READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, January 27th

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Biden to Approach China with Strategic Patience

The Biden administration will approach economic and trade relations with China with “strategic patience.” The administration is starting to review current policies, including reviewing tariffs, but that doesn’t mean Biden favors removing tariffs. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (Sock-ee) said early this week the President “will take a multilateral approach to engaging with China, and that includes evaluating the tariffs currently in place,” adding, “the President is committed to stopping China’s economic abuses on many fronts.” The Phase One trade agreement between the U.S. and China has increased China’s purchases of U.S. farm commodities. However, the purchases are still not on target to reach levels pledged in the agreement. China is expected to continue the increased purchases in 2021. A China Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson responded, “We hope the new U.S. administration will learn from the Trump administration’s lessons where they carried out the wrong policies on China.”

U.S. and EU Groups Seek Tariff Relief

A group of 72 EU and U.S. organizations urges leaders to remove or at least suspend all additional and retaliatory tariffs affecting or threatening Trans-Atlantic trade. In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden and the EU Commission President, the groups say suspending the tariffs is urgently needed to address economic harms. Specifically, the groups refer to tariffs on large civil aircraft and steel and aluminum disputes. Food and agricultural goods make up a disproportionate number of the EU’s overall tariff line, according to a 2020 analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The most impacted group includes alcohol, tobacco and cotton. The next largest category is oilseeds, oils and fats. The letter states, “We believe immediate suspension of these tariffs is a necessary and fundamental action, which will provide an economic stimulus at a time when it is needed most.” Groups signing the letter include the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the U.S. Grains Council and others.

Farmer Co-ops Applaud White House Call to Buy American

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives applauded President Joe Biden’s Buy American executive order signed this week. The action supports manufacturers, businesses and workers to ensure that federal purchasing programs follow Buy American requirements. The order seeks to close loopholes in how domestic content is measured, create a new position at the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the issue, and increase oversight of waivers to domestic preference laws. The Council has long supported enforcing and strengthening the Buy American provisions in programs administered by the Department of Agriculture, such as the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. NCFC and its members have expressed deep concern in recent years over a marked increase in the amount of foreign-produced food served under the school lunch and breakfast programs. NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner says, “Sourcing non-U.S. foods—even when competitively priced domestic alternatives are available—not only runs counter to the law, but destroys jobs across the value chain.”

Tester: QLA Does Not Provide Adequate Support for Feed Grain Producers

U.S. Senator Jon Tester says the Farm Service Agency has further delayed disaster assistance support for farmers who were hit by quality losses in 2018 and 2019. Despite the recent rollout of the Quality Loss Assistance Program, the Montana Democrat says some producers were left out of the assistance package. Tester says QLA does not provide adequate support for producers that sold grain as feed. Under existing QLA guidelines, producers must submit quality discount settlement documentation, which is not often issued for feed wheat. Without documentation, Tester says, “this means that the producers who need QLA the most are unable to make full use of this program.” The Department of Agriculture QLA program’s announcement earlier this month was meant to provide relief to producers who suffered crop quality losses in 2018 and 2019. It was created to supplement relief provided to farmers through the Wildfire, Hurricane, and Indemnity Program Plus. Tester urged the Farm Service Agency to correct the claimed errors.

Family-owned Farms Account for 96% of U.S. Farms

Family farms comprise 96 percent of all U.S. farms and 82 percent of the value of all agricultural products sold. The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released the data in the 2017 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology report. The report focuses on the family farm, defined as any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the producer and individuals related to the producer. The report classifies all farms into unique categories based on two criteria, who owns the operation and GCFI, gross cash farm income. GCFI includes the producer’s sales of crops and livestock, fees for delivering commodities under production contracts, government payments, and farm-related income. The data shows that small family farms, those farms with a GCFI of less than $350,000 per year, account for 88 percent of all U.S. farms, 46 percent of total land in farms, and 19 percent of the value of all agricultural products sold. However, the number of family farms decreased by four percent since 2012.

Corn Belt Land Market Seeing Strong Prices

Buying interest in farmland has been stable for the past several years. However, the level of interest grew starting last summer in the eastern Corn Belt. Farmers National Company reports prices for top-quality cropland sold at auctions and listings increased significantly since before harvest. Demand for good farmland has improved, and good cropland is selling for prices last seen in 2013. Government payments, low-interest rates, and rising grain prices sustained farmers’ interest in buying land, especially in the fall. The boost in net farm income provided the financial comfort for farmers to step into the land market. Farmers National Company’s land sales volume was up 35 percent during the final quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 despite a normal to lower supply of land for sale in the overall market. Looking ahead, the company suggests investor interest and farmer demand coupled with a low supply of good cropland on the market will continue to drive the land prices in 2021.

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.