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| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 18, 2019 |


White House Sends Formal Announcement of Agreement with Japan The White House has notified Congress it will sign a trade agreement with Japan. President Donald Trump notified lawmakers he will enter an agreement on tariffs and digital trade with Japan, as the two sides wrap up the talks still this month. The White House published the notice Monday evening. Trump told lawmakers he is “pleased to report that my administration has reached an initial trade agreement.” The agreement is expected to be signed along the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month. The agreement does not need approval from Congress and can go into effect immediately. The agreement will mostly lower tariffs on U.S. ag products, to levels granted to other exporters to Japan in the Comprehensive and Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The lower tariffs allow U.S. farmers to better compete in the Japanese market. Top U.S. agricultural exports to Japan currently include beef, corn, pork, soybeans and wheat, totally $13 billion last year. ************************************************************************************* Trump Backing Plan to Increase Biofuels Production President Donald Trump will soon unveil a biofuel plan that farm groups are hopeful will increase demand for biofuels production. The President has tentatively approved the plan that will increase biofuel blending requirements, but the administration has not yet publicly announced the plan. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said Tuesday the announcement is coming, and will be a “win-win” for farmers. However, Grassley is unsure when the administration will announce the plan. Reuters says the plan requires the Environmental Protection Agency calculate a three-year rolling average of total biofuels gallons exempted from the mandates under its Small Refinery Exemption program and add that figure to its annual biofuel blending quotas each year. The administration recently granted 31 waivers to exclude refineries from the RFS blending requirements. Trump was planned to meet with oil industry executives earlier this week, as well. Grassley says Trump “listened to Iowans” who spoke out against the small refinery waivers. President Trump ordered a review of the waivers in June. ************************************************************************************* Saudi Attacks Represents Opportunity for Biofuels Drone attacks Saturday in Saudi Arabia that destroyed oil fields show diversification, which includes biofuels, could curb market volatility, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. RFA President Geoff Cooper says the United States imported 2.8 billion barrels of crude oil last year, equivalent to 45 percent of the oil processed by U.S. refineries. $18 billion flowed out of the U.S. economy to Saudi Arabia in return for 330 million barrels of petroleum. However, U.S. farmers helped produce more than 380 million barrels of “lower-cost, cleaner-burning renewable fuel last year-more barrels than we imported from Saudi Arabia.” Cooper says the United States cannot “simply frack its way to energy independence,” in his call to increase biofuels use. Cooper says with enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard, removal of regulatory barriers, and a rapid transition to 15 percent ethanol blends nationwide, U.S. ethanol producers could quickly ramp up production and help fill the void in the global liquid fuel supply caused by the Saudi oil attacks. ************************************************************************************* Lawmakers Seek Mississippi River Disaster Funds Representatives from Minnesota and Wisconsin are pushing for funds to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to address issues stemming from Mississippi River flooding this year. Democrat Representatives Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Angie Craig and Betty McCollum representing Minnesota, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget pushing for the distribution of $100 million for flood repairs. The funds were included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, and were signed into law by President Trump in June 2019. Those funds have not yet been disbursed so the Army Corps can do their jobs. Right now, the lawmakers say the immediate concern remains keeping the Mississippi River operational for commercial use, which requires additional dredging because of excess sediment build-up this spring. The river is responsible for one-sixth of the nation’s intercity cargo and 25 percent of foreign exports. The letter states the lawmakers urge the Trump Administration “to act swiftly in allocating long-term funding to reinstate emergency dredging operations.” ************************************************************************************* USDA Modernizes Swine Slaughter Inspection The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection. For the first time in more than five decades, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations, according to USDA. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the final rule “allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules.” National Pork Producers Council President David Herring says the new inspection system “codifies the advancements we have made into law, reflecting a 21st century industry,” and ensures “a safe supply of wholesome American pork.” In the final rule, FSIS amends the regulations to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. The final rule also allows market hog establishments to choose if they will operate under the rule or continue to operate under traditional inspection. ************************************************************************************* Peterson, Others, Establish 4-H Congressional Caucus House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat, this week announced the bipartisan 4-H Congressional Congress. Joining Peterson is Republican Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, along with Democrat Henry Cueller of Texas. Peterson, saying he was “a 4-H kid myself,” says he looks forward to growing the caucus “so we can help ensure the next generation of young leaders have access to 4-H experiences that will help them succeed." 4-H is America's largest youth development organization, empowering youth through programs and experiences that develop critical life skills and preparing them for life today and a career tomorrow. Thousands of 4-H professionals and educators, as well as 500,000 volunteers serve nearly six million youth in every county in the United States. National 4-H Council president and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo welcomed the caucus, saying “Their support ensures life-changing 4-H experiences are available to young people in rural, urban and suburban communities throughout America.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 18, 2019 |


Washington Insider: New Tariffs for EU Luxury Items The question of what might be next in the ongoing global trade wars is increasingly the focus of urban media these days. For example, Bloomberg is reporting this week that at almost the same moment as the U.S. and China attempt to resume trade talks some of Europe’s top luxury brands are being targeted in President Trump’s latest tariff salvo. The new development reflects a decision by a World Trade Organization dispute-settlement panel that ruled Friday that the U.S. can legally impose tariffs on an array of European exports in retaliation for the bloc’s illegal aid to Airbus, SE. The WTO is expected to publicly circulate a report by month’s end that will allow new U.S. duties on a range of goods worth $5 billion to $7 billion per year. Shares of French luxury conglomerate LVMH fell as much as 4.4% on Monday in Paris while Airbus shares fell as much as 5.4%. Continuing political turmoil in Hong Kong and a slowing Chinese economy have also weighed on European fashion and drinks companies. Washington’s formal response is expected within days after the WTO’s green light for retaliation. The U.S. has identified possible targets – with tariffs potentially as high as 100% – on a list of goods with a total export value of $25 billion a year. Though the most valuable items on the U.S. list are exports of European aircraft and parts, the tariffs could also hit products made by Europe’s most recognized high-end brands. The U.S. market for luxury goods is among the top destinations for European companies where the U.S. accounted for perhaps a quarter of their total global sales last year. American shoppers bought 11.2 billion euros worth of goods from LVMH in 2018, Bloomberg said. New tariffs will increase costs that will undoubtedly be passed on to U.S. consumers, said Luca Marotta, the CFO of Paris-Based Remy Cointreau SA, which produces Remy Martin cognac, Cointreau, Passoa and Mount Gay rum. “If the tariff increase happens, I repeat myself, we will increase prices at the same moment,” Marotta said. The administration’s planned EU tariffs are unusual in one sense because, unlike the trade war it started against China, the U.S. will be applying duties explicitly authorized by the WTO, an organization it has threatened to withdraw from if it doesn’t reform. The dispute between Toulouse, France-based Airbus and Chicago-based Boeing Co. encapsulates a criticism from Trump and others that the WTO is a slow-moving bureaucracy. The Airbus case, for example, has taken about 15 years to resolve. European beverage producers are already reeling from the uncertainty stemming from repeated U.S. threats to slap new tariffs on wine, liquor and other alcohol, Bloomberg said. It notes that the U.S. is currently evaluating whether to penalize French wine and other goods in response to France’s tax on digital companies like Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Bloomberg notes that the impact of new U.S. tariffs could have an unwelcome effect on Scotch whisky producers, which are already girding for the fallout of a potentially messy no-deal Brexit. The EU exported $2.1 billion worth of Irish and Scotch whiskeys to the U.S. in 2018, Bloomberg said. Many U.S. exporters oppose the administration’s proposed tariffs which they say could boomerang and jeopardize thousands of American jobs. Bloomberg notes that U.S. whiskey producers have already become collateral damage from the administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs – which led to EU retaliation and a 25% tariff on U.S. bourbon and whiskey. “Depending on the level of tariffs imposed on EU spirits and wine, we estimate it could negatively impact U.S. businesses, leading up to a loss of jobs from 11,200 to even 78,600 jobs across the United States,” said Chris Swonger, the president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council. There are two ways the EU can avoid new tariffs from the long-running aircraft dispute with the U.S.: by ending its illegal subsidies for Airbus, or reaching a settlement agreement. Though U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the current European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have both welcomed the idea of negotiating a settlement, talks to resolve the issue haven’t begun. Also, such negotiations could become more difficult after Malmstrom cedes her post on Nov. 1 to Phil Hogan, a hard-nosed Irish trade negotiator who’s pledged to take a more pugnacious approach to EU-U.S. trade relations and recently threatened that “we are going to do everything we possibly can to get Trump to see the error of his ways.” So, we will see. While U.S. economic anxiety continues to fuel market uncertainty, and the administration is working to open both European and Asian markets, it is depending increasingly on expanding interventions to offset negative economic effects—a strategy that is seen as increasingly risky in some quarters, and which should be watched closely as it intensifies, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 18, 2019 |


White House Notifies Congress on US-Japan Trade Deal The White House formally notified Congress it plans a trade agreement with Japan on tariffs and an executive agreement on digital trade. In a September 16 notice to Congress, Trump again mentioned the initial accord and said the U.S. would be entering an “executive agreement” with Japan on digital trade, without providing details. The communication cites section 103(a) of the legislation, which gives the president the authority to do so as long as the tariff is no higher than five percent. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says Tokyo wants to stymie the threat of new auto tariffs before agreeing to a final trade deal with the U.S. and is seeking confirmation on the position. Motegi, Japan’s point person with U.S. on trade negotiations, told reporters in Tokyo that there is consideration of language covering car tariffs. Expectations are still for the accord to be inked yet this month.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 18, 2019 |


US-China Deputy-Level Trade Talks Set For Thursday/Friday Deputy-level trade talks between the U.S. and China will start on Thursday in Washington, according to a Reuters report quoting the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). On Monday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Thomas Donohue revealed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer indicated there are staff-level meetings between Chinese and U.S. negotiators on Friday, with senior negotiators to meet in the ensuing week or week and a half. The Chinese news agency Xinhua said China’s Finance Vice Minister Liao Min will lead the Chinese delegation for the thirteenth round of talks, departing for the U.S. on Wednesday. He will be accompanied by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen. Early October continues to be signaled as the expected time for high-level talks between the U.S. and China and that could depend heavily on how the deputy-level talks this week unfold.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 18, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The only report scheduled for Tuesday is U.S. Industrial Production in August, set for 8:15 a.m. CDT. Weather, trade-related news and after this weekend, news about the restoration of Saudi Arabia's oil facilities are all topics of current interest. Weather Dry conditions will cover all major crop areas Tuesday. Conditions will be very warm to hot, favoring crop development along with early harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 17, 2019 |


Trump Administration Shows Flexibility in USMCA Proposal The Trump administration has offered Democrats “significant flexibility” regarding demands for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The counterproposal sent to House of Representative leadership last week addresses concerns raised by Democrats, according to Politico. The proposal from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer offers a fix to concerns raised on how disputes between governments are resolved. Additionally, the proposal addresses labor, environmental and pharmaceutical concerns. The counterproposal is increasing optimism the agreement can be finished yet this year. Trump administration officials have said they expect the agreement can be passed by Congress within the next two months, although lawmakers have a full plate to tackle this fall. Farm groups and House Agriculture Committee leaders rallied outside the capitol last week in support of the agreement. This spring, the American Farm Bureau Federation estimated the agreement could increase U.S. agriculture exports by $2.2 billion. USMCA also changes sanitary and phytosanitary standards, biotech rules and other provision. Mexico has already ratified the agreement and Canada is in the process of finalizing the agreement. ************************************************************************************* Oil Markets Headed for Volatility Following Saudi Attacks Expect volatility in oil markets following the weekend attacks in Saudi Arabia. Jim Bower of Bower Trading says volatility “is going to heighten tremendously” over the next few weeks because of the attack. Bower says the drones had a cost of approximately $15,000 and suggested “oil facilities can and will receive further attacks in the future,” because its “simply too easy to do.” The facility attacked by drones and reportedly cruise missiles over the weekend produces roughly six percent of the world’s oil supply. The U.S. Energy Department has said it is willing to release oil from the strategic oil reserves if needed. Oil prices Monday briefly spiked 19 percent, the biggest spike since the 1990-1991 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. The attacks also represent the largest disruption of maximum daily supply loss in history. Officials at GasBuddy, a crowdsourced, real-time fuel price reporter, predict prices will increase 10-25 cents per gallon. Additionally, prices could increase higher depending on how long it takes to restore production at the attacked facilities. ************************************************************************************* Farm Credit Service Outlines Quarterly System Conditions A quarterly review of the Farm Credit System shows reported steady earnings and higher capital, but a decline in loan quality, so far, in 2019. The Farm Credit Administration received the report last week that outlines economic issues affecting agriculture, with an update on the financial condition and performance of the Farm Credit System. Although the levels of portfolio credit risk are acceptable, they are rising, and the increase “underscores the significant operating challenges facing System borrowers.” Overall, the System remains financially safe, strongly capitalized, and well-positioned to support agricultural producers, according to the report. Additionally, land values generally have remained stable, supported by the limited supply of farmland for sale. Farm sector real estate debt has been rising for the past several years and is approaching the historical 10-year average. Also, total farm debt relative to income in 2019 is high, but the Market Facilitation Program has slowed its advance. The report says the MFP payments represent considerable support for the U.S. farm sector. ************************************************************************************* Japan to Eliminate Tariffs on U.S. Wine Japan will eliminate tariffs on U.S. wine imports as part of a trade agreement announced between the U.S. and Japan. Reuters says Japan will eliminate the tariffs on U.S. wine within five to seven years after the trade agreement goes into effect. Japan currently taxes wine at 15 percent per liter, and the trade agreement would cut the tariff by roughly 13 percent. Leaders of the two nations are expected to sign the agreement on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting later this month. The agreement, welcomed by agriculture, also gradually lowers tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan, from 38 percent, to nine percent by 2033. Many of the bilateral agreement provisions match those included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership the U.S. backed out of when President Donald Trump took office. The remaining nations enacted the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The bilateral agreement with Japan should level the playing field for U.S. agriculture and its competitors, provide increased market opportunity. ************************************************************************************* USDA, Trump, Recognize Farm Safety Week President Donald Trump has proclaimed this week as National Farm Safety and Health Week. Trump signed the proclamation Friday, designating the week as September 15 -21, 2019. The theme for this year's National Farm Safety and Health Week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear” as a reminder that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize safety on the farm and rural roadway. USDA says this week is an opportunity to spread awareness of the inherent risks associated with work in the agriculture sector and commit to improved practices that advance health and safety. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says promoting farm safety will “help our American agriculture workforce,” adding “farming is not always the safest profession and it is our responsibility to continue to improve workplace safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 581 workers in agriculture and related industries died from a work-related injury in 2017, making agriculture one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. *************************************************************************************​ NCGA: Farmers Must Play a Role in Reducing Greenhouse Gases Efforts throughout society, and virtually every industry, to cut greenhouse gases are underway and agriculture is no exception, according to the National Corn Growers Association. Fortunately, NCGA’s Stewardship and Sustainability Director Rachel Orf says, “we are working in the right direction.” Throughout the Ag supply chain, from conservation groups to the largest retailers, Orf says there is solid agreement that the effort needs to be driven by science, adding “if it doesn’t work for farmer’s it doesn’t work at all.” Orf attended a meeting hosted by Field to Market last week in Washington, D.C. with the objective of better understanding climate change risk facing the ag value chain, including retailers, conservation groups, farmers, agribusiness. The effort began last fall with the goal of exploring collaborative actions that can deliver benefits for farmers, consumers and the planet. While agriculture has become increasingly efficient, relying on fewer inputs to produce more, NCGA’s partnership with Field to Market, is fostering collective action to address the significant challenges ahead in meeting increased global demand in a sustainable manner.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 17, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Senators Struggle Over Spending as Shutdown Looms As if there weren’t enough to worry about amid concerns over the economy and ongoing trade clashes, there is a report from The Hill this week that government funding talks in the Senate are off to “a rough start.” The report notes that there are only 10 working days to go until the shutdown deadline. This is an important problem because it “throws into question if senators will be able to get any of the fiscal 2020 bills through the chamber this month, a setback for Republicans who wanted to clear a major package before October.” Of course, there are still optimists. For example, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he still wants to bring bills to the Senate floor for a vote but warned that lawmakers need to “negotiate the terrain.” “We’ve been down that road before,” he said when asked how the funding talks get unstuck. “There’s got to be a resolution to it.” However, the darker view is that the partisan breakdown has left lawmakers visibly flummoxed about how to resolve the impasse, The Hill says. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned against getting “bogged down in too many foxholes… I’m praying for Chairman Shelby and ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to make the curtains part here so we can figure a way to move forward,” said McConnell, who is also a member of the Appropriations Committee. But The Hill thinks that a quick resolution is “nowhere in sight” with senators at a stalemate over major provisions, including the top-line spending figures for each of the bills, known as 302(b)s. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its top-line figures, a mammoth fiscal 2020 defense bill and an energy and water funding bill, on Thursday. But neither the 302(b)s nor the defense bill currently have the votes to pass the Senate where they would need the support of at least seven Democrats if every Republican voted for them. Democrats are taking issue with the top-line figures, which break down how much money each bill will get, because they believe Republicans are padding them with extra money that could be shifted to homeland security. And they balked at supporting the Pentagon spending bill after Republicans rejected an amendment that would have prevented the President from shifting funds from the bill toward the border wall without congressional sign off. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate minority whip and top Democrat on the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, warned that the spending bill for the Pentagon is stuck until they resolve the fight over top-line spending figures. Republicans could bring the bills to the floor anyway just to make Democrats vote in what would amount to a messaging fight as they did in 2016. Democrats are making it clear they won’t provide Republicans with their votes unless they sit down and renegotiate the spending legislation. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., when asked if any spending bills could pass on the floor, responded, “Absolutely not.” “You had every member of the Democratic caucus voting 'no'” in committee, he said. “I think we've got to renegotiate the allocations” to move forward.” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., noted that no one wants to resort to a continuing resolution or another government shutdown. “But my Republican colleagues must know that what happens in the next few days and weeks will determine whether we can proceed with a bipartisan appropriations process this fall or not,” he said. There’s more. With the full-year funding bills stuck in limbo, Congress will need to pass a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, by the end of the month. The House is expected to vote on a bill this week to fund the government until Nov. 21. In addition, major funding fights await both the bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and funding for the State Department and the Appropriations Committee still has to take up a funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction, which certainly will be controversial because Republicans are expected to try to replace the $3.6 billion the administration redirected to the border wall. And funding for the Department of Homeland Security is considered so controversial that Republican senators say they aren’t sure that they will even bring the bill up. Shelby characterized the spending talks as in “round one.” But asked if he could move DHS funding in his committee, Shelby demurred. “That’s challenging,” he said, before throwing his arms up as he got in an elevator. “Sooner or later we’re going to have to do something.” So, we will see. These last minute spending fights have become much more common in recent years and are very, very hard to control even when there is fairly broad underlying agreement. They are important and should be watched closely by producers as they emerge, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 17, 2019 |


US Chamber of Commerce Says US/China meeting Friday The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says U.S. deputy-level officials will meet with their Chinese counterparts on Friday. The next meeting of top-level officials will likely occur either later this month or early October. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke to state and local business groups Monday in Washington, after which U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue said while “there’s much more work” to be done on a trade deal with China he’s optimistic about passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of the year. Donohue said while Lighthizer indicated there’s some movement on China buying U.S. farm products and other issues, getting a complete deal will be “an extraordinary challenge.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 17, 2019 |


House Ag Panel Democrats Come Out Against Plan to Impact Farmer Aid The lack of a provision to address funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) in a proposed continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through November 21 has raised opposition from House Ag Committee Democratic leaders. The lack of the provision threatens to hold up trade aid payments to farmers. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities; Jim Costa, D-Calif., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture; and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Chairman of House Agriculture Committee are leading efforts to secure the inclusion of language in the CR which would allow USDA to move forward with the recently announced Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. “As Members of Congress who represent agricultural communities, we repeatedly hear from farmers in our districts whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by the ongoing trade wars. Although we mutually have concerns with President Trump’s approach to trade negotiations, we refuse to engage in the same tactics that punish our constituents and harm our communities that rely on agriculture. The upcoming CR should include the anomaly requested by USDA that would allow them to access the $30 billion in spending of the Commodity Credit Corporation prior to October 1st to ensure that MFP and farm bill payments continue to go out. We cannot and will not allow our farmers to be used as political pawns.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 17, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The only report scheduled for Tuesday is U.S. Industrial Production in August, set for 8:15 a.m. CDT. Weather, trade-related news and after this weekend, news about the restoration of Saudi Arabia's oil facilities are all topics of current interest. Weather Dry conditions will cover all major crop areas Tuesday. Conditions will be very warm to hot, favoring crop development along with early harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 16, 2019 |


China Lifts Punitive Tariffs on Pork, Soybeans A Chinese state news agency says the country will lift punitive tariffs imposed on U.S. soybeans and pork. Both China and the U.S. have made conciliatory gestures ahead of upcoming negotiations that will hopefully lead to an end to the trade war between the two nations. The Chicago Tribune says China will suspend tariff hikes on soybeans, pork, and some other farm goods. The Chinese Commerce Ministry says Beijing also supports “domestic companies in purchasing a certain amount of U.S. farm produce,” but didn’t give out any specific details. A release from the National Pork Producers Council says, “If media reports are accurate, this is a most welcome development.” The Chinese have placed punitive tariffs of 60 percent on most U.S. pork products, bringing the effective tariff rate for most U.S. pork to 72 percent. NPPC President David Herring says, “U.S. pork exports could singlehandedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China. When you consider that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world, the importance of this market to U.S. pork producers is clear.” ********************************************************************************************** China Buys Soybeans Ahead of Trade Talks Privately run Chinese firms bought at least ten boatloads of U.S. soybeans late last week. Reuters says that was the most significant Chinese purchase since June. The move comes ahead of high-level talks next month which both sides hope will end a trade war that’s gone on for over a year. The purchases totaled more than 600,000 tons and will be shipped out from export terminals in the Northwest U.S. between October and December. Reuters says the purchases are hopefully another indication that trade tensions between the two countries are easing. Talks hit another low point last month when China suspended all U.S. farm product purchases in response to threats by President Trump to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports. Jack Scoville, Vice President of Price Futures Group in Chicago says, “I’m impressed that the day they allow their commercial interests to buy from the United States, we’ve got this much sold immediately. Clearly, they’re trying to show what they can do if we get back to a normal trade relationship.” Also, late last week, the USDA reported China buying 10,878 tons of U.S. pork in the week ending September 5, the most in a single week since May. ********************************************************************************************** Farm Leaders, Congressmen Rally for USMCA Farm group leaders and members of Congress gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last week to rally for approving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement on trade. The rally happened in front of a 25-foot RV decorated with pro-USMCA signs that had traveled 20,000 miles to 30 states and made 100 stops to promote approval during a “Motorcade for Trade” event sponsored by Farmers for Free Trade. The Hagstrom Report says House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson of Minnesota was in attendance. He’s already deviated from his personal history of opposition to trade agreements by endorsing the USMCA months ago. Peterson told folks attending the rally to be patient, but to also expect a vote sometime this fall. While U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer has sent his proposals to address Democrat concerns to House leadership, Peterson says he hasn’t seen them yet. Farmer leaders also repeated earlier statements that USMCA will provide farmers with new market access to Canada and Mexico while keeping the zero-tariff platform they rely on. Farmers for Free Trade also held a roundtable discussion last week for ag groups to discuss the impact of the USMCA on each sector. ********************************************************************************************** Top Democrat Attempting to Block Trade Aid House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey of New York is proposing to block a White House request regarding its farm trade aid program. A Washington Post review of the draft legislation says it would potentially mean trouble for President Trump’s ability to direct aid payments to thousands of American farmers. A key Republican lawmaker says the Democrat’s move could potentially stall a key bill needed to avoid another government shutdown. The farm bailout is one of several unresolved issues that lawmakers will have to work through to meet a deadline by the end of this month. Up until now, the payments haven’t needed congressional approval. However, the timing of the next round of payments is directly tied to approval from Congress. The USDA is planning to spend about $28 billion in payments over two years. However, the program Trump is using for the payments has a $30 billion spending limit, which they’re expected to hit this year before completing the second round of payments. Republicans have said they won’t support the government funding bill if it leaves the farm payment issue unresolved. ********************************************************************************************** Trump Touts “Progress” on Biofuels Deal President Donald Trump says his administration has made progress on a biofuel reform package after meeting with key farm-state senators late last week. The meetings were part of an ongoing effort to boost ethanol demand to help hard-hit corn farmers. Trump is having a hard time trying to appease two key constituencies, Big Oil and Big Corn, that he hopes will help propel him to reelection in 2020. “I think we had a great meeting on ethanol for the farmers,” Trump said to reporters at the White House last week. “Let’s see what happens.” Politico says despite recent meetings, it appears the White House doesn’t intend to slow down the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of waivers that allow some refiners to ignore ethanol-blending requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard. It also seems as though the White House won’t offset the volumes expected to be lost to those exemptions in the annual rule. Trump is pushing a plan to add another 500 million gallons of ethanol and 500 million gallons of advanced biofuels to the 2020 blending mandate to appease farmers. ********************************************************************************************* Wisconsin Legislation will Stop Mislabeling of Dairy Products The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association is applauding three state lawmakers for new legislation designed to stop the use of misleading labels on imitation milk and other “dairy” products. The legislation would ban the labeling of products as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food was not made from the milk of a cow, sheep, goat, or other mammals. Tom Crave, DBA President, says, “The plant-based food industry increasingly masquerades its products as real dairy foods. This mislabeling confuses customers who often make judgments about a food’s nutritional value based on its name.” Crave says words do matter. “Milk is milk and cheese is cheese,” he adds. “Customers deserve transparency.” A recent national survey about imitation cheese confirms customer confusion. About one-quarter of customers mistakenly think plant-based products that mimic cheese contain milk. About one-quarter of customers purchase plant-based foods that mimic cheese because they believe them to be low in calories and fat, as well as without additives. The reality is plant-based foods contain a comparable amount of fat and calories and substantially more additives than dairy cheeses.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 16, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Reduced Trade Tensions Almost everybody noticed last week after the U.S. delayed the imposition of some tariffs and China announced it is encouraging its companies to buy U.S. farm products including soybeans and pork. The media generally indicated that both the U.S. administration and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are working to lower tensions that are clouding the global economic outlook. For example, Bloomberg said that China needs more pork because it faces shortages that are pushing up prices during a holiday period, “prompting officials to ration sales in some areas.” “The ice is thawing,” said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte., in Singapore. "China’s reciprocity to the U.S. administration’s goodwill gesture will set the stage for more cooperative trade talks.” On the Chinese side, the government faces soaring pork prices that could potentially mar celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China’s founding on Oct. 1, Bloomberg said. It hopes to import 2 million tons for the year, some of which would be added to state reserves, the report said. China bought 237,800 metric tons of U.S. pork and variety meats from January through July of this year, according to USDA data, a 51% increase from low 2018 sales to China. Data published by the European Commission on the EU’s pork exports show that during the first half of 2019, EU exports to China grew by 42% compared to the same period in 2019, going from 680,686 metric tons in 2018 to 965,768 metric tons in 2019. The New York Times noted that the news of China’s action came after President Trump delayed the next round of tariff increases on Chinese goods until after trade talks scheduled for early October—and after officials in Washington confirmed China had made its first major purchase of American soybeans in months. China’s move was welcomed by the administration as an effort to help ease tensions ahead of the next round of talks. “The really good part about this is there is some relaxation in the air with China exempting some tariffs. We’ve returned the favor and the negotiations are moving along nicely,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said on Friday. The increased imports will “only go part of the way to addressing shortages.” The country is likely to see a 10 million ton pork deficit this year, more than the roughly 8 million tons in annual global trade, according to Vice Premier Hu Chunhua. That means the country will need to fill the gap by itself, he said. China halted U.S. farm-product imports in August after trade negotiations deteriorated. Before that, Beijing had given the go-ahead for five companies to buy up to 3 million tons of U.S. soybeans free of retaliatory import tariffs, Bloomberg said. The goods China exempted from additional tariffs this week included pharmaceuticals, lubricant oil, alfalfa, fish meal and pesticides. Further rounds of Chinese exemptions will be announced in due course, the ministry said. The Times also emphasized the negative impacts of the trade fight on some U.S. farmers. It said that the political implications of the trade fight for farmers have been widely acknowledged and came up in Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. Administration advisers continue to say they will still press China for a “transformative” deal but many are also eager to calm tensions and avoid further tariff increases that might rock equity markets. There has even been talk of “striking an arrangement that would walk back the latest tranche of the administration’s tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese goods, leaving tariffs on at least $250 billion of products in place in return for substantial purchases of soybeans, pork and other products, the Times said — but emphasized that it is far from clear how China would react to such an offer. Friday’s state media reports from China, brief in length and substance, left unclear whether it would be willing to consider roll-backs of tariffs previously placed on American goods. It began to stop imports of American agricultural products a year ago as trade tensions escalated. The trade war, with a rising number of goods being taxed, not only has pushed prices higher for businesses and consumers in China and the United States, but risks a more permanent chill in relations between the two countries, a threat increasingly discussed by producer groups. So, we will see. It now seems that both sides agree that they would benefit from better trade relations. However, these negotiations are fundamentally political and therefore subject to forces that are exceedingly difficult to appraise. It is a debate producers should watch extremely closely as it proceeds, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 16, 2019 |


