READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, November 9th…

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U.S. Soy Sales to China Slowing Down

Sales of U.S. soy to China have slowed down from a previously rapid pace. Reuters says the slowdown is raising questions of whether China is just pausing its purchases, or if most of the intended volume has been purchased and Chinese buyers are waiting for Brazil’s new supply to become available. Surging soybean sales to China is helping the overall level of farm trade to the Asian nation set new records for this time of year, while at the same time bringing China closer to meeting the purchase requirements in the Phase One trade deal with the U.S. Net export sales of U.S. soybeans to China during the week ending on October 29 totaled 810,710 tons, which is the lowest total in the last 11 weeks of the current marketing year. That volume included 578,600 tons switched from unknown destinations. There hasn’t been a daily U.S. soybean sale explicitly to China since October 15, the longest streak since April of this year. U.S soybean prices have risen significantly over the last two months, which may be a limiting factor in further sales at the end of 2020.

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Georgia Representative Looking to Replace Collin Peterson as Ag Chair

Georgia Democrat David Scott is the most senior member of the House Agriculture Committee after current Chair Collin Peterson. The Hagstrom Report says Scott is throwing his hat into the ring as someone who’d like to be the next Chair after Peterson, who recently lost his re-election bid to Michelle Fischbach. Scott is the chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. “I’m proud to announce that I am seeking the chairmanship of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture,” he says in a news release. “Today, our nation faces perhaps the most significant struggles any of us have seen in our lifetime. Across rural and urban communities and from young to old, the threats posed by global illness, hunger, financial insecurity, climate change, and natural disasters are significant.” He says Congress must address, through the Ag Committee, the insecurities plaguing our citizens and provide the means for a more fruitful existence. He says reaction to climate change must include “transitioning away from fossil fuels toward ethanol and biofuels,” and that the small and mid-sized farmers need help to deal with the trade wars and global pandemic.

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Soybean and cotton growers sue EPA over Dicamba Use Restrictions

The American Soybean Association and the Plains Cotton Growers have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency registration of the herbicide dicamba. The product is used for “over-the-top” applications on soybean and cotton crops genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. A Feedstuffs magazine report says the recent decision by the EPA gives growers five years of usage, beginning with the 2021 growing season. However, the lawsuit says some aspects of the registration decision, such as buffer requirements and application cutoffs, are “problematic for growers who depend on reasonable and consistent access to dicamba for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.” While registering dicamba, EPA imposed several application and use conditions on soybean and cotton growers. The lawsuit notes that “several registration conditions impose growing restrictions and disrupt growing seasons, which will diminish crop yields, cut productivity, and drive up the costs of operating. Some of those conditions are much more stringent than in past registrations.” The lawsuit challenges the conditions as going beyond EPA’s authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The case seeks a remand of the EPA restrictions on dicamba applications as well as the spatial application buffers.

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September Pork Exports Remain on Record Pace; Beef Exports Head Lower

September exports of U.S. pork increased by 10 percent year-over-year, keeping 2020 exports on a record pace. Those numbers come from the latest data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports were fairly steady with last year in major Asian markets but trended lower overall. Pork exports totaled more than 222,400 metric tons in September, with the value increasing six percent to $563.2 million. Exports set a new record for Canada and increased year-over-year to Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Chile, and the Caribbean. Through the first three quarters of 2020, pork export pace was 16 percent higher than last year’s record pace in both volume and value. “While pork exports remain strong to China and Hong Kong, it’s vitally important that our export destinations remain diversified,” says USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom. September beef exports were down six percent from last year to 103,277 metric tons, valued at just over $600 million. Exports to South Korea and Taiwan remained strong, while exports set a new record in China. “USMEF is very encouraged by the recovery in Asia, and this was especially evident in the strong August and September exports of U.S. beef to Korea, Taiwan, and China,” Halstrom adds.

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Washington Supreme Court Makes Farmworkers Eligible for Overtime Pay

Late last week, a divided Washington state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s dairy workers will get overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. The Associated Press says it’s possible that the decision could someday apply to the rest of the agriculture industry. For the past six decades, state laws have mirrored federal law in exempting farmworkers from the classes of employees entitled to overtime pay. However, the 5-4 court ruling found that unconstitutional. The majority says the Washington state Constitution grants workers in dangerous industries a fundamental right to health and safety protections, including overtime. The decision makes Washington the first state to give farmworkers overtime protections through the courts. California is adding in some overtime protections, as is New York, Maryland, and Minnesota. The ruling could eventually provide a template for extending farmworker overtime in other states. That statement comes from Charlotte Garden, a professor at the Seattle University School of Law, who worked on a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. “The law, in this case, is specific to Washington, but it could still inspire new litigation strategies both inside and outside of Washington,” she says in an instant message.

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CHS Fiscal Year 2020 Income Drops Significantly

CHS, Incorporated, one of the nation’s leading agribusiness cooperatives, reported a net income of $422.4 million for the fiscal year that ended on August 31. It’s a substantial drop from their 2019 net income of $829.9 million. Among the key reasons for the decline, poor weather conditions negatively impacted their ag segment operations during the first half of the fiscal year 2020, resulting in lower crop yields and poor grain quality following a late harvest and lower crop nutrient sales in the fall of 2019. The company also had less advantageous market conditions in its refined fuels business, primarily because of COVID-19. However, strong supply chain performance in their propane business helped in handling crop drying and home heating needs. “Our focus remains on serving our owners, local cooperatives, as well as our customers around the world while keeping our employees safe and ensuring the company emerges stronger after the pandemic,” says Jay Debertin, President and CEO of CHS Inc. “Since March, we have been focused on taking care of those who depend on us, maintaining financial strength, and planning for the future.”

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.