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| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 16, 2019 |


China to Make Countermeasures to U.S. Tariffs, Despite Announced Delay China plans to retaliate against the latest round of U.S. tariffs, despite Trump's announced delay of implementation. Originally planned for September 1, the ten percent tariffs are delayed until December 15, to avoid impacting holiday shoppers, according to Trump. China vows to counter the latest round of tariffs that will total $300 billion once fully implemented. The Chinese finance ministry says the tariffs “violated a consensus reached between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Shee Jihn’-ping)" reached in June, according to Reuters. Negotiators spoke over the phone this week and still plan to meet in September in Washington. However, the tariff threat from Trump and China's vowed retaliation, along with developing unrest between China and Hong Kong, have sparked fear in financial markets the talks may again fail. Financial analysts have predicted that the trade war would lead to a U.S. recession in the next year, if escalated. Agriculture is facing the brunt of China's retaliation with China recently stopping the purchases of U.S. agricultural products. ************************************************************************************* ASF Yet to Impact Pork Pricing African swine fever has yet to inflate pork prices. As a result, an industry analyst has lowered the earnings estimate for Hormel Foods in the third quarter of 2019. Stephens Inc predicts any “protein inflation” among U.S. producers has shifted to fiscal 2020 from 2019. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports that has left Hormel to contend with price increases it launched to offset inflation that never occurred. Hormel risks losing volume share to competitors if it doesn’t walk back the current price increases for pork. However, such a move would conflict with the ability to raise prices once the inflation arrives next year. African swine fever seems destined to cut China’s hog production in half, according to researchers at Rabobank. That would equate to roughly 300-350 million pigs, or a quarter of the world’s pork supply. China still has an ample amount of pork supplies, but supplies are starting to run short, leaving China to consider imports of pork, which would, in turn, increase global prices. ************************************************************************************* USDA Defers Interest on Insurance Premiums The Department of Agriculture will defer accrual of interest for all producers’ spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums. USDA says the move will help farmers impacted by extreme weather this year. USDA will defer the accrual of interest on spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or for two months, until November 30, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. For any premium that is not paid by one of those new deadlines, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy. One of the largest operating costs for producers is crop insurance premiums paid to their Approved Insurance Provider. Many spring crop insurance premiums are due before October 1. Without the interest deferral, policies with an August 15 premium billing date would have interest attached starting October 1 if premiums were not paid by September 30. Now, policies that do not have the premium paid by November 30 will have interest attached on December 1, calculated from the date of the premium billing notice. ************************************************************************************* Drought Expands to Half of Midwest I-States Roughly half of the Midwest “I states" are experiencing some form of drought. The weekly Drought Monitor reports drought conditions in 44 percent of Illinois, 51 percent of Indiana and 52 percent of Iowa. The total area enduring abnormal dryness and drought increased this week, most noticeably in the Ohio Valley, the Midwest, and Texas. The Drought Monitor reports the last 30 days brought only 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain to a broad strip from central Iowa through western Indiana, in addition to east-central Michigan and the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula. The drought follows the wettest twelve-month period on record, followed by the hottest two months around the globe on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports the period from January through July produced a global temperature that was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 56.9 degrees, tying with 2017 as the second-hottest year to date on record. July 2019 was recorded as the hottest month ever on record, followed by June. ************************************************************************************* NCGA: Following Labels Remains Critical Through Entire Growing Season The National Corn Growers Association says following pesticide labels is critical through the end of the season. As harvest season slowly begins, NCGA says it’s important to pay close attention to preharvest interval requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that any potential traces of the product left behind are at levels that will not cause disruptions in trade. Every pesticide has a maximum residue level specific to each crop for which it is labeled. The levels are a measurement of acceptable pesticide residues, set far below toxicological safety limits, for every product treated with pesticides. Those limits provide a standard to help ensure that food treated with pesticides is safe for consumption and ultimately verify that farmers have used crop protection products correctly. Especially in international