READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 13th

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Chinese Questions on Phase One Trade Deal

Global Times, a Chinese state-owned media company, cites sources “close to the Chinese government” who say that China may want to redo the Phase One Trade Deal with the U.S. Politico says government advisers reportedly have said China should void the deal and renegotiate the four-month-old agreement with the U.S. so it’s more favorable for Beijing. “In fact, it’s in China’s interests to terminate the current phase one deal,” says an unnamed trade adviser quoted in the Times. “The U.S. now cannot afford to restart the trade war with China if everything goes back to square one.” However, U.S. President Donald Trump was asked about the report on Monday, saying that he wasn’t interested in renegotiating the trade deal, “not even a little.” The president said he’d heard those same reports that China would like to reopen trade talks with the U.S. and make it a better deal for them. “I’m not interested in that,” Trump says. “Let’s see if they live up to the deal they’ve signed.” Trade tensions have been climbing between the two nations as the Trump Administration accused Beijing of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and failing to contain the virus.

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European Union Wants to Restart Trade Talks with the U.S.

The European Union is looking to revive trade negotiations with the U.S. to help bring the trade disputes between the two sides to an end. The EU is proposing a joint agenda that covers everything from aircraft subsidies and lobster tariffs to shared reserves of medical supplies. EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that there is scope to reach an agreement. Before COVID-19, Hogan was optimistic a mini-deal could be reached with Washington that would address President Trump’s complaints about EU trade barriers facing U.S. exports, especially agricultural exports to the EU. Some of the ideas Brussels has looked at include reducing tariffs on car imports as well as both sides expediting their sluggish regulatory approval processes for meats and fruits. One of the biggest barriers to potentially seeing more U.S. agricultural exports to the EU is a ten-year battle over aircraft subsidies between the U.S. and EU. Financial Times says Hogan wrote a letter to Lighthizer saying it was “becoming impossible to explain why the U.S. and EU continue to be locked in a self-defeating cycle of tariffs and mutual recriminations over aircraft subsidies.”

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Biofuel Groups Ask Pelosi, McConnell for Ethanol Relief

Biofuel and farm groups sent a letter this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking for ethanol and biodiesel help. The Hagstrom Report says they’re asking that financial relief for biofuels be included in the next coronavirus relief package. The letter was signed by many prominent groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, and many others. “The situation we face is dire,” the groups say in the letter. “More than 130 biofuel plants have already partially or fully shut down as motor fuel demand plunged to 50-year lows. America’s biofuel plants annually purchase more than one-third of U.S. corn and U.S. soybean oil. The loss of those markets has depressed farm income and will continue to push corn and soybean prices down dramatically.” The groups point out that the economic damage has “rippled across the entire agricultural supply chain.” The letter also says that USDA excluded the biofuel sector from initial aid under the CARES Act, despite ongoing letters of support to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue from broad, bipartisan coalitions in the House and Senate. “It’s vital that the next COVID-19 relief package includes immediate, temporary, and direct assistance for the biofuel industry,” they add.

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Colombia Implements Duties on U.S. Ethanol Imports

The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism announced it will impose duties on U.S. ethanol exports into Colombia. The U.S. ethanol industry and biofuels groups were not happy with the move. “While we have cooperated fully with investigating authorities in Colombia to demonstrate these final duties are unjustified, the Colombian government took the side of the Colombian ethanol industry,” says the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association in a statement. “The Ministry’s decision was not supported by evidence and raises questions regarding the Ministry’s compliance with standard CVD procedures.” The groups say the U.S. ethanol industry remains committed to their partners in Colombia and will continue to help the country meet its blending targets and provide benefits to Colombian consumers so they may access a clean, renewable, and affordable fuel. The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for barley, corn, sorghum, and related products like distiller’s dried grains with solubles and ethanol. Growth Energy represents producers and supporters of the ethanol industry to bring consumers better choices at the fuel pump.

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WASDE Report Says Corn, Soybean Production Will Rise in 2020

The May World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report predicts higher corn and soybean production compared to last year. The corn crop is projected to be a record 16 billion bushels, up from last year on the increased area and a return to trend yield. The yield projection is 178.5 bushels, with total corn supplies predicted at 18.1 billion bushels. The season-average farm price is projected at $3.20 a bushel, a 40-cent drop from last year and the lowest since 2006-07. The soybean crop is projected to be 4.125 billion bushels, up 568 million from last year. Yield is expected to be 49.8 bushels per acre. Soybean supplies are predicted to rise five percent from last year to 4.72 billion bushels. The season-average soybean price is projected at $8.20 a bushel, down 30 cents from the previous marketing year. USDA says total wheat production will be three percent lower than last year, coming in at 1.866 billion bushels, with the all-wheat yield at 49.5 bushels per acre, which is down 2.2 bushels from last year. The projected season-average farm price for wheat is $4.60 a bushel, unchanged from last year.

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NASS to Resurvey North Dakota Farmers with Unharvested Corn, Soybeans

During May, the National Agricultural Statistics Service will be contacting survey respondents in North Dakota who reported unharvested corn or soybeans. If the newly-collected data makes any changes necessary, NASS will then update the January 10 estimates in the June 11 Crop Production report. Stocks estimates are also subject to review since unharvested production is included in the on-farm stocks estimates. When NASS surveyed producers back in December for the Crop Production 2019 Summary, there was still significant unharvested acreage of corn in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. There were unharvested soybean acres in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The unharvested area and expected production were included in the totals that came out on January 10. NASS contacted producers in Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, back in April and published updates in the May 12 Crop Production Report. NASS waited until now to re-contact North Dakota farmers because the state still had significant unharvested acres back in April.

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.