Speaker Pelosi Addresses USMCA Possibilities “It boils down to enforceability... and I think it can be achieved,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday relative to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said he expected Congress to vote on USMCA within the next one or two months. "Right now, I am optimistic about getting this done," Peterson said during a rally in Washington in favor of the agreement. Democrats are now examining information sent to them by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, sparking more optimism that the issue will be headed for a vote. We continue to expect that a vote in the House will be held, likely in the November-December timeframe and it will be approved.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 16, 2019 |


Xinhua Reports US Soybeans, Pork Exempted From Additional Tariffs Markets are abuzz on reports from the Xinhua news that U.S. soybeans and pork will be exempted from additional tariffs. “The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council will exclude some agricultural products such as soybeans and pork from the additional tariffs on U.S. goods,” Xinhua reported. “China supports domestic companies in purchasing a certain amount of U.S. farm produce in line with the rules of the market and the World Trade Organization, according to sources with the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce,” the report noted. The news service also noted the move was “after the United States decided to make adjustments to the additional tariffs to be imposed on Chinese goods on October 1.” Plus, the report talked up “high-quality” U.S. farm products. “China has a huge market, and the prospects for importing high-quality U.S. farm produce are broad,” Xinhua said. “China hopes the United States will be true to its word, make progress on its commitments and create favorable conditions for bilateral agricultural cooperation, said sources with the relevant departments of China.” This backs up a Xinhua report Thursday which said the list of 16 U.S. products that would be exempt from additional tariffs was the "first set of U.S. goods to be excluded," with Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng saying the commission would "continue to work on the exemption process and release subsequent lists in due course," Xinhua said.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 16, 2019 |


Monday Watch List Markets Early Monday, new forecasts for the week and any trade news that might have come out over the weekend will be topics of interest. USDA's weekly grain inspections are released at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. CDT. The percent of corn dented remains widely watched. Weather Dry conditions will be in place over all primary crop areas Monday. Conditions will be very warm to hot. No freeze threat is indicated through the next 10 days.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 13, 2019 |


Agriculture Pleased with WOTUS Repeal Agriculture groups Thursday celebrated the Waters of the U.S. repeal by Trump administration as a victory. The rule greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts says the action to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule will “alleviate regulatory burden” on farmers and ranchers. The repeal reverts regulations to those in place before 2015, while the Trump administration works to craft a new rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation called the repeal a victory for farmers and ranchers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says Farm Bureau will now “work to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.” Last month, a U.S. District Court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency must redraft the rule, stating the 2015 rule violated the Clean Water Act, and that the procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. ************************************************************************************* USDA Lowers Corn and Soybean Production Estimates The monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report released by the Department of Agriculture lowered corn and soybean production. Markets responded closing six to seven cents higher for corn, and soybeans up 26-30 cents Thursday. This month’s corn outlook is for reduced production, lower corn used for ethanol, and slightly higher ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.799 billion bushels, down 102 million from last month on a lower yield forecast, and supplies were lowered, as well. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.60 per bushel. USDA projects Soybean production at 3.6 billion bushels, down 47 million on a lower yield forecast of 47.9 bushels per acre, and soybean supplies are down two percent. Ending stocks are projected at 640 million bushels, down 115 million from last month. The season-average soybean price is forecast at $8.50 per bushel, up ten cents. The wheat supply and demand outlook is unchanged this month. The projected season-average farm price is $4.80 per bushel, down $0.20. ************************************************************************************* Lighthizer Submits USMCA Proposal to House Democrats U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has sent the House of Representatives the latest White House proposal for addressing Democrats concerns in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Democrats are now reviewing the proposal, according to Reuters. House leadership holds the key to passing the agreement that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement. Democrats have argued for stronger labor, environmental and enforcement standards within the trade agreement. While little details have emerged as to how the White House proposes to address those concerns, optimism is growing that Congress can pass the agreement before the end of the year. Ag organization leaders and farm-state lawmakers attended a rally outside the Capitol Thursday morning, in support of USMCA. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says passing the agreement would “bring certainty to our already-positive trade relationship with our closest neighbors.” The rally included House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson and the committee’s top Republican Mike Conaway. Lighthizer is expected to meet with the House working group on USMCA next week. ************************************************************************************* Organic Trade Association Launches Fraud Prevention Program The Organic Trade Association this week announced the development of three online training courses to bolster its Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program. The training courses are designed for organic businesses, accredited certifiers and organic inspectors, with one of the courses a pre-requisite for businesses pre-enrolled in the program. The Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program was launched by the Organic Trade Association earlier this year, and almost four dozen organic businesses have joined. The new anti-fraud courses will analyze where opportunities for crime in the organic supply chain most commonly occur, and offers education on the Organic Fraud Prevention Plan and how to put it into real on-the-job practice. A spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association says the effort “will strengthen our ability to protect against fraud and maintain the integrity of organic.” The three online courses will be available in late 2019 and early 2020. Enrollment and program information is available on the association’s website, OTA.com. ************************************************************************************* FFA Announces Record Student Membership The National FFA Organization announced this week a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from nearly 670,000 in 2018. National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl (Peh-shl) says the membership growth “reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education.” The top six student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership continues to increase. This year, the organization has more than 100,000 Latino members, 45 percent of the membership is female with 52 percent of the membership being male. Females hold more than 50 percent of the leadership positions. FFA chapters can be found in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters. The organization is also supported by more than eight million alumni and supporters. ************************************************************************************* NASDA Elects North Dakota’s Goehring as President The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture this week elected a new slate of officers for the coming year. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring (Gore-ing) will serve as NASDA’s 2019-20 President and will host the 2020 NASDA Annual Meeting in Medora, North Dakota next August. Goehring says, “Now is the time to leverage NASDA’s nonpartisanship to get things accomplished in Washington D.C.” to help struggling farmers and ranchers. Also elected to NASDA’s Board of Directors were Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles as Vice President, and New York Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball as Second Vice President. The organization held its annual meeting this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A top policy amendment for the group passed during the meeting supports voluntary, incentive-based climate-smart agricultural programs. During the meeting, the organization adopted new climate resiliency policy. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross introduced the policy amendment. The policy asserts that addressing climate resiliency in agriculture requires a comprehensive approach.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 13, 2019 |


Washington Insider: War on the Fed and Push for Negative Interest Rates While President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Fed is not exactly news, there is a new wrinkle — he recently urged not only low rates but that the Fed should “get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” Bloomberg and others are reporting this week. “We should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term,” the President tweeted. Bloomberg quickly called the idea “flawed” and noted that “while it’s true that the government could sell bonds at lower interest rates than those on much of its outstanding debt, it would have to pay a big premium to buy back and retire some old bonds, effectively negating the financial benefits. Certain mature treasuries, for instance, fetch prices of as high as $1.40 for every $1 of face value.” The report also noted that the current federal funds target rate is already on a track to be lowered following a quarter-point reduction on July 31 — the first cut since the Fed lowered rates effectively to zero in 2008, during the worst financial crisis and economic downturn since the Great Depression. Barrons weekly newsletter published by Dow Jones and Company went into even more detail but agreed that negative rates likely would bring their own problems. Barrons cited industry views that the call for negative rates reflects the view of the self-proclaimed “King of Debt” and thinks the President’s view “that of a highly leveraged property developer…thinking about negative rates from the perspective of a borrower.” It cites especially comments by Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. He notes that the Fed has been lukewarm at best about such a possibility, “partly because officials know that it could cause outrage among savers and drag the central bank into a political maelstrom.” Money-market funds also could see large-scale outflows which could disrupt short-term funding for businesses, banks, and perhaps even the Treasury. Moreover, the record of negative rates in the euro zone, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Japan has been mixed, Ashworth continues. While bond yields have fallen below zero, banks been reluctant to impose negative rates on depositors, resulting in a squeeze on their profits. Trump has said that the U.S. deserves to have subzero interest rates since it has “a great currency, power, balance sheet.” In fact, negative interest rates reflect the economic torpor in Europe and Japan. By contrast, U.S. interest rates were at their peak in real terms when it was “Morning in America” in the mid-1980s, Barrons said. Long-term Treasury bonds briefly touched 14% in May 1984 — a full 10 percentage points above inflation. Now, real yields on Treasury inflation-protected securities are just above zero. The 10-year TIPS yields 0.14% while the 30-year TIPS yields 0.56%. After taxes, which are levied annually on the inflation adjustment, those yields already are below zero. Unlike last year, Trump’s Fed bashing now seems unfounded, Barrons thinks — since the bank is already poised to cut its federal-funds target rate at next week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The fed-funds futures market puts an 88.8% probability of a cut of 25 basis points then and a 72.3% probability of a further reduction of 25 basis points or more at its December meeting. The Fed also has ended the shrinkage of its balance sheet, the report said. Meanwhile, the stock market has been rallying, with the S&P 500 retaking the 3000 level Wednesday for the first time since July 30. That left the benchmark just 0.82% shy of its record and up 2.54% since the start of the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was just 0.81% away from its all-time high. The report concludes, “be careful what you wish for when calling for zero or negative interest rates, Mr. President.” So, we will see. The President appears to have already turned the Fed’s attention toward guarding against negative impacts from trade fights and it will now be important to watch how large that shift proves to be — policies and trends producers should watch closely over the coming weeks, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 13, 2019 |


EPA Finalizes Repeal of Obama-Era WOTUS Rule Rollback of the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was finalized by the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday. The Obama-era WOTUS rule expanded Clean Water Act jurisdiction to cover over 60% of bodies of water across the U.S. The rollback will narrow the scope of the CWA to the 1986 standards in place before the 2015 regulation while EPA continues work on a new update to the rule. "With this final repeal, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice," EPA said in a September 12 statement. Repeal of the 2015 rule will be effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 13, 2019 |


Trump Delays Increases in China Tariffs With Talks Set For Next Week Both China and the U.S. are confirming that there will be working-level or deputy-level talks between the two countries next week. That came in the wake of President Donald Trump announcing Wednesday even he will delay for two weeks a tariff rate increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods ahead of upcoming trade negotiations. “At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People's Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary.... on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25 percent to 30 percent), from October 1st to October 15th,” Trump said in a pair of tweets. Meanwhile, China’s Commerce Ministry today welcomed the postponement and said Chinese companies had started making price inquiries for U.S. agricultural goods including soybeans and pork, although there were no details on the timing or size of any intended purchases. Beijing suspended purchases of the U.S. products in August. Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that the possible resumption of agricultural products is not a bargaining chip in trade talks. With top-level talks hoped for in early October, those are expected before October 15 which would open the door to a further postponement of higher U.S. tariffs.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 13, 2019 |


Friday Watch List Markets There is little on the economic docket on Friday other than retail sales,. DTN will also be looking for confirmation of a rumored China purchase of 600,000 mt of U.S. soybewans on Thursday and any news regarding the U.S.-Japanese trade accord. Weather Friday will be dry over most crop areas. A few showers will develop in the far southern Plains. Flood issues will continue in the Northern Plains and northern Midwest after heavy rain earlier this week. There is no freeze threat indicated in the next seven days. Meanwhile, extreme heat in the southern and southeastern U.S. remains in effect

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 12, 2019 |


China Removes Some Tariffs, Pork, Soybean Tariffs Remain China this week announced tariff exemptions for 16 U.S. products, but not for top agricultural commodities. China’s Minister of Finance says the exemptions will apply to some anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, as well as animal feed ingredients of whey and fish meal. China says the exemptions are an effort to remove tariffs on products not easily sourced from countries other than the United States. The exemptions are valid for one year, expiring in September 2020, and 12 products on the list are eligible for tariff refunds. The exemptions do include products used in piglet feed, difficult to source in large volumes from elsewhere. The exemptions do not include U.S. pork or soybeans, two commodities China has targeted in retaliation to U.S. tariffs. Some analysts view the move as a friendly gesture but don’t see it as a signal that both sides are readying a deal, according to Reuters. The U.S. and China are set to meet next month in Washington, D.C. to continue high-level trade talks. ************************************************************************************* Tariffs Cost U.S. Importers $6.8 Billion in July Trade group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland claims the tariffs enacted by President Donald Trump cost U.S. importers a record $6.8 billion in July. The vast majority were on Chinese goods, though the administration has imposed on other commodities. Michelle Meyer, an economist with Bank of America, says, “The unpredictable nature of the trade will keep businesses, at best, in wait-and-see mode.” Before the trade war with China began, the organization says the U.S. was shipping $1.47 billion more in hardwoods overseas than American companies were importing. However, that surplus shrank last year as the U.S. imposed double-digit tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing retaliated. The industry is agricultural but relies on a crop that can take 30 years to mature as opposed to a single growing season. Members of the Hardwood Federation, a Washington-based trade group representing the $210 billion industry, are eager for a trade agreement, though they believe it will still take considerable time to rebuild the ground they have lost in China. ************************************************************************************* EU Ag Commissioner Named to Trade Post The European Union Ag Commissioner is taking a new job, becoming the EU trade commissioner. Phil Hogan will take the place of Cecilia Malmström in November, according to Politico. Hogan will oversee trade talks with the United States, if the talks launch, pending a standoff over the inclusion of agriculture. Hogan will also be tasked with developing retaliations against countries blocking the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization, which includes the United States. Hogan was appointed to the trade position by European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen (lay-in), who says she will travel to Washington “the moment I’m in office,” to discuss tariffs threats with President Donald Trump. Hogan says he is looking forward to helping von der Leyen pursue a “strong, open and fair trade agenda,” and strengthening Europe’s role as a global trade leader, adding that trade is “political priority” for the European Commission. Hogan has served as European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development since November 2014. ************************************************************************************* Processing Equipment Manufacturer Says U.S. Lacks Hemp Processing Needs Hemp farmers are worried about losses because of a lack of processing equipment. Delta Separations, a manufacturer of hemp processing equipment, claims the holdup is because U.S. banks won't make loans for processing equipment. The company's CEO says banks are "scared that the FDIC will penalize them for supporting anyone that has the word cannabis in their supply chain." Because of this, the company claims farmers fear $7.5 billion of hemp will be rotting in fields this fall. The U.S. lacks roughly 90 percent of the processing capacity needed for hemp. Hemp represents a potential $8.5 billion market, according to the company, which says much of the potential is contributed to CBD oils. CBD is one of the fastest-growing consumer product segments, as 128,00 acres of hemp were planted this year, a 300 percent increase, now the hemp cultivation is legal. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp for production, and the Department of Agriculture is working on guidance for hemp production and processing, due out later this year. ************************************************************************************* AEM Releases August Ag Equipment Sales Numbers August 2019 saw increases in U.S. sales of combines and four-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. two-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to August of last year. The Association of Equipment Manufactures monthly sales report shows four-wheel-drive tractor sales increased 19.3 percent in August compared to last year and combine sales increased 11.5 percent. Total sales of two-wheel-drive tractors in August increased 1.9 percent compared to August last year. Sales of under 40 horsepower two-wheel-drive tractors increased 2.1 percent, while sales of 40-100 horsepower tractors decreased 1.4 percent, and sales of 100-plus horsepower tractors increased 13.6 percent. For Canada, August four-wheel-drive tractor sales were flat and combine sales decreased 45.4 percent. August two-wheel-drive tractor Canadian sales were mixed, with a 9.9 percent increase in small tractors, and a 4.2 percent increase in 40-100 horsepower tractors. AEM’s Curt Blades says that, while the numbers are flat to positive for the year, “we and the industry remain cautious about the overall Ag economy.” ************************************************************************************ ESMC Partners with United Soybean Board, The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium has received $255,000 from the United Soybean Board to help develop an ecosystem service protocol for the Soy and Corn Belt. ESMC's ecosystem services protocols measure soil organic carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and water use efficiency. Through the partnership, ESMC will work with soybean farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio in a pilot project covering 50,000 acres. The Consortium will be building on its experience with an initial pilot project in the Southern Great Plains on 12 ranches in Oklahoma and Texas. ESMC champions a voluntary, market-based approach to incentivize farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that provide quantified ecosystem benefits. The resulting environmental credits will be available for purchase by corporations to meet their sustainability goals when ESMC launches its marketplace in 2022. The Consortium's long-term goals are to enroll 30 percent of available land in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 12, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Farmers and the Trade Bailout Press reports this week indicate that a great deal of media ink continues to be dedicated to the political impact of administration trade policies. And at the same time, the Washington Post is highlighting what it calls “the growing concerns” by some administration insiders over the “unprecedented farmer bailout.” The report says that senior government officials, including some in the White House, privately expressed concern that the administration’s $28 billion bailout for farmers “needed stronger legal backing,” according to several officials who participated in the programs’ planning. The bailout was created by the administration as a way to try to calm outrage from farmers who have been caught in the middle of the White House’s trade war with China. USDA authorized $12 billion in payments last year and another $16 billion this year, and “more money could be on the way,” the President promised. But two USDA officials involved in the program told the Post they were worried the funding could surpass the original intent of the New Deal-era Commodity Credit Corporation, which is being used to manage the programs. Separately, some officials in the Office of Management and Budget also raised questions about the scope of the $16 billion second round of payments. They pushed USDA to provide more legal reasoning for the effort, the officials said. Now the department says the concerns raised by OMB have been resolved. Concerns about the programs are coming at a crucial time as many farmers are relying on the funding. However, Congressional approval likely will be required to allow the program to exceed its current $30 billion cap on payments. The Post says that while the President has touted his financial support for farmers, administration officials have said little publicly about “internal consternation” over the process. White House aides are for the first time pressing Congress to increase how much the administration can spend under the program before hitting Commodity Credit Corporation’s (CCC’s) legal spending limit, likely this fall. The bulk of the current program consists of direct checks intended to compensate for farmer losses from the trade war. There is little precedent for such an open-ended farmer bailout of this nature, the Post says. Even some officials who believe the bailout is legally sound worry about its scope and the speed with which it is being implemented. “They’re doing it really fast and shorthanded,” a former USDA official who spent several decades involved in reviewing new department regulations but left the government earlier this year told the Post. “The agencies implementing it are stretched thin, and there’s immense political pressure to get the money out quick.” In a statement to the Post, USDA acknowledged that OMB had raised concerns as part of its “normal clearance process” but said it cleared the package before it was published in the Federal Register. The statement also said OMB has no outstanding requests about the programs and that both “have been deemed legal by department attorneys.” The administration says its trade war is necessary to counter anticompetitive Chinese economic measures. However, China’s retaliatory actions have increased economic pressure on thousands of American farmers. Net farm income has fallen by nearly half over the past five years, from $123 billion to $63 billion. Still, close to three in 10 farmers feel the bailout payments will “not at all” make up for losses related to the tariff battle in 2019, according to an index calculated by Purdue University released this month. But about 70% said the bailout would either “completely or somewhat relieve” their concerns about the tariffs. Questions around the program’s design may become increasingly urgent as the administration seeks approval from Congress to bailout funding for the first time. The CCC is expected to hit its $30 billion borrowing limit sometime after Oct. 1, according to an administration request for budget increases first reported by Roll Call. In addition, it is unclear how strong producer support is for the administration’s trade policy. For example, Reuters reported this week that many farmers are angry and that some are directing their wrath not at the Republican president, but at Washington's bureaucracy. The report notes that the administration has faced backlash from agricultural groups, ethanol producers and Midwestern politicians, but that polls still show that while administration support in farm country has slipped, it remains substantial. In still another wrinkle, Reuters says that instead of directing their anger at the administration, dozens of farmers interviewed blasted USDA and other Washington institutions they believe are thwarting his true agenda. “Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories involving USDA staff are circulating in farm country and gaining traction online,” Reuters said. So, we will see. Numerous ag observers warned earlier that proposed bailout programs were unlikely to fully pacify producers, who have invested heavily in overseas markets. Such bailout efforts failed badly in 1980 following the administration’s embargo on ag product shipments to Russia and the following severe political pushbacks and bad feelings that have persisted to this day. It may be difficult for the current administration to escape similar criticism, especially if current trade negotiations fail and overseas markets decline further. These are developments producers should watch closely over the coming months, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 12, 2019 |


White House Told Biofuel Backers to Accept Boost in RFS Levels Trump administration officials urged biofuel companies to accept a proposed increase of around five percent in the 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with reports indicating the companies were told they needed to accept the plan by Friday. While some question if that was merely a negotiating tactic on the part of the administration, indications are the administration told biofuel interests work on boosting the 2020 biofuel levels beyond the marks proposed by EPA earlier this year would need to be started by Friday for the final version of the 2020 standards if the administration were to stick to the law requiring the standards to be finalized by November 30. A meeting was expected to be held later Wednesday with refiners who have also chafed at the proposal to increase the levels for conventional biofuel by 500 million gallons and advanced biofuels by 500 million gallons. That would increase the total biofuel mandate to 21.04 billion gallons for 2020. It was not clear whether the White House would make the same “request” of refiners – that they accept the plan by Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 12, 2019 |


Treasury’s Mnuchin Says Ag Key Focus for This Month’s Trade Talks With China Deputy-level talks between the U.S. and China this month will have a focus on agriculture, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Mnuchin assured lawmakers that they have spent a “lot of time even on trying to get an interim agreement” on agricultural issues with China. “I never thought I would become an expert on soybeans and other agricultural products,” he noted. “I have been accused at times of just wanting to sell soybeans. That is not what we are trying to do. But we want to make sure that China treats our farmers fairly and does not retaliate against the farmers in an unfair way.” As for the talks later this month at the deputy level, Mnuchin said, “I can tell you that [agriculture] is top of the agenda for the conversations we are having this month." Mnuchin also referred to China’s commitments to buy U.S. ag goods that have not been met with actual purchases. “I can also tell you that there were specific commitments made in the Oval Office from the Chinese that they did not follow through on and that has been great concern on us for U.S. farmers,” he noted.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 12, 2019 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Weekly jobless claims, consumer price index and core CPI are three reports out at 8:30 a.m. DTN will also be watching updated weather, any news on the U.S.-China trade talks and the biofuel meeting at the White House, and of course at 11 a.m. the all-important September USDA report. Weather Rain and developing strong winds in the northern plains and the southeast Canadian Prairies regions during Thursday will bring field work to a halt. Rain and thunderstorms also extend southeast into the northwest and north-central Midwest regions. Flooding remains a risk due to recent rains in the northwest and north-central Midwest and an increasing risk in the Northern Plains as well. Scattered thundershowers this afternoon or tonight will also occur in the east and south Iowa area southwest through southeast Kansas and into Oklahoma. Drier elsewhere in the key U.S. and Canada growing areas Thursday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 11, 2019 |