markets, if shipments are tested and the level for one or more pesticides is exceeded that delivery may be rejected. While the instances are rare, NCGA encourages farmers to continue to use responsible application practices to avoid rejected exports. ************************************************************************************* Agricultural Retailers Association Supports Hours of Service Reforms The Agricultural Retailers Association supports the proposed reform to hours of service published this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the proposed changes will improve safety and flexibility for commercial drivers. ARA says the reforms, including the short haul exemption expansion for CDL drivers to 150 air miles, and the expansion of duty hours from 12 to 14 hours, “will provide necessary flexibility” for ARA members to meet the needs of their customers, and do so safely. The proposed rule offers five key revisions to existing hours of service rules such as requiring a minimum 30-minute break for each eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing drivers to use the "on duty, not driving" status rather than the "off duty" status during breaks. It’s estimated the proposal will save consumers and the U.S. economy an estimated $274 million and improve safety for all drivers on the Nation's roadways, according to the Department of Transportation.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 16, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Market Tensions Beyond Trade Well, in a brief span of a few hours, developments in Washington and on Wall Street have sent vivid messages, including that the world may be ambling toward an “economic morass of the sort that no mere presidential tweet can fix.” The New York Times and many other media outlets are reporting similar cautions. On Tuesday, President Trump blinked in the trade war with China, the Times says, retreating from previous plans to apply tariffs to virtually all Chinese imports on Sept. 1. The action ensures that American buyers of Chinese-made toys, smartphones and much more won’t face tariff-boosted prices this holiday season. This caused a cheer from the stock market and led some to sense that the trade war is de-escalating and the holiday shopping season saved – the S&P 500 quickly rose 1.5% on Tuesday to a level only about 3% below its record high on July 29, but it fell sharply on Wednesday before recovering modestly on Thursday. The bond market was less buoyant, however, and while longer-term Treasury yields rose, reflecting more optimism, the increase was slight – and they remained far below their levels of late July. On Wednesday, the signal sent by the bond market worsened once again as the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds plunged to 1.59% by the end of trading, and at some points, fell even below the equivalent rate on two-year bonds. This inverted yield curve was widely interpreted as a sign that bond investors foresee potential weak growth in years ahead and expect the Federal Reserve will respond by cutting interest rates. Such an indicator “has often been a harbinger of recession, though not a guarantee of one,” the Times said. That pessimistic signal is widely seen leading to choppy markets spite of strength in some key subsectors on Thursday. Still, these events do not bode well for the world economy, the Times thinks and in “this August of market turbulence, the shorthand explanation has been that it is a result of the trade war.” That is true as far as it goes, but the shifts in the bond market since late July – especially on Wednesday – signal something bigger is going on. The trade war is just one piece of it. Certainly, forestalling the latest China tariffs will help avoid a big hit to the profits of retailers and importers over the next few months—and it could help prevent American consumers from facing sticker shock during their holiday shopping. But this is about something more consequential than a 10% tariff on iPhones, NYT says. It’s really about the widening schism between the world’s two largest economies — one that cannot be reversed with a concession on tariffs by the president or with some soybean purchases by the Chinese. This clash is increasingly becoming part of the landscape that every global business must navigate. The same could be said about the other geopolitical fires that risk flaring up. What will be the future of Hong Kong as China responds to pro-democracy protesters there? Will Britain leave the European Union on Oct. 31 as planned, and on what terms? Can India and Pakistan avoid a devastating armed conflict over Kashmir? Also, and the European economy may be heading toward recession; global central banks are largely at the end of the road in terms of what they can do to offset a new slump; and there is political dysfunction in many of the world’s biggest democracies that could limit their ability to respond to a new recession with fiscal policy or other tools. Indeed, through the first half of the year, falling business investment has been a drag on American economic growth, the Times notes. The latest developments don’t mean that a recession, or even a severe slowdown, is a certainty. The Federal Reserve still has some room to cut interest rates to try to stimulate activity and has shown it is willing to use that power. And American consumers continue to be quite resilient this year even as business spending has stumbled; perhaps that will remain true. But events this month signal that the problems facing the world economy are more complex and intractable than the immediate reaction to the president’s trade war de-escalation might suggest. A tactical retreat here and there won’t solve the deeper problems hanging over the world economy. Once chaos has been unleashed into the global economic system, it can be hard to reel back in. So, we will see. The Times has nothing much to say about what it expects in the future — as it points to the growing uncertainties and talks about the potential costs of uncertainties across economies. And it seems eager to point to evidence that the administration is becoming clearer about who actually pays the cost of tariff-reliant trade policies and which policies are working which are less effective. Still, there appears certain to be a number of crucial economic policy tests ahead for the administration and the Congress. These coming debates will be crucial, especially for market stressed producers and should be watched closely as they emerge, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 16, 2019 |


