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Agriculture News

Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs

| Posted on June 21, 2018

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.  China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6. No other products have been listed twice.  Pork now faces cumulative import duties of 71 percent, not including value added tax, according to a formula published on the website of China’s finance ministry last week. Cumulative duties on fruit amount to 50 percent.  “The additional tariff will put us out of business,” said Zhong Zheng, founder of China-based Heartland Brothers, which sells U.S.-produced Berkshire pork to Chinese supermarkets and restaurants. The United States shipped $489 million worth of pork to China last year, and had the biggest share of import volumes in the first quarter of 2018, at about 117,000 tonnes, according to Chinese customs.


PA Senate passes measures to overcome dairy crisis

WJACTV | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed three legislative measures to help combat the dairy crisis.The Senate passed Senate Bill 819 to allow for agritourism activities such at farm tours, hayrides and corn mazes on farms that are part of the state's farmland preservation program."This bill provides consistency for farmers throughout the state while protecting their farmland preservation status as they host these educational and entertaining events," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed three legislative measures to help combat the dairy crisis.The Senate passed Senate Bill 819 to allow for agritourism activities such at farm tours, hayrides and corn mazes on farms that are part of the state's farmland preservation program."This bill provides consistency for farmers throughout the state while protecting their farmland preservation status as they host these educational and entertaining events," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman.In addition, the Senate passed two resolutions with first urging the Food and Drug Administration to prevent misleading labeling of non-dairy products and a second directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study and issue a report of recommendations for initiatives to assist the state's dairy producers.


U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Choices magazine | Posted on June 21, 2018

Threats of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports shook the U.S. agricultural sector. Attention focused on the potential loss of farm income, with a surge of short articles published in the popular media. To help provide a deeper analysis on the trade policy impact, we organize this China theme issue with five articles: Zheng et al. and Taheripour and Tyner estimate the loss on multiple relevant crops using a partial equilibrium model and a general equilibrium model, respectively. Both studies focus on soybeans, while wheat, pork, and a few other commodities are also considered. Hansen et al., Countryman and Muhammad, and Liu et al. examine sorghum, wine, and cotton, respectively, and point out potential export reductions as a result of such tariffs. Although the current trade dispute continues to evolve, it is valuable for us to understand the potential negative impact and to be informed of possible consequences. It is our sincere hope that U.S. and Chinese negotiators will reach an agreement, since both countries ultimately lose with a trade war, as seen from the 1930s Smoot–Hawley Tariff.


Ag Pesticide Applicator Certification Now Available To Ky. High School Students

WKMS | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Kentucky Department of Education and Department of Agriculture is partnering to give high school students the chance to become certified agricultural pesticide applicators. The partnership plans to offer pesticide applicator certifications in agriculture, forest, ornamental and lawn care, golf course turf care, interior plantscape care and sports turf care.


New Michigan Zoning Order Aims to Fight Bovine TB

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on June 21, 2018

For almost 25 years, we have been working to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula (LP). While bovine TB remains a worldwide issue, the U.S. has seen very little bovine TB since the late 1970s, apart from Michigan’s northeastern LP. It has infected more than 60 cattle herds in this area, where the disease has a natural reservoir in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the disease still exists, despite much work by agency staff, farmers, hunters, and others. In fact, in 2016 and 2017, Michigan exceeded the number of infected cattle herds permitted by our agreement with the USDA. This caused the USDA to call into question the effectiveness of Michigan’s TB Program and propose downgrading our status. A downgrade in status would decimate the cattle industry in the northeastern LP, impacting the entire state, and costing the industry and taxpayers millions of dollars. If Michigan is fortunate, we may escape a downgrade this time; however, USDA may take more drastic steps in the future. With that said, MDARD, with the support of the DNR, recently approved a new zoning order, updating Michigan’s cattle regulations. These updates create new wildlife biosecurity strategies that farmers will have to implement to minimize the risk of bovine TB affecting their herds.


Immigration Bill in House Changes Ag Guest-Worker Program, But Passage Unlikely

DTN | Posted on June 21, 2018

An overhaul of the agricultural guest-worker program will be part of the immigration packages that the U.S. House of Representatives will likely debate on Thursday, but basically has little chance of passing.The House will vote on a pair of immigration bills, but lawmakers and observers expect both bills will go down in defeat. One of the bills, the so-called "compromise bill," HR 6136, focuses on spending $25 billion for a wall along the southern border and making it harder to immigrate to the U.S. by ending the visa lottery program. The bill also would legalize those young people known as "Dreamers" under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and would spell out a law to keep families together when parents and children are apprehended at the border.


Rate of Farm Loan Rejections Almost Doubles Among Banks

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on June 21, 2018

In reaction to weak farm income, the percentage of banks increasing farm loan rejection rates expanded from 23.9 percent to 42.9 percent over the past year. Almost two-thirds of bankers indicated their banks had increased collateral requirements on farm loans in reaction to weak farm income. On average, bankers expect farmland prices to decline by 2.1 percent over the next 12 months. This is less than the 3.1 percent projected fall recorded last year at this time.
 


Missouri officials approve feedlot expansion, legal fight expected

Meat + Poultry | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources recently issued a permit for Valley Oaks Steak Co. to increase the number of cattle it can maintain to 6,999 in its Missouri animal feedlot operation. Currently, the facility outside of Lone Jack, Missouri, has a limit of 999 head of cattle.   Missouri DNR granted a Class IB NPDES permit to Valley Oaks Steak at the Lone Jack facility, which makes it subject to concentrated animal feeding operations regulations and permit requirements. The government agency also said that their staff reviewed the application for completeness and compliance with the Missouri Clean Water Law and the Missouri Clean Water Commission regulations. Valley Oaks expects the expansion to create more than 50 jobs.  According to its permit request, Valley Oak Steaks plans to blend the feedlot's manure with wood chips and stored in a warehouse to be processed into fertilizer.


The USDA is right. Biofoods don't need labels.

Chicago Tribune | Posted on June 21, 2018

Should a federal agency issue a regulation that will impose up to $3.5 billion in costs next year, and billions more in the coming decade — while delivering essentially no benefits? That sounds crazy. But a few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed to do exactly that. The proposal is the outgrowth of the long-standing national battle over whether to require labels for bioengineered (or genetically modified) foods. The USDA's analysis of costs and benefits deserves careful attention, even if it raises serious questions about its own proposal.In the summer of 2016, Congress required the USDA to impose such labels. Last month, the department responded by inviting public comments on the rule, called the Proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.The department was candid about the high costs of its proposal. In the first year, companies — mostly food manufacturers — would have to spend $600 million to $3.5 billion in compliance costs. (The range reflects uncertainty about some assumptions behind the estimates.) After an initial period of learning and adjustment, the annual costs would range from $132 million to $330 million. In the history of federal regulation, that may not qualify as monstrously expensive, but it's a lot.


Tariffs Hitting Agriculture - One Of America's Positive Trade Sectors

Utah Public Radio | Posted on June 21, 2018

The U.S. is imposing a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese goods. The Trump administration claims theft of intellectual property and unfair trading practices is the reasoning behind the tariffs. China is responding to the U.S. by hitting Trump’s base in the agriculture and automobile industries.“Trade is complex. A good trade deal for one sector can pose risk for the other,” said Brandon Willis, a professor of applied economics at Utah State University and senior advisor to the former secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack.“If you take a step back," he said, "the U.S. runs a trade deficit annually around $500 billion. Agriculture is a bright spot with a $23 billion surplus predicted in 2017. When we talk about automobiles and when we talk about intellectual property, we talk a lot about different sectors that are not winning the trade game.”


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