China Ready to Purchase U.S. Ag Goods China is expected to agree to purchase more U.S. agricultural products in hopes of a better trade agreement. The South China Morning Post reports working-level officials were discussing the text of a deal, which would be reviewed when trade officials meet in Washington next month. The text is based on details negotiated back in April, before talks fell apart in May, after China backtracked on several previously agreed-upon issues. China offered to purchase more U.S. agricultural products in exchange for the U.S. delaying implementation of further tariffs. China may also offer more market access and better intellectual property protection, according to a Chinese source familiar with the talks. A Chinese official told a group of U.S. business representatives Tuesday that China wats a "mutually accepted solution to the trade dispute." However, U.S. trade experts based in China suggests the October meeting is an attempt to peacefully get past the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, suggesting talks will stall in 2020. ************************************************************************************* Navarro: Congress Will Pass USMCA yet This Year Peter Navarro says there is a 100 percent chance Congress will pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The advisor to President Donald Trump told CNBC news that he “can’t imagine that Nancy Pelosi would not put this on the floor to at least have a vote.” He expects the vote will occur before the end of this year. Navarro has played a critical role in the negotiations with Canada and Mexico, as well as in the current U.S.-China trade war. Democrats in the House are still voicing concerns over labor and environmental standards included in the trade agreement. Speaker of the House, Pelosi, has not offered comment in response to Navarro’s claims. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement and offers improved trade for U.S. agriculture. Farm groups are planning a rally Thursday at the capitol in support of the agreement, and urging lawmakers to pass the trade deal. Mexico has already approved the agreement, and Canada is in the process of gaining approval for the trade deal. ************************************************************************************* Report: Lack of Infrastructure Investment Threatens Export Future An independent report says a lack of funding for infrastructure improvements could put more than $72 billion in additional GDP and 77,000 new jobs at risk. The report by Agribusiness Intelligence was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The study examined three scenarios that included potential impacts of reduced investment for U.S. waterways, maintaining the status quo of less than two percent growth, or increased investment of $6.3 billion during the next ten years. Currently, appropriated funds, which are considered maintaining the status quo, do not enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep pace with barge-volume traffic, or growth and infrastructure maintenance needs. As a result, the percentage of vessels delayed on all waterways has increased from 35 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2017, which, in turn, adds to the total shipping cost. A spokesperson concludes, “the U.S. inland waterways infrastructure needs major rehabilitation and construction to restore it to its full capability, to forestall major disruptions, and provide opportunities for growth.” ************************************************************************************* NBB Asks President Trump to Save Small Biodiesel Producers The National Biodiesel Board is urging President Donald Trump to protect small biodiesel producers. The organization penned a letter to the President this week, asking he “save” small biodiesel producers harmed by his administration's small refinery exemptions. The letter indicates that more than 200 million gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity has been idled as a result of policy instability. NBB anticipates additional facilities will close over the next several months if the President does not “take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel." The letter highlights additional policy headwinds that NBB says are harming the biodiesel industry, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's recent proposal to “virtually eliminate” trade protections against heavily subsidized biodiesel imports. Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "Its important for President Trump to keep his word and continue supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard.” NBB is asking the administration to restore RFS volumes undercut by exemptions and to provide growth opportunities for biodiesel. ************************************************************************************* Organic Sector Set to Harvest Record Acreage Organic farmers will harvest a record number of acres across the U.S. this year despite the weather and trade challenges plaguing agriculture in 2019. According to the Annual Acreage Report by Mercaris (mur-car-us), farmers will harvest 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic production, an increase of seven percent over 2018. The increase is driven in large part by a surge in new certified organic field crop operations across the nation. The West and High Plains regions saw the largest jump in organic harvested field crop acres this year. Overall total organic acres, which includes pasture, rangeland, and organic crop area, will reach 8.3 million acres this year. Additionally, more than 18,000 U.S. farm operation are now certified compliant with the USDA National Organic Program standards, a three percent increase from 2018. A Mercaris spokesperson says the increase comes despite weather challenges this year, and that “with better weather in 2020, the industry will likely see even more growth in the year to come." ************************************************************************************* Alltech Announces Industry-wide Survey on Women in Agriculture Alltech has launched a survey to gather insights into the professional landscape for women in agriculture. Announced Tuesday, the survey aims to collect feedback about the barriers that impede progress, and to identify the resources needed to ensure workplace equality. The survey is open to all sectors of agriculture, and the results will be revealed at the Women in Food & Agriculture Summit this December in Amsterdam. Alltech CEO Mark Lyons says, “we hope to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing women in ag and identify opportunities for growth.” Lyons says the industry needs to make sure “young people see themselves represented and can envision a future career in the industry.” Alltech has partnered with AgriBriefing to conduct the survey. Women and men in agriculture are encouraged to participate in the survey that will contribute to global conversation about gender equality in agriculture. A link to the survey can be found online at Alltech.com/news.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 11, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Fight Over Trade Facts For the past several years there has been an important policy disagreement in many quarters over trade basics — whether trade deals simply ship jobs overseas, or not. Powerful groups in both parties openly disagree on trade issues, a controversy that is not new; the previous administration sharply criticized trade impacts during its campaign, but later came to support proposals for far-reaching deals. Many press reports glibly cite trade agreements as the source of U.S. job losses in several sectors, although more recently, more detailed investigations have begun to focus on the role of new technologies in increasing productivity and causing changes in the investment and employment landscape. Still, the current administration has adamantly insisted that its heavy reliance on tariffs — taxes and tax threats on imports — has little impact on the domestic economy. And the New York Times is reporting this week that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports were having no impact on the United States economy.” The Times called the assertion “at odds with a raft of increasingly gloomy economic data and industry surveys.” It noted that the administration has used large tariffs — increased rates on $360 billion of imports from China and is preparing to tax another $160 billion worth on Dec. 15. It concluded that the levies have begun to hit consumer products including furniture, televisions and bicycles, prompting retailers and manufacturers to warn of lower sales and profits going forward. And, it cited the administration’s provision of $28 billion in payments “to help struggling farmers who have lost sales as a result of Chinese retaliation” as evidence of current and potential negative impacts. While the United States and China are expected to resume high-level trade talks next month, and a deal could ultimately be reached, Secretary Mnuchin suggested that the administration “saw no downside to keeping the trade war going, dismissing the idea that Trump’s tariffs were doing any damage to the United States economy.” “It’s fair to say it’s impacted the Chinese economy,” Mnuchin said in a TV interview. “We have not yet seen any impact on the U.S. economy.” Mnuchin’s comments dovetail with those of the President who has continued to insist that the trade war is hurting China more than the United States, “which is taking in billions of dollars in tariffs.” Still, the Times charged that “the Treasury secretary’s view seems increasingly divorced from economic data, which are showing pain from a trade war that has lasted more than a year.” The report proceeded to list statements and studies that report such impacts, including those already affecting the economy. For example, last week an Institute for Supply Management survey showed that manufacturing activity in the United States contracted for the first time since 2016 and employment growth was moderating. Countries from Germany to Australia are feeling the effects of the trade war, contributing to a slowdown in a global growth, the report said. The Treasury secretary did allow that certain companies had been feeling the pinch from higher taxes on their imports from China but claimed that the administration was managing this through an exemption process that allowed companies to avoid certain tariffs to help mitigate the effect. “It is the U.S. importer which technically pays the tax,” said Brad Setser, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow and former Treasury Department economist. “The extent that other countries pay for a share of the tax, it is because the tax induces them to reduce the price they charge to the United States.” Business groups representing a wide range of sectors, from retailers to soybean growers, have blamed the tariffs and China’s retaliation for disrupting their supply chains and slowing their sales and hiring. However, the administration’s top spokesmen and economic advisers have publicly tried to put a positive spin on the trade war, saying it is having little to no effect in the short term and will pay off in the long term. “If we can get a good deal, a deal that’s good for us, we’ll sign it,” Mnuchin said on Monday. “If not, the president is perfectly fine with continuing the tariffs, which are raising significant amounts of money for the U.S. Treasury.” The Times charged further that “while they express optimism in public, some administration advisers have begun to caution the President about the potential economic impact from a long-running trade war. That includes Sec. Mnuchin, who has privately tried to prevent Trump from escalating his trade fight with additional tariffs. In the meantime, economists in the administration have been carefully tracking economic data and considering strategies to spur growth, including a potential payroll tax cut. The President has called for additional tax cuts and has repeatedly pressed the Fed to cut rates more aggressively to stimulate an economy that he says is firing on all cylinders. Mnuchin acknowledged that slowing global growth could have a “moderate impact” on the U.S. economy, though he has previously insisted that any slowdown is unrelated to the trade war. But he said he remained optimistic that the passage in Congress of a trade pact with Canada and Mexico would jump-start the economy and that a deal with China remained a possibility. So, we will see. Sectors like agriculture that have worked hard to build overseas markets are deeply unhappy to see them limited by tariffs, and are increasingly critical of the administration’s “get tough” policy as it is currently being administered. Whether that pushback reaches a critical level as the campaign season for the 2020 election nears remains to be seen, but producers should watch that debate closely as it intensifies, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 11, 2019 |


More Pressure on Administration as They Try to Find Biofuel Compromise Small refinery exemptions (SREs) continue as a source of scorn for biofuel backers, with the National Biodiesel Board and 33 biodiesel producers calling on the Trump administration to boost mandates for biodiesel. “Small refinery waivers destroy demand for all biofuels across the board, with a significant impact on domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel producers,” the firms said in a letter to President Donald Trump. “Every small refinery waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has the potential to put a U.S. biodiesel producer out of business.” The letter noted that small refiners can produce nearly one billion gallons of fuel in a year, with the biodiesel requirements requiring the blending of about 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel annually. The companies said that amounts to a “very small fraction” of total fuel production. The 31 SREs granted for the 2018 compliance year amount to 1.4 billion gallons of renewable fuels not being used, the letter noted, including “millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the biomass-based biodiesel, advanced and overall volumes.” This comes as the administration continues to work on a biofuel policy plan, a package that USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters Tuesday would make farmers “happy” and still “save small refiners from certain closing.” Discussions are still ongoing, Perdue noted. “The best answer is it is still in process,” he said, including discussing “how we can recover some of the small refinery waivers that were given, from a gallons perspective.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 11, 2019 |


NFU not yet backing USMCA The National Farmers Union is so far not yet backing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), despite the agreement being widely viewed by most in U.S. agriculture as a positive for the sector. A resolution adopted by NFU’s board and released Monday says that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) should be added to the agreement, and that the trade pact should also address concerns Democrats have raised about labor standards and drug pricing. COOL language will not be part of any final USMCA voted on by Congress, congressional and administration sources stress, but discussions continue on some of NFU's other shortcomings in the environmental, labor and drug pricing areas. The group held a session at USDA as part of their annual flyin for members to visit Washington and meet with administration officials and lawmakers. Some in the group were critical of the Trump trade policies, but USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney sought assured the farmers he heard their concerns and pledged the administration was seeking to open markets for U.S. ag goods. For perspective, NFU has never supported a multilateral trade deal.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 11, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Producer price index and wholesale inventories may gave some indication of how the economy an inflation is faring. We will also be watching for any news about the upcoming U.S.-China trade deal, the proposed U.S.-Japan trade agreement, and upcoming weather in the Midwest. Weather Moderate to very heavy showers and thunderstorms expected during the day Wednesday and Wednesday night from the northern Rockies across the west and south portion of the Northern Plains through the northwest and north-central Midwest areas. This is likely to cause local flooding of fields. Rain may also extend northward into southern Saskatchewan during this period. A few showers into the northeast Midwest. Little elsewhere in the key US and Canada growing areas Wednesday. Temperatures below normal Canadian Prairies and the northern plains today, above normal elsewhere in the central and eastern U.S.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 10, 2019 |


China Offers to Purchase U.S. Ag Products ahead of Trade talks Planned trade talks next month between China and the U.S. has agriculture and the U.S. economy optimistic the talks will make progress. Politico reports that in the talks last week, China offered to purchase more U.S. agricultural products ahead of the planned negotiations for October. Phone conversations are expected to increase in volume between the two sides over the next few weeks. China will travel to Washington in early October to meet face-to-face, a rescheduling of talks planned for early September. The planned meetings this month lost traction after an escalation of tariffs between the U.S. and China in August. During phone conversations last week, Chinese official confirmed that the "two sides agreed that they should work together and take practical actions to create favorable conditions for consultations.” Meanwhile, farm groups are urging Congress and the administration to finalize the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, as lawmakers have returned from a six-week recess. Finally, President Trump is expected to sign a trade agreement with Japan this month, another welcomed trade development for agriculture. ************************************************************************************* USDA Announces Resources Available for Farmers Hurt by 2018, 2019 Disasters The Department of Agriculture Monday announced signups for disaster aid for 2018 and 2019, including aid for damages from Hurricane Dorian, will open this week. Wednesday, September 11, producers will be able to apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, "We hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing." More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. In addition, the relief package includes new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market, and losses of farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting crops for the 2019 crop year. WHIP+ (whip-plus) will be available for eligible producers who have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation for primary counties. ************************************************************************************* USCMA Capitol Rally Planned for Thursday Farmers for Free Trade and a group of agricultural organizations will host a rally Thursday in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Congress has returned from its August recess, and agriculture groups are mounting a push to get the trade deal passed by lawmakers this fall. The American Farmers Rally for Passage of USMCA starts at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. Rally organizers include the American Farm Bureau Federation, The American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, among other groups representing the dairy and fruit sectors. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson will attend, along with ranking committee Republican Mike Conaway, and other key ag lawmakers. Tom Vilsack, former Agriculture Secretary and current President and CEO of the Dairy Export Council will also attend, along with Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. The rally is an effort to highlight the benefits of the trade agreement and to urge lawmakers to pass the agreement without delay. ************************************************************************************* Canada Consults WTO On China Canola Trade Canada is seeking consultation from the World Trade Organization with China regarding the ongoing Canola dispute. The Canola Council of Canada welcomed the action, noting that since market access issues started in early March, Chinese importers remain unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed from exporters. Since then prices for canola have fallen approximately 10 percent - which translates into $1 billion less from canola for the Canadian economy on an annual basis. Council President Jim Everson says, "While we've supported continued technical engagement, the scientific basis for China's actions remains unclear." Everson says the action is the first step in regaining market access. The canola industry hopes the move can resolve the dispute to prevent further WTO dispute resolution actions. Further, the Canola Council of Canada believes more action is necessary to diversify canola markets, including enhancing market access in Asia and diversifying markets in Canada by increasing the amount of canola used in biofuel. ************************************************************************************* Farmers Union Board Calls on Administration to Strengthen Agricultural Markets The National Farmers Union is calling on Washington to address mounting financial difficulties worsened by recent policy decisions. The NFU board of directors is calling on Congress and the administration to "work to rebuild international and domestic markets, restore America's reputation as a reliable trading partner, and reverse policies that have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard." The resolutions also call for strengthening and passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. By most metrics, the farm economy is in a slump, and has been for six years. NFU says recent actions by the administration have added to family farmers’ and ranchers’ troubles. An international trade war has eroded international markets, while the undermining of biofuels programs has harmed domestic markets. Both have added to the oversupply of many American farm products and depressed prices even further. The resolutions were announced as nearly 400 farmers kicked off NFU’s fall fly in Monday in Washington. The farmers are expected to meet with lawmakers early this week. ************************************************************************************* Checkoff-Funded Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Reaches Major Milestones Just ten years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry. A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, the program requires students to complete five lessons in beef advocacy. The program has also been made available via digital download to allow agriculture educators, state beef organization representatives and other beef industry and youth leaders to incorporate the modules into their curriculums. Ryan Goodman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the program has evolved “to become a key tool and support system” for beef industry advocates. The program is open to everyone, and there is no cost to participate. To enroll or find out more about this checkoff-funded program, go to MastersOfBeefAdvocacy.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 10, 2019 |


Washington Insider: US, India Trade Talks Seen Vulnerable Most of the media attention these days is on the U.S.-China trade fight and on the slow Congressional pace toward approval of the new NAFTA. However, Bloomberg also is calling attention to the potential vulnerability of U.S.-India trade negotiations that were suspended earlier. The report says potential outcomes include a limited trade deal, or could be undercut by the same type of aggressive approach the administration has taken with China. Bloomberg raises the question of whether President Donald Trump's “cordial relations” with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi are strong enough to avoid confrontations over trade barriers on medical devices, agriculture, telecommunications equipment, and energy. Still, there are potential paths to deals — India can diffuse potential escalation by taking small steps such as a better model for medical device price caps, concessions on heavy bike tariffs and addressing some agricultural issues, said Richard Rossow, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, so far those concessions have not been forthcoming, Sadanand Dhume, American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, told Bloomberg. Whether that is changed by increased U.S. pressure is the “million dollar question,” he said. Recently, Trump lashed out against India’s tariffs and special World Trade Organization privileges. His lead negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, ended India’s duty-free benefits last summer with the comment that India must address trade barriers or face some unspecified “additional actions.” “It’s looking like “China 2.0,” Ashley Craig, co-chair of Venable’s International Trade Group, said. “It’s all of the same — shock and awe,” Craig said of the administration’s trade strategy. Unless India is willing to make concessions, a deal is unlikely, Nicole Bivens Collinson, who leads the international trade and government relations practice at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg P.A., said. Modi and Trump agreed that their top officials would meet to address trade tensions but no date has been set. Modi and his delegation will attend the UN General Assembly in New York in late September, a trip that is prompting speculation that Lighthizer could hammer out initial outlines of a deal on the sidelines with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. Analysts are looking for hints about whether talks may proceed since the President has twittered about a “very big trade deal” on the horizon and also complained that India has had a “field day” with tariffs. Working against a possible deal is widespread frustration across the U.S. government with India’s trade barriers, Rossow said. But India has more leeway for deal-making now that Modi won re-election, he said. When the recent talks on India’s agriculture barriers, high tariffs on IT products and Harley Davidson motorcycles and medical device price caps collapsed last June, the U.S. canceled India’s GSP duty-free benefits. In retaliation, India hiked tariffs on 28 U.S. products costing U.S. exporters about $1 million dollars daily, Dan Anthony, vice president of The Trade Partnership, said. “India is digging a hole deeper and deeper by continuing to raise customs duties,” Rossow said. The tariff threat has spooked U.S. multinationals who already have a strong foothold in India and view it as a natural place to expand as the trade standoff with China has them seeking alternative sourcing. “India is a very logical spot to go” as companies look to leave China, Karen Giberson, Accessories Council president, said. Possible tariff escalation is threatening industries that could face having yet another sourcing option compromised. Business groups and lawmakers want India to enact trade reforms but worry another trade war could rob U.S. importers of key sourcing options for manufacturing. Stakes are significant as U.S. goods and services trade with India totaled an estimated $142.1 billion in 2018 and generated a $24.2 billion trade surplus for India. Top exports from India to the U.S. include precious metal and stone ($11 billion), pharmaceuticals ($6.3 billion), machinery ($3.3 billion), mineral fuels ($3.2 billion), and vehicles ($2.8 billion). However, the trade partnership has been growing with U.S. exports to India rising by 26% in the last quarter, according to Mukesh Aghi, U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum president. So, we will see. The administration is pushing back hard on any argument that its trade policies are requiring support from Fed interventions in monetary policy, but the debate has become increasingly contentious and increasing political. This is a fight producers should watch closely as it proceeds, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 10, 2019 |


US corn export rise to Japan may not materialize Agriculture specialists say a pest infestation problem – Fall armyworm – in Japan’s corn crop is not severe enough to affect import demand, the Wall Street Journal reported, undercutting hopes that a pact with Japanese buyers would help cut into the big U.S. stockpile of corn. The conflicting signals over the grain are among the complications U.S. farm exporters face as they adjust to diminished agriculture purchases from China. Corn is one of many commodities at the heart of restructuring supply chains as a result of the U.S./China trade dispute, and the search for new markets shows how tough it will be for farmers to match production to demand in foreign markets, the article notes. “Farmers turned to more corn production after China stopped buying U.S. soybeans, creating an inventory surplus that has sent prices tumbling,” the paper said.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 10, 2019 |


USDA Details WHIP+ Program With Signup Starting September 11 Signup for the $3 billion in disaster assistance under the via the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) will start Sept. 11, USDA announced Monday. The relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019, USDA said. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year. “Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019.” USDA said that those producers not in areas getting a disaster declaration or designation can apply for WHIP+, but will have to provide additional supporting documentation relative to their losses being from a qualified disaster event. WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value, USDA said, while WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after January 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 10, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports due Tuesday, but traders will be keeping a close eye on weather and any trade news that might emerge. Trading in grains is apt to be quiet ahead of Thursday's WASDE report, especially if the extended forecast continues to look safely warm for row crops. Weather Lingering shower activity early Tuesday over the north and west Midwest and the northern part of the central plains region will diminish somewhat during the morning hours. Rain, showers and thunderstorms will redevelop late today or during tonight over the northern plains, across the northwest Midwest and into the north-central Midwest. This rainfall may become locally heavy, threatening to cause some local flooding of fields. Drier elsewhere in the key US growing areas Tuesday and Tuesday night. Showers and some light rain over the southern Canadian Prairies during Tuesday. Temperatures will average above normal over the central/south plains, Midwest and Delta regions. Temperatures below normal northern plains and Canadian Prairies.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 9, 2019 |


U.S., U.K. Trade Talks Could Get Bumpy Around Poultry Assuming that trade negotiations ever get going between the United States and the United Kingdom, feathers on both sides could get ruffled over poultry. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence that, “We’re not to keen on chlorinated chicken.” During a visit to the U.K. last week, Pence did admit that poultry could become a sticky issue in the negotiations. Politico says Johnson’s comments refer to the American practice of washing chicken with chemicals to kill pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. The process is called “pathogen reduction treatment” and it’s banned in the European Union. During dinner remarks last week, Pence admitted that chlorinated chicken will be the subject of some “pretty tough discussions.” During discussions last week, Johnson talked about his desire to free up the U.S. market to more British exports. He says Americans “don’t eat any British lamb or beef or haggis from Scotland.” Haggis is the national dish of Scotland and a pudding made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. Johnson promises to pull the U.K out of the European Union by October 31. ********************************************************************************************** Pork Exports Reach New High Mark Despite Trade War U.S. pork exports were at a record-high in July while beef exports were relatively steady with last year’s strong results. That’s from data released by the USDA and put together by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. July pork exports surged to 233,242 metric tons, a 32 percent jump that topped the previous record set in 2018. Export value was $623.3 million, up 34 percent as it broke the previous high reached in November of 2017. Although U.S. pork faces retaliatory tariffs in China, American pork exports to China and Hong Kong contributed a good chunk of the July volume and value records. Beef exports increased one percent in July to 117,842 metric tons. The export value of $720.4 million was down slightly from a year ago but was still the seventh-highest monthly total on record. January-July beef exports were down two percent from a year ago in volume, while export value was slightly below last year’s record pace. Shipments to Mexico jumped higher in July after a 20 percent tariff was removed. ********************************************************************************************** White House Considering Biofuel Quota Boost A Bloomberg report says top Trump Administration officials have put together a plan that would give a five percent boost to the renewable fuels blending quota in 2020. The plan comes as President Donald Trump seeks to counter farm-state accusations of undermining a U.S. mandate that compels the use of corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel in the nation’s fuel supply. Officials from the White House, USDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency have been cooperating for weeks in ironing out the final details of the initiative designed to encourage U.S. biofuel demand. Bloomberg sources say the president hasn’t given final approval to the plan yet. Back on August 29, Trump took to Twitter and promised a “giant package” of changes would be submitted and approved within two weeks. While biofuel company shares surged in value with the news, some biofuel advocates say the tentative plan falls short of their push for immediate action to offset waivers exempting some oil refineries from the mandates. “We just want the EPA to enforce the standards that Congress gave them,” says Renewable Fuels Association Chief Geoff Cooper. “That means redistributing projected exemptions in the 2020 rule to ensure the statutory volumes for conventional renewable fuels remain whole.” He says it’s hardly a big gift to corn. It’s just “following the law.” ********************************************************************************************* McKinney: No USMCA Sales to Canada So Far Canadians are pleased with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. However, the Hagstrom Report says U.S. companies haven’t yet made any new sales in Canada based on the agreement. That news comes from USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, who spoke to reporters while on a trade mission in Canada. Government and agriculture industry officials in Canada have said they’re happy with the agreement. However, there haven’t been any discussions about increases in dairy purchases or increases in any of the areas through which U.S. producers might benefit under the agreement. He did say that wheat grading, poultry, wine, and biotechnology provisions could also be a big benefit to U.S. agriculture. McKinney also says Canadian officials have told him that the Canadian Parliament will not vote on the agreement until the U.S. Congress has voted. McKinney says the USDA is also set to sponsor trade missions to Mexico, Ghana (GAH-nah), and Vietnam this year. ********************************************************************************************** More Farmers Falling Behind on Loans A U.S. banking regulator says more farmers are falling behind on loans held by community banks when compared to last year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says it’s watching for more risks in the ag sector. In its quarterly report, the FDIC didn’t refer directly to the Trump Administration’s trade war with China, which began in 2018. In a prepared statement, officials say, “We continue to monitor risks in the agriculture sector from low commodity prices and farm incomes.” The FDIC says the share of long-past due farm loans held by community banks, which are the major agricultural lenders, was 1.28 percent in April through June, up 13 basis points from the same time last year. The ratio captures the share of farm loans that are at least 90 days past due, or those loans which no longer accrue interest because of repayment doubts. Reuters says commodity prices have been hurt over the past year by a U.S.-China trade war that’s led to higher Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, including soybeans. ********************************************************************************************** Tyson Volume Loss Due to Fire Minimal The fire at the Tyson Foods plant in Holcomb, Kansas, caused minimal volume losses to the company as it moved production to other plants. Chief Executive Noel White spoke at an investor conference last week. All of the employees were safely evacuated that day. The processing side of the plant wasn’t affected by the fire and is still operating. “I would say the volume loss has been somewhat minimal,” he said. “Now there is a cost in moving cattle a long distance. We can still service our traditional suppliers in that area and we have a lot of long-term, loyal customers that source from the plant. We’ve been able to move those orders to a number of our other plants.” Meating Place Dot Com says White expects the plant to get fully back in operation in the next couple of months. The electrical system was the hardest-hit part of the plant, with most of the downtime due to rewiring the plant’s electrical system. Last week, Tyson lowered its earnings guidance for fiscal 2019.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 9, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Slowing Job Growth and New Concerns Over the weekend, The Hill reported that “an underwhelming August jobs report is adding to fears of an economic slowdown, raising the stakes for President Trump's reelection bid.” New government data showed that the economy added roughly 130,000 jobs in August. The Hill said that “undershot economists' expectations as the labor market continues to slow.” The resilient job market has been one of the administration’s top selling points as it prepares for the re-election campaign on the strength of the U.S. economy, but the “disappointing August report threatens that message ahead of a critical stretch for the economy,” the report said. The new job numbers come as the administration and China try to revive trade talks after more than a year of tit-for-tat tariff hits. Deputy staff-level talks are now set to begin later this month with hopes that they will open the door to a meeting between higher-level officials in October. But with just 14 months until the 2020 election, the administration faces “a narrowing window to strike a truce with China that could steer the U.S. away from the edge of a recession,” The Hill said. While trade experts have generally ruled out chances of a comprehensive agreement at this time, the U.S. and China could seek a smaller deal to ease tensions and tariffs, The Hill said. “Failure to do so could derail not only the economy, but also weaken the President’s shot at another White House term,” The Hill opined. "Today's employment data, coupled with earlier revisions to 2018, suggest that we have hit a tipping point," wrote Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, in a Friday research note. "That is likely in response to trade tensions and the weakness we are seeing abroad." The President has remained defiant in the face of growing pressure to end his fight with China, downplaying the risks to the economy and talk that he is losing leverage. He has repeatedly warned Beijing not to wait to strike a deal with his potential successor, insisting the U.S. economy is strong enough to weather a battle with China. "'China is eating the Tariffs.' Billions pouring into USA. Targeted Patriot Farmers getting massive Dollars from the incoming Tariffs! Good Jobs Numbers, No Inflation(Fed). China having worst year in decades. Talks happening, good for all!," President Trump tweeted Friday. He continued to downplay media reports of an economic slowdown. "The Economy is great. The only thing adding to 'uncertainty' is the Fake News!" he added just hours after the jobs report was released. So far, consumers have been largely insulated from the direct effects of the trade war, even as business expansion, manufacturing and other trade-sensitive sectors faltered, The Hill said. And, it noted that “while the U.S. faces higher odds of a recession, it still enjoys a strong labor market, steady consumer spending, and solid wage growth.” Roughly 571,000 workers joined the labor force in August, pushing participation rates higher and keeping unemployment steady at 3.7%. "The stories in the paper have generated a psychology that is vastly worse than the reality," National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House on Friday. "The underlying strength of the economy is much better than folks might think." Even so, months of fading industrial output, heightened tensions and dour economic data from abroad appear to be closing in on the job market, The Hill argued as job growth as the average monthly job gain has fallen from 234,000 last year to 158,000 in 2019. Economists worry that this indicator may be trending toward the 100,000 monthly average gain that is required to stave off a recession. The next test for the U.S. labor market will come in October, when president Trump is set to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports to 30% from 25%. He also is set to finish imposing a 15% tariff on another $320 billion tranche of Chinese goods in December after applying those taxes to roughly half of those goods on Sept. 1. The Federal Reserve is expected to soften that blow with a rate cut when the bank's policy committee meets in Washington later this month. The Hill says it expects a moderate 0.25-percentage point cut “as a hedge against a potential downturn,” far less than the 1-percentage point cut president Trump is seeking. The president is pushing the Fed to slash interest rates in half from their 2% to 2.25% range, demanding a level of stimulus last seen during the 2008 recession. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in a tweet posted shortly before the jobs report was released, countered during speech in Switzerland that "the most likely outlook for the U.S. is still moderate growth, a strong labor market, and inflation continuing to move back up," brushing off calls for a steep cut. Powell also acknowledged that the Fed could only do so much to protect the economy from trade policy. "Uncertainty around trade policy is causing some companies to hold back now on investment," Powell said. So, we will see. Administration analysts continue to insist that the outlook is mainly for fair economic weather – but that Fed interventions are long overdue. At the same time, economic observers are increasingly arguing that the U.S.-China fight is weakening the domestic economy, a debate producers should watch closely as it intensifies, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 9, 2019 |


Uncertainty Over Trade Policy Is Likely To Reduce US Economic Output New research from the Federal Reserve indicates that trade uncertainty is likely to trim U.S. economic output by more than one percent through early 2020. Economists charted uncertainty with text analyses of newspaper articles and corporate-earnings calls. Higher uncertainty could lead firms to delay their investment and reduce their hiring, lower consumer confidence and spending, and ultimately curtail economic activity around the world. “The rise in [trade policy uncertainty] in 2018 and 2019 has gone hand in hand with a slowdown in world industrial production and global grade,” said the research report. The researchers found that an initial increase in trade-policy uncertainty in the first half of 2018 shaved around 0.8 percent from U.S. and global economic output in the first half of 2019. They further calculated that more-recent increases in uncertainty will now reduce U.S. output by more than one percent in the first half of 2020.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 9, 2019 |


Corn Growers: USMCA Must Top Fall Agenda Congress returns to Washington next week and passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be at the top of their agenda, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Farmers have taken the opportunity to share this message with lawmakers at local events during the August break, it said, “and are eager to see the working group process bear fruit so the agreement can move forward for consideration.” The group detailed that USMCA will “solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty for farmers weathering a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 9, 2019 |


Monday Watch List Markets Starting a new week, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and be interested in any trade news that might have happened over the weekend. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10:00 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Corn and soybean crop development will be Monday afternoon's topics of interest. Weather Monday features moderate to heavy rain from the Canadian Prairies through the Northern Plains and northern Midwest. We'll also see light rain in the western and central Plains and western Midwest. Other crop areas will be dry. Temperatures will be seasonal north and hot south. There is no frost threat in the next ten days.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 6, 2019 |