DOT Unveils Proposed Changes to Hours Of Service Regs For Truckers Proposed changes to federal hours of service (HOS) regulations for truck operators were announced by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The proposed changes would allow drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three consecutive hours and go off-duty in that time period, extending their on-duty window by the same amount. Drivers would be required to take a 10-hour off-duty break at the conclusion of their 14-hour on-duty hours after using the proposed pause option. The break must be at least 30 minutes long, under the proposal. Also, the 11-hour drive-time limit for an on-duty shift will remain. Allowing drivers to pause the 14-hour clock would help them avoid peak traffic hours, weather events and help “mitigate the effect … of long detention times,” according to notes within the proposal, which was announced today by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 16, 2019 |


China Threatens Response If US Tariffs Arrive September 1 China issued a statement Thursday warning they would take action if the U.S. moves ahead with 10 percent tariffs on some Chinese goods on September 1. The China cabinet said they would take unspecified "necessary countermeasures” if the U.S. tariffs move ahead. The one-line statement did not indicate what the countermeasures would be nor did they mention the announcement by the U.S. that a portion of the tariffs would be delayed until December 15. Originally, the Trump administration said 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods would start September 1, but Tuesday’s announcement pared the level of goods down to around $112 billion. The Chinese statement also made no mention of the in-person talks in September. China’s Finance Ministry issued a statement that indicated the tariffs would run counter to the agreement President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached in June and they would get off the right track of resolving disputes via negotiation. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that “good things were stated on the call with China the other day,” a reference to the telephone discussions between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and key Chinese officials. “They are eating the Tariffs with the devaluation of their currency and ‘pouring’ money into their system,” Trump tweeted. “The American consumer is fine with or without the September date, but much good will come from the short..... ..deferral to December. It actually helps China more than us, but will be reciprocated.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 16, 2019 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday we will have both housing starts and building permits, while at 9:30 CDT the consumer sentiment will be reported. We will also be watching for updated weather forecasts, especially for the dry Eastern Corn Belt, and any news regarding the U.S.-China ongoing trade battle. Weather Light to moderate rain is in store for the northern, western and central Midwest Friday. We'll also see a new round of thunderstorms in the north-central Plains. Other areas will be dry. Temperatures will again be seasonal to below normal over northern and central areas, and hot in the southern Plains through the southeastern U.S.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 15, 2019 |


Chinese International Relations Experts: Trade War Could lead to Cold War Chinese experts on international relations claim the current U.S.-China trade war could lead to a cold war. The South China Morning Post reports one expert claims: “If ideological rivalry were to become a core component of U.S.-China competition, proxy wars would break out between the two nations, similar to the U.S.-USSR clashes during the cold war era.” However, given the propaganda nature of China, it’s hard to verify the legitimacy of those claims. The U.S. recently did comment on reports of Chinese military near the Hong Kong border, as a protest in Hong Kong continues. The U.S. State Department says it is "deeply concerned" by the action. The trade war, which prompted China to halt purchases of U.S. farm commodities, threatens a once $24 billion market for U.S. agriculture. However, the recent move by Trump, delaying a round of tariffs until December, may be an inclination of negotiation progress. Trade leaders from China and the U.S. spoke over the phone this week and will meet in Washington next month. ************************************************************************************* Trump Asking Japan to Purchase U.S. Ag Products President Trump is asking Japan to purchase U.S. farm products as the two nations seek a small trade deal including agriculture. Trump asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy a “huge amount” of U.S. wheat and soybeans as the negotiations continue, according to Reuters. Japan and the United States