken and turkey facilities received safety awards by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council. The companies were honored in recognition of their outstanding performance through the implementation of employee safety and health programs. A committee spokesperson says the committee received a record amount of applications to the program, as well. The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation’s poultry products and directly employ more than 350,000 workers. Award consideration was based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by academia and other safety experts. One hundred and twenty-two facilities received the highest level of recognition, “Award of Distinction.” The other categories included “Award of Honor” and “Award of Merit.” Find the list of winners at nationalchickencouncil.org/.

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New Trucking Hours of Service Rules Proposed

The Trump administration Wednesday proposed changes to hours of service rules for commercial vehicle drives. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published the proposal seeking to give drivers “more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time.” The proposal is separate from the ongoing comment period for livestock haulers. The agency is accepting comments until the end of September to determine what should be considered livestock or an agricultural commodity. Currently, states can determine when drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements, within a 150-mile radius of the source. Among the changes to the overall rule proposed this week, the rules would increase flexibility regarding mandated breaks. The proposal also modifies the adverse driving conditions exception through extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted. The proposed rule would not increase driving time and would continue to prevent operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status.

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NPB Announces Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists

The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We Care ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public. National Pork Board President David Newman says the finalists “do what’s best on their farms every day,” and showcase the diversity of family farming in the United States. The finalists are Doug Dawson of Delaware, Ohio, Chris Hoffman of McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, Josh Linde of Manilla, Iowa and Thomas Titus of Elkhart, Illinois. To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them. Through August 27, the public can vote once a day per email address for their favorite finalist at americaspigfarmer.com. The winner will be announced in October.

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Bunge to Move H.Q. to St Louis

Bunge Limited announced this week the company will relocate its global headquarters from White Plains, New York, to St. Louis, Missouri. Bunge is a well-known agribusiness and food company focused on grain processing and exporting, and is the world’s largest soybean processor. Bunge CEO Gregory Heckman says the move is “a big step forward in shifting the Company’s operating model to align around a more efficient, streamlined global business structure.” Heckman was appointed CEO a few months ago and has ties to the Midwest. He spent years in executive positions at ConAgra Foods and Gavilon, both based in Omaha, Nebraska. Bunge calls St. Louis an important hub for it’ North American operation, noting the city home to several food and agriculture organizations and customers. Bunge is in the early planning stages of the transition to the new global headquarters, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2020. The company will move to an office in Chesterfield, Missouri, in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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.