U.S., China to Meet in October on Trade Negotiators from the United States and China will meet face-to-face next month. Chinese officials told reporters Thursday the agreement was reached in a phone conversation this week. China’s Vice Premier visited over the phone Thursday morning with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Following the call, China announced negotiators plan to travel to Washington next month for high-level talks, and will continue consultations through September ahead of the meeting in October. The announcement from China comes as President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week that China wants to reach a deal with the United States. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has yet to confirm the planned October meeting, but did say discussions will take place in the coming weeks. The tit-for-tat trade war with China has dropped U.S. ag exports to China from more than $20 billion in 2017, to $9 billion last year. A breakthrough in negotiations would be welcome news for agriculture. ************************************************************************************* Federal Reserve Beige Book: Agriculture Sector is Weak The Federal Reserve Bank Beige Book released this week reports continued weak economic conditions in farm country. Released Wednesday, the report states agricultural conditions remained weak as a result of unfavorable weather conditions, low commodity prices, and trade-related uncertainties. Districts with agricultural ties, but especially in the Midwest, report declining agricultural economy measures, with further farm income declines expected. The Tenth District in Kansas City reported earlier this summer that farm income and credit conditions showed some signs of stabilizing. Demand for agricultural lending remained high, but bankers anticipated slower growth in coming months. The Kansas City district reports the share of new farm operating loans denied by bankers declined slightly in the second quarter of 2019 after reaching a five-year high a year ago. The Beige Book, published eight times a year, is a Federal Reserve publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from district sources. ************************************************************************************* Trade War Costing Nebraska Farmers $1 Billion A new analysis by the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural exports will cost Nebraska producers $943 million in lost revenues in 2019. The projected losses would be in addition to tariff-related losses in farm-level income estimated between $695 million to $1 billion in 2018. The analysis was conducted to provide an assessment of losses independent of the Market Facilitation Program assistance available to farmers. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the results show “how critical it is that we resolve the prolonged trade conflicts that have created the tariff pressures.” The analysis shows that Nebraska soybean and corn growers will likely see the greatest cumulative losses. Soybean producers as a group are projected to lose out on nearly $589 million from retaliatory tariffs, and corn producers are estimated to lose roughly $251 million. Pork producers in the state are projected to see $40 million in losses, while sorghum and wheat growers will collectively experience losses around $20 million. ************************************************************************************* National Milk Producers Federation Urging Farmers to Sign up for DMC With the signup deadline for the Dairy Margin Coverage program quickly approaching on September 20, the National Milk Producers Federation is urging all dairy farmers to enroll in the program. The program is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50 per-hundred-weight coverage level for at least every month of production this year through July, according to USDA data. The latest enrollment numbers indicate that 68 percent of dairy operations with an established production history have enrolled so far for this year. This represents more than 18,000 producers nationwide. Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO, says the program “offers better support for dairy farmers than its predecessor,” and is “worthwhile for every farmer.” The Dairy Margin Coverage program replaced the Margin Protection Program for dairy. NMPF says the new program offers a more robust safety net for dairy producers of all sizes. NMPF has a resource page on its website, www.nmpf.org, to help farmers sign up for the program. ************************************************************************************* USDA: U.S. Food Insecurity Declined in 2018 The Department of Agriculture says food insecurity declined in 2019. Data released this week by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that in 2018, an estimated 88.9 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, meaning they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households, 11.1 percent, were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 4.3 percent that experienced very low food security. However, the prevalence of food insecurity overall declined from 11.8 percent in 2017. The reported decline was statistically significant, according to USDA, and continued a decline from a high of 14.9 percent in 2011. Very low food security was not significantly different from its 4.5-percent rate in 2017.USDA says that in very-low-food-secure households, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times because the household lacked money and other resources for obtaining food. ************************************************************************************* Kellogg Introducing Incogmeato Plant-Based Products Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms announced this week it will introduce a new plant-based product line, called Incogmeato. The company says the new product line will include the company's first ready-to-cook plant-based burger and fully prepared plant-based chicken tenders and nuggets. The company claims the new product line offers a “delicious and satisfying meat-like experience.” The new Incogmeato plant-based portfolio will hit retail meat cases in grocery stores and foodservice in early 2020. Sold in the refrigerated meat case, the four-ounce plant-based patties are made with non-GMO soy, according to the company. The plant-based chicken tenders and nuggets will be placed in the freezer section next to traditional chicken offerings. Morningstar is the plant-based brand owned by Kellogg and includes many different plant-based products, from plant-based sausages to corndogs. Morningstar Farms was introduced in 1975 by Worthington Foods. Kellogg purchased Worthington Foods in 1999, including the MorningStar brand. Kellogg then sold Worthington Foods in 2014, but retained the Morningstar Farms product line.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 6, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Military Project Funds Shifted to Wall, States Complain As might be expected, the funding fight continues as the list of military projects to be deferred to provide the extra $3.6 billion funding for the southern border wall draws bipartisan complaints this week. The result, Bloomberg says, is an increase in pressure on Congress to resolve the long-running conflict – or to find the money elsewhere. The administration already successfully faced down a bipartisan resolution to end the emergency declaration that was issued after Congress refused to appropriate funds for a border wall in a lengthy government shutdown earlier in the year. Congress was unable to override the veto, even though more than two dozen Republicans in the House and Senate joined Democrats to oppose that attempt to unilaterally shift taxpayer money. The current list of projects the Department of Defense proposes to put aside includes nearly $1.1 billion targeted for facilities in 23 states, with the rest coming from projects in U.S. territories and overseas. The cuts hit states represented by members of both parties, including $62.6 million for a middle school at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and $160 million for engineering and parking projects at the United States Military Academy in New York, home to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Alaska, represented by Republicans, and Virginia, represented mostly by Democrats, are also among the biggest losers on the hit list, as are Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, with the trio of territories targeted for $687 million in deferred projects. A handful of Republican senators seeking re-election next year also are facing cuts in their states, including Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who once wrote a Washington Post op-ed to oppose the president’s emergency declaration, but who later flipped to vote with the president in March. Among the deferrals in his state are projects at Camp Lejeune, one of the state’s major employers. Projects in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and South Carolina are also on the list. Amid the ongoing controversy over spending on the southern wall, China announced this week that its trade negotiators will travel to Washington early next month for talks boosting the chances for a resolution to the tariff war after weeks of uncertainty and escalation, Bloomberg says. Vice Premier Liu He agreed to the visit in a phone call on Thursday morning Beijing time with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, China’s commerce ministry said. Lower-level officials will have “serious” discussions this month to prepare for the talks, which had originally been expected to take place in September. In addition, the U.S. and Japan are “still thrashing out details of a trade deal” that the administration hopes to sign this month, including the crucial issue of whether he’ll refrain from imposing higher tariffs on imported cars, Bloomberg said. The president, at the Group of Seven meeting in France last month, celebrated what he called a “major deal” that he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would sign on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, starting later this month in New York – although observers also note that so far the agreement only includes “broad strokes” of a trade deal. So, we will see. It appears that the fall will mean increasing tensions over old topics like the economic outlook, trade and spending levels and priorities and that even details about the expected storm tracks can be highly controversial. The result is a broad array of constantly evolving debates that producers should watch closely as they intensify, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 6, 2019 |


Judge Orders Anheuser-Busch to Remove ‘No Corn Syrup’ Labels U.S. District Court Judge William Conley Wednesday ruled that Anheuser-Busch has to stop using packaging on 12-packs and 24-packs of Bud Light that say “No Corn Syrup” once they run out of the packaging that it has or by March 2020, whichever comes first. The decision came in the case filed by MillerCoors, which charged the statement on the packaging implies that Miller Lite and Coors Light contain corn syrup. MillerCoors uses corn syrup in the fermentation process but the final product does not contain corn syrup. "In light of the limited number of beers in the light beer market, with Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light accounting for almost 100 percent of sales, that same jury could also find a substantial segment of consumers would infer that Bud Light's principal competitors contain corn syrup," Conley said in his decision. Anheuser-Busch said in a statement that it looked forward to defending its position in court, saying that MillerCoors was “resisting consumer demands for transparency in the ingredients used to brew its beers.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 6, 2019 |


Near-Steady US July Ag Exports Outpaced By Import Growth U.S. agricultural trade registered a deficit for July, marking three out of the last four months with trade red ink. U.S. ag export values held basically steady in July at $10.79 billion against imports that rose to $10.91 billion for the $115 million monthly deficit. With the cumulative ag exports in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 at $114.0 billion and imports at $110.4 billion, it suggests USDA’s recently updated outlook for FY 2019 ag exports to be close as imports would have to average just under $9.5 billion in August and September and exports would have to average $10.25 billion to meet the export forecast of $134.5 billion and imports at a record $129.3 billion. Typically, imports register their lowest mark of the fiscal year in September. It would appear the import forecast from USDA is at risk for being too low at $129.3 billion. The value of ag imports has not registered back-to-back months of less than $10 billion since FY 2017. The current forecast ag trade surplus of $5.2 billion would be the smallest since it was $4.57 billion in FY 2006.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 6, 2019 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of grain export sales will be released at 7:30 a.m. and will show exports for all but the final two days of 2018-19. At the same time, the U.S. Labor Department will release non-farm payrolls and the U.S. unemployment rate for August, important factors for the Federal Reserve's next rate decision on September 18. Weather remains closely watched with dry conditions noted in the central Corn Belt. Weather Friday will be dry over most crop areas. Some light showers will form in the Great Lakes and interior Northwest. Category 1 Hurricane Dorian will bring heavy rain to the mid-Atlantic coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 5, 2019 |


Citibank Reports on Trade War: No End Before 2020 Election A top U.S. investment bank sees no conclusion to the U.S.-China trade war before the 2020 presidential elections. In a new report, Citibank says the “Implied probabilities of a 2020 recession are now high enough to warrant caution,” due to the ongoing trade war. The report suggests U.S. economic metrics will “likely deteriorate further” as the trade war continues. CNBC reports Citi’s shift represents a departure from others on Wall Street who see a trade deal likely happening before the election next year. Farmers recently reported similar expectations in the August Ag Economy Barometer released by Purdue University and CME Group this week, but that changed slightly last month. Of 400 farmers surveyed, 71 percent say a quick resolution is unlikely, down from 78 percent in July. Agriculture is taking the brunt of trade war retaliatory tariffs from China. And, China appears poised to hold out to see if President Trump will be reelected or not, potentially shifting the U.S. negotiation views and tactics. ************************************************************************************* Trump Says Tariff Income to Help Hurricane-Damaged Farms President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that money the U.S. receives from tariffs on China will help farmers recover from Hurricane Dorian. Trump says, "we've taken in many billions of dollars of tariffs from China and we will have a lot of money to be helping our farmers along the coast if they get hit." The President made the statement as part of an update to members of the press inside the Oval Office. Trump says China has paid for most of the tariffs, adding, "We have a lot of money to help our farmers." Trump pointed to the trade mitigation payments to farmers, as well, saying he is making up the trade war impact “dollar-for-dollar” to farmers. The brunt of the hurricane appeared to spare Florida and was expected to travel up the Eastern Seaboard, hitting the Carolinas Thursday and Friday. The North Carolina Agriculture Department says hurricane Dorian “creates an imminent threat of severe economic loss of livestock, poultry and crops ready to be harvested.” ************************************************************************************* ARC, PLC Enrollment Open The Department of Agriculture this week opened enrollment for the Agriculture Risk Coverage, and Price Loss Coverage programs. Agriculture Risk Coverage, known as ARC, provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. Price Loss Coverage, known as PLC, provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called the programs “the bedrock of the farm safety net,” for crop farmers. Updated provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill allow producers with an interest in a farm to enroll and elect coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for program year 2019. For crop years 2021 through 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share of interest in the farm. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020. ************************************************************************************* Lawsuit Alleges Chicken Processors Fixed Wages A class-action lawsuit claims 18 chicken processors have conspired to fix wages for workers. Three poultry plant workers filed the lawsuit last week claiming the industry has conspired to fix and depress wages since 2009. The lawsuit named defendants including chicken processors Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, Keystone Foods, and Pilgrim’s Pride, among others. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the lawsuit claims leadership for the processors held “off the books” meetings to fix wages and benefits, along with exchanging wage data. The companies named in the lawsuit operate approximately 200 processing plants in the United States, employing hundreds of thousands of workers, and produce roughly 90 percent of the nation’s chicken processed chicken. The lawsuit also claims the price-fixing has held employees of processors in poverty. A spokesperson for Perdue Farms told Meatingplace “we do not believe this suit has any merit,” adding employees receive wage increases, and that the company makes adjustments as wage trends shift in the United States. ************************************************************************************* NCGA Supports EPA’s Interim Decision on Glyphosate Registration The National Corn Growers Association recently submitted comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate. EPA is required to review pesticide registrations every 15 years to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, but may choose to issue interim decisions as needed to account for completed risk assessments and the availability of new data. Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president from Nebraska, says NCGA “appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the sound science behind this product in its interim review decision.” In the decision at hand, EPA states it is issuing an interim decision to move forward with aspects of the registration review that are complete, including the human health and ecological risk assessments. Glyphosate continues to be the cornerstone for comprehensive and sustainable weed management, Chrisp noted, though growers understand that a diverse plan is necessary for both season-long control and resistance management. The EPA expects to issue its final registration decision for glyphosate once the Endangered Species Act evaluation is complete. ************************************************************************************* Alltech Forms Strategic Research Alliance for Sustainable Beef Production Alltech and Archbold Biological Station’s Buck Island Ranch in Florida recently formed a research alliance to develop beef management approaches. Specifically, the partnership seeks to increase the quality and quantity of beef produced in subtropical regions while maintaining and enhancing the environment. The collaboration brings together scientists from two different disciplines, ecologists from Archbold and ruminant nutritionists from Alltech, to understand the impact that cattle production has on an ecosystem. A spokesperson for the program says the research may lead to improved supplemental feed strategies and reducing cattle methane emissions. The research at Buck Island Ranch has long been focused on the relationships between agricultural production, management and natural resources, including water and soils, as well as biodiversity and addressing threats like invasive species and climate change. An Alltech spokesperson says the collaborations aims to demonstrate that the maintenance of the ecosystem is a critical factor in sustainable beef production and also to show how cattle can be a critical part of maintaining natural ecosystems.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 5, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Global Consumers and Growing Economic Tensions The gap in perceptions of trade policy impacts between administration advocates and officials from export-dependent industries continues to grow, Bloomberg says this week. While the Trump administration emphasizes the impact of growing economic pressure on China, many analysts are focusing heavily on emerging threats to global demand. Bloomberg thinks these are intensifying at the same time business confidence and investment are weakening in many key markets. Consumers have been providing the main drivers of global growth for much of this year. And, while recent retail sales growth has been strong, “there are signs that could soon change, as weakness in manufacturing seeps into hiring and financial markets tighten amid the trade war.” Both forces could lead households to retrench, fanning fears that the world economy is heading to recession, Bloomberg says. Morgan Stanley economists are already warning that American consumers are all that stand in the way of a U.S. contraction and their counterparts at JPMorgan see global employment growth remaining around the 1% of the last quarter, a sharp slowdown from the previous pace. “It would be misguided to believe that manufacturing weakness is not going to filter through to the rest of the economy,” even though factories are a relatively small share of U.S. output, said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. A big warning came last week, when concerns about tariffs and inflation helped push down the University of Michigan’s U.S. economic sentiment index by the most in almost seven years. If that’s the start of a new fault line in the global economy centered on consumers, that spells deeper trouble ahead for world growth, Bloomberg thinks. A key risk is the potential unraveling of the solid labor-market story across advanced economies as surveys show employment at factories falling around the world. Germany, at risk of recession, has seen initial signs of weakness in its labor market. UK sentiment is being battered by Brexit uncertainty and Asian economies such as Korea and Indonesia have recorded declines in consumer sentiment. In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index indicates manufacturers are cutting jobs. Monthly U.S. jobs figures from the Labor Department are due Friday and will be watched closely. Bloomberg says its own economists are expecting that consumer spending will be “the main driver of growth in the second half, so barometers of household demand, such as sentiment, savings patterns and income growth will be major focal points in the medium term. For this reason, the cooling in the ISM employment sub-index bears watching,” according to Carl Riccadonna, Bloomberg’s chief U.S. economist. For central bankers, the question is whether other parts of the economy can keep riding out the storm that’s been largely isolated in manufacturing--or a broader “infection” is inevitable. How they gauge that spillover threat could be central to how much stimulus they need to pump into their economies. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly noted the contrast in the economy last week, saying that uncertainty has hurt business investment but that domestic demand looks “really solid.” U.S. consumer spending rose 0.6% in July, beating estimates, according to a report on Friday, following the best quarter in more than four years. In the euro area, retail sales are rising at about a 2% year-on-year pace, slightly faster than the average in 2018. But the situation could shift as the punches to the global economy keep coming—such as the administration’s escalation of the U.S.-China trade war along with weaker corporate earnings, a manufacturing pull-back and Brexit. In the U.S., the University of Michigan gauge showed how the trade war may have a psychological effect, with tariffs spontaneously mentioned by one-in-three consumers. Pressured by a trade spat of its own with Japan, along with ongoing labor-market weakness, Korea’s sentiment gauge fell in August to its worst level since the start of 2017. Unemployment at a 45-year high is seriously crimping consumption in India, where car sales plunged the most in almost two decades in July. At its last policy meeting, the European Central Bank noted weakening hiring intentions and “the question was raised as to how long the job market would still be posting positive surprises.” U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co. last week trimmed its guidance because of “general uncertainty related to overall customer buying behavior in the back half of the year.” So, we will see. There are broad expectations that the Fed will cut interest rates at least some in the near future—even as a U.S.-China trade deal appears increasingly unlikely. However, the administration-Fed squabble appears likely to continue and even intensify and should be watched closely as it persists, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 5, 2019 |


Trump Says Biofuels Plan Coming In Next Two Weeks President Donald Trump now says a set of biofuel policy changes will be coming in the next two weeks. Previously, the plans were rumored to be announced this week at an event in the Midwest. “Making great progress for our Farmers. Approved E15, year-round. Big additional list to be submitted & approved within two weeks. Will be even better for Ethanol, and we save our small refineries!” Trump tweeted earlier this week. Biofuel proponents want an increase in 2020 blending requirements to offset small refiner exemptions (SREs) while refining advocates are urging Trump not to move forward with any increases. For his part, Trump said he will deliver a “giant package” of changes, adding that “the farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for ethanol.” Currently, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and White House aides are working out the details of the plans – which aim to boost both corn ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., warned President Trump this week not to move forward with the biofuel policy proposals currently under consideration, saying they “risk closing refineries and killing thousands of jobs.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 5, 2019 |


NRCS Details Updated RCPP Conservation Program The launch of the updated Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was announced by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) this week. The program now includes changes from the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS said it is accepting proposals for RCPP projects seeking fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding, with submissions due by December 3, 2019. Partners can request between $250,000 and $10 million in funding. In all, $300 million is available for FY 2019, NRCS said. NRCS noted the updated RCPP now has dedicated funding, rather than having to rely on monies from other conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The move to dedicated funding was among the changes brought by the 2018 Farm Bill. The changes will help "[simplify] rules for partners and producers," NRCS said. Meanwhile, the fewer funding pools involved should "make the submission and approval process easier," the agency added.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 5, 2019 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Weekly jobless claims and the U.S. Drought Monitor will be released at 7:30 a.m. CDT, but USDA's weekly export sales report will not come out until Friday morning, due to this week's holiday schedule. The Department of Energy will release all its weekly inventories, starting at 9:30 a.m. CDT and will include ethanol and natural gas. Any changes in weather or trade news will continue to be watched closely. Weather Thursday features mostly dry and warm conditions in primary crop areas, with only light rain in the western Midwest. Meanwhile, category 3 Hurricane Dorian will bring heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge to the Carolina coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 4, 2019 |


Trump: China Talks Going “Very Well” President Donald Trump offers an optimistic view of trade talks with China. Trump on Twitter Monday proclaimed, "We are doing very well in our negotiations with China." Over the weekend, new tariffs were enacted by the United States and China, yet negotiators from China could still visit the U.S. this month. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says, “What matters the most at this moment is creating necessary conditions for ongoing consultations.” With the implementation of new tariffs, the American Farm Bureau Federation is urging both sides to focus on trade negotiations. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the Chinese tariffs are “no surprise,” but are “no more welcome than before.” AFBF says farmers welcome the trade mitigation payments that are keeping some farms in business as the trade war continues, but says many “cannot withstand continued uncertainty in trade.” The latest round of tariffs is expected to hit U.S. consumers the most, as practically every product shipped to the U.S. will face additional taxes. ************************************************************************************ August Ag Economy Barometer Falls Farmer concern regarding low prices and the farm economy led to a sharp drop in the August Ag Economy Barometer. The Perdue/CME Group economic measure fell 29 points last month to a reading of 124. The barometer’s decline was attributed to declines in both the Index of Current Conditions, which dropped 19 points, and the Index of Future Expectations, which fell 34 points below its July reading. A reading greater than 100 still indicates positive sentiment, while a reading below indicated negative sentiment. Weaker views were fueled in part by both crop and livestock price declines that took place during late July and early August. Meanwhile, producers’ concerns about the future of the farm economy led to a more negative outlook on the advisability of making capital investments and on the short-term farmland value outlook. Meanwhile, farmers in August were slightly more optimistic the trade dispute with China will be resolved soon, although many still think resolution of the dispute will not come quickly. ************************************************************************************* Farm Income to Increase in 2019 The Department of Agriculture predicts farm income will rise in 2019, despite challenges impacting the farm economy. Last week, USDA reported inflation-adjusted U.S. net cash farm income is set to increase $5.8 billion, up 5.4 percent, to $112.6 billion. U.S. net farm income, a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates noncash items including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross rental income, is forecast to increase $2.5 billion, or 2.9 percent, from 2018 to $88.0 billion in 2019. USDA says the forecast increases are due to a combination of lower production expenses, which are subtracted out in the calculation of net income, as well as increases in government payments and farm-related income. The trade aid payments are expected to more than offset the forecast decline in cash receipts. If the forecast holds true, USDA says net farm income would be 2.3 percent below the 2000–2018 average, but net cash farm income would be four percent above its 2000–2018 average. ************************************************************************************* 2020 Planting Intentions Include More Corn, Soybeans A survey by Farm Futures magazine reports farmers are planning to plant more corn and soybeans next year. The 2020 planting intentions survey found farmers intend to plant 94.1 million acres of corn next year, up 4.5 percent from the 90 million planted this year, as reported by the Department of Agriculture last month. Farmers also reported to Farm Futures their intention to plant 83.6 million acres of soybeans next year, nine percent more than 2019, but 5.6 million below the 89.2 million acres planted in 2018. Hard red winter wheat seedings are expected to increase 1.3 percent to 23 million acres, and soft red winter wheat seedings could also increase. Meanwhile, farmers in cotton-growing states are planning to reduce cotton seedings by 8.7 percent to 12.7 million acres next spring, and sorghum could gain 9.3 percent to reach 5.8 million acres planted. However, given the wet spring in 2019, and the number of acres not planted, some of the survey results should come as no surprise. ************************************************************************************* NCC: RFS Threatens Animal Feed Prices The National Chicken Council wants the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce volumes proposed in the Renewable Fuel Standard. Comments submitted to the EPA last week by NCC claim that given the current crop year, the volume proposal is “overly aggressive, overly reliant on corn-based ethanol, and will likely cause disruptions to the nation’s feed supply.” NCC President Mike Brown says the volumes should be reduced “to more accurately reflect the availability of feedstock and the usage rate of biofuels.” The organization claims that since the RFS began in 2007, broiler producers have faced $68.5 billion in higher feed costs for the production of broiler meat. NCC believes that the potential for supply disruption and a resulting similarly destructive pattern as 2008, 2012 and 2013, poses a threat to the broiler industry during the 2020 RFS compliance year and 2019/2020 crop year. Brown says in 2008 and 2012, chicken producers were denied protection from the impact of the RFS mandate during times of market volatility. ************************************************************************************* Alternative Meat Makers Form Coalition Five companies creating meat imitating products have formed a coalition for educating consumers and advocating for market access. the Alliance for Meat, Poultry & Seafood Innovation was founded to allow the sector to “speak with a unified voice,” according to a news release. Founding member companies include BlueNalu and Finless Foods, makers of cell-based/cultured seafood, and Fork & Goode and JUST, makers of cell-based/cultured meat and poultry, and Memphis Meats, which is making cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood. The coalition seeks to educate consumers about their products, and create a clear path to market for their products. Coined as fake meat by the animal agriculture sector, groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have called for science to drive the regulatory framework, current being crafted by federal agencies. The new coalition will soon begin lobbying lawmakers and the Department of Agriculture regarding the framework. The coalition aims to “create an environment for the industry that will support continued innovation for years to come.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 4, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Helpful Farm Trade Aid Bloomberg and other urban media are taking note of the effort the administration is making to downplay ag producers’ economic problems with weak markets as the trade war with China escalates. An example is the recent USDA report that “farmers are doing better than previously thought,” as new forecasts show farm profits rising 5% in 2019--the best in five years “because of the president’s trade aid program.” The report and its “more favorable portrait of agricultural finances” comes as the administration faces increasing criticism from farmers over losses from the president’s intensifying tariff war with China. Bloomberg notes that farmers openly challenged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last month at an event in Minnesota. USDA emphasized that projected net farm income this season will reach $88 billion, up from $84 billion last year. It called the projection “a rosier financial picture for farmers than prior estimates, which didn’t anticipate the level of aid” the administration would provide to compensate for lost sales to China, said Jeffrey Hopkins, the economist who supervised the forecast. Hopkins said that the previous forecast, made in March, also didn’t include the level of aid payments farmers received for being unable to plant because of floods. However, producers were not exactly thrilled by the news, Bloomberg reported. For example, Rob Larew, vice president of public policy for the National Farmers Union, the second-largest general farm organization, said the boost in profits “belies the economic difficulties that most farmers are still facing” and relies entirely on aid from taxpayers. “Though those payments are helpful in the short term, they ultimately are not a sustainable solution to the ongoing farm crisis,” Larew said. “Unless the government plans to either keep throwing money at these problems or implement real solutions, farm income will likely fall again next year.” John Newton, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest general farm group, said a 13% increase in farm bankruptcies in the 12 months through June and an uptick in delinquent farm loans suggest a tightening financial squeeze. “A lot of real-time indicators don’t show signs of a stronger farm economy, but you can’t deny the impact of the trade aid,” Newton said, adding that most farmers haven’t yet received payments from this year’s trade assistance package. The revised forecast suggests farmers will have their most profitable year since 2014—but that the projection is still 2.3% below average farm profits since 2000 and 36% below their net income in 2013 when adjusted for inflation, Bloomberg said. Farmers will receive $19.5 billion in direct government aid by year-end, the most since 2005, according to the projections. That doesn’t include an additional $10.5 billion in federally subsidized crop insurance payments forecast for the year. Rural voters are a key constituency for President Donald Trump as he heads into the 2020 election and the farm economy was under stress even before the trade war with China. The administration announced $16 billion in trade aid for farmers this year after providing $12 billion last year. Congress also appropriated $3 billion in disaster assistance for farmers on top of payments they receive from existing farm subsidy programs for those who were unable to plant. The new USDA projections also include big upward revisions for net farm income for last year and this year based on a 2018 survey on farm production practices and finances. The survey showed farmers’ expenses were considerably lower than previously estimated, Hopkins said. The USDA had previously estimated last year’s farm profits at $63.1 billion. The 2019 projection of $88 billion is up from a $69.4 billion forecast released in March. Many producers have been critical of the sweeping scope of the “get tough” trade policies that include products and markets like those for many farm products that have been built steadily over many years and which are not been the focus of the most damaging Chinese trade policies, observers say. The administration’s “trade aid” payments are controversial in some quarters and are widely seen as inadequate by producers. Still, such subsidies have been used by many administrations over decades — with varying degrees of success – that create policy and political issues that should be watched closely as they intensify, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 4, 2019 |