are targeting an agreement by September on trade issues, including tariffs on U.S. beef and the automobile sector. Trump has made a similar request of China as part of the talks around the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China. A Japan deal would be welcomed by U.S. agriculture, disadvantaged in the market as competitors enjoy smaller tariffs. The off-balance tariffs stem from Trump removing the U.S. from the then-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says sales have remained strong, considering the higher tariffs. Sales figures remain flat, but not losing market share is positive. Japan represents a significant opportunity for U.S. beef exports, if the tariffs are reduced. ************************************************************************************* Record Number of Poultry Facilities Recognized for Outstanding Safety Performance During the 2019 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry in Florida, a record 230 chicken and turkey facilities received safety awards by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council. The companies were honored in recognition of their outstanding performance through the implementation of employee safety and health programs. A committee spokesperson says the committee received a record amount of applications to the program, as well. The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation's poultry products and directly employ more than 350,000 workers. Award consideration was based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by academia and other safety experts. One hundred and twenty-two facilities received the highest level of recognition, "Award of Distinction." The other categories included "Award of Honor" and "Award of Merit." Find the list of winners at nationalchickencouncil.org/. ************************************************************************************* New Trucking Hours of Service Rules Proposed The Trump administration Wednesday proposed changes to hours of service rules for commercial vehicle drives. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published the proposal seeking to give drivers “more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time.” The proposal is separate from the ongoing comment period for livestock haulers. The agency is accepting comments until the end of September to determine what should be considered livestock or an agricultural commodity. Currently, states can determine when drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements, within a 150-mile radius of the source. Among the changes to the overall rule proposed this week, the rules would increase flexibility regarding mandated breaks. The proposal also modifies the adverse driving conditions exception through extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted. The proposed rule would not increase driving time and would continue to prevent operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status. ************************************************************************************* NPB Announces Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We Care ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public. National Pork Board President David Newman says the finalists “do what’s best on their farms every day,” and showcase the diversity of family farming in the United States. The finalists are Doug Dawson of Delaware, Ohio, Chris Hoffman of McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, Josh Linde of Manilla, Iowa and Thomas Titus of Elkhart, Illinois. To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them. Through August 27, the public can vote once a day per email address for their favorite finalist at americaspigfarmer.com. The winner will be announced in October. ************************************************************************************* Bunge to Move H.Q. to St Louis Bunge Limited announced this week the company will relocate its global headquarters from White Plains, New York, to St. Louis, Missouri. Bunge is a well-known agribusiness and food company focused on grain processing and exporting, and is the world’s largest soybean processor. Bunge CEO Gregory Heckman says the move is “a big step forward in shifting the Company's operating model to align around a more efficient, streamlined global business structure.” Heckman was appointed CEO a few months ago and has ties to the Midwest. He spent years in executive positions at ConAgra Foods and Gavilon, both based in Omaha, Nebraska. Bunge calls St. Louis an important hub for it’ North American operation, noting the city home to several food and agriculture organizations and customers. Bunge is in the early planning stages of the transition to the new global headquarters, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2020. The company will move to an office in Chesterfield, Missouri, in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 15, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Bad Ag News Week This week has been a downer for the ag sector, media reports indicate. For example, Bloomberg says that U.S. farmers are being stung by both trade policies that restrict their sales and by expectations of booming production that are hurting prices. The latest economic insult for the sector has come in the form of what Bloomberg calls “controversial data from the U.S. government” that snuffed the recent corn price rally. On Monday, USDA reported that farmers planted more corn acreage than analysts estimated and that it also anticipates unexpectedly good yields, sparking the biggest rout in some price futures since 2013. That is providing an additional blow to producers who have been holding back supplies, hoping that the “rally that started in May