READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 27th

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Chinese Soybean Purchases Rise in November

Soon after China announced a partial trade agreement with the U.S., their purchases of American soybeans in November jumped higher. November imports jumped to 5.4 million tons, which was almost 54 percent higher than last year. An Associated Press report says U.S. soybean imports into China more than doubled from the previous month’s 2.6 million tons. That number comes from, a news website that serves the Chinese farming industry. China cut off purchases of U.S. soybeans as the trade war with Washington, D.C., kicked into high gear. While the two countries announced the “Phase One” deal back in October, they haven’t released any specific details regarding the agreement. The AP report says U.S. officials now think the agreement could be signed as early as January. As a part of the agreement, U.S. officials say Beijing will be buying a lot more U.S. farm products. However, Chinese officials have yet to confirm how big the purchases will be. Chinese government spokespeople did confirm that importers were already placing orders in September but didn’t give out any details of those purchases. Chinese buyers use a lot of soybeans as animal feed and to crush for their cooking oil.  


First U.S. Shipment of Chicken to China Arrives in January

USA Poultry and Egg Export President Jim Sumner tells Agri-Pulse that the first U.S. chicken shipment to China in a long time will enter the Asian country next month. It marks a resumption of those shipments after China lifted a ban on U.S. chicken just over a month ago. The Chinese ban was initially implemented after an avian influenza outbreak in the U.S. While that outbreak was stamped out a long time ago, China finally lifted its ban after the U.S. approved the importing of Chinese chicken, something Beijing had demanded for a long time. “The first shipment heading to China is chicken paws from Georgia that will head out from the Port of Savannah,” says Sumner. “We’re thrilled that the first shipment in years is coming from Georgia, the number one chicken producer in the nation.” The first shipment is expected to contain about 50,000 pounds of chicken paws and is the start of what should be a quick ramp-up in chicken shipments to China. The U.S. industry got Chinese approval for shipments from 172 facilities, but most of those cold storage units weren’t included. That should be rectified soon as 177 applications came in from cold storage facilities that should be approved any day now.


USMEF Looks to Expand Pork Opportunities in Hong Kong

The U.S Meat Export Federation is planning to fill the fresh pork supply shortfall in Hong Kong with U.S. chilled pork. The African Swine Fever Virus caused the number of live hogs coming into Hong Kong from China to drop by fifty percent, with the numbers running below 2,000 head per day. “This has caused a shortage of local, fresh pork, and the fresh pork product that is available is being sold at much higher prices,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. He says the opportunity could benefit the U.S. industry in both the short and long term, as more Asian consumers get used to chilled pork. “The opportunity for more pork supplies has never been better,” Haggard adds. It does take a bit more time shipping to Hong Kong than it does to Japan and Korea. Also, the wet market vendors in the country will need to be taught the proper way to handle the vacuum-packaged chilled product. “The product will initially be sold in supermarket chains,” Haggard says. “More than 100 supermarkets in Hong Kong are selling U.S. chilled pork, along with some of the city’s traditional wet markets.” Haggard says this is the largest chilled pork distribution that USMEF has ever seen, calling it, “satisfying to see it finally come to fruition.”


Farmers Union Wants Improvements to USMCA

Back on December 10, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the White House and her chamber of Congress had reached an agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal. While the National Farmers Union was happy to see an effort to update the old North American Free Trade Agreement, the group says that effort didn’t go far enough. They’re calling on the Senate for improvements to the deal before the final passage. “The free trade framework established by NAFTA has dominated international trade deals for 2.5 decades, to the detriment of American workers,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “It’s contributed to the movement of rural manufacturing jobs overseas, caused our national deficit to skyrocket, lowered wages, and eroded national sovereignty.” Johnson says the deal doesn’t go far enough to specifically protect family farmers and the rural communities they live in. U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico are the largest export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in 2018. A USDA report says those exports support over 325,000 jobs. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement is a big win for American workers, the economy, and farmers and ranchers.


High Stakes, High Rewards Ahead for Hemp Production

Many farmers across the country are spending time thinking about the potential pitfalls and the possible opportunities that hemp production can offer them. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says many are taking the leap into hemp production. Colorado farmer Dion Oakes says, “Hemp has a very promising outlook for farmers as a rotational cash crop that can be very viable for them.” Looking ahead to the new year, only four states, including Idaho, South Dakota, Mississippi, and New Hampshire, haven’t made it legal to grow industrial hemp within their borders. U.S. Hemp Growers Association Executive Director Caren Wilcox says she expects those four states to move toward legalizing it sometime next year. Wilcox says farmers will need time to relearn how to grow the crop. She says it will be important to get advice and counsel from those farmers who have hemp growing experience. Make sure to source where your seed comes from. She says farmers have to know their state’s regulations. The other big piece of advice is to have a customer lined up before planting their first crop.


Have Action Plan in Place in Case of ASF

The National Pork Board put out an end of the year reminder about safeguarding the country’s pork farms against African Swine Fever and other Foreign Animal Diseases. U.S. pork farmers know full well that the virus is wreaking havoc on the international pork industry. While ASF isn’t in the United States at this time, the NPB says the possibility of it or another foreign animal disease means American pig farmers should be taking steps to protect the domestic pork industry. Last year, U.S. pork exports totaled 5.37 billion pounds and were valued at more than $6.3 billion. If a disease like ASF entered the country, the U.S. would lose valuable export markets for some time. NPB says anyone who works with pigs should know the signs of ASF in their animals. Those signs are high fever, decreased appetite and weakness, red and blotchy skin or skin lesions, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as coughing or difficulty breathing. To help farmers make sure they don’t miss those signs, the National Pork Board has free hard copies of Foreign Animal Disease barn posters and fact sheets available in English or Spanish. Get them free by going to the Pork Store at

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.