USDA Announces 2019 ARC, PLC Enrollment Now Open Producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2020 crop year, USDA announced Tuesday (September 3). Enrollment for the two programs will be open through March 15, 2020. If no election is made by the deadline, it will default "to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill," USDA said. No payment will be earned in 2019 if the election defaults, the department noted. Under changes introduced by the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers may enroll and elect program year 2019 coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm. The 2019 election will apply for both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. Farmers will then have an opportunity to change their program elections in crop years 2021 through 2023. Once 2019 crop year elections are completed, producers can submit an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning October 7, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020. "The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road," USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. "This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead," he concluded.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 4, 2019 |


China Hits Back at New US Tariffs with WTO Complaint China is challenging the latest round of U.S. tariffs targeting $110 billion in Chinese goods that took effect over the weekend, in a new complaint filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. asserts that the duties, which it imposed over alleged Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property, are not subject to review by WTO – but China repeatedly rejected that assertion. In a statement, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said the U.S. reneged on an agreement not to impose new tariffs that was reached at the June G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. That, in turn, prompted China to lodge the complaint at WTO, the ministry said. The U.S. and China have 60 days to resolve the dispute. If they are unable to reach a mutually agreed solution China could then request the establishment of a WTO dispute panel to adjudicate the matter.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 4, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Census Bureau will report on the U.S. trade deficit and give USDA more specific export data to be released later Wednesday morning. Weather will continue to be monitored for late-developing row crops. Trade remains a touchy topic for traders after the most recent increases in tariff levels. Weather Wednesday will be dry and mild over all primary crop areas. Hurricane Dorian off the southeastern U.S. coast, and tropical storm Fernand in the far western Gulf of Mexico will not threaten most agricultural interests.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 3, 2019 |


Grassley: Administration Considering “Handful” of EPA Waiver Fixes Since Donald Trump took office, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued 85 exemptions to oil refineries allowing them to stop blending ethanol into their fuel. NBC News Dot Com says that’s a “staggering increase” from previous administrations. The waivers have been given to some of the nation’s biggest oil corporations, including Chevron and Exxon. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Trump ally, ripped the administration over the waivers. “They screwed us when they issued 31 waivers compared to less than 10 waivers in all of the Obama years,” he says. “What’s bad isn’t the waiver, it’s that it’s being granted to people who really aren’t going through any hardship.” During a recent conference call, Grassley says the administration is looking at “four-or-five things” to help make up for the damage inflicted on U.S. farmers by a large number of small-refinery waivers. Grassley says there is one thing above all others that matters to farmers. “We need the reallocation of every gallon that was waived by the EPA, getting them added back into the Renewable Fuels Standard requirement,” he said. “I welcome the administration’s admission that the EPA’s move was wrong and taking steps to try and right it.” ********************************************************************************************** While Farmer Frustration Grows, They Still Seem to Support Trump While farmer frustration with the Trump Administration continues to grow because of the trade war with China and small refinery waivers under the RFS, he still seems to have their support. Bloomberg says support for the president bounced back this year, with 67 percent of farmers in a Farm Futures Survey saying they’ll support his re-election in 2020. That number is up from last year, when Trump’s rural support dropped to under 60 percent, shortly after China introduced retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans. In spite of the difficulties, growers still back Trump in his battle to reduce the trade deficit with countries like China. A farmer in southern Minnesota spoke with Bloomberg, saying he didn’t like it but he understands the need to get a better trade deal for the U.S. Only six percent of farmers who voted for Trump say they wouldn’t back him if the elections were held today. Even two percent of Hillary Clinton voters in 2016 now say they’ll support Trump in 2020. Farmers cite other issues outside of agriculture that help cement their support for the president, including health care, immigration, and education. ********************************************************************************************** China Buying More Ag Goods from the Philippines China says it may import more fruits and other agricultural products from the Philippines in the years ahead as the two countries enjoy close ties. The Philippine Trade Minister, Ramon Lopez, says Chinese President Xi (Zhee) Jinping made that comment during a meeting with the Philippine president in Beijing last week. Philippine government officials were happy to hear that as the country has a goal of balancing the trade deficit with China. Lopez said in a statement that, “President Xi reiterated China’s policy to help balance trade with the Philippines by buying more goods, especially agriculture and Agri-based products, and industrial goods.” Xi also says, “China is willing to import more high-quality fruits and agricultural products from the Philippines and will send experts to the Philippines to teach agricultural and fishery technology.” A wide trade gap exists between the two countries. China was the Philippines biggest supplier of imported goods with a 23 percent share of total imports as of last June. Meanwhile, China was only the third-largest importer of products from the Philippines. ********************************************************************************************** U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Wants “Transparency Summit” Late last week, the United States Cattlemen’s Association sent letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The USCA is requesting each department to bring together cattle market participants and stakeholders to discuss concerns related to price transparency and true price discovery. The letters were specifically addressed to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert. The USCA sent the letter in response to the untimely fire at the Tyson Foods Beef Plant in Holcomb, Kansas. U.S. cattle producers have seen unprecedented disruption in the cattle marketplace over the last several weeks since the fire took place. U.S. Cattlemen want two separate Cattle Industry Summits that would directly address issues related to the Mandatory Price Reporting Program. Packers and Stockyards Act Violations and definitions, as well as cattle futures contracts. USCA says it looks forward to working with both the USDA and the CFTC to bring together cattle industry stakeholders in the months ahead. ********************************************************************************************** China Taking Steps to Boost Pork Supplies The Chinese Commerce Ministry says it will look at ways to boost pork imports and will look at releasing frozen pork, beef, and mutton from state reserves. Reuters says the goal is to increase the supply of meat in the domestic market. The moves will come as pork prices hit record highs in China because of the African Swine Fever epidemic that has killed millions of pigs in the country’s herds. The world’s top pork consumer has seen its hog herd shrink by as much as a third over the past year. Pork prices have soared since June. A Commerce Ministry spokesman says the country will “continue to encourage the expansion of pork imports.” Imports are up 36 percent over the first seven months of this year. China is looking at other sources for pork beside the U.S. as the trade war continues between the two largest economies in the world. Beijing has agreed to start importing pork from Argentina this year. They’re also expected to approve additional plants for export in Brazil and Great Britain. China also will release some meat from its reserves to help stabilize supplies. ********************************************************************************************* U.S. Exporters to Join McKinney on Trade Mission to Canada Ted McKinney, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, will lead a trade mission to Canada September 3-6. He’ll be accompanied on the trip by 41 U.S. agribusinesses and associations who are looking to expand sales to the United States’ top agricultural export markets. “With the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement poised for passage in Congress, this is a great time for U.S. agricultural exporters to shore up ties with our neighbors in the north,” McKinney says. “Our two nations already enjoy the world’s largest bilateral agriculture trade relationship, with almost $120 million worth of food and farm products crossing the border every day.” McKinney says the USMCA will make this good relationship even better and they’re looking forward to meeting with current and potential customers in Toronto and Montreal. “We’ll be exploring new and expanded business opportunities while we’re there,” he adds. McKinney will be joined on the trip by officials from multiple state departments of agriculture. Other companies and organizations on the trip include the American Peanut Council, the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, the Food Export Association of the Midwest, and many more.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 3, 2019 |


Washington Insider: More Trade Friction Much of the Chinese media is continuing to shrug off President Trump’s latest escalation of the tariff war as state sources, especially, signal that the government is ready to weather the economic turbulence. For example, Bloomberg says that Chinese editorials and commentaries since the administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday have focused on the impact the latest tariff hikes will have on U.S. consumers. In addition, late Sunday, the State Council, or cabinet, released a statement pledging to increase economic support if needed, the report said. Chinese officials have yet to give a clear sign that they intend to carry through a plan for in-person negotiations in Washington this month, a meeting planned before the latest round of tit-for-tat measures. Few column inches were dedicated to the trade war Monday and there was little evidence of any change in stance. However, the theme was clear: “It is time the U.S. administration reconsidered its poorly thought out China-bashing moves,” an editorial in the China Daily argued. “Working to secure a trade deal would be a more fruitful approach.” The 15% U.S. duty hit consumer goods ranging from footwear and apparel to home textiles and certain technology products like the Apple Watch. A separate batch of about $160 billion in Chinese goods--including laptops and mobile phones--will be hit with 15% tariffs on Dec. 15. The new tariffs imposed over the weekend are “a turning point in the trade war” with the U.S., an editorial in the Communist Party’s tabloid Global Times wrote Sunday evening. “The U.S. economy cannot sustain its superficial prosperity and is facing a bigger risk of decline,” the editorial said. “The Trump administration has shot Americans in the foot. When more and more Americans feel the pain, maybe it will be time for Washington to recover rationality.” While the Trump administration has dismissed concern about a protracted trade war, business groups are calling for a tariff truce and the resumption of negotiations—and talks scheduled for Washington in September are still on, the President told reporters Sunday. “We are talking to China, the meeting is still on,” he said. The President repeated the assertion that China, not the U.S., is “paying” for the tariffs and said that farmers hurt by Beijing’s retaliation are being made “more than whole” by federal payments. Chinese media disagree with both statements, as do many in the United States. While president Trump has repeatedly said China pays for U.S. tariffs on Chinese sales, many companies and economists report that U.S. importers bear the cost, as do consumers. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office in August projected that by 2020, administration tariffs and its trade war will reduce the level of real U.S. GDP by about 0.3% and reduce average real household income by $580. That followed a JPMorgan Chase & Co. note to clients estimating that the latest round of tariffs will increase the average cost per U.S. household to $1,000 a year--up from $600 for duties enacted last year. That estimate is in the low range because it was based on a duty rate of 10%, before it was increased it to 15%. The tariffs are also harming the global economy, Bloomberg says. The International Monetary Fund in July further reduced its world growth outlook, already the lowest since the financial crisis. China’s retaliation took effect as of 12:01 p.m. Sunday in Beijing, with higher tariffs being rolled out in stages on a total of about $75 billion of U.S. goods. Its target list strikes at the heart of the President’s political support--factories and farms across the Midwest and South at a time when the U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down. The Sept. 1 duty boosts include an extra 10% on American pork, beef, and chicken and various other agricultural goods, while soybeans will get hit with an extra 5% tariff on top of the existing 25%. Starting in mid-December, American wheat, sorghum, and cotton will also get a further 10% tariff. While China imposed a new 5% levy on US crude oil starting from September there was no new tariff on liquefied natural gas. The resumption of a suspended extra 25% duty on U.S. cars will resume Dec. 15, with another 10% on top for some vehicles. With existing general duties on autos taken into account, the total tariff charged on U.S.-made cars would be as high as 50%. Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, said the Trump administration’s approach of using tariffs to pressure China into a deal has backfired and many producer groups now appear to agree. So, we will see. It appears to be increasingly difficult for the administration to make its case that the tariffs only hurt the Chinese, or that its trade aid farm programs are fully successful. Still, both sides are deeply dug in on their current policies and are resisting change—as the debate continues to rage. This is an important fight; one producers should watch closely as it proceeds, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 3, 2019 |


USDA's McKinney To Lead Canada Ag Trade Mission USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney is leading a trade mission to Canada Sept. 3-6, the department announced. He will be accompanied by representatives from 41 U.S. agribusinesses and associations looking to expand sales to the United States’ top agricultural export market. "With the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) poised for passage, this is a great time for U.S. agricultural exporters to be shoring up ties with our neighbors to the north,” McKinney said. "Our two nations already enjoy the world’s largest bilateral agricultural trade relationship, with almost $120 million worth of food and farm products crossing the border every day," McKinney noted. "The USMCA will make this good relationship even better, and we’re looking forward to meeting with current and potential customers in Toronto and Montreal to explore new and expanded business opportunities."

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 3, 2019 |


Refiners Critical Of Trump Plans to Boost Biofuels Executives for major oil refiners urged President Donald Trump not to move forward with proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program meant to boost biofuel usage. The biofuel moves are meant to compensate for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs). Trump is expected to boost federal mandates for production of corn-based ethanol and biodiesel in response to complaints from farmers about the administration’s policy of issuing a growing number of the refinery waivers. "The fixes that are being suggested by the Department of Agriculture and the biofuels community that would raise the conventional biofuel mandate will do nothing to increase domestic ethanol usage, but will only give incentives for more imported biodiesel," said CEOs Joseph Gorder of Valero, Gary Heminger of Marathon and Jeff Ramsey of Flint Hills Resources, in a letter to President Donald Trump. The companies led by the three chief executives produce nearly one fifth of U.S. ethanol. The refiners also pushed back on the suggestion that ethanol demand has been undermined by EPA waivers exempting some small refineries from biofuel-blending requirements, saying the notion is "simply untrue." Oil industry groups may file lawsuits to stop the policy changes under discussion at the White House if they cannot persuade Trump to abandon the plans, said American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President and CEO Chet Thompson. "It’s never over until it’s over with this administration," Thompson remarked. He argued the administration cannot "unilaterally" move forward with the changes now under consideration and said the industry will fight them through EPA's rulemaking process and in court if necessary. Trump is expected to announce the biofuel package next week in the Midwest. Thompson and American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Mike Sommers also penned a joint letter to President Trump urging him not to move forward with the changes and disputing claims from biofuel proponents that SREs are causing demand destruction for ethanol.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 3, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The first day back from Labor Day weekend, traders will be checking the latest forecasts and noting any news about trade that might have developed. A report on U.S. manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. CDT. Weather Moderate to locally heavy rain will cross the northern Midwest Tuesday, including some severe storm potential. Temperatures will be seasonal to below normal north and central, and hot south. Other primary crop areas will be dry. Hurricane Dorian will bring strong winds, locally heavy rain and storm surge to the south Atlantic coast as a Category 3 hurricane.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 30, 2019 |


Trump Says Farmers will be Happy with Ethanol Package President Donald Trump says “the farmers will be so happy” when they see what the White House is doing for ethanol. On Twitter, Trump says “it will be a giant package, get ready.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Farm Progress Show this week said President Trump would announce details within the next couple of weeks. Perdue declined to offer any details, other than he pushed for easier access to higher blends of biofuels. Trump says that while the package will be welcomed by farmers, it also saved “the small refineries from certain closing.” Ethanol groups have charged that small refinery waivers are killing demand for biofuels, because they exempt refiners from complying with volume requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced 31 waivers for small refineries in 2020. In the last year of the Obama administration, the EPA issued seven waivers. Trump has held several White House meetings with cabinet members over the last two weeks, working a mitigation package. ************************************************************************************* Weekly Ethanol Production Increases as More Plants Close Weekly ethanol production increased 1.6 percent this week, according to the Energy Information Association. The slight increase comes as ethanol producers say they are struggling due to small refinery waivers that are diminishing demand for ethanol. POET, the world’s largest biofuels producer, announced last week it has reduced production at half of its biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, numerous jobs will be consolidated across POET’s 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri. This week, the leadership of the Minnesota Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago announced its closure. The plant was expected to halt production as early as this week. The shareholder-owned plant is laying off about 40 employees. The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy both say the waivers are causing the closures are harming rural America's economy. The Trump administration fix to the ethanol market is expected in the next couple of weeks. ************************************************************************************* USDA Plans Foreign Animal Disease Exercise in September The Department of Agriculture and the pork industry will hold a foreign animal disease exercise next month. The industry is working on a “full function” exercise that will be conducted the week of September 23. The effort will focus on a fictional outbreak of African swine fever and the subsequent response by federal and state authorities, along with the rest of the pork industry. Industry leaders say the exercise should better prepare the U.S. pork industry and its stakeholders in the event of an outbreak. The drill will focus on exercising plans, policies, procedures and staff members involved in management, direction, command and control functions. National Pork Board senior vice president of science and technology, Dr. Dave Pyburn, says, “We're trying to create a realistic scenario of a confirmed foreign animal disease in this country to see how each stakeholder reacts and to find the gaps that need more work.” To find out if your state is participating, contact your state pork association office. ************************************************************************************* FAPRI Releases U.S. Baseline Outlook Report Update Excessive spring rain, trade disputes and African swine fever have disrupted agricultural markets in 2019. Despite reduced 2019 United States corn and soybean production prospects, prices for many commodities are under downward pressure because of the many factors that have weakened demand. Economists with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri just released an update to its baseline price report. Assuming a return to more normal weather conditions in 2020, “projected corn and soybean production should rebound,” according to researcher Pat Westhoff. Projected 2020-21 marketing year average prices for corn fall to $3.39 per bushel and soybean prices fall to $7.94 per bushel. This year’s update was prepared the week of August 19. Policies in place at that time, including China’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans and other farm products, are assumed to remain in place. The update uses 2019 acreage, yield and production estimates included in United States Department of Agriculture’s August 2019 Crop Production report. ************************************************************************************* American Dairy Coalition Seeks Scientific Review of EPA Nitrate Study The American Dairy Coalition wants a scientific review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 nitrate report. In a letter to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, the coalition says the 2013 report never received a proper scientific review, and is a “flawed and damaging” report. The EPA Yakima Nitrate Report began in 2010 and was published in 2012 and 2013. The coalition says the report has been proven false by fifteen national agricultural science experts, and was developed without the peer-review required on "influential science information" as the study was categorized. Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition, says, "It is vital that the administration demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the integrity and transparency of science." The coalition is concerned for farmers that have already been severely affected by the report and believes EPA must stop a "dangerous precedence" from being set which could impact other farmers throughout the United States. Usage of the study led to highly disciplinary enforcement and threats of federal litigation, which has devastated four large dairy farms. ************************************************************************************* Deere Appoints New CEO Deere & Company announced the appointment of John C. May as CEO. May, who has served as Deere's president and chief operating officer since April 2019, will assume the CEO role on November 4, 2019. May will take the place of Samuel Allen, who will continue as chairman after he steps down from the CEO role. Allen says May’s experience in precision agriculture, information technology, and overseas operations “will be instrumental in driving the company's digitalization journey and extending its success in agricultural and construction equipment." May becomes the 10th chief executive in the company's 182-year history. The 50-year-old May joined Deere in 1997 and became part of the senior management team in 2012 as president, agricultural solutions and chief information officer. Last year, he was named president, of the Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division. Earlier in his career, May headed the company's China operations, served as factory manager at an Iowa Deere facility and was vice president of the turf and utility platform.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 30, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Economic Growth and Spending, Broken There is a lot of angst around the country just now regarding the prospects for the medium-term economic outlook. In that context, the Washington Post is carrying an Op-Ed by Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, who writes that the large and growing budget deficit for FY 2018 of $779 billion is a huge jump over the prior year’s level and a particularly large deficit considering the strong underlying economy. Bernstein says that the Trump administration, with its tax cut, has broken a key fiscal function. In the past when employment was high tax revenues as a share of the economy were expected to rise significantly, deficits were expected to fall. Instead, revenues recently have gone way down, and deficits have climbed. He argues that this is primarily because the recent tax cuts have significantly cut the amount of federal tax revenue being spun off for any given growth rate. Increased spending also played a role, he says, but “not as large a one as the tax cuts.” If this sounds out of sync with Republican claims that “tax cuts will pay for themselves,” that’s because it is. They don’t … never did … never will, he asserts. Bernstein presents data back to the mid-1940s and calculated the average deficit as a share of GDP. In every year since the late 1940s when unemployment rate was at or below 4.5% (it’s currently 3.7%) the average deficit was 0.4%, as opposed to the 3.9% for 2018. This shows, he says, a shift in the heretofore “tight correlation between deficit and unemployment rates.” For example, he notes that in both fiscal 2000 and 2018, the unemployment rate was 4%. In 2000, the strong economy teamed up with the structure of the tax code generated revenues to the Treasury of 20% of GDP. This year, that share fell to 16.5%. Bernstein expects that advocates of the tax cuts will point to the difference in the spending between the two years, but uses projections by Congressional Budget Office to compare the two periods. The CBO projected in the summer of 2017, before the tax cuts and this year’s spending deal, that we’d spend 20.5% of GDP this year, almost exactly what happened (20.3%). But CBO also thought, ahead of the tax cut that we’d collect 17.7% of GDP in revenues when the actual was, as shown, 16.5%. This diminished revenue figure is the key difference between what CBO expected then and what occurred, he says. He sees this difference as highly important. Based on our aging demographics alone, we will need more revenue over the next decade, not less. Add in geopolitical threats, climate change and the damage from increasingly intense storms, infrastructure, the need to push back on poverty and inequality, as well as counter-cyclical fiscal policy that will be needed for the next downturn and he concludes that “it’s not hard to understand why a rising deficit at full economic capacity is so ill-advised.” These observations lead him to conclude that it is necessary to take steps to claw back the lost revenue, as well as to look for reasonable savings on the spending side. He thinks this will be hard, given claims from administration officials who believe that expected strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path. He calls that “magical thinking” and also argues that the red ink we learned about this week is merely the beginning of a tide that will only, absent corrective action, get larger. Here it seems we have the basis for an intense debate, both between the parties and within them. The administration wants a bustling economy and it seems completely unwilling to be deterred by implications of growing deficits and debt. At the same time, many of the Democratic contenders are proposing large, strong government programs to do many things and have been willing to argue that “modern economics” leads to less prominent concerns about debt levels and deficits—although their spending priorities are very different than most of those proposed by the administration. That raises the question of who will focus on the debt, and whether that concern will—or won’t—constrain ambitions for government programs, given the many, many concerns regarding urgent public needs. It still seems that debt worries have not disappeared entirely, and that possibly Bernstein’s former link to a top democratic contender may mean new policy efforts from that direction. So, we will see. The Post carried the Bernstein note but did not weigh in on the intensity and potential political impact of the debt issue—or of its absence. Nevertheless, this is a fight that can be expected to emerge at some point and which should be watched closely by producers and others as it does, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 30, 2019 |


USDA Again Cuts FY 2019 US Agricultural Export Outlook U.S. agricultural exports are now forecast at $134.5 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down $2.5 billion from May's forecast of $137 billion, according to USDA's August 2019 Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Exports. If those export numbers hold they would be the lowest since FY 2016 when U.S. agricultural exports were valued at $129.6 billion. It would also mark first year since FY 2016 that exports have not reached at least $140 billion. The value of U.S. agricultural imports held steady at a record $129 billion, the same as the May forecast. If the forecast comes to pass, it would mark three years in a row of record import values. The decline in ag exports is forecast to put the U.S. agricultural trade surplus at just $5.3 billion, down $2.8 billion from May's forecast of $8 billion and around one third of the $15.8 billion surplus registered for FY 2018. If realized, it would be the smallest U.S. agricultural trade surplus since FY 2006 when it stood at $4.6 billion.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 30, 2019 |


China Mulls Next Moves After Latest Trade War Escalations China Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday (August 29) Beijing "firmly reject[s] an escalation of the trade war," adding that it remains "willing to negotiate and collaborate in order to solve this problem with calm attitude." China will not immediately retaliate over the duties announced by President Donald Trump that are set to take effect this weekend, Gao stated. "China has ample means for retaliation but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war," he said. Gao noted that the U.S. and China have maintained "effective communications" since the last set of face-to-face talks in Shanghai in July. He added that the two sides are "still discussing" whether Chinese negotiators will travel to Washington for more in person talks in September. On the U.S. side, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said officials still anticipate additional talks, but would not confirm whether the previously planned September meeting is still on tap. "We continue to have conversations. We’re planning for them to come," he told Bloomberg in an interview.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 30, 2019 |


Friday Watch List Markets Early Friday we'll be watching personal income, consumer spending and core inflation reports to be released. DTN will also be watching for deliveries on expiring September futures contracts, updated longer term weather outlooks and any news regarding new biofuel incentives and U.S.--China trade talks. Weather Heavy rain and flash flooding are in store for the southeastern Plains Friday. Other crop areas will be dry. Temperatures will be seasonal to below normal north and central, keeping crop progress slow. Meanwhile, Hurricane Dorian in the western Atlantic Ocean is forecast to reach major hurricane status during Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 29, 2019 |