due to delayed sowing would extend through the fall.” This most recent price decline for U.S. corn is large, a potential loss of almost $3.5 billion, according to the American Farm Bureau and is another setback after prices fell following USDA’s previous acreage report, which also was criticized for containing “outdated data.” These developments are compounding the pain from the trade war between Washington and Beijing, which has significantly reduced purchases from the world’s largest soybean buyer, Bloomberg says. Policy uncertainty is also increasing pressure on the farm economy as a new U.S. deal with Mexico and Canada is yet to be passed. What’s more, the government is allowing 31 oil refineries to go without blending ethanol into fossil fuels, thus reducing the demand for corn, Bloomberg says. “This is a huge disappointment for farmers that have already been struggling with a lot of uncertainty with this corn crop, trade wars and what have you,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of the research team at CoBank, a $138 billion lender to the agriculture industry. “A lot of people were banking on the opportunity to sell at much higher prices. This report now really brings that into question,” he said. Crashing corn prices are an additional stress for growers facing large debts – which USDA estimates will rise 3.9% this year to $427 billion. Last year, the farm debt-to-income ratio was at the highest level since 1984, Bloomberg said. Some growers also questioned the report’s accuracy on the basis of a discrepancy between the figures published by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and those by the Farm Service Agency. “We need to disregard this report, we won’t know actual acreage until this winter, I guess,” said Monte Peterson, a farmer in Valley City, North Dakota. “Makes me wonder, if our system isn’t a little broken. Harvested acreage will be a surprise at some point.” At the same time, a number of market veterans say they agree with the USDA acreage forecast. Scott Irwin, a University of Illinois agricultural economist, said President Trump’s trade aid plan may have encouraged farmers to sow more corn since the agency had initially announced payouts would be tied to acreage planted. Dan Basse, president of AgResource, said the USDA report showed growers took advantage of the rally earlier this year and planted more than the market expected during a window in the first 10 days of June. Still, lower prices are seen adding to grower stress at a time Farm Aid’s hotline has seen increasingly numbers reaching out on everything from financial counseling to crisis assistance. In addition, concerns about a further squeeze to farmers’ financial health sent shares of tractor makers tumbling Monday, with AGCO Corp. down by the most in over a year and Deere & Co. declining by as much as 5.2%, Bloomberg said. Lower prices could also push Trump to announce further aid to farmers as he seeks re-election next year, Bloomberg noted. He has already announced $28 billion worth of financial help for growers facing lower exports due to trade wars. So we will see. USDA needs to take the charges of “data discrepancies” seriously and explain those that are being criticized. Most likely, the sector is continuing to show that it is highly sensitive to real or perceived economic incentives and that many highly efficient producers expect decent returns even at relatively low prices. This has been an especially challenging season for producers with a critical crop development period just ahead that producers certainly will watch closely as conditions evolve, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 15, 2019 |


Grassley wants RFS waiver info from SEC filings Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he wants to use Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings to highlight the extent to which major oil companies are benefitting from the small refiner exemptions relative to their Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations. “We cannot let (oil companies) hide behind proprietary information,” Grassley told reporters Tuesday. “If they are getting help from the government, the government needs to know the basis for their help and the public needs to know.” Confidentiality provisions currently preclude EPA from disclosing specific information on individual SREs granted. However, the agency is seeking comment on making additional information available to the public, information they maintain is not confidential business information.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 15, 2019 |


Commerce’s Ross says no ‘quid pro quo’ from China on tariff delay The announced delay until December 15 of putting 10 percent tariffs on some imports from China did not result in any concessions from China, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on CNBC. Ross said it was too early to determine where U.S.-China trade talks stand. While further phone conversations are on tap between U.S. and Chinese officials, Ross said that no date has been set for in-person discussions. Expectations have been that the next in-person talks would take place in September in Washington. The comments from Ross run counter the expectation by some that China could again import some U.S. farm products as a show of good faith. If so, Trump could postpone tariffs on the additional Chinese products still threatened with tariffs as of September 1. President Trump continued to berate China on Tuesday for not making such purchases and suggested that the tariffs might force it to do so. “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers,” he wrote on Twitter. “So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 15, 2019 |


