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Cancelation of APEC Meeting Doesn’t Change China Trade Talks

4 years, 6 months ago AFBF

Chile’s cancellation of the November APEC summit shouldn’t change the outlook for trade talks with China. Planned for November 16 and 17, Chile canceled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to focus on restoring law and order in the country, according to Reuters. President Donald Trump and Chinse President Xi Jinping (Shee Jihn’-ping) were set to sign a so-called phase one agreement along the sidelines of the event. However, President Trump Thursday said China and the U.S. were working on selecting a new site for signing the agreement, add the new location would be announced soon. A Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson downplayed any concern, adding the U.S. and China remain in constant communication in working towards signing the agreement. Trump says the phase one agreement includes roughly 60 percent of the total deal sought by the United States. The agreement also covers $40-50 billion of U.S. agricultural exports to China over the next two years.

Farm Bankruptcies up 24 Percent Since Trade War Start

Farm bankruptcies are at the highest level seen since 2011. Data compiled by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows farm bankruptcies surged 24 percent since the trade with China began. For the 12-month period ending September 2019, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies totaled 580 filings, the highest level since 676 filings in 2011. AFBF Chief Economist John Newton points out that bankruptcy filings over the last 12 months were the highest in Wisconsin at 48 filings, followed by 37 filings in Georgia, Nebraska and Kansas. Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia all experienced Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings at or above 10-year highs. USDA currently projects farm income in 2019 to reach $88 billion, the highest net farm income since 2014’s $92 billion, but still 29 percent below 2013’s record high. Nearly 40 percent of that income, roughly $33 billion, is related to trade and disaster assistance, along with crop insurance programs.

South Dakota Senators Introduce Beef Integrity Act

Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune this week took steps to keep beef born, raised and slaughtered in foreign countries from receiving a “Product of the U.S.A.” label. The South Dakota republicans say the U.S. Beef Integrity Act would make certain that the “Product of the U.S.A.” label only goes to beef and beef products exclusively derived from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. Currently, the Food Safety and Inspection Service does not require that beef be born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. in order to carry a “Product of the U.S.A.” label. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association says the legislation would “immediately close the loophole,” and allow for a continued push towards establishing of a country-of-origin labeling program. However, the National Cattlemen’s Association says, “In general, NCBA members are opposed to requesting additional government regulation on our industry." The organization recently formed a working group to gather information regarding labeling practices to "fully understand the scope of the issue" and seek solutions.

USDA Announces NIFA, ERS, Office Location in Kansas City

The Department of Agriculture this week announced the signing of a lease for office space in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. 805 Pennsylvania Avenue will be home to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Economic Research Service. The lease is part of USDA's effort to move the two agencies out of the Washington, D.C., area, for alleged cost savings and to put the agencies closer to their customers. The criticized effort moves roughly 600 jobs to Kansas City, with several job openings as many USDA employees of the two agencies opted to seek employment elsewhere, rather than relocate. The Kansas City metro, split by the Kansas-Missouri border, has faced an economic border war for years. While the two states have worked towards a so-called truce regarding economic incentives to lure employers, Kansas City and Port KC, a political subdivision of the State of Missouri, offered $26 million worth of incentives to support the relocation. Missouri Governor Mike Parson says the USDA location will “benefit both Missouri and Kansas for years to come.”

Women in Ag Survey Reveals Business Acumen and Leadership

Women are active advocates for agriculture and successful business owners interested in filling leadership roles, according to a new Farm Bureau survey. A majority of those surveyed, 91 percent, also believe there should be more women in leadership roles in the industry. More than 3,000 women completed the informal survey online, which AFBF conducted to determine the goals and achievements of women in agriculture. Sherry Saylor, chair of Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Committee, says, "We hope to use the survey results to drive our program of work and also to give women their voice and help them make even more of an impact in their communities." More than 50 percent of women surveyed have started their own business that's still in operation, 25 percent have not started a business but indicated they would like to do so in the future. Respondents cited prioritizing and finding time to accomplish tasks, acquiring financial support and marketing plan development as their top business challenges. Full survey results are available online at fb.org/women.

Increased Demand for Dark Chicken Meat Creating Market Opportunities

Evolving U.S. demographics are shifting consumer preferences from white meat chicken to dark meat, according to new research by CoBank. Since 2000, chicken breast's share of the value of the bird has dropped from 66 percent to just 45 percent, while the value of chicken legs has increased dark meat's share from 12 percent to near 30 percent. The report says the change presents the chicken industry with an opportunity to diversify its profit centers. Advances in mechanical deboning technology have allowed U.S. chicken producers to capture the emerging demand for dark meat while addressing the ever-present labor shortage, according to CoBank. Age and ethnicity are behind the change. Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers in 2019 as the largest living adult generation in the U.S. As Baby Boomers age, their consumption of meat, including white chicken meat, is declining. Latino and Asian populations are growing in the U.S. and dark meat chicken, rather than white meat, is typically used in the cuisines of their cultures.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her most optimistic statement yet on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Pelosi who holds the keys to the House bringing up USMCA, worth billions in new ag export sales to Mexico and Canada, told us she's more hopeful now about 'green lighting' the deal for action…

We are reasonably close. I would say this…this is probably the most optimistic thing I will say about this…if we can come to terms, that I think we’re close to doing, this will be a template for future trade agreements.”

 Pelosi’s comments at her weekly press conference follow those of Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley that he is also more confident of a Democratic deal with the White House to bring USMCA to a vote.

But, when asked about impeachment and how that could eat up a dwindling legislative clock, or the political need to show legislative accomplishments…

“Impeachment has nothing to do with it…it only has to do with our coming to agreement and to terms, as far as the House of Representatives is concerned.”

 Pressed on timing and the possibility the Senate could be tied up early next year in an impeachment trial, Pelosi responded…

"Well, I can't answer for the Senate …we'll just do our bill when we're ready…and, we can't do it any sooner, than when we have the agreement."

 And on the core issues of Mexican labor, environment, drug pricing and enforcement, Pelosi’s negotiators are discussing with the White House…

We’re not there yet, but we understand the road, shall we say, the last mile that we have to go.  So, I’m optimistic.”

 It’s an answer that’s frustrated ag leaders and lawmakers for months, compounded by the lack of any timeline, now nearly a year after USMCA was signed and after Mexico this year, ratified it.

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