READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 10th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Trade with U.S., Australia, Growing Despite Tensions

Chinese exports hit higher numbers in April than anticipated as global demand for the country’s goods remained high despite other countries’ dealing with coronavirus recovery. A CNBC report says Chinese exports to the U.S. rose 31 percent in April, compared to a year ago, to $43.05 billion, while imports from the U.S. rose 52 percent to $13.94 billion. China’s trade with its major partners grew despite tensions. China and the U.S. levied tariffs on each other worth billions during the trade war with the Trump Administration. Tensions between China and Australia took a wrong turn late last week as Beijing suspended further high-level economic negotiations between the two countries. Economist Joseph Capurso of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia says the improvement in trade between the U.S. and China is due to President Biden’s fiscal stimulus. “The recovery in U.S.-China trade has reversed much of the trade war slump, even though few restrictions on trade have actually gotten removed,” he says. “China has also bought Australian products despite restrictions, most of which are on farm goods.” Chinese imports from Australia rose 49 percent to $40 billion, while imports jumped 43 percent to $26.79 billion.

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Coalition Asks Tai to Consider Rejoining Pacific Trade Group

A bipartisan coalition of House and Senate members sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Hagstrom Report says the letter points out that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement was wrong and asks her to investigate the “pros and cons of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which was signed by 11 other TPP countries in 2018 without the U.S.” The legislators say in the letter that “our current trade policy in the Asia-Pacific region needs a strategic direction that includes robust engagement with our allies in the region, similar to what was envisioned by the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.” They also say that withdrawing from the trade agreement was a missed opportunity to strengthen U.S. leadership in the global economy and reinforce America’s commitment to a rules-based system for international trade. “The stakes are exceptionally high,” the letter continues. “The region is home to China, one of America’s biggest rivals, whose values and interests are much different from our own.” They say that China’s trade practices have violated international rules and the fundamental principles of fairness, causing harm to U.S. businesses and workers.

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PLC Seeks Proposals to Address Public Lands Issues

The Public Lands Council has released a Request for Proposals on subjects related to the public lands ranching industry, economic viability, natural resource stewardship, and other issues. Each year, the PLC Board of Directors identifies priority areas that will help address scientific and practical challenges that affect cattle and sheep producers across the West. The PLC board identified several issues for consideration, including carbon storage. They want to know how livestock grazing interacts with carbon storage, organic matter volume, and other environmental metrics on public lands. Another topic is livestock and wildlife, with the board wanting to know if there are demonstratable interactions between public lands grazing and wildlife habitat or migration patterns. They also are looking for input on multiple-use challenges and education for public lands, as well as wildfire challenges and how grazing affects the development of fires. The PLC awards grants for the Fiscal Year 2022 that will help support projects designed to answer some of these questions and solve some problems when it comes to public land grazing. For more information, go to www.publiclandscouncil.org.

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AEM Talks Record-High Equipment Sales

Curt Blades, the Senior Vice President of Ag Services with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, says, “We’re operating in a very interesting market right now.” In the first quarter of 2021, total farm tractor unit sales are up more than 50 percent in the U.S. and nearly 60 percent in Canada. Those numbers come from the recent AEM Ag Tractor Combine Report that comes out every month. “For the last 12 months, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the under-40 horsepower, or small tractor sales in North America, both the U.S. and Canada,” he says. “This is due largely to a lot of the industries that have done well during COVID-19, like luxury items or things that have to do with the home.” Small tractors fall into that category. Small tractor sales are spiking as they head to suburbs with larger lots to help homeowners haul rocks and dirt, work around trees, and improve their property. Later in 2020, larger row-crop and articulated four-wheel-drive tractors also enjoyed rising sales numbers. Over the last five years, the average age of the ag fleet grew in both the U.S. and Canada. As commodity prices rose and trade difficulties eased, not only is the replacement market doing well, but farmers are upgrading their operations with newer technology.

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April Food Price Index Up 30 Percent Over Last year

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities. The index shows a significant price increase for food compared to 2020. The newest Food Price Index averaged 120.9 points in April, two percent higher than March and almost 31 percent higher than the same point last year. It’s the eleventh-consecutive monthly rise in the value of the index, which has reached its highest level since May 2014. The April rise was led by strong increases in the prices of sugar, followed by oils, meats, dairy, and cereals. The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 100 points in April, four percent higher than March and almost 60 percent higher than the same month last year. Another big jump took place in the Dairy Price Index, which averaged 118.9 points in April, up two percent from March, the eleventh-straight month of increases. The dairy index is also 24 percent higher than the same time in 2020.

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FFA Continues to Support Next Generation’s Leaders

FFA awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships to 974 recipients with the help of more than 300 sponsors and donors. The FFA scholarships were available to students pursuing two-year or four-year degrees, or vocational certification, or specialized training programs. The average recipient had a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. This year is the 37th year for the scholarship program, which began in 1984 with only 16 scholarships. Since then, more than $50 million have gotten awarded in scholarship funds through the National FFA Organization. The selection process considers the whole student, including FFA involvement, work experience, supervised agricultural experiences, community service, leadership skills, academic performance, and financial need. “We know that our FFA members are the next generation of leaders who will change the world,” says Michele Sullivan, senior manager of local engagement. “These scholarships are just one more way to support them on the next steps in their educational journeys.” More information is available at www.FFA.org. New information on the 2022 FFA Scholarships will be released on November 1.

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.