Thursday Watch List Markets 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday is a busy time again with weekly grain export sales, weekly U.S. jobless claims, the U.S. Drought Monitor, and reports on U.S. retail sales and productivity all coming out at the same time. U.S. industrial production is at 8:15 a.m., followed by natural gas inventory at 9:30 a.m. and NOPA's soybean crush estimate for July later in the morning. NOAA will also update 30- and 90-day forecasts Thursday, offering a glimpse of fall conditions. Weather Thursday features shower and thunderstorm activity in the central and Northern Plains, with moderate to locally heavy totals. We'll also see light rain in the Great Lakes and dry conditions elsewhere.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Trump Delays Tariff Hike Until December The Trump administration will delay part of a planned tariff increase on China until December. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office made the announcement Tuesday the administration would not implement the planned tariffs. Instead, the tariffs will be implemented December 15, 2019. USTR Robert Lighthizer says certain products are even being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face the additional tariffs of 10 percent. The move likely gives Lighthizer more time to negotiate with China, which the two sides are set to meet next month in Washington. However, the tariffs threaten to again stall the negotiations as China responded by announcing a halt of purchases of U.S. agricultural products. President Trump claims the delay is part of an effort to avoid the impact of the tariffs on holiday shopping. However, the two sides did talk over the phone this week, and Trump called the talks positive, adding a deal could be coming soon. ************************************************************************************* Private Firm Predicts 12 Billion Bushel Corn Crop, 3.7 Billion Soybeans A private firm forecast of the nation's crops greatly differs from Department of Agriculture data released this week. That's true for many expectations, but the data from USDA still sparked a negative market reaction for corn futures. Generated by Indigo Ag's living map, Atlas, forecasts for both corn and soybeans are down from the company's July report. Corn production is forecasted at 12 billion bushels and soy production is forecasted at 3.7 billion bushels, down 3.2 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. USDA predicts corn production at 13.9 billion bushels, and soybeans at 3.68 billion. Over the past month, favorable weather conditions - including hot weather and adequate rainfall - have aided crop health across the United States. Given the late start to the season, however, crop development is still significantly delayed. That development will be monitored over the next month. Indigo Atlas combines remote sensing equipment, weather and historical data to deliver models that assess crop health and production at the field, county, state and national level. ************************************************************************************* Kind: Purdue Ignoring Wisconsin Farmers, Gives Trade Aid to Largest Producers A Wisconsin lawmaker is demanding changes to Department of Agriculture trade aid distributions. Democrat Ron Kind, a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, says the current Market Facilitation Program favors large farmers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Kind says a study shows the top one percent of large farms received an average of $183,000 in trade aid, while the bottom eighty percent received under $5,000, on average. Additionally, 82 large farms received more than $500,000 and 95 percent of all payments went to the top 50 percent of farms. The report also found that over $38 million in payments were sent to those living in large U.S. cities. In the letter, Representative Kind asked Secretary Perdue to outline what changes USDA would be making to ensure the second trade aid package is “effectively spending taxpayer dollars” and ensure the payments will be provided “solely to farmers facing the current difficult trade environment to export their products abroad.” USDA expects to send the next of payments soon. ************************************************************************************* WSSA Issues Statement Regarding Glyphosate Registration Process An organization of weed science professionals is voicing concerns regarding the glyphosate reregistration and recent court decisions. The Weed Science Society of America released a statement Tuesday supporting a science-based approach to evaluating glyphosate by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is currently conducting a review of glyphosate as part of its standard, periodic reassessment of herbicides to ensure they can still be used safely. In April 2019, the organization issued an interim registration decision reiterating that glyphosate is not likely a carcinogen and that risks to public health are low when its used by following its current label. The EPA's position has been echoed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and other major regulatory organizations around the globe. WSSA President Larry Steckel says, "We appreciate the rigorous review process undertaken by the EPA and other regulatory bodies," adding the reviews have consistently concluded glyphosate herbicides are "unlikely to pose significant health risks when used as directed." ************************************************************************************* AEM Releases July Ag Equipment Sales Numbers July 2019 saw decreases in U.S. sales of combines and four-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. two-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to