Perdue Calls for Investigation Into Cattle Markets After Kansas Fire U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has been monitoring the impact of a fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. As a part of that monitoring effort, Perdue says, “I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition, or other unfair practices.” Perdue says if any unfair practices are found, his agency will take quick enforcement action. The USDA remains in close contact with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact on the industry. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was pleased with Perdue’s announcement. NCBA President Jennifer Houston says the announcement demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Kansas. “We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in the investigation,” she says. “We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women.” ********************************************************************************************** The List of Asian Countries Battling ASF Continues to Grow African Swine Fever has now claimed another country in Asia. The disease is now in Myanmar (ME-yahn-mar), a country west of the previous known outbreaks. A National Pork Board release says if eastern Russia is included, that makes eight Asian countries that are struggling with the disease. The World Organization for Animal Health says two provinces in far-eastern Russia that aren’t far from the Chinese border have recently reported new outbreaks of the disease on multiple farms. While ASF cases have been found in eastern Russia before, these provinces hadn’t been affected by outbreaks until recently. The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization says Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation confirmed the first ASF outbreak occurred on August 1. It’s in the northwest part of the country near the Chinese border. Other outbreaks then occurred on August 10 and 11, respectively, also in the northeast part of the country. Elsewhere, officials in the Philippines have seen suspiciously high mortality in backyard pigs recently. As a result, the multi-island nation is setting up animal inspection points and a quarantine area so officials can check pigs for signs of African Swine Fever. Many cities and provinces within the country are taking additional action to help prevent the spread of ASF. ********************************************************************************************** Michigan Lawmakers Ask Trump to “Stop Choosing Oil” Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters recently joined five other senators in asking the Trump Administration to support a strong Renewable Fuels Standard. The administration recently took more action to benefit oil companies and undercut American-grown biofuels. The Environmental Protection Agency issued 31 small refinery hardship waivers, which allows oil companies to blend less biofuel into gasoline. The August 8 announcement effectively cut demand for biofuels by over 1.4 billion gallons. Stabenow says, “The President needs to stop putting the interests of big oil companies ahead of farmers who are already struggling thanks to the administration.” The effect of the 31 small refinery waivers is compounded by the 54 additional waivers the EPA has granted over the last two years.” “I’m disappointed that our farmers continue to be undermined by the Trump Administration’s waivers for big oil companies,” Peters says. “The RFS was created to reduce our reliance on foreign oil sources and shift us to homegrown biofuels that we grow and produce domestically.” The Administration’s use of waivers has increased 370 percent, with some of them going to the world’s largest oil companies. Recently, more than 13 ethanol plants and eight biodiesel plants have idled their production or shut down entirely across the country. ********************************************************************************************** Hemp Production and Processing Rules Expected in September The USDA is expected to issue new rules for growing and testing hemp sometime next month. Capital Press reports that has farmers feeling anxious about establishing consistent standards for producing the booming crop. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon tells the Capital Press that he expects the USDA to issue those regulations sometimes within the next two to four weeks. Wyden was one of the sponsors of legislation decriminalizing hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 passed with bipartisan support and classified hemp as an agricultural product. “I think it’s pretty obvious that you are on the right side of history,” Wyden said during remarks to a crowd at the Western U.S. Hemp Growers Conference and Expo on August 19 in Portland, Oregon. “You don’t have thousands of farmers moving into this space for nothing. Hemp can be used to make multiple products like paper, textiles, clothing, and building materials. The primary use in the market today is for an extract called CBD Oil, which companies put into everything from cosmetics to beverage, touting health benefits. ********************************************************************************************** Coalition Says Tariff Increases “Come at the Worst Possible Time” Americans for Free Trade has a lot to say about the pending U.S. tariff increases on Chinese goods. The coalition of over 160 businesses set a letter to President Trump asking him to postpone tariff increases that are scheduled to take effect next week. The association says the proposed tariff increases come as consumers draw nearer to the holiday shopping season, which means costs will rise in the coming months. The letter says, “These tariff rate increases, some starting as early as Sunday, come at the worst possible time, right in the middle of the busy holiday shopping period. U.S. consumers are driving the growth of the U.S. economy and we want to ensure that their confidence remains high.” Americans for Free Trade represents many of the sectors and products that will be hit hardest by recent trade war escalation. Starting on September 1, approximately $112 billion in goods will be hit by a 15 percent tariff, including products that range from clothing and footwear to televisions and Christmas decorations. “We want to ensure that economic prosperity continues for the American families, farmers, and workers we employ every day.” ********************************************************************************************* Conagra Teams With HSUSA on Chicken Welfare Standards Conagra Brands recently announced steps it will implement when it comes to company treatment of broiler chickens in its supply chain sourcing practices. The company worked with the Humane Society of the U.S. on the new goals, which add higher standards to the company’s existing broiler policy. Conagra says it will work with suppliers, peers, and external stakeholders to implement several improvements in its treatment of chickens by 2024. Among the improvements, Conagra says it will provide birds with more space to perform natural behaviors, including a stocking density of no greater than six pounds per square foot and no use of broiler cages. They’ll also be tracking supplier compliance with the new standards through third-party auditing. In a statement, Conagra says it’s proud to work with the Humane Society of the United States, as well as others in the food industry, to take meaningful steps toward positive change in broiler chicken welfare practices. HUSU says, “We applaud Conagra for addressing the most pressing concerns related to chicken meat production.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 29, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Collateral Issues and the China Trade Battle A political factor in the U.S.-China trade war is attracting the attention of the urban press this week. For example, the New York Times gave front-page coverage to a story about farmer concerns over President Trump’s trade war. Also, The Hill highlighted a quote from “Iowa corn farmers” charging that the government put us in “one hell of a bad situation.” At least one trade association was hammering the President for approving what it called 31 “unjustified” refinery waivers tied to ethanol, along with his growing trade war with China. It said those two issues, combined with the effects of climate change, are forcing the value of Iowa corn to drop ahead of harvest season. The farmer group also charged that while the President has sought to cast himself as a staunch supporter of American farmers, the U.S. agricultural community has been disproportionately harmed as China targets farm products in an apparent attempt to hit some of Trump’s main backers. Meanwhile, the President is continuing to argue that while the trade war may cause some “short term” pain,” farmers will be “big winners.” The Times article emphasized a sophisticated aspect of this issue, the fact that in the current fight American farmers’ woes are collateral damage in a war that the administration is using to help manufacturers and others it believes were hurt by China’s trade practices—although the issues involved are not mainly agricultural. More than a year into the dispute, sales of American soybeans, pork, wheat and other ag products to China have dried up as Beijing retaliates against U.S. tariffs, the Times notes. Lucrative contracts that farmers long relied on for significant sources of income have evaporated, with Chinese buyers looking to other nations like Brazil and Canada to get the commodities they need. While the Times focuses on farm market pressures, it also thinks they have generally “remained resolute,” as the President continues to argue that his trade policies will help the agricultural industry in the end—even as questions grow regarding what those benefits may turn out to be. “We’re not starting to do great again,” Brian Thalmann, the president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association told Ag Secretary Perdue at a recent event. “Things are going downhill and downhill quickly.” On Monday, after a 72-hour period during which Trump twice escalated his trade war with China, Thalmann said he could no longer support the President as he did in 2016. Losing the world’s most populous country as an export market has been a major blow to the agriculture industry. Total American agricultural exports to China were $24 billion in 2014 and fell to $9.1 billion last year, the Times says and exports of farm products to China fell by $1.3 billion in the first half of the year. The administration also has tried to mollify farmers by rolling out two financial aid packages totaling $28 billion—and is looking for other ways to help farmers, including additional trade deals such as the one recently described between the U.S. and Japan. Last Thursday, President Trump summoned Perdue and Andrew Wheeler, who heads the EPA, to the White House to discuss options for increasing ethanol demand. The three came up with a package of policies that Trump plans to unveil at a White House ceremony in the next week that the Times expects to keep the waivers for ethanol refineries in place, while slightly increasing federal mandates for production of corn-based ethanol and biodiesel and allowing vehicles that use high-ethanol blends of gasoline to qualify for special EPA credits. Perdue is a somewhat unlikely lieutenant in the administration’s trade war, the Times says because as Georgia’s governor, he worked to strengthen ties between the state and Chin. But as a member of the administration, he has been a staunch backer of the President’s policies, publicly defending tariffs, working to shrink the federal government and expressing doubts about the science behind climate change. At Minnesota’s recent Farmfest, it was clear that Perdue’s Southern charm could go only so far. His answers to questions about how the trade war with China would end were curt the Times said. Last week, USDA staff members in Nebraska left the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour after receiving a threat from an angry farmer. An organizer of the event told the Times that farmers have been venting to government employees about depressed crop prices, falling farm income and lack of access to credit. “This is a stressful time in agriculture,” said Joel Jaeger, the general manager of Pro Farmer. “There’s certainly a lot of stress in the farm community.” The fact is that one of the reasons trade negotiations are so tough is that they typically involve significant “collateral issues.” Thus, ag producers now are increasingly arguing that the trade fight that risks well established, lucrative ag markets in an effort to strengthen non-ag sectors like manufacturing are unfair and that government trade aid payments are greatly insufficient. In fact, collateral issues always involve very difficult issues—and almost always provide very attractive targets for the “other side” to exploit, as the Chinese are doing now. So, what this debate may mean for future U.S. policies remains to be seen, but the fight appears to be growing increasingly confrontational and difficult, and should be watched closely as it intensifies Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 29, 2019 |


USDA Releases Study Showing Waterway Investment Benefits to US Ag USDA unveiled a new study detailing the importance of inland waterways to U.S. agriculture and the economic benefits that additional investments could yield. The study, prepared by Informa Agribusiness Intelligence, found the U.S. inland waterways system employed nearly 256,000 Americans and contributed $27.2 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. It determined that additional investments totaling $6.3 billion over the next 10 years and $0.4 billion per year thereafter would see inland waterways contribute $64.6 billion to U.S. GDP by 2045, and employ some 472,000 people. The study considered the impact of dredging the lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge through New Orleans and the Southwest Pass into the Gulf of Mexico. It found the project - along with other waterway investments - would increase the market value of corn and soybeans by $39 billion by 2045 compared with the status quo of no additional investments, including new dredging. “Water transport is the most efficient, cost-effective transportation for our producers, and our waterways keep the American exporter the most competitive in the world," USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement accompanying the report. "President Trump has made it a priority to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure and invest in our rural communities, and his goal to reestablish America’s economic prowess on the global stage can be furthered by rebuilding our waterways to support agriculture exports. We must continue to invest in modernizing our lock and dam infrastructure that flows through the heartland of agricultural production," he concluded.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 29, 2019 |


USDA Announces Hemp Crop Insurance Coverage For 2020 Production Crop insurance for hemp production will be available for the 2020 crop year via the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program, according to USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). Producers can obtain WFRP coverage for hemp now if they are part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Other producers cannot obtain coverage until a USDA-approved plan is in place. But USDA has not completed the rulemaking process on the hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill, with plans to finalize the rules this fall. WFRP allows coverage of all revenue for commodities produced on a farm up to a total insured revenue of $8.5 million. The 2018 Farm Bill amended the Controlled Substances Act to address how industrial hemp is to be defined and regulated at the federal level.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 29, 2019 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Personal income, consumer spending and core inflation will be closely watched for signs of a slowing economy. DTN will be watching U.S. export sales on especially corn and soybeans, along with updated weather forecasts and any news on U.S. trade deals with China and Japan. Weather Light rain or showers will develop in the northern Midwest during Thursday. Heavier showers and a few thunderstorms may occur late Thursday or during Thursday night in the southwest Midwest and the east-central Plains area. This activity may become locally heavy. Mainly dry elsewhere in the key U.S. and Canada crop areas Thursday. Temperatures continue to average below normal today over the Canadian Prairies and the Northern Plains while the Midwest should see near to below normal temperatures. Hurricane Dorian will move towards the northwest east of the Bahamas today and Friday. A turn towards the west after that with a threat to Florida's east coast by Sunday night.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 28, 2019 |


Beijing “Not Aware” of Weekend Calls with Trump President Donald Trump claims China is ready to return to the negotiating table, but China says they don’t know who the President talked to over the weekend. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry told reporters “I am not aware of the phone calls over the weekend.” Trump claims Chinese officials called top U.S. trade officials to say, “let’s get back to the table.” However, China refutes the claim, and hopes the U.S. will “remain calm, return to reason, and immediately stop its wrong approach,” referring to the trade war escalation and Trump’s order against U.S. companies doing business in China. However, the order met pushback from the stock market and the U.S. business sector. China replied, “We hope the U.S. will heed the views from various sectors, calculate its gains and losses, and come to prudent rather than hot-headed decisions.” Over the phone negotiations were set to resume this week and Chinese officials are scheduled to meet in Washington with the U.S. for negotiations next month. ************************************************************************************* RFA: EPA Rejected White House Recommendation on Waivers The Renewable Fuels Association claims White House documents show the Environmental Protection Agency ignored Trump Administration recommendations on small refinery waivers. Documents obtained by the association apparently show the EPA ignored strong recommendations from within the Trump Administration to redistribute Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations lost to small refinery exemptions in the proposed rule for 2020 volumes. According to the documents, which detail the White House Office of Management and Budget’s interagency review of the 2020 RVO proposal, some reviewers within the administration raised concerns about EPA’s failure to redistribute exempted biofuel blending volumes to non-exempt parties. The documents recommended that EPA include prospective redistribution of waived volumes in the 2020 proposal and suggested a method for addressing a court order to restore 500 million gallons of blending obligations inappropriately waived in 2016. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the documents “will only exacerbate the outrage and anger in farm country over EPA’s abuse of the small refinery waiver provision.” Cooper says the EPA “must adopt the prospective reallocation approach.” ************************************************************************************* Hemp Crop Insurance Coverage Available for 2020 Certain industrial hemp growers will be able to obtain insurance coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection program for crop year 2020. The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency Tuesday announced coverage for hemp grown for fiber, flower or seeds. The coverage will be available to producers who are in areas covered by USDA-approved hemp plans or who are part of approved state or university research pilot programs. RMA Administrator Martin Barbre says producers “are anxious for a way to protect their hemp crop,” adding that the policy will “provide a safety net for them.” Producers can obtain the coverage for hemp now if they are part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Other producers cannot obtain coverage until a USDA-approved plan is in place. The program allows coverage of all revenue for commodities produced on a farm up to a total insured revenue of $8.5 million. It is popular for specialty crops, organic commodities and non-traditional crops. ************************************************************************************* Vilsack, Grassley, Tout USMCA in Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touted the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement this week while touring an Iowa dairy processor. Grassley, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a prominent Agriculture Committee member, says “There’s going to be tens of thousands of jobs created” stemming from USMCA. The two toured AE Dairy in Des Moines, Iowa, a dairy plant that will benefit from the trade agreement, once signed. Vilsack of Iowa, who served as Agriculture Secretary for President Obama, is the current CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Speaking during the event, Vilsack stated, “USMCA makes vital improvements to NAFTA and its passage is necessary to modernize trade in North America.” According to a recent International Trade Commission Report, USMCA could mean up to $314 million in additional dairy sales. Agriculture remains hopeful lawmakers will consider the agreement when they return from the August recess. Washington insiders expect Congress won’t consider the agreement until November or December of this year. ************************************************************************************* National Pork Board to Host First-Ever Swine Innovation Summit The National Pork Board will host the inaugural Swine Innovation Summit in Indianapolis on September 17, 2019. NPB bills the Summit as a special event, prior to the Forbes AgTech Summit in Indianapolis. The program seeks to help pork producers and food influencers better understand emerging technology trends facing today’s food production systems. NPB says today’s food production systems are undergoing explosive change and the animal agriculture industry needs to prepare in order to keep pace. The Swine Innovation Summit will focus on three key drivers of change including emerging technology, new and dynamic business models and consumer behaviors which impact shopping preferences and food choices. An NPB spokesperson says, “In the span of a few short hours, we intend to educate today’s pig farmers on what they need to know and how they must adapt to the changing world in which we live.” NPB is offering the conference free of charge to pig farmers, swine veterinarians, authorized academics and allied industry. Learn more at pork.org. ************************************************************************************* KFC Testing Beyond Fried Chicken KFC announced the brief introduction of Beyond Fried Chicken in a trial run, a meat-free alternative to its staple products. In partnership with Beyond Meat, the fast food chain tested the new offering briefly Tuesday at an Atlanta, Georgia, location. Customer feedback from the Atlanta test will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout. Beyond Fried Chicken is fried to order. It is available as a nugget or as a boneless wing. The products are 100 percent plant-based, and Beyond Meat says they are prepared in a dedicated fryer. In a news release, , KFC president and chief concept officer Kevin Hochman stated, “our customers will find it difficult to tell that it’s plant-based.” Beyond Meat continues to grow its line of meat-imitating products through fast food restaurant chains. Within the last month, Beyond Meat announced product offerings at Subway and Dunkin Donuts, along with including in meal delivery companies Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 28, 2019 |


Washington Insider: The President’s Stark Choice It seems that the world of trade and economic policy has gotten quite a lot more challenging in recent days, and the urban press has noticed. For example, the New York Times says that the administration has recently sent numerous conflicting signals on trade policy — and that in addition to the impact of protectionist policies themselves, the uncertainty and anxiety from conflicting policy moves are also negative market factors. Overall, the Times says, the president can try to sever the deeply intertwined American commercial relationship with China, or he can prod economic growth to assuage the fears of investors around the planet. “But he cannot do both at the same time,” the report asserts. The Times waxes a little poetic about all of this—it proclaims that the President “can disregard the admonitions of news outlets he derides as fake news. He can simply consult the one source whose verdicts he tends to celebrate: the stock market.” There’s proof, NYT says — among those who control money, portents of further trade hostilities lead to stock sales “with abandon” while amplifying talk of recession. By contrast, intimations of a deal reverberate as a clarion call to buy, sending share prices higher while easing worries about a potential global economic downturn. Talk of a trade deal with China makes for happy stock markets. However, thunderous threats of fresh tariffs on Chinese goods and efforts to push American industry to forsake China damage share prices and shrink economic growth prospects — even as they bring approval from Trump’s most ardent political supporters who portray the trade war as a tough but necessary piece of business, too long avoided by the cowards who resided at the White House before. NYT recounts that on Friday the president unleashed furious threats toward China and vowed to raise tariffs on $550 billion of Chinese goods and declared China’s president, Xi Jinping, whom he had previously called a “good man,” an “enemy.” And he commanded American companies to abandon China and start making their products in the United States. In markets around the globe, investors reacted to these developments as powerful signals to yank their money to safety. They reacted as if much of the globe suddenly appeared riskier, the Times said. The Times also notes that the trade war that has escalated over the last year has already produced distress. For much of the world, countries that are innocent bystanders will actually suffer “even more than the United States and China,” said Louis Kuijs, the Hong Kong-based head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics. “There is not going to be any de-escalation any time soon.” While the U.S. is still growing, with an unemployment rate lower than it had been in half a century, companies are deferring investments as they puzzle over the impact of trade hostilities. Such a slowdown in investment could eventually prompt households to curb their spending and lower growth, the Times says. Long before Trump took office, American governments complained about China and its failed promises to open its markets—and on its lavish subsidies for state-owned companies. It turned itself into an export juggernaut while ignoring labor and environmental standards. The administration sees no solution in slow-moving cases at the WTO but often pushes for a fundamental redrawing of commercial geography. In that view, the American economy should “decouple” from China, the Times says. The president’s recent pronouncements appear to underscore that he is truly “willing to see Americans accept the costs”—plunging stock markets, weakening investment—for a wholly new sort of relationship with China as adversary. “The potential outcomes are many, but none of them involve the world’s getting richer, the Times said. So, by Sunday morning, at the Group of 7 summit in France, the President was expressing “second thoughts” about his new tariffs and by Monday he was calling Xi a “great leader” and reporting that China was interested in resuming trade talks. Stock markets were buoyant. At least for a few hours, the bewildering notion that the United States and China were dissolving ties could be forgotten. Throughout the administration’s tenure, trade experts have struggled to separate its real policy aims and beliefs from negotiating ploys. Many administration positions are seen as perpetually flexible, depending on which advisers have the President’s ear — and on the tenor of television conversations about economic growth prospects and—especially — the stock market. In addition, key advisers — like USTR Robert Lighthizer and chief trade adviser, Peter Navarro, author of a book called “Death by China” — urge the president to untether the American economy from China. At the same time, other advisors such as Larry Kudlow, who leads the National Economic Council and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tend to focus on areas of interest to investors, not least share prices. While President Trump is famously adept at maintaining positions that seem mutually exclusive, the Times says, the trade war threatens to force him to choose between it and economic growth. In Beijing and Washington alike, hard-liners have dug in, shrinking room for a compromise. In both capitals, a sense of permanent alteration has transpired, a deepening assumption that — whatever comes next — China and the United States will proceed with profound wariness. The Times concludes that for the global economy, that could entail grave uncertainties and perils. So, we will see. So far, it seems as if policy uncertainty has been worsening, rather than clarifying — but it also seems that pushback from the Congress and the industries is growing. These are key trends and will affect both economic and political trends—and which should be watched closely by producers through the coming months, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 28, 2019 |


Bankruptcy Filings in Farm Country Climb Farm bankruptcy filings in the year through June were up 13% from 2018, and loan delinquency rates are on the rise, according to the American Farm Bureau. A challenging growing season, low prices, liberal use of Renewable Fuel Standard waivers and, of course, trade policy, are straining the ag sector, the group noted. President Donald Trump signed into law a measure that would more than triple the debt cap on Chapter 12 bankruptcy to $10 million from a prior $3.237 million. While the level of bankruptcies is up, they still are well below the levels seen during the farm crisis in the 1980s. This also puts more attention on the Friday update from USDA on U.S. farm income.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 28, 2019 |


Perdue Refutes EPA Claim On Small Refiner Exemptions USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue delivered a strong rejection of EPA's claim small refinery exemptions (SREs) are having "zero impact" on corn ethanol producers. "I would refute the comment" as "[there is a] negative impact" on ethanol production from the waivers, Perdue told IEG Policy in a Virginia appearance. EPA "likes to point to export totals of ethanol production, which is good and healthy" to argue the waivers are not hurting ethanol producers, he noted. While welcoming ethanol exports, Perdue stated, "the demand destruction over domestic usage has been affected by the small refinery waivers." Perdue pointed out that with a 15 billion gallon mandate for conventional ethanol, “every time you issue a waiver, you decrease that [obligation], which decreases corn use, and that decreases ethanol capacity for the American producer.” Perdue cited a need to boost the infrastructure for E15 fuel as one way to help offset the small refiner exemptions.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 28, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets There are no significant government financial reports out on Wednesday. DTN will be watching for new September weather outlooks and any news regarding trade agreements, especially with China and Japan. Weather Rain is expected through the northeast U.S. during Wednesday, showers through the Texas and Louisiana areas. Mainly dry elsewhere in key U.S. growing areas. Light rain through the eastern Canadian Prairies. Temperatures averaging below normal through the Canadian Prairies, the Northern and central Plains and the Midwest regions during Wednesday will slow development of filling crops. Tropical storm Erin will be southeast of the Carolinas Wednesday. Tropical storm Dorian will move through the northeast Caribbean near Puerto Rico.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 27, 2019 |


Japan Agreement to Restore U.S. Benefits in TPP The trade agreement announced over the weekend between the U.S. and Japan should close the tariff gap created when President Trump removed the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Details have yet to be announced, but agriculture groups expect the tariff levels to be comparable to those of other nations who continued the TPP negotiation without the United States. While there are details yet to be worked out, U.S. Grains Council CEO Ryan LeGrande says, "lowering market access barriers with one of our most valuable and loyal grain buyers is a critical win-win.” LeGrande says the deal will level the playing field for U.S. agriculture. The agreement is expected to be finalized and signed late next month in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly meeting. Meanwhile, following last week’s turbulent developments in the trade war with China, President Trump Monday said the two sides would resume negotiations. China announced retaliatory tariffs Friday, including increased tariffs on U.S. ag products, prompting Trump to do the same. ************************************************************************************* U.S. Farms Paying Cost of Retaliatory Tariffs U.S. farmers are taking the brunt of retaliatory tariffs, according to a recent CoBank report. The report confirms what the industry has pointed out over the course of the trade war, that China is targeting U.S. farm products in retaliation. In an analysis of 11 U.S. agricultural commodities representing a cross-section of agricultural exports, U.S. producers - not the importing country or its consumers - paid much of the cost of these tariffs in all but two cases. CoBank says the impact of retaliatory tariffs placed on U.S. farm products reflects the lopsided balance of power between U.S. producers and their importing customers. The nature of agricultural products, inventories with long shelf lives, and ease of identifying and sourcing suitable substitutes are among the factors that give importing customers the upper hand. The report says that with the prospect of declining bargaining power, U.S. producers of most agricultural commodities will face pressure to absorb more of the costs of retaliatory tariffs in the future. ************************************************************************************* Amazon Fires Could Alter Global Soy Trade Fires in the Amazon are likely to alter global soy trade in the future. Jim Bower of Bower Trading points out in his daily newsletter that many of the fires are started by humans to clear the land for crops. More than 75,000 fires have been reported since January, an 84 percent annual increase. Bower suspects that China is behind the increase as the trade war between the U.S. and China is escalating. China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, is seeking alternate markets after blocking imports from the United States, even though China made small purchases of U.S. soybeans last week. The land clearing of the Amazon is seen as a way to capture soy demand previously filled by U.S. producers. If true, the increase in production area in Brazil could permanently change soybean trade. The fires had the attention of the G7 Summit in Europe, with some nations saying they would block a trade agreement between the European Union and Brazil until Brazil takes action. ************************************************************************************* Ethanol Plant Representatives Ask Trump to Stop EPA Waivers The ethanol industry is asking President Trump to restore biofuel demand that was damaged by small refinery waivers. The Waivers exempt refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard, and effectively reduce the blending targets set under the RFS, according to Growth Energy. On Monday, the group, along with several workers from ethanol plants across the county, penned a letter to Trump asking the President to restore the demand. The letter points to the billions of gallons of “lost” biofuel demand, leading to ethanol plants idling production or shutting down. Each time a plant idles production, the letter states that “farmers are notified that biofuel producers can no longer accept grain deliveries, and the impact has been devastating for communities already on the edge.” Farm income is now down by half since the start of this year alone, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the EPA “must immediately repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions and get lost gallons back into the marketplace.” ************************************************************************************* Trump Signs Family Farmer Relief Act President Trump last week signed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019. The law raises the Chapter 12 debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million. The bipartisan bill “will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times,” according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. The law allows more farmers the opportunity to qualify under Chapter 12 bankruptcies and gives producers and their creditors a better chance to reorganize and avoid mass liquidation. A recent AFBF analysis found the delinquency rates for commercial agricultural loans in both the real estate and non-real estate lending sectors are at a six-year high. The bill was introduced this spring and passed both chambers of Congress earlier this month. House sponsor, Representative Antonio Delgado of New York, says the changes reflect the increase in land values, as well as the growth over time in the average size of U.S. farming operations and are meant to provide farmers additional options to manage the downturn in the farm economy. ************************************************************************************* Sorghum Checkoff Hosts International Buyers The Sorghum checkoff Monday welcomed a group of international buyers interested in grain sorghum as part of the Export Sorghum event. The one-day expo in Dallas, Texas, included more than 65 international buyers. Sorghum Checkoff executive director Florentino Lopez says the event “serves as our opportunity to share the value of U.S. sorghum.” Export Sorghum is centered around creating networking opportunities while providing buyers with information to help them make sorghum the “smart choice” for their feed grain solutions. Attendees of the event also tour parts of the U.S. to experience sorghum production and the value chain firsthand while developing relationships with U.S. sorghum farmers and suppliers. The Sorghum Checkoff says sorghum has proven to be a reliable ingredient across several industries including swine, poultry, beef, dairy and human food, increasing export opportunity. The event was held in conjunction with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, in coordination with the U.S. Grains Council, Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 27, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Breaking Ties With China Trade issues continue to have top billing in the media this week and there is a new wrinkle — whether or not the president has the authority to force American companies to cut ties with China. He claims that he can do that and at least a couple of White House aides agree, Bloomberg says, but notes that numerous trade experts and others question such a policy. And, the more important question is whether or not he seriously plans to assert such powers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on a Sunday talk show said the president would have the ability under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act but that he would first need to define and declare “an emergency.” White House economic director Larry Kudlow agreed — but went further to argue that “there’s nothing right now in the cards” to do so.” The president cited the 1977 measure late Friday, saying it gave him the power and declaring, “Case closed!” In addition, Bloomberg noted “some China hardliners in the administration have been urging the president to invoke the law on a number of fronts over the past two years.” Bloomberg called the approach “extreme,” but opined that it could be a way to take aim at operations of American businesses ranging from automakers General Motors Co. and Tesla Inc., to industrial companies such as Caterpillar Inc. and retail giants including Walmart Inc. Bloomberg also said that applying the IEEPA in this fashion was never the intent of the legislation — but that this wouldn’t be the first time the administration has looked into it. The president cited the law when he threatened in May to place levies on Mexican goods as a way to force curbs on the flow of undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexican border. The intensifying trade battle between the world’s two largest economies and the potential for pushing the limits of presidential authority earlier roiled markets with the Dow Jones Industrial falling 623 points on Friday before strengthening somewhat on Monday. Mnuchin and Kudlow fielded questions Sunday after the president said he “hereby ordered” American companies to seek alternatives to business in China, including moving operations “home and making your products in the USA.” The president’s comments were followed hours later by tweets declaring that the U.S. would increase the rate of existing and impending tariffs on Chinese goods in response to China’s earlier announcement that it was planning to retaliate against earlier U.S. tariffs. Trump’s Friday warning reflected the possibility of a long trade war, Mnuchin said. Kudlow echoed the point, while emphasizing that the president wasn’t currently issuing such an order. “There’s no emergency powers being invoked right now,” Kudlow said. “Ultimately, we do have such authority, but it is not going to be exercised presently. What he is suggesting to American businesses — and it’s something he has said to many companies, in many different forms, on many different occasions — you ought to think about--to the companies — you ought to think about moving your operations and your supply chains away from China.” Trade experts have previously questioned the president’s authority to impose tariffs under IEEPA, which has been used primarily to sanction countries in national security threats, such as Iran during the hostage crisis in 1979-1981. “I’m not saying it’s an easy case to make, but I don’t think it’s laughable,” said Raj Bhala, a specialist in international trade law at the University of Kansas. If the president did invoke IEEPA, he would have to craft a remedy that’s proportional to the threat, Bhala said. Thus, a complete ban on doing business in China probably wouldn’t stand but restrictions on companies dealing with sensitive intellectual property might, he said. The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., responded Saturday with alarm about the prospect of invoking the law. In Trump’s announcement Friday of another wave of higher tariffs, he said existing 25% tariffs on some $250 billion in imports from China would rise to 30% come Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Planned 10% tariffs on a further $300 billion in Chinese goods will be taxed at 15% instead of 10% starting with the first tranche on Sept. 1. Bloomberg said that China is “seriously making” preparations for relations with the U.S. to deteriorate, according to Global Times’ editor-in-chief Hu Xijin. The Global Times is a Chinese tabloid run by the People’s Daily, which is the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party. Hu has said the paper voices opinions that official sources can’t. So, we will see. This increase in trade tensions with China, especially if it continues to worsen, seems to imply a diminishing chance of a new China trade deal and a growing need to cultivate markets elsewhere, as Mnuchin said. The recent especially tough talk all around is not good news for ag producers and suggests that the negotiations should be watched more closely than ever as they proceed, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 27, 2019 |


