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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 26th

Pro Farmer’s National Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates      

Pro Farmer Friday released its crop estimates from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. For corn, Pro Farmer estimates a 13.58 billion bushel crop in 2019, with an average yield of 163.3 bushels per acre. For soybeans, Pro Farmer estimates a 3.49 billion bushel crop, with a yield of 46.1 bushels per acre. Pro Farmer lowered corn harvested acreage 217,000 acres from USDA’s August estimate. The national estimates reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. They take into account data gathered during the Pro Farmer Crop Tour and other factors, such as crop maturity, acreage adjustments, historical differences in tour data versus USDA’s final yields, and areas outside those sampled on Crop Tour.  Find state-by-state results and analysis at www.ProFarmer.com

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China Purchases U.S. Soybeans Despite Boycott

The National Review Dot Com says China bought a small amount of U.S. soybeans last week. The purchase happened in spite of promising to boycott U.S. farm products because of deteriorating trade negotiations with the Trump Administration. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Beijing agreed to a purchase of 9.589 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for the current marketing year. They also agreed to a buy of 66,000 metric tons for the following year, which starts on September 1. An August 5th statement from the Chinese Commerce Ministry said Chinese companies would be boycotting American farm products as a response to the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Despite breaking that boycott, China still isn’t purchasing nearly as many American soybeans as it has in the past. China is the world’s largest soybean importer and spent last year giving most of its business to South America. The administration had said it would impose tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods on September 1. However, the White House later said it would delay imposing them until December.

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ASA Responds to Further Trade Dispute Escalation from China

China has officially announced it will impose an extra five percent tariff on U.S. soybeans starting on September 1. They’ll also add another 10 percent in duties on other major U.S. crops grown by many American soybean farmers. The latest details come after China vowed last week that it will retaliate if the U.S. goes through with its original plan to increase tariffs on Chinese goods on September 1. ASA President Davie Stephens says, “ASA has strongly requested an end to the tariffs on U.S. beans for more than a year. This escalation will affect us not because of the increased tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time.” He says the longevity of the situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season. Stephens adds that “prospects are narrowing even more now for sales to China, a market that soy growers have valued, nurtured, and respected for many years.” ASA is asking both parties to step up and stop the tariffs and find a resolution that doesn’t target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people, including Chinese citizens and the American public, along with our soybean growers, are the ones actually feeling the effects of the trade war.

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Corn Farmers Push President for More Corn Demand

Rural America is feeling the impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 small refinery waivers to big oil companies across the country. The waivers are only adding to a list of farmer concerns about markets, trade, and crop conditions. Fifteen ethanol plants have either been shuttered or idled over the past 12 months. One of the most recent plants taken out of production is POET’s Cloverdale facility, with POET specifically citing the most recent waivers as the reason for the decision. As demand for ethanol drops because of the list of waivers, it’s more likely that other plants will follow. A National Corn Growers Association news release says President Trump appears to be reconsidering the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency. The NCGA is currently working with members of the administration and Congress to share solutions to help boost corn demand. Redistributing and accounting for the waived gallons in the upcoming Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) rulemaking is just one of the steps that the administration can take today to help. NCGA is asking corn farmers to submit comments directly to the EPA asking them to do that. Farmers are losing patience with tariffs and trade negotiations and the NCGA says the president needs to remember his promises to American farmers.

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NFU Worried Trade Aid Could Undermine Next Farm Bill

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says he’s concerned that billions of dollars in trade aid could have a negative impact on the next farm bill. He says the aid monies the Trump Administration is sending to farmers could undermine political support for the next farm bill. Johnson says it’s important to note that the $16 billion in aid promised to farmers this year exceeds total spending on Title 1 farm programs in a year. Politico says it’s a part of sweeping legislation that already has somewhat tenuous support as political power shifts away from rural voters. Congress also relaxed payment limits for the trade aid program, making it easier for millionaires to qualify. Johnson says, “That’s a dangerous thing. I think a lot of urban congressmen and women are going to look at this and say, ‘there was a lot of damage done in my state in this industry or that industry as a result of the trade disruption – none of them got a nickel in trade help.’” Johnson says the last time an administration used the Commodity Credit Corporation to pay aid to farmers, “their hands were immediately slapped.” He points out that Congress immediately put riders on appropriations bills and said administrations won’t do this again.

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Whole Foods CEO Says Alt-Meat is “Highly Processed”

Whole Foods was the first retailer that carried Beyond Meat’s vegan “chicken strips” back in 2013. However, the CEO of Whole Foods says he can’t endorse any of today’s plant-based meat substitutes as healthy because of their ingredients. CEO John Mackey has been a vegan for more than 20 years. While he didn’t list any specific names, Mackey tells CNBC that the brands currently “taking the world by storm are highly-processed foods,” as shown in their ingredient lists. “I don’t think eating highly-processed foods is healthy,” he says. “I think people thrive on eating whole foods. As for health, I will not endorse that, which is about as big of a criticism that I’ll do in public.” Mackey believes plant-based alternatives are a more ethical choice and better for the environment. He also tells CNBC in an article that meat substitutes are considered by some as a way for meat-eaters to “re-educate” their palates. Alissa Rumsey is a registered dietitian who told CNBC early this year that, “They aren’t necessarily healthier than beef burgers. They’re totally fine to eat, but there’s no need to replace your beef burger if you don’t enjoy these.”

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Federal Court Sends Water Rule Back to EPA

A federal court in Georgia says the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act, due to its “vast expansion of jurisdiction over water and lands that typically fall within states’ regulatory authority.” The federal court for the Southern District of Georgia found that the agency overstepped both the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The APA lays out the basic rules on how agencies may propose and establish federal regulations. The Georgia court kept a preliminary injunction in place that prevents the rule from becoming law in 11 states involved with the lawsuit while the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its repeal and replacement of the Obama-era 2015 rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the ruling wasn’t just a victory for the plaintiff states, but also a broad coalition of more than a dozen private-sector groups. “The court ruling is a clear affirmation of exactly what we have been saying for the past five years,” says AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen. “The EPA badly misread Supreme Court precedent and encroached on the traditional powers of the states. They simply ignored the basic principles of the Administrative Procedure Act when issuing this unlawful regulation.”

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.