July of last year. Monthly data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows U.S. four-wheel-drive tractor sales decreased 4.7 percent in July, compared to last year. U.S. July combine sales decreased 25.9 percent. And, total U.S. sales of two-wheel drive tractors in July decreased .1 percent compared to July last year. For Canada, January four-wheel drive tractor sales were negative, down 32 percent, and combine sales decreased 43.8 percent. July two-wheel-drive tractor Canadian sales were down in all size categories. A weak farm economy and trade tensions are part of the reason farmers are holding off on purchasing equipment. AEM’s Curt Blades says the association is “encouraging a swift passage of USMCA and continued focus on renewable fuels to help provide some stability for farmers in the months ahead.” Blades adds AEM is “committed to advocating for pro-growth trade policies and the end to retaliatory tariffs.” ************************************************************************************* Growth Energy and GasBuddy Partner to Launch Unleaded 88 on GasBuddy App Growth Energy and GasBuddy Tuesday announced the inclusion of Unleaded 88 in the GasBuddy mobile app and database. Unleaded 88 is a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel approved for cars 2001 and newer, and, is now available for sale at the pump all year. The Trump administration this year amended rules to allow E15, or Unleaded 88, to be sold through the summer months. GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations. The new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at retail locations around the country. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan says by including the availability of Unleaded 88, is part of “continuing our commitment” to users. More than 16 fuel retail chains are participating and offering Unleaded 88 at more than 1,800 locations across 31 states elena, Mont. - The Montana Department of Agriculture’s annual Pesticide Disposal Events will be held in several locations across Montana during September. The collection events will be held September 17 in Wolf Point; September 18 in Sidney; September 19 in Miles City; and September 20 in Billings. The annual events have collected more than 638,000 pounds of waste pesticides since it began in 1994. The program was designed to help individuals dispose of any pesticides that are unusable as originally intended and cannot be used for any other purpose. This allows participants to dispose of waste pesticides in an environmentally responsible way and helps protect Montana’s ecosystems and groundwater, as well as families, pets, livestock and drinking water. The department asks that participants pre-register online by September 9, 2019, before the collection events, so products can be managed safely and efficiently. Those interested in having their waste pesticides recycled should visit the website at:https://agr.mt.gov/Pesticide-Waste-Disposal. There is no charge for the first 200 pounds of material. Amounts over 200 pounds are assessed at $1.00 per pound. A higher fee may apply to pesticides with dioxins or dioxin precursors. Trump Asked Japan to Buy US Farm Products: Kyodo President Donald Trump has asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy a “huge amount” of U.S. farm products, according to a report from the Kyodo news agency. The report cited Japanese and U.S. government sources for the information. Soybeans and wheat were included in the request, Kyodo said, with the Japanese government said to be mulling its response. The report indicated one possibility was to buy the products as food security for African countries and would be worth several hundred million dollars, including transportation costs. Meanwhile, Trump took aim at Japan in wide-ranging comments while in Pennsylvania Tuesday, declaring while the U.S. imports “millions” of cars from Japan, all they buy from the U.S. was wheat. ________________________________________ Endangered Species Act Protections Eased The Trump administration is making changes to how wildlife regulations are implemented, answering complaints from developers who complained the law has become too onerous. Environmentalists dispute that, noting the changes will endanger critical wildlife habitats. The new rules, expected to go into effect in October, would also make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change. The Endangered Species Act was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1973. ________________________________________ Washington Insider: Trade Policy Shifts Amid deepening gloom about future economic growth, the administration delayed imposition of the next round of a number of tariffs on Tuesday to limit impacts on holiday shopping, the urban press widely reported yesterday. The Washington Post said that the White House announced a delay in the imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports of cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and certain types of footwear and clothing until Dec. 15, significantly later than the Sept. 1 deadline previously threatened. The announcement, which came from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, ensures that Apple products and other major consumer goods would be shielded from the import tax until at least December, potentially keeping costs on these products down during the holiday season. The announcement moved markets sharply higher, the Post said, noting that the Dow Jones climbed close to 500 points, or nearly 2%, on the news. The stock prices of Apple, Best Buy, Mattel and Macy’s were among those that rallied. The president told reporters that he delayed the additional tariffs “just in case they would have a negative impact on