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

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China Purchases More U.S. Corn as Fears of Shortages Increase

Private exporters report more large sales of U.S. corn to China. The Department of Agriculture Wednesday reported two large export sales, one of 420,000 metric tons and another totaling 264,000 metric tons for the new 2020-21 crop year. China needs to continue increased corn purchases to reach the lofty targets included in the Phase One agreement with the United States. However, China is still behind pace to do so this year. Meanwhile, more fears of corn shortages in China are developing. Corn futures hit a new record-high this week of 2,595 yuan, valued at $385.14 per metric ton. China’s corn output is expected to fall this year after typhoons flattened crops in some parts of the country, further stoking supply concerns after Beijing ran down its massive state stockpiles over the last several years, according to Reuters. A market expert says, “The stockpile has been sold out,” adding, “The market strongly expects supply shortages.”

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Enrollment Begins for 2021 ARC, PLC

Farmers have until March 15, 2021, to enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage, or Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2021 crop year. The enrollment period opened this week for the risk management programs, known as ARC and PLC. The key Department of Agriculture safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops. USDA says more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. For more information on ARC and PLC, including two online decision tools that assist producers in making enrollment and election decisions specific to their operations, visit fsa.usda.gov, or contact your local USDA service center.

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WTO Rules Boeing Subsidies Merit EU Tariffs

The World Trade Organization This week ruled U.S. subsidies to Boeing merit tariffs from the European Union. The European Union already has a list of expected tariffs, including various fish and aquaculture, onions, potatoes, and various forms of different fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer criticized the ruling. Lighthizer stated, “While we disagree with certain aspects of its valuation, the more important point is that the arbitrator did not authorize any retaliation for subsidies other than the Washington State tax break.” In April 2020, Washington State fully repealed the tax rate reduction, the only provision found in the WTO compliance proceeding to be an inconsistent subsidy that harmed the EU. The issue dates back more than a decade. After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States to cease their subsidization of Airbus, in 2004, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies. The EU responded by challenging subsidies to Boeing by the United States.

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Pilgrim’s Pride Reaches Settlement on Price-Fixing Charges

Pilgrim’s Pride will pay more than $110 million in a plea agreement related to a chicken price-fixing investigation. The company entered a plea agreement with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division with respect to its investigation into the sales of broiler chicken products in the United States. In the plea agreement, which is subject to the approval of the United States District Court of Colorado, Pilgrim’s and the Antitrust Division agreed to the fine for restraint of competition that affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to one customer in the United States. The agreement does not recommend a monitor, any restitution or probationary period, and provides that the Antitrust Division will bring no further charges against Pilgrim’s in this matter, provided the company complies with the terms and provisions of the agreement. Pilgrim’s Pride CEO stated in the announcement, “Pilgrim’s is committed to fair and honest competition in compliance with U.S. antitrust laws.”

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Trump Announces Subcabinet to Modernize Water Resource Management

President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order seeking to modernize water management and infrastructure. The order creates a Water Policy Committee that the White House calls the Water Subcabinet. The subcabinet will be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. The committee also includes the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, the Secretary of the Army, and the heads of other agencies. Of note for agriculture, the order seeks to improve coordination between state and federal governments and communities, farmers, ranchers and landowners, to “develop voluntary, market-based water and land management practices and programs that improve conservation efforts, economic viability, and water supply, sustainability, and security.” USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey says, “USDA has already taken the lead to invest in America’s wetlands,” adding that work improves water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat. The new effort will develop a national water strategy to ensure the reliability of water supplies, water quality, water systems, and water forecasting.

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Study Promotes Food Security During Pandemic

As the spread of coronavirus continues to disrupt the U.S. economy, low-income households face a higher risk of food insecurity. This risk is more pronounced in families with school-age children who rely on food assistance programs. As part of a grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, researchers studied emergency food provisions that serve children and families in five U.S. cities during the pandemic. While the federal government expanded funding for school breakfast and lunch programs and other food assistance programs in the spring of 2020, there was no federal mandate that the programs continue, or guidance for carrying them out. Thus, local governments devised their own plans to provide emergency food services to low-income families, to varying degrees of effectiveness. The results found that the success of emergency local programs depends on cross-sector collaboration among stakeholders, adaptable supply chains and addressing gaps in service to increased risk populations. The research concluded that more robust guidance from the federal government may improve the effectiveness of the responses.

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.