READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 24th

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China Can Fulfill Pledge to Purchase $40 Billion in U.S. Farm Goods

China’s top agriculture consultancy said last week that it believes China can and will make good on a promise to purchase more than $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products per year. That pledge is part of a Phase One trade deal the two countries recently signed. Reuters says China will increase its agricultural purchases to anywhere between $40 and $50 billion over the next two years. The deal isn’t signed yet and that’s led to skepticism over whether China can handle purchases that large. Shanghai-based consultant group JCI released a document saying that most foreign media don’t believe China can fulfill that level of commitment. “As a Chinese consultant company on the agricultural market, JCI strongly believes that China has the ability and will fulfill its promise,” the company says. JCI estimates that China can buy approximately $41.3 billion worth of U.S. farm products every year, including around $18.7 billion worth of soybeans, which would amount to 45 million tons. The projections from JCI were based on what they say was a “careful study” of China’s import volume of U.S. farm products in the past and does assume favorable weather and pricing throughout the term of the agreement.


China Lowering Tariffs on Goods from Around the World

China announced a change in tariff rates on imported goods from around the world that will start on January first. The country will lower tariffs on global imports in a move that’s designed to give domestic consumers some support, even as a trade truce with the U.S. takes some pressure off the Chinese economy. The New York Times says the move comes less than two weeks after China and the U.S. reached a Phase One trade deal. It also helps China by showing that the country is continuing to open up its market in spite of the more than yearlong conflict with the U.S. However, China’s economy still has some question marks to deal with as it tries to recover from a slowdown brought on by the tariff conflict. The deal with the U.S. hasn’t been signed yet and that means a lot of tariffs on American imports are still in place. China is opening its market to other countries to help satisfy consumer demand. A list of 859 products will face lower tariffs in 2020. Among the goods are frozen pork, which China has to have after its pig herds were decimated by African Swine Fever. Tariffs will also fall on grocery items like avocados, orange juice, and seafood.


Pilot Insurance Coverage Available for Hemp Growers

The Risk Management Agency announced its offering a new crop insurance option for hemp growers in select counties across 21 states next year. The pilot insurance program will provide Actual Production History coverage (APH) under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance. The offer is for eligible producers who raise the crop in certain counties throughout states like Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The MPCI coverage applies to hemp grown for fiber, grain, or CBD oil for the 2020 crop year. This is in addition to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection coverage available to hemp growers that was announced earlier this year. “We are excited to offer coverage to certain hemp producers in the pilot program,” says RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “Since it’s a pilot program, we look forward to feedback from producers in the program during the upcoming crop year.” To be eligible for the program, producers must meet several requirements, including complying with applicable state, tribal, or federal regulations for hemp production, they must have at least one year’s history of producing the crop, and they must have a contract for the sale of the insured hemp.


NASS Looking for Survey Responses

The 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties and the 2019 Organic Survey are both underway now, with the National Ag Statistics Service looking for as many responses as possible. They’d also like producers to respond online if they can. Online responses are more user-friendly, accessible on most electronic devices, and can save time by calculating totals and automatically skipping questions that don’t apply to an individual operation. “Horticulture and organic agriculture are important segments of U.S. agriculture and our economy,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “When producers respond to the surveys, they’re helping associations, businesses, and policymakers advocate for their industry, influence program decisions, and educate others about the importance of these agriculture segments.” The Census of Horticultural Specialties is conducted once every five years to give a comprehensive picture of U.S. horticulture. The deadline for responding is February fifth of 2020. The Organic Survey asks more than 22,000 U.S. producers involved in certified or transitioning to organic farming questions about 2019 production, marketing practices, income, and expenses. The deadline to return the questionnaire or answer online questions is January tenth, 2020.


“Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” Campaign Reaches Over One Billion Consumers

The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign relaunched two years ago. Over that time, the campaign has reached more than one billion consumers with informative digital marketing and social media content. The campaign was developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and funded by the Beef Checkoff. The campaign is designed to encourage families to make more meals with nutritious and delicious beef, as well as to connect consumers with stories of the farmers and ranchers who raise real beef. The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” brand is reaching consumers more frequently and effectively than it ever has. Market research shows people who are aware of “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner,” are more likely to eat beef, do so more often, and they feel good about buying and preparing beef for their families. Laurie Munns is a cattle rancher from Utah and NCBA Federation Division Chair. She says, “For a brand to have a reach of more than one billion people in today’s crowded marketing environment is a major milestone. It’s clear that consumers want more information about beef, it’s nutrition profile, and the hardworking farmers and ranchers who raise the beef they eat.” The NCBA first introduced the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign 25 years ago.


EPA, Justice Department Want Glyphosate Ruling Reversed

The U.S. government jumped into a California court case that found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency filed a friend of the court brief last week that said it reviewed and approved the label on the weed-killing product and that a jury finding based on California law should be reversed. Even the Department of Justice joined the EPA in weighing in on the ruling in the long-running court battle over Roundup. Over the summer, the judge in the case cut the jury award to $25 million in the case of a man who claimed his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by years of Roundup use. However, the judge didn’t reverse the jury finding in the case, saying in his opinion that Roundup was defective because the label didn’t include a cancer warning. Back in May, the EPA issued a statement saying it “continues to find no risks associated with glyphosate if it’s used following the current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.” Bayer, which acquired Monsanto, the company that originally produced Roundup, was optimistic after the latest legal turn in the case, saying the company is encouraged after the U.S. government and other parties opted to support the company’s appeal.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.