USDA Food Price Forecasts Hold Mostly Steady USDA made few changes to its food price forecasts for 2019 and 2020, keeping the overall food price inflation outlook for both years at 1.5% to 2.5%. They also still see food away from home (restaurant) prices rising two percent to three percent for both years and grocery store food at home) costs are seen rising 0.5% to 1.5% both in 2019 and 2020. The grocery price increase outlook remains well below the 20-year average and comes after prices at the store rose just 0.4% compared with 2017 when they declined 0.2%. Compared to their prior outlooks, USDA edged down expectations in 2019 for poultry, fresh fruits and cereals and bakery products. While food prices are currently forecast to rise more than the increases for 2018, grocery store costs in particular remain below trend.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 27, 2019 |


Rescinding Prior Small Refiner Exemptions Now Not Expected President Donald Trump and Cabinet officials decided to retain the biofuel blending waivers granted to small refineries but take steps to make up for lost biofuel volumes, according to contacts. The plan under development would encourage the use of gasoline that contains 15% ethanol and would increase by 500 million gallons the amount of conventional renewable fuels that have to be used in mandates, presumably for 2020. A separate quota for biodiesel, typically made from soybeans, would get a 250 million gallon increase for 2021. Additionally, the administration will enhance a program meant to expand U.S. fueling infrastructure and get more ethanol into the system. EPA will adopt a USDA assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with renewable fuel and will expand environmental credits encouraging automakers to produce “flex-fuel” vehicles that can run on high-ethanol gasoline. However, details could still change as the plan has not yet been finalized.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 27, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The Case-Shiller Home Index and the Consumer Confidence Index will be out. DTN will also be watching for any news on the renewal of U.S.-China trade talks and more talk of a U.S.-Japan trade deal alluded to on Monday. Weather Light rain or showers may linger in the eastern and southeastern Midwest region early Tuesday. Showers, a few thundershowers and some rain in the southeast U.S., through the southern Delta and over the Southern Plains. Light rain or showers also for the eastern part of the Canadian Prairies and the northern part of Minnesota. Drier elsewhere in key U.S. and Canada growing areas Tuesday. Filling crops will benefit from any late-August shower activity. However, development will slow with below-normal temperatures, especially through the Northern and central Plains and western Midwest regions. Tropical depression 6 has formed well southeast of North Carolina in the western Atlantic. This system is expected to remain off shore of the U.S. East Coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 26, 2019 |


U.S.-Japan Reach Trade Agreement The United States and Japan reached an agreement over the weekend on an agriculture-related trade deal. The agreement, according to President Trump, will lower tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, although specific details have not been announced. President Trump during a news conference on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France, says the U.S. and Japan hope to finalize the agreement next month. The agreement is expected to increase U.S. access to Japan for beef, pork, wheat, dairy and ethanol. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement closes tariff gaps and allows the U.S. to compete on a level playing field in Japan. Perdue says, “We will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets.” Agriculture groups welcomed the agreement, as the U.S. Meat Export Federation says, “favorable access to Japan is a major win, not only for the U.S. red meat industry but for all of U.S. agriculture.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall stated, “This is much-needed good news on the agricultural trade front.” ********************************************************************************************** Pro Farmer's National Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates Pro Farmer Friday released its crop estimates from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. For corn, Pro Farmer estimates a 13.2 to 14.4 billion bushel crop in 2019, with an average yield of 163.3 bushels per acre. For soybeans, Pro Farmer estimates a 3.49 billion bushel crop, with a yield of 46.1 bushels per acre. Pro Farmer lowered corn harvested acreage 217,000 acres from USDA’s August estimate. The national estimates reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. They take into account data gathered during the Pro Farmer Crop Tour and other factors, such as crop maturity, acreage adjustments, historical differences in tour data versus USDA’s final yields, and areas outside those sampled on Crop Tour. Find state-by-state results and analysis at www.ProFarmer.com ********************************************************************************************** China Purchases U.S. Soybeans Despite Boycott The National Review Dot Com says China bought a small amount of U.S. soybeans last week. The purchase happened in spite of promising to boycott U.S. farm products because of deteriorating trade negotiations with the Trump Administration. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Beijing agreed to a purchase of 9.589 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for the current marketing year. They also agreed to a buy of 66,000 metric tons for the following year, which starts on September 1. An August 5th statement from the Chinese Commerce Ministry said Chinese companies would be boycotting American farm products as a response to the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Despite breaking that boycott, China still isn’t purchasing nearly as many American soybeans as it has in the past. China is the world’s largest soybean importer and spent last year giving most of its business to South America. The administration had said it would impose tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods on September 1. However, the White House later said it would delay imposing them until December. ********************************************************************************************** ASA Responds to Further Trade Dispute Escalation from China China has officially announced it will impose an extra five percent tariff on U.S. soybeans starting on September 1. They’ll also add another 10 percent in duties on other major U.S. crops grown by many American soybean farmers. The latest details come after China vowed last week that it will retaliate if the U.S. goes through with its original plan to increase tariffs on Chinese goods on September 1. ASA President Davie Stephens says, “ASA has strongly requested an end to the tariffs on U.S. beans for more than a year. This escalation will affect us not because of the increased tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time.” He says the longevity of the situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season. Stephens adds that “prospects are narrowing even more now for sales to China, a market that soy growers have valued, nurtured, and respected for many years.” ASA is asking both parties to step up and stop the tariffs and find a resolution that doesn’t target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people, including Chinese citizens and the American public, along with our soybean growers, are the ones actually feeling the effects of the trade war. ********************************************************************************************** Corn Farmers Push President for More Corn Demand Rural America is feeling the impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 small refinery waivers to big oil companies across the country. The waivers are only adding to a list of farmer concerns about markets, trade, and crop conditions. Fifteen ethanol plants have either been shuttered or idled over the past 12 months. One of the most recent plants taken out of production is POET’s Cloverdale facility, with POET specifically citing the most recent waivers as the reason for the decision. As demand for ethanol drops because of the list of waivers, it’s more likely that other plants will follow. A National Corn Growers Association news release says President Trump appears to be reconsidering the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency. The NCGA is currently working with members of the administration and Congress to share solutions to help boost corn demand. Redistributing and accounting for the waived gallons in the upcoming Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) rulemaking is just one of the steps that the administration can take today to help. NCGA is asking corn farmers to submit comments directly to the EPA asking them to do that. Farmers are losing patience with tariffs and trade negotiations and the NCGA says the president needs to remember his promises to American farmers. ********************************************************************************************** NFU Worried Trade Aid Could Undermine Next Farm Bill National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says he’s concerned that billions of dollars in trade aid could have a negative impact on the next farm bill. He says the aid monies the Trump Administration is sending to farmers could undermine political support for the next farm bill. Johnson says it’s important to note that the $16 billion in aid promised to farmers this year exceeds total spending on Title 1 farm programs in a year. Politico says it’s a part of sweeping legislation that already has somewhat tenuous support as political power shifts away from rural voters. Congress also relaxed payment limits for the trade aid program, making it easier for millionaires to qualify. Johnson says, “That’s a dangerous thing. I think a lot of urban congressmen and women are going to look at this and say, ‘there was a lot of damage done in my state in this industry or that industry as a result of the trade disruption – none of them got a nickel in trade help.’” Johnson says the last time an administration used the Commodity Credit Corporation to pay aid to farmers, “their hands were immediately slapped.” He points out that Congress immediately put riders on appropriations bills and said administrations won’t do this again. ********************************************************************************************* Whole Foods CEO Says Alt-Meat is “Highly Processed” Whole Foods was the first retailer that carried Beyond Meat’s vegan “chicken strips” back in 2013. However, the CEO of Whole Foods says he can’t endorse any of today’s plant-based meat substitutes as healthy because of their ingredients. CEO John Mackey has been a vegan for more than 20 years. While he didn’t list any specific names, Mackey tells CNBC that the brands currently “taking the world by storm are highly-processed foods,” as shown in their ingredient lists. “I don’t think eating highly-processed foods is healthy,” he says. “I think people thrive on eating whole foods. As for health, I will not endorse that, which is about as big of a criticism that I’ll do in public.” Mackey believes plant-based alternatives are a more ethical choice and better for the environment. He also tells CNBC in an article that meat substitutes are considered by some as a way for meat-eaters to “re-educate” their palates. Alissa Rumsey is a registered dietitian who told CNBC early this year that, “They aren’t necessarily healthier than beef burgers. They’re totally fine to eat, but there’s no need to replace your beef burger if you don’t enjoy these.” ********************************************************************************************** Federal Court Sends Water Rule Back to EPA A federal court in Georgia says the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act, due to its “vast expansion of jurisdiction over water and lands that typically fall within states’ regulatory authority.” The federal court for the Southern District of Georgia found that the agency overstepped both the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The APA lays out the basic rules on how agencies may propose and establish federal regulations. The Georgia court kept a preliminary injunction in place that prevents the rule from becoming law in 11 states involved with the lawsuit while the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its repeal and replacement of the Obama-era 2015 rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the ruling wasn’t just a victory for the plaintiff states, but also a broad coalition of more than a dozen private-sector groups. “The court ruling is a clear affirmation of exactly what we have been saying for the past five years,” says AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen. “The EPA badly misread Supreme Court precedent and encroached on the traditional powers of the states. They simply ignored the basic principles of the Administrative Procedure Act when issuing this unlawful regulation.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 26, 2019 |


Washington Insider: White House Announces US-Japan Agreement in Principle Bloomberg is reporting this week that the US and Japan have agreed in principle on a trade deal which will slash Japanese tariffs on U.S. beef, pork and other ag products — but will continue to impose tariffs on Japan’s auto exports. President Trump announced the deal Sunday and said Japan also would commit to buy large quantities of U.S. wheat and corn. Bloomberg opined that “Japanese officials may consider that a good deal if they can elicit a promise in return that its automakers will be shielded from threats of more painful tariffs in the future.” The U.S. President and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the agreement in Biarritz, France at the Group of Seven summit following a bilateral meeting earlier in the day. “We’ve agreed in principle,” the President said. “We’ve agreed to every point.” He also referred to a “massive” purchase of wheat and a “very, very large order of corn” that he said would happen quickly. Abe said only that agricultural product purchases, which would be conducted by the private sector, were a possibility. Bloomberg said that Japanese officials had been “spooked by threats of punitive tariffs on Japanese autos and agreed last September to start bilateral trade talks with the U.S.” President Trump has in turn come under pressure from U.S. beef and pork farmers, reeling from the trade war with China, “who have also been hobbled by a tariff disadvantage in the Japanese market compared with competitors from signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade deal he rejected.” The countries have reached consensus on “core elements” and are setting a goal to sign a deal at the end of September during United Nations meetings. Abe also noted that “there is still some work to be done by officials.” If we are to see the entry into force of this trade agreement, I’m quite sure that there will be the immense positive impact on both the Japanese as well as American economies, he said. Bloomberg commented that “while the proposed deal may provide Trump with a fillip as he heads into his campaign for re-election, it remains to be seen how it will be received in Japan, where some officials have said the country should not give up its leverage over U.S. farmers without substantial concessions in return.” Japanese trade agreements generally have to be approved by parliament before going into effect. Japanese media reported earlier that the U.S. and Japan had agreed to an outline deal that would lower tariffs on U.S. beef to levels offered to members of the TPP. Japan and the U.S. agreed last year this would be the maximum possible level. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also commented on the content of the proposed deal, which he said would open markets to $7 billion of products including ethanol, as well as beef, pork, dairy products and wine. He said U.S. tariffs on some Japanese industrial products would be reduced—"but that these would not include cars.” The farming provisions of the deal won some early praise in the U.S. with the National Pork Producers Council and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts among those welcoming a deal they expect “would put U.S. agriculture on an even basis with TPP-member nations.” President Trump had teased the deal throughout the day, saying he was “very close to a major deal with Japan” and that talks had been held over five months. “Frankly, I think what’s happening with China helps with respect to Japan. But it’s a very big deal. It will be one of the biggest deals we’ve ever made with Japan,” he said. So, we will see. The President’s heavy criticism of the U.S. Fed and his suggestions of even tougher tariff levies on future Chinese imports sharply weakened U.S. markets ahead of the G-7 meeting and it remains to be seen how that uncertainty will play out in the days ahead—and how the “agreement in principle” will be received amid all of the ongoing tension. These are fights that should be watched closely by producers as they continue, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 26, 2019 |


NFU President Calls MFP Trade Aid 'Dangerous.’ Trade relief payments to farmers via the Trump administration's Market Facilitation Program (MFP) should have been granted by Congress, Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, told reporters. In July, the Trump administration unveiled a second aid package providing $16 billion more in federal aid for agriculture – including $14.5 billion in payments to farmers – following an 2018 trade mitigation program totaling $12 billion in aid. But rather than basing funds on crop type, MFP 2 sets a per-county rate based on the blend of crops grown in the area, with payments ranging from $15 to $150 an acre, which critics say will cause vast disparities in aid. “It would have made more sense for the money to come through Congress,” Johnson said during a media roundtable in Washington. He said the action is a “dangerous thing USDA did,” expressing concern it could have on the next U.S. farm bill. The group issued a statement when USDA detailed the MFP 2 effort, expressing disappointment that the agency did not include any incentives to reduce production. Johnson said Trump's "strategy of constant escalation and antagonism" has "just made things worse." America's family farmers and ranchers "cannot withstand this kind of pressure much longer,” he observed. Despite NFU’s call, no limitations on production are expected to be implemented.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 26, 2019 |


USDA Official: China Far Short of Soybean Purchase Pledge China has purchased about only half the U.S. soybeans it pledged to buy earlier this year, a USDA official said on Thursday, after a small sale was reported in the weekly sales recap by the agency. USDA Undersecretary for Trade Ted McKinney told Reuters that Beijing was a long way from doing that. "Very publicly in the Oval Office, they made commitments for 20 million metric tons of purchases, and only about 9 or 10 (million tonnes) have been shipped and accepted,” McKinney said on the sidelines of a conference in Chicago, where he later shook hands with a delegation of Chinese buyers. China's Commerce Ministry said on August 5 that Chinese companies had stopped buying U.S. farm products and that it could impose additional tariffs on them, a move that targets rural states that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 26, 2019 |


Monday Watch List Markets After Friday's new tariff news, traders will be looking any trade-related news or comments this week. Weather remains important with row crops still developing and spring wheat being harvested. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Rain, showers and thunderstorms will occur Monday from the northeast and east-central Plains through the Midwest, the north and west Delta and also in the southeast U.S. areas. Rain through the central Midwest area improves soil moisture for filling summer crops. Runoff from recent heavy rainfall in parts of Nebraska and Kansas will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, country roads, farmland and other low-lying spots. Cooler weather returning to the Canadian Prairies, the Northern Plains and the Midwest regions will slow development of already delayed crops. Many crops are vulnerable to damage from an early or even an on-time fall freeze.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 23, 2019 |


USDA Mailing Trade Aid Checks Farmers are seeing payments from the first round of the latest trade aid in the mailbox. Farm Service Agency director Richard Fordyce says the first payments are being mailed out now, and farmers are reporting receiving the checks. Round one of the three potential payments is 50 percent of the overall amount farmers may receive. USDA expects up to $14.5 billion of payments will be sent to farmers, pending on the trade negotiation progress. Another 25 percent of the total would go out later this fall, if the Department of Agriculture deems the payments necessary. The final round, if needed, is planned for some time around January. The payments are meant to offset the losses stemmed from the Trump trade agenda and trade war with China. Payments range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on location. Payments are also available for dairy and hog producers, under certain reporting parameters. This is the second time the Trump administration has used the Market Facilitation Program since the trade war with China began. ************************************************************************************* CBO: Trade War to Slow Economic Growth The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office says the trade war will slow economic growth, adding more fears of a possible recession. The CBO says tariffs, which reduce U.S. gross domestic product through higher prices, reduces consumer purchasing power. The report predicts the economy will grow at 1.8 percent per year over the next decade, below historical average growth rates. Agriculture has already seen the impact of tariffs stemming from the trade war. Agricultural sales to China dropped more than 50 percent since the trade war began, and China recently announced it would no longer buy U.S. ag products. However, a range of developments, such as unexpected changes in international conditions, could make economic outcomes differ significantly. For example, if new trade agreements lowered trade barriers, economic growth could be faster than projected. Conversely, if trade barriers rose higher, domestic investment and output could be slower than projected. Previous private firm reports have suggested the U.S. will enter a recession within the next year if the trade war escalates. ************************************************************************************* Canada-China Relations Strain over Politics, Trade While the U.S. continues its trade war negotiations with China, Canada's relations with China are straining, as well. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada' won't back down' to various disputes with China. Meanwhile, China, which has made a similar warning to the U.S., tells Canada comments regarding the unrest in Hong Kong are not welcome. Specifically, China says, "Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs." China hopes Canada can "reflect on its wrongdoing," regarding Hong Kong and other issues, including those that now impact agricultural trade. China has detained two Canadian citizens and halted imports of canola seed and meat products from Canada. The move was in response to Vancouver police detaining a senior Huawei (Wah-Way) executive on a U.S. arrest warrant in December. China imported 4.8 million metric tons of Canadian canola in 2018, and 1.1 million metric tons of canola oil, supporting more than 16,000 Canadian jobs. China is typically the largest market for Canadian canola, and Canada is the world's largest producer of canola. ************************************************************************************* U.S. Wheat: Trade Deal with Japan Would Ensure Competitiveness U.S. Wheat Associates says a trade deal with Japan would allow U.S. wheat to fairly compete with wheat from other nations exported to Japan. Currently, under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan’s effective tariffs on Canadian and Australian wheat imports are discounted and will continue being discounted to the tariff on U.S. wheat imports. Japanese flour mills prefer and choose to source 50 percent of their annual needs, almost three million metric tons per year on average, of wheat from the United States. However, the CPTPP will grant preferential access to Canada and Australia by reducing the effective tariff on their wheat, eventually a reduction of about $70 per metric ton, or 45 percent below the current tariff on U.S. wheat. A bilateral trade agreement with Japan, which the Trump administration is working on, could reduce the tariff level on U.S. wheat, according to the organization. The U.S. lost the opportunity to level tariffs with other markets when the U.S. left the then-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. ************************************************************************************* Soy Groups Seek Meeting with Trump on Waivers The National Biodiesel Board and American Soybean Association have requested a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss small refinery exemptions. In a letter to the President, NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen (don-NELL Ray-HAY-gen) and ASA President Davie Stephens detail the damage the waivers have dealt the biofuels industry and farmers. The letter, noting the conditions in farm country, says that while many fear an economic recession within the next year, farmers are “already facing a severe economic downturn.” The two groups conclude the letter with a request to meet with the President: "We would appreciate an opportunity to discuss how the administration can repair the uncertainty.” President Trump held a meeting earlier this week to find ways to smooth over farmer anger, specifically related to the small refinery waivers. Biodiesel and ethanol groups start with asking for a reallocation of waived volumes, now estimated at more than four billion gallons. More than 15 ethanol plants have shut down, blaming the demand destruction caused by the waivers. ************************************************************************************* Senators Request USDA IT Review from GOA As farmers report information technology problems with Department of Agriculture programs, two farm-state senators are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate. Senate Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both of Michigan, penned a letter to the GAO this week seeking the review. In 2017, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a major IT modernization at USDA to ensure better customer service to America’s farmers and ranchers. Part of the modernization was the combination of and modernization of the IT systems of three agencies which impact farmers and ranchers most directly. The letter states, “we are particularly interested in whether the changes have improved, interfered with, or added risks for the successful and timely implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.” Michigan dairy farmers have reported to the Senators that IT problems made signing up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage program a challenge. Some farmers even report enrollment took multiple trips to Farm Service Agency offices complete because of IT challenges.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 23, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Trade Fight’s North Dakota Impacts Bloomberg is reporting this week that as economic anxiety has intensified nationwide, the ag industry in North Dakota – on the far northwestern edge of the U.S. farm belt but relatively close to Pacific ports – is reflecting on its earlier economic decisions to invest millions on grain storage and rail-loading infrastructure while boosting plantings by five-fold in 20 years. However, now that “the world’s top soybean importer shuns the U.S. market for a second growing season, Dakota farmers are reeling from the loss of the customer they spent two decades cultivating.” This experience underscores the uneven impact of the U.S.-China trade war across the U.S., Bloomberg says. Although Chinese tariffs target many heartland states that, like North Dakota, supported President Trump’s 2016 election, those further south and east are better able to shift surplus soybeans to other markets such as Mexico and Europe. They also have more processing plants to produce soymeal, along with larger livestock and poultry industries to consume it, Bloomberg thinks. For North Dakota, losing China – the buyer of about 70% of the state’s soybeans – has destroyed a staple source of income. Agriculture is North Dakota’s largest industry and it “probably has taken a bigger hit than anybody else from the trade situation with China,” Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said. China shut the door to U.S. agricultural purchases on Aug. 5 after the administration intensified the conflict with threats of additional tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports, some as soon as Sept. 1. In addition, Bloomberg says that some farmers who were relying on the administration’s $28 billion in farm aid payments to compensate them for trade war losses have been disappointed with new payment rates for counties in North Dakota, which are below those for some southern states that rely much less on exports to China. The rates were determined by USDA who said it will provide higher rates for states with higher “level of exposure” to tariffs than North Dakota – because they also depend on crops, such as cotton and sorghum which also face Chinese tariffs.” This spring’s soy crop was planted at a time when the White House was talking up a “nearly finished trade deal with China” that collapsed in May weakening prices, Bloomberg notes. Vanessa Kummer farms in Colfax, N.D., and has yet to sell a single soybean from this year’s harvest because of low prices. Normally, the farm would have sold 50% to 75% of the upcoming harvest. In addition, she fears the U.S.-China soy trade is now “permanently damaged” as China shifts its purchases to Brazil, uses less soy in animal feed and consumes less pork as African swine fever kills of millions of the nation’s pigs. Options for North Dakota farmers are limited. U.S. wheat has been losing export market share for years. Demand for specialty crops such as peas and lentils, which grow well in the northern U.S., has been dampened by retaliatory tariffs imposed by India, a major importer of both products. North Dakota’s farmers did not set out to become so dependent on a single buyer of one crop, Bloomberg says. But with wheat profits shrinking and Chinese demand for soy growing, soybeans increasingly seemed like the obvious choice. Rail companies expanded capacity to open up a West Coast corridor and Pacific Northwest seaports expanded to handle more exports to China. Seed companies offered new varieties that thrive in the state’s colder climate and shorter growing season. A $200 million crop two decades ago blossomed into a $2 billion crop, topping the value of wheat, once North Dakota’s top crop. The number of high speed shuttle train loading terminals tripled with investments totaling at least $800 million. But now one of those facilities, CHS Dakota Plains Ag elevator in Kindred, North Dakota, has gone three or four months without loading a soybean train this year, said Doug Lingen, a grain merchant there. Normally the elevator would load at least one train a month with beans bound for the Pacific Northwest. The weakened demand has soybean prices in North Dakota trading at an historic discount to the U.S. average, and farmers are putting investments on hold. Justin Sherlock, who grows corn, soybeans and other crops near Dazey, North Dakota, had been planning to invest $100,000 to $150,000 in a grain drier this year – but now has shelved those plans. One reason is the low level of government aid in his county – now expected to be $55 per acre, well below the maximum $150 rate offered in 22 counties nationwide. Sherlock called the latest announcement “disappointing.” “I’m just going to defer all my investment,” he said, “and try to limp along for a few years.” So, we will see. It is clear that the farm economy is feeling economic pressure from several directions including lost overseas sales. Reports from the farm fair circuits indicate that there is growing criticism from producers as a result – a trend producers should watch closely through the fall, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 23, 2019 |


China Signals Any New Tariffs By US Will Bring Retaliatory Response Even though the U.S. has delayed a portion of the 10 percent tariffs set to go into effect September 1, China says any new tariffs put in place will bring a response from China. "Despite the U.S. decision to delay tariffs on some Chinese goods .... if the United States rides roughshod over China's opposition and impose any new tariffs, China will be forced to adopt retaliatory actions,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told a news briefing. Gao would not say what response China would offer if the U.S. tariffs were put in place. He noted that the trade war is bad for the U.S. and China and would have a recessionary impact on the global economy. He also observed that U.S. and Chinese trade teams have been keeping in contact, but did not offer any guidance as the nature of those talks. As for President Donald Trump’s statement that the U.S. would not intervene in the Hong Kong situation, Gao said, "I hope U.S. side can stick to its words.” Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry also weighed in, calling on the U.S. to meet China “halfway” in the trade situation. "We hope the United States will meet China halfway," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. He said there is a hope that the two sides can “work out a resolution that is acceptable to both sides on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment."

