READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 4th

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U.S. Raising Tariffs on Certain European Imports

The U.S. government says it will raise tariffs on certain products coming into the country from the European Union. Reuters says those products include wines from France and Germany, as well as aircraft components. It’s the latest move in a longtime battle between Washington and Brussels over aircraft subsidies. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says it is adding tariffs on aircraft manufacturing parts and certain non-sparkling wines and other liquors from France and Germany. The USTR news release didn’t say when the tariffs would go into effect but did say details are forthcoming. The move comes as the two sides continue to negotiate a deal to end European subsidies to Airbus SE and American subsidies to plane manufacturer Boeing. The U.S. Wine Trade Alliance issued a release saying the action would cause further hardship for U.S. companies already hard-hit by previous tariffs and urged President-elect Biden to reverse course. “This action is a body blow for American companies,” the release says. “U.S. restaurants and small businesses are already struggling to survive, and this decision will only destroy more jobs.” Reuters also adds that officials from the EU and Airbus weren’t available for comment.

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Grain Exports End 2020 on High Note

The newest grain export sales report from the USDA for the week ending on December 24 shows that 2020 is ending on a positive note. Soybean export sales for the 2020-2021 crop surpassed analyst expectations. The trade was looking for sales ranging between 7–25 million bushels. However, the new figure passed those estimates as sales jumped 74 percent from the previous week to 33.7 million bushels. Export sales cancellations also rose 23 percent to 7.9 million bushels. However, a Farm Futures article says that’s not surprising because a recent run-up in the price of soybeans likely caused some price resistance among smaller buyers. Weekly export sales for 2020-2021 corn also surpassed market expectations in last week’s report. Forecasters were looking in a range of 19-39 million bushels, but USDA reported a 55 percent increase in week-over-week sales to 43.1 million bushels. Rallying corn prices caused cancellations to increase to 5.1 million bushels. Wheat sales weren’t as strong as those of corn and soybeans. However, they were strong because of a weaker dollar and limited exportable supplies in the Black Sea region. The weekly total was up one-third from the previous week to 19.2 million bushels.

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Ethanol Production Drops to a Two-Month Low

Ethanol output dropped week-to-week to its lowest level in over two months while stockpiles continue to increase. The Energy Information Administration says U.S. production of the biofuel dropped to an average of 934,000 barrels a day in the week ending on Christmas Day, down from 976,000 barrels the previous week. That’s the lowest total since the week ending on October 16. The Midwest, by far the biggest-producing region, output averaged 891,000 barrels a day. That’s a drop from 929,000 barrels a day the previous week and the lowest it’s been since mid-October. Gulf coast production also went lower, averaging 13,000 barrels a day last week, down from 17,000 the prior week. East Coast ethanol production was unchanged at 12,000 barrels a day, while both the Rocky Mountain and West Coast production levels were unchanged at 9,000 barrels a day. Ethanol stockpiles in the week ending on Christmas Day totaled 23.504 million metric tons. The Energy Information Administration says that’s up from 23.169 million metric tons in storage the previous week, and it’s the highest amount in storage since May 15.

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Farmland Prices May Rise in 2021

After years of stability, farmland prices may be set to rise in 2021. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says factors are coming together that may be about to send the price of land higher. Some of the key factors include government support for farmers, stronger commodity prices, low interest rates, limited farmland for sale, and strong interest from investors. Doug Hensley, president of real estate services for Hertz Farm Management in Iowa, says those factors are all driving the price of farmland higher. “We’ve sold more $12,000 to $14,000 per acre farms from September to December than the last three or four years combined.” Randy Dickhut of the Farmers National Company in Nebraska says when COVID-19 ground things to a halt in the spring of 2020, the land market ground to a quick stop. “Buyers and sellers both were cautious and pulled back because of the uncertainty,” he says. “Then, the land market began getting more active in the summer, which led to increasing interest in all types of land.” Investors also want a safe place to put some cash. Sales activity at Farmers National was up 49 percent in October and November versus the same time in 2019.

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Argentina Halts Corn Exports for Three Months

Fresh off resolving their labor situation at the country’s ports, Argentina will now suspend corn exports until March 1. The country’s ag ministry made the surprise move as part of the government’s efforts to ensure ample domestic food supplies. “The decision is based on the need to ensure the supply of grain for the sectors that use it as a raw material for the production of animal protein such as pork, chicken, eggs, milk, and cattle, where corn represents a significant component of production costs,” the statement says. Argentina’s government is attempting to control food price inflation and provide relief to low-income families battling against a shrinking economy brought on by COVID-19. Ag Canada Dot Com says the South American nation is a major international supplier of corn, soybeans, and wheat, as well as the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed. Farmers and other stakeholders in Argentina’s corn supply chain traditionally oppose this type of intervention in the markets. The head of the corn industry’s chamber in Argentina says, “We are absolutely surprised. This does not make sense. There was never a lack of corn in Argentina.”

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Biden’s EPA Nominee Reaches Out to Corn Growers

Michael Regan of North Carolina is Joe Biden’s nominee to oversee the Environmental Protection Agency. It didn’t take long for Regan to begin reaching out to U.S. agriculture. In fact, it was the day before the official nomination announcement that Regan called National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett. “He called me on my cell phone at night,” Doggett says. “It was not set up and I was completely surprised.” Regan said he wanted to introduce himself and point out that “we have a lot of work to do together if I get confirmed,” and say how much he’s looking forward to working with U.S. agriculture. The Daily Scoop Dot Com says most of the conversation focused on working with corn growers to help reverse climate change. Regan said to Doggett, “I know the RFS is important to the corn industry, and climate change is important to Joe Biden. And we’re looking forward to helping farmers find opportunities to help us address climate change.” Doggett says, “That was good to hear.” Doggett also had the chance to talk to the future EPA chief about some of the needs of U.S. corn farmers that intersect with EPA regulation, including GMOs and glyphosate, that help farmers be more sustainable, both environmentally and economically.

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.