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 23, 2019 |


Initial Round of MFP 2 Payments On Their Way USDA has started making the initial payments to farmers under the Market Facilitation Program 2 (MFP 2). "The process began today (August 21) for payments for producers that have approved applications so producers should be seeing that first 50% tranche of those payments very soon," Fordyce told USDA Radio. Second and third tranche payments accounting for 25% each of the total MFP payment will be sent out conditioned on continued trade challenges. However, there are reports that glitches in USDA/FSA software regarding some components of the program will mean some producers will not get their payouts until September. Looking forward, if trade conditions fail to improve by late fall, the second MFP payments will be made, likely in November, while a third would come "probably in January at some point" if the trade difficulties persist, Fordyce said. Those are payment timelines that USDA has signaled in public filings on the MFP 2 payments and in press releases.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 23, 2019 |


Friday Watch List Markets Weather will continue to be monitored Friday with beneficial rains in the seven-day forecast for much of the Midwest. The only two reports on the docket are U.S. new home sales at 9 a.m. CDT and USDA's monthly cattle-on-feed report at 2 p.m. Weather Showers and thunderstorms will extend from the southeastern Plains east to the mid-Atlantic coast Friday. Heavy amounts and flash flooding are likely in the southeastern Plains. We'll also see light rain in the northwest Plains and Canadian Prairies. Seasonal to below-normal temperatures in northern and central areas slow crop development compared with the average pace.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 22, 2019 |


China Hopeful U.S. Will Meet Halfway in Trade Talks China is hopeful the U.S. will meet them “halfway” in trade negotiations. In a daily news conference, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed hope the two sides could “find a mutually-acceptable solution” through trade negotiations. China maintains that economic cooperation between China and the U.S. is “win-win in nature.” China and the U.S. are each other’s top trading partner and represent “one of the world's most important bilateral relationships.” Trade experts don’t think the U.S. sale of fighter jets to Taiwan will interfere with the talks. However, the spokesperson from China did request the U.S. “immediately cancel” the planned sales. Otherwise, “the U.S. will have to bear all the consequences.” President Trump on Twitter said the U.S. is “doing great” on trade talks with China and others, as part of a tirade against the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. Negotiators are set to meet early next month in Washington. U.S. farm groups continue to urge a quick resolution to the trade war, as China has halted buying U.S. ag products. ************************************************************************************* USDA Pulls Employees from Crop Tour Following Threat Farmer angst spread to Pro Farmer’s Midwest Crop Tour Wednesday. The Department of Agriculture pulled all personnel from the tour after an angry farmer allegedly threatened a USDA employee over the phone. Pro Farmer says the threat reported on the western leg of the tour was not from a tour scout or farmer that attended a crop tour meeting. The threat was reported to local authorities, and Pro Farmer announced additional security measures for the remainder of the event. Officials did not announce the nature of the threat, or who was threatened. Federal Protective Services are investigating the incident. Compounding stress in farm country continues to grow as farmers face depressed prices, trade issues and a challenging growing season, along with farmers questioning USDA data. Pro Farmer recognized that "it's clearly a stressful time right now," but that stress does not justify making threats to federal employees, or anyone on crop tour. The tour concludes Thursday night in Rochester, Minnesota, and final estimates will be released Friday. ************************************************************************************* Ethanol Industry Counters EPA “Zero Evidence” Claim The Environmental Protection Agency says small refinery waivers have no impact on ethanol producers. However, the biofuels industry disagrees. EPA this week claimed, "there is zero evidence" the waivers have a negative impact on domestic ethanol producers. Yet, POET, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, just announced it will idle production at its facility in Cloverdale, Indiana. The Renewable Fuels Association said last week that 13 ethanol plants have been closed, three permanently, because of the waivers. POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin says through the waivers, EPA “has robbed rural America, and it’s time for farmers across the Heartland to fight for their future.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says Closures in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska “are only the beginning.” Growth Energy points out that dozens of biofuel plants have cut production, and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years because of the small refinery waivers being issued to now 42 of the nation’s 48 small refineries. ************************************************************************************* EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on ten pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the comment period is the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons. Hemp farmers told the Trump administration and Congress earlier this year pesticide availability is one the biggest challenges in hemp production. The ten products are existing insecticides and fungicides from Agro Logistic Systems, Marrone Bio Innovations and Hawthorne Hydroponics. Comments are due 30 days after the notice publishes in the Federal Register, expected in the coming days. Once public comments are received, EPA anticipates deciding about the possible use of the specified products on hemp before the end of 2019 to help growers make informed purchasing choices for the upcoming growing season. ************************************************************************************* U.S., Mexico, Agree to New Tomato Suspension Agreement The Department of Commerce has announced a new draft agreement between the U.S. and Mexico on fresh tomato trade. Mexico and the U.S. have a preliminary agreement in place to suspend the ongoing anti-dumping investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. The Commerce Department says the agreement will protect U.S. tomatoes from unfair trade practices. For years, the U.S. has disputed the roughly $2 billion worth of tomatoes that are imported from Mexico annually. The disputes led the Commerce Department to terminate an earlier suspension agreement. The U.S. also continued an investigation that could have led to duties of 25 percent for most Mexican tomato producers. The draft includes a brand-new inspection mechanism to prevent the importation of low-quality, poor-condition tomatoes from Mexico. The draft agreement also allows the Commerce Department to audit up to 80 Mexican tomato producers per quarter. The statute requires a 30-day notice and comment period. United Fresh says the draft agreement “will be beneficial for the entire distribution chain, most importantly growers and consumers.” ************************************************************************************* USDA Reports Farm Computer Ownership and Usage The Department of Agriculture says computer ownership and usage among farmers increased over the last two years. The Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report released last week updated numbers from 2017, as the report is compiled during odd-numbered years and released in August. The new data shows 75 percent of farms reported having access to the internet, with 73 percent of farms having access to a desktop or laptop. Over half of the farms in the United States used a smartphone or tablet to conduct farm business, compared to 44 percent in 2017. In 2019, 26 percent of farms used satellite and 22 percent of farms used a Digital Subscriber Line, known as DSL, to access the internet. Since 2017, Satellite and DSL continue to be the most popular choices that United States farms use to access the internet. The 2019 computer usage estimates are based on responses from more than 20,000 agricultural operations, and represent all sizes and types of farms.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 22, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Ag Policy Fight in Oval Office Bloomberg is reporting this week that a “farm state uproar” reached the Oval office on Monday — but that the difficulty was not the “get tough” trade policies that have been hammering ag markets this year, but rather concerned ethanol fuel mandates. The report said that the president not only presided over the dustup but urged officials to soften the impact of recent policy moves that angered Midwestern farm states critical to his re-election, especially the EPA’s Aug. 9 decision to give 31 refineries exemptions from annual biofuel-blending requirements. The report quoted Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, as asserting that the administration’s biofuel policy had “screwed” farmers. Trump suggested rescinding some of the newly granted waivers during the Monday meeting, Bloomberg said, but was told the waivers may not be reversible. In response, officials offered other ideas to mitigate the political impact in Iowa, a state he carried in 2016 and needs again in 2020 to win. Monday’s back-and-forth illustrates an intensifying clash over U.S. biofuel policy that pits two of Trump’s top political constituencies — farmers and oil interests — against each other, Bloomberg said. The administration is divided, with USDA favoring farmers and the EPA insisting the law compels them to waive the requirement for refineries facing economic harm. The Monday meeting was organized to discuss trade with China but quickly turned into a fuels discussion because the U.S. ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, had just visited the state and was concerned about “the harm” he believed the waivers will cause rural America. The meeting was lively and lasted roughly two hours, with at least one follow-up call. The discussion included broad policy changes designed to mollify farm-state critics and expand the market for corn-based ethanol. At one point, Branstad even questioned whether the U.S. could mandate that auto companies make all vehicles capable of running on a variety of fuels to allow consumers to choose what to use, an idea that was quickly rebuffed after warnings that it would provoke a big fight with automakers. Among the other options discussed: fuel policy changes designed to make E15 — gasoline that contains 15% ethanol — the new nationwide standard, replacing the 10% variety that is now commonplace. The EPA in May lifted restrictions on E15 gasoline that blocked widespread summertime sales, but fewer than 2,000 stations offer that blend. Flex-fuel vehicles are capable of using both but limited consumer interest has discouraged widespread adoption. It is not clear that any of Monday’s ideas will materialize. Since 2017 the administration has tried to broker a compromise on biofuel policy between warring ethanol and oil industry interests, but the design of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard makes it nearly impossible to satisfy both stakeholders simultaneously. And many of the ideas advanced Monday would require congressional action or lengthy federal rulemaking; some even conflict with regulatory changes already under way. Moreover, some of the proposals would benefit ethanol but do little to address concerns by U.S. biodiesel makers that use soybean oil as a feedstock and whose footprint extends beyond the corn belt. The White House discussions center around a 14-year-old federal law that dictates oil refineries use biofuel to satisfy annual quotas set by the EPA. The statute authorizes the EPA to issue exemptions for small refineries facing a “disproportionate economic hardship,” but biofuel proponents argue the administration has handed out the waivers too freely and is undermining domestic demand for the products. The EPA decided to grant 31 exemptions from 2018 biofuel-blending quotas — and deny six other applications — following months of internal deliberations and after the President intervened to authorize the move. The exemptions have caused anger throughout the Midwest, where biofuel producers, their political allies and farmers view the waivers as curbing demand for their products, amid a trade war with China that has already diminished sales. Democratic candidates for the White House also have seized on the issue. EPA officials and oil industry advocates push back against assertions that refinery exemptions are eroding demand for ethanol and point to the fact that the administration has overseen year-over-year increases in domestic fuel ethanol production to the highest level in history and that the U.S. exported a record volume of ethanol in 2018 for the second consecutive year. The EPA said its decisions take into account direction from Congress, recommendations from the Department of Energy and recent court decisions that rapped the agency for denying some refinery waivers. Still, participants in Monday’s meeting are highlighting the backlash in Iowa and other midwestern states, illustrating the political concern about alienating crucial swing voters. Oil industry allies, including Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have made the opposite pitch during earlier administration discussions on the issue, arguing that support from refinery workers in Pennsylvania and other battleground states is also at risk if the president strengthens U.S. biofuel mandates. So, we will see. Ethanol and biodiesel mandates have always been controversial in some quarters and those fights intensify sharply during elections — especially when other markets have already been diminished by other administration policies. These are economic battles producers should watch closely as they emerge, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 22, 2019 |


US, Mexico Reach Deal on Tomatoes Mexican tomato producers and the U.S. government have reached agreement on tomato trade in a deal that will avoid an antidumping investigation, according to Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez. While 92% of Mexican tomatoes coming into the U.S. will be inspected at the border – a “controversial proposal,” according to a statement from several Mexican agricultural organizations – the deal would also raise the reference price of specialty tomatoes and an increase in the price of organic tomatoes that would amount to a 40% increase compared with conventional tomatoes. The groups releasing the statement included the SPTN tomato producers group. The deal calls for a “sunset review” of the agreement by September 2024. Mexico’s Marquez said on social media that the accord was “good news” that will keep the U.S. market open to Mexican tomatoes, noting the deal was reached just before midnight August 20. That will allow for a 30-day comment period before a September 19 deadline from the U.S. Department of Commerce to complete its antidumping investigation. Resolution of the issue could help ease concerns about vegetable imports from Mexico that some lawmakers have cited and it could help build further support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in Congress.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 22, 2019 |


Small Refiner Exemptions Are The Issue That Won’t Die Pressure continues on the Trump administration over the issue of small refiner exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The SREs have taken “a devastating toll on rural families facing one of the toughest years on record,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig in letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. EPA should be more transparent in issuing waivers and “immediately reallocate the gallons that have been lost due to the waivers that have already been granted,” Reynolds and Naig said in their letter. Meanwhile, biodiesel advocates are seeking to ensure anything the Trump administration does to mitigate damage does not ignore biodiesel. The National Biodiesel Board and American Soybean Association asked President Trump for a meeting on the issue, stressing in a letter that refinery exemptions disproportionately affect biodiesel and renewable diesel producers because of the design of the RFS. The Iowa Soybean Association said in a separate letter the actions to help ethanol really have not benefitted biodiesel.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 22, 2019 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Reports begin rolling out at 7:30 a.m. CDT with USDA's grain export sales and the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims. The U.S. Drought Monitor is updated at the same time and should show some moisture improvement in the Midwest. An index of U.S. leading indicators is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by U.S. natural gas inventory at 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m. CDT, USDA posts its monthly cold storage report. Weather Moderate to heavy rain is in store for the Southern Plains and southeastern Midwest Thursday. Some flash flooding is likely. Other crop areas will be dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 21, 2019 |


Trump Allegedly Seeks to Lesson Blow from EPA Waivers President Donald Trump this week asked cabinet members to appease farmers angry over small refinery waivers. Following a rash of blowback from ethanol and commodity groups, Trump held a meeting to find a solution. Representatives from the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, along with the Environmental Protection Agency attended a two-hour meeting Monday on the subject, according to Reuters. However, no clear action has been identified so far. The EPA has received 42 requests for small-refiner exemptions for 2018, while there are only 48 classified small refineries in the United States. The waivers exempt refineries from provisions in the Renewable Fuel Standard. Farmers argue that reallocating the exempted gallons of biofuel would be a good start in addressing the issue. The National Corn Growers Association says the waived volume now accounts for 4.04 billion ethanol gallons. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp says, “waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers.” ************************************************************************************* U.S. Comments on Hong Kong Could Jeopardize Trade Talks Any U.S. attempt to sway China’s dealings with Hong Kong could jeopardize efforts to reach a trade agreement. Communist party leaders in China say, “Events in Hong Kong were the internal affairs of China, and linking them with trade negotiations was a dirty aim," according to the South China Morning Post. The remarks followed Vice President Mike Pence's remarks that the Trump administration would continue to urge Beijing to resolve differences with the protesters peacefully. China officials say the U.S. would "be naive in thinking China would make concessions if they played the Hong Kong card." Further trade talks are planned for early September. However, Hong Kong, and the U.S. selling fighter jets to Taiwan, has brought further political uncertainty to the mix. The talks stalled earlier this year, and China announced it would stop purchasing U.S. ag products this month, following more tariffs announced by President Trump. China was once a $24 billion market for U.S. agriculture, falling to $9 billion last year. ************************************************************************************* U.S. Dairy Seeks Swift Trade Deal with Japan A coalition of U.S. dairy groups is urging the Trump administration to reach a trade agreement with Japan quickly. More than 70 dairy groups and companies sent a letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week asking the administration to finalize a strong trade deal with Japan quickly. The coalition, including the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, say Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products. The letter states that a robust trade agreement with Japan "will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry." The letter says the Japan-EU agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership have allowed the European Union, New Zealand and Australia to position themselves to take sales from the U.S. dairy industry. The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018. Once the trade deals are fully implemented, the U.S. risks losing $5.4 billion in total export sales. ************************************************************************************* FSA Announces Payment Acceptance of Debit Cards, AHC The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House or AHC, debit. The paperless payment options allow FSA customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps. Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted. By using debit cards and ACH debit, transactions are securely processed from the customer’s bank through Pay.gov, the U.S. Treasury's online payment hub. While traditional collection methods like cash and paper checks will continue, offering the new alternatives will "improve effectiveness and convenience to customers while being more cost-effective." In 2017, the average cost to manually process checks cost USDA more than $4.6 million. The expanded payment options will cut the time employees take processing payments by 75 percent. The announcement, USDA says, marks the beginning of a multi-phased roll-out of new payment options for USDA customers. ************************************************************************************* Elanco to Acquire Bayer Animal Health Elanco Animal Health has entered into a $7.6 billion agreement with Bayer to acquire its animal health business in a transaction valued at $7.6 billion. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, will double Elanco's companion animal business. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann says the acquisition by Elanco will “give rise to a leading competitor in the animal health industry, benefiting customers, employees and shareholders alike." Following the transaction, Elanco will become the second-largest global animal health company. Elanco will finance the transaction through both cash and equity. Bayer will receive $5.3 billion in cash, and $2.2 billion or approximately 68 million Elanco Animal Health common shares. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020, subject to regulatory approvals and other standard closing conditions. Elanco is a global animal health company that develops products and knowledge services to prevent and treat disease in food animals and pets in more than 90 countries. The company employs more than 5,800 employees. ************************************************************************************* Target Launches Grocery Brand Target this week announced the introduction of Good & Gather, a company-owned food and beverage brand. The flagship brand will offer a wide range of food and beverage products that prioritize taste, quality ingredients and ease, at a great value, according to the company. Good & Gather will be available in stores and online for same-day delivery beginning September 15, 2019. The assortment will include new and trend-forward products such as avocado toast, salad kits and beet hummus alongside everyday staples such as milk, eggs and cheese. By the end of 2020, it will include more than 2,000 products across food and beverage from dairy to produce, ready-made pastas and meats to granola bars and sparkling water. Good & Gather is Target’s largest owned brand launch. Developed by Target’s internal team, the products are made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high fructose corn syrup. However, in a news release, Target notes that some products, such as fresh vegetables and eggs, never contained these ingredients.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 21, 2019 |


Washington Insider: The Huawei Interlude Economic and trade policy have become exceedingly complex these days, especially as the U.S. economy is seen by many as possibly slowing ahead of next year’s elections. One central issue, the New York Times says this week, is how the U.S. treats Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that is seen by many as a potential security threat — and which the administration has moved to ban from U.S. operations. This week, however, the United States announced that it will allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei for an additional 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. The announced reason is to give rural telecommunications companies more time to wean themselves from reliance on Huawei supplies of parts and equipment. Many rural telecom firms have been scrambling to figure out how they will replace Huawei equipment since the administration banned the company from U.S. communications networks in May, and have mounted a strong lobbying effort at the White House for more time, the Times said. “As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Ross told the press this week. Although Huawei has been thrust into the middle of the President’s trade fight with China, he has given mixed signals on U.S. policies. After the trade talk breakdown in May, the Commerce Department added the company to a United States “entity list” that effectively banned U.S. firms from buying Chinese technology and products without government approval. But following U.S. company complaints that the ban would be hard to comply with on such short notice, the Commerce Department offered a temporary reprieve in exchange for China’s purchasing more American farm products, but no such agreement emerged. On Monday Secretary Ross said that the administration would extend the reprieve through mid-November. In a sign that the administration is not completely easing pressure on Huawei, the Commerce Department said that it was also adding 46 affiliates of Huawei to the entity list. In a terse statement issued on Monday, Huawei called the addition of the affiliates “politically motivated” and unrelated to national security and said that it was being treated “unjustly.” “These actions violate the basic principles of free market competition,” Huawei said in the statement. “Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the United States achieve technological leadership.” President Donald Trump has called the company a national security threat, and the United States has concerns that Huawei could be used to help the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and to disrupt American telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict. “Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” Trump said last weekend, and argued that the relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at an impasse. The President agreed last week to delay some additional tariffs on toys and electronics until December, but the United States is still expected to slap levies on more Chinese imports on Sept. 1. Earlier this month it labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil plans to retaliate. Despite the continuing tension, President Trump says that he and President Xi Jinping of China are planning to speak and that the two countries would continue to have trade talks. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been urging President Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban outright would probably be met with strong bipartisan disapproval, NYT says. The Trump administration continues to warn that Huawei poses a national security threat — and American officials have been warning allies for months that the United States will stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks. There is widespread concern among U.S. firms that Huawei is a security threat but some observers believe that effective safeguards can be designed and implemented, as they are in Britain and several other countries that monitor Huawei activities closely but continue to allow Huawei operations. At this time, the easing of the Huawei ban is seen as an easing of the U.S.-China trade fight and a lessening of the negative economic impacts of that battle. However, so far, positive signs of a let-up in that war have mainly been temporary and so they continue to be issues that producers should watch closely as they emerge, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 21, 2019 |


VP Pence Pushes on China Trade, USMCA Passage Vice President Mike Pence has warned China that it will be harder to strike a trade deal if it violates Hong Kong’s laws amid the continued protests. "For the United States to make a deal with China, Beijing needs to honor its commitments, beginning with the commitment China made in 1984 to respect the integrity of Hong Kong's laws through the Sino-British joint declaration," Pence said during a speech at the Detroit Economic Club. He also called on Congress to quickly pass the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) after the recess. Pence noted that passage of USMCA would also help bolster the administration’s agenda with Beijing. “Make no mistake about it ... passing the USMCA will strengthen the president’s hand in negotiations with China,” he said.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 21, 2019 |


Small Refiner Exemption Issue Continues to Erupt The issue of small refiner exemptions (SREs) continues as a focal point in Washington and in farm country. Reuters reported that President Donald Trump “ordered cabinet members on Monday to stem the tide of rising anger in Iowa and other Farm Bill states” over the EPA granting of SREs. The report said Trump’s order came after a two-hour meeting at the White House Monday that involved representatives from USDA, EPA and the Energy Department. EPA last week announced that it had granted 31 SREs of the 40 that had been submitted for the 2018 compliance year at that time, with six rejected and three either withdrawn or declared ineligible. Since then, EPA data now shows two more SRE requests are pending for the 2018 compliance year, bringing the total requested to 42. The announcement last week prompted several lawmakers to criticize the administration’s action which reports indicated were due to Trump’s own orders to EPA to announce the SREs. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, denounced the action. “They screwed us when they issued 31 waivers compared to less than 10 waivers during all of the Obama years,” Grassley told reporters.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 21, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Midwestern weather continues to capture much of the market's focus after USDA recently said over two-thirds of soybeans were setting pods. A report on U.S. existing home sales will be out at 9:00 a.m. CDT, followed by weekly energy inventories from the U.S. Energy Department at 9:30 a.m. At 1 p.m. CDT, the Federal reserve releases minutes from their latest meeting -- holding possible clues of future interest rates. Weather Moderate to heavy rain is in store for the central Plains and portions of the western Midwest Wednesday. Some flash flooding is possible. Meanwhile, stressful heat will again be featured in the Southern Plains and Delta.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 20, 2019 |


Tyson Fire Boosting Beef Processor Margins A recent fire at a large Kansas beef processor has boosted margins for other processors. The Tyson Foods facility in Holcomb, Kansas, represents about five percent of the U.S. daily slaughter, or roughly 6,000 head of cattle. The fire has closed the facility indefinitely as Tyson makes repairs. Reuters says the fire spiked margins for packers, such as Tyson, Cargill and JBS USA to $344 per head of cattle slaughtered, up from $153 the week before the fire. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association responded last week sending letters to federal watchdogs and agencies urging them to assist the market and closely monitor sales. In order to compensate for the loss of capacity at Holcomb, NCBA says major packing plants in Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa, would need to slaughter 8.2 percent more cattle per week, or run 3.3 more hours per week. Department of Agriculture undersecretary Greg Ibach says that “as the cattle industry adjusts, USDA stands ready to assist our customers however we can.” ************************************************************************************* 17,000 Dairy Farmers Enroll in New Safety Net Nearly 17,000 dairy producers have signed up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program. The Department of Agriculture Monday reported the data with a reminder the sign-up period closes September 20. The program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost, known as the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. USDA undersecretary Bill Northey calls the enrollment data encouraging but says, "we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door." To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program. Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,800 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan. USDA’s Farm Service Agency began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the time called the choice to sign-up a “no-brainer” as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums. ************************************************************************************* Trade Deals Spark More Compensation for Canada Dairy Farmers Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will provide 1.75 billion to dairy farmers to offset changes to market access in recent trade agreements. Canada is allowing other nations more access to enter the Canadian dairy market as a result of the trade agreements. Through Canada's supply management system, the funds will be distributed to nearly 11,000 dairy farmers. $345 million will be paid in the first year in the form of direct payments and will benefit all dairy producers in proportion to their quota held. The federal government will continue to work with Dairy Farmers of Canada to determine terms and conditions for future years. Dairy Farmers of Canada welcomed the announcement, saying the funds will help mitigate the impact of trade agreements, such as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The three agreements are estimated to contribute to an 8.4 percent loss of domestic market access for Canadian dairy farmers. ************************************************************************************* Tariffs, Farm Income, Squeezing Sales for Deere Low farm income, a challenging growing season and the impact of trade tariffs on agriculture have farmers putting off purchases of equipment. The depressed farm economy is part of the factors why Deere &Co. trimmed its earnings forecast for the year to $3.2 billion, from an expected $3.3 billion and a five percent increase in sales. The sales figures are still up four percent from last year. Deere reports quarterly sales of farm equipment fell six percent from 2018 levels as profit from the farm equipment business dropped 24 percent. Deere chairman and CEO Samuel Allen says the third-quarter results "reflected the high degree of uncertainty that continues to overshadow the agricultural sector." Overall, Deere's worldwide net sales and revenues decreased three percent to $10 billion, for the third quarter of 2019 and increased five percent to $29.4 billion, for nine months. Net sales of the equipment operations were $9 billion for the quarter and $26.2 billion for the year, compared with $9.3 billion and $25 billion last year. ************************************************************************************* Study Shows Decrease in Poultry Antibiotics Use A new report on antimicrobial use in broiler chicken and turkey farms shows antibiotics use has decreased from 93 to 17 percent since 2013. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association announced the findings as part of its commitment to transparency and sustainability. The report represents a five-year data set, collected between 2013 and 2017. The report shows that medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 95 percent. The findings also show there was a documented shift to the use of antimicrobial drugs that are not considered medically important to humans. Meanwhile, Turkeys receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 96 percent to 41 percent. The report attributes the shift to changes in Food and Drug Administration regulations which were fully implemented in January 2017. The changes effectively eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for production purposes and placed all medically important antimicrobials administered in the feed or water of poultry under veterinary supervision. ************************************************************************************* Hearing Scheduled for Suspect in Missing Ranchers Case A preliminary hearing for tampering with a motor vehicle charge is scheduled next month for Garland Nelson of Missouri. The Northwest Missouri farmer admitted to authorities he took the rental truck of two missing Wisconsin ranchers and abandoned it in a parking lot in mid-July. Human remains were found on Nelson's farm a couple of weeks ago but have not been identified. No other charges have been filed. Nelson is the only named suspect in the disappearance of Nick and Justin Diemel who went to visit Nelson’s farm regarding cattle they owned in his care. Other farmers who have done business with Nelson admitted they feared he could hurt others, and several stories have surfaced regarding his lack of care for animals. In a recorded phone call with a Kansas rancher, Nelson mentioned he had no money to pay borrowers and may have to resort to turning a gun on himself, or someone else, to remedy his situation. Nelson was previously sentenced to two years in prison for cattle fraud.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 20, 2019 |


Washington Insider: The Continuing Spin on the Economy The big news this week is the increasing economic uncertainty and growing exposure to the “trade risk.” Bloomberg says that President Donald Trump is working to calm the waters on talk of a weakening economy by asserting that the U.S. is “doing very well with China, and talking!” However, he suggested he wasn’t ready to sign a trade deal, hours after his top economic adviser laid out a potential timeline for the resumption of substantive discussions with Beijing. The president continues to assert that China needs a trade agreement more than the U.S. given the relatively weak condition of the Asian nation’s economy. White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that recent phone calls between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators had been “positive,” potentially opening the door to further progress toward a deal. More teleconference meetings with Chinese negotiators are planned over the next week to 10 days, the White House National Economic Council director said on Sunday. “If those deputies meetings pan out, as we hope they will, and we can have a substantive renewal of negotiations then we are planning to have China come to the USA and meet with our principals to continue the negotiations and the talks,” Kudlow added. The state of the economy is key to Trump’s re-election prospects in 2020; a downturn would dim the outlook for a president whose approval ratings have stayed stubbornly low, Bloomberg said. Major U.S. equity indexes, often referenced by the administration as a litmus test of its success, have been essentially flat over the past 12 months. “There’s no recession on the horizon,” Kudlow claimed. He added that there were no plans for additional fresh measures to boost the economy and that the administration would stay the course on its current agenda. At the same time, trade advisor Navarro denied on CNN that the U.S. had seen an inverted yield curve, often a forerunner of recession because it signals market expectations for weaker growth ahead. “Technically we didn’t have a yield curve inversion,” he said. “All we’ve had is a flat yield curve” that he called “the result of a very strong Trump economy.” However, as recently as last Wednesday, the president had lashed out at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell specifically citing the “CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE,” Bloomberg noted. Navarro once again criticized Powell and the Fed on Sunday. “The Federal Reserve chairman should look in the mirror and say ‘I raised rates too fast,’” he said on CNN. Additional Fed rate cuts beyond the quarter-point move in July will be a good thing, Navarro said, and a potential easing by the European Central Bank in September will help Europe’s struggling economy. Navarro noted that the U.S. still has “significant structural issues” with China. In an interesting side note on the economy amid administration discussions of trade issues with China, Europe and others, an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday showed support for free trade among Americans is on the rise, Bloomberg said. Almost two-thirds – 64% – see free trade as good for the U.S., an all-time high for the survey series and up 7 percentage points from the last time it was asked, in 2017. Only 27% believe it’s bad, citing damage to key U.S. industries, a key claim in the last campaign. Trump and his top aides have said repeatedly that Beijing, not U.S. companies or consumers, are bearing the brunt of the tariffs imposed on imports from China. Trump tweeted on Sunday that China is “eating” the tariffs. However, many analysts disagree and the administration is working to counter those conclusions. Navarro rejected a study by researchers at the University of Chicago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and elsewhere that found U.S. importers are shouldering the vast majority of price changes from the tariffs, versus China’s 5%. Tariffs “aren’t hurting anyone in the United States,” Navarro said. However, Labor Department measures of U.S. inflation increased in July, driven by costs of shelter, apparel and used cars, and gained the most in a decade in the past two months, the report said. Economists say the boost in inflation shows the tariffs are gradually filtering through. The tariff war has increased prices for goods and U.S. companies are paying the higher levies, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The U.S. government collected $57 billion in customs duties in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to the Treasury Department. So, we will see. The recent increases in volatility in stocks in addition to increases in consumer prices are indicators that likely will continue to increase pressure on the administration as elections draw nearer – areas in which the ag sector likely will continue to be on the front line, and which should be watched closely as they intensify, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 20, 2019 |


Two New Small Refiner Exemption Requests Received By EPA Fresh on the heels of EPA announcing they have granted 31 small refiner exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), EPA data now shows that additional requests have been made. EPA now shows that 42 SREs have been received for the 2018 compliance year as two are currently listed as being “pending petitions.” Agency data previously indicated that 40 requests had been made with 31 of those being approved. The data showed that six were denied and three were declared ineligible or were withdrawn. It is not clear when the two latest SREs were received nor is there any indication as to when the agency will make a decision on the latest requests.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 20, 2019 |


Canada to Pay Dairy Farmers Hurt by Trade Deals Canada will spend C$1.75 billion ($1.32 billion) over eight years to compensate dairy farmers facing greater competition due to free trade deals, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government said on Friday. The move is seen as an attempt to satisfy an influential group of voters two months before a national election. Payments to be made in the first year are budgeted to take up C$345 million from the C$1.75 billion funded program. The payments to dairy farmers are to compensate sales they have lost after trade pacts were struck with the European Union and Pacific nations, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in an announcement made at a dairy farm in Compton, Quebec.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 20, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports on Tuesday's schedule, but trade with China remains a moving target and will be watched for any new developments. Weather remains the other area of interest with concerns of dry conditions in the eastern Midwest and hot temperatures in the southern U.S. Plains. Weather Tuesday rain for much of the Midwest, including moderate to heavy potential in western and central sectors, offering beneficial crop moisture. Meanwhile, stressful heat and humidity are in store for the Southern Plains, southern Midwest and Delta.