U.S. shoppers” — his most explicit admission so far that the tariffs likely would have raised costs for American consumers and businesses and had a negative impact on the economy. Previously the president had said, “We’re not ready to make a deal with China.” Now, USTR said the 10% tariff would still go into effect in September on some items, including many food products, gloves, coats and suits. But it said tariffs on other items would be waived completely “based on health, safety, national security and other factors.” Trump called the delay “meant as an overture to Chinese officials.” “I’m not sure if it was the tariffs or the call, but the call was very productive,” Trump said, referring to a conversation this week between top Chinese and U.S. negotiators. Still, he warned that China needs to buy more from the United States, “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers. So far, they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!” Chinese officials deny that they ever agreed to purchase the farm products Trump had promised, and this soon became clear to the U.S. agriculture industry. Many businesses had worried openly that higher tariffs on consumer goods ahead of the Christmas shopping season could severely damage the economy at a time when some are already warning that the risk of a recession next year has increased. The Post said that the tariff delay is likely to keep retail shopping strong this year, citing “many economists,” but also noted that it “does nothing to alleviate the confusion and uncertainty over what Trump will do next in the trade battle.” The Post called the announcement “the latest in a herky-jerky trade war between the White House and China as the president has tried to pressure Chinese leaders to change their trade practices.” Chinese officials have negotiated but refused to agree to the terms Trump demands, leading to a prolonged standoff.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Trump Delays Tariff Hike Until December The Trump administration will delay part of a planned tariff increase on China until December. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office made the announcement Tuesday the administration would not implement the planned tariffs. Instead, the tariffs will be implemented December 15, 2019. USTR Robert Lighthizer says certain products are even being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face the additional tariffs of 10 percent. The move likely gives Lighthizer more time to negotiate with China, which the two sides are set to meet next month in Washington. However, the tariffs threaten to again stall the negotiations as China responded by announcing a halt of purchases of U.S. agricultural products. President Trump claims the delay is part of an effort to avoid the impact of the tariffs on holiday shopping. However, the two sides did talk over the phone this week, and Trump called the talks positive, adding a deal could be coming soon. ************************************************************************************* Private Firm Predicts 12 Billion Bushel Corn Crop, 3.7 Billion Soybeans A private firm forecast of the nation's crops greatly differs from Department of Agriculture data released this week. That's true for many expectations, but the data from USDA still sparked a negative market reaction for corn futures. Generated by Indigo Ag's living map, Atlas, forecasts for both corn and soybeans are down from the company's July report. Corn production is forecasted at 12 billion bushels and soy production is forecasted at 3.7 billion bushels, down 3.2 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. USDA predicts corn production at 13.9 billion bushels, and soybeans at 3.68 billion. Over the past month, favorable weather conditions - including hot weather and adequate rainfall - have aided crop health across the United States. Given the late start to the season, however, crop development is still significantly delayed. That development will be monitored over the next month. Indigo Atlas combines remote sensing equipment, weather and historical data to deliver models that assess crop health and production at the field, county, state and national level. ************************************************************************************* Kind: Purdue Ignoring Wisconsin Farmers, Gives Trade Aid to Largest Producers A Wisconsin lawmaker is demanding changes to Department of Agriculture trade aid distributions. Democrat Ron Kind, a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, says the current Market Facilitation Program favors large farmers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Kind says a study shows the top one percent of large farms received an average of $183,000 in trade aid, while the bottom eighty percent received under $5,000, on average. Additionally, 82 large farms received more than $500,000 and 95 percent of all payments went to the top 50 percent of farms. The report also found that over $38 million in payments were sent to those living in large U.S. cities. In the letter, Representative Kind asked Secretary Perdue to outline what changes USDA would be making to ensure the second trade aid package is “effectively spending taxpayer dollars” and ensure the payments will be provided “solely to farmers facing the current difficult trade environment to export their products abroad.” USDA expects to send the next of payments soon. ************************************************************************************* WSSA Issues Statement Regarding Glyphosate Registration Process An organization of weed science professionals is voicing concerns regarding the glyphosate reregistration and recent court decisions. The Weed Science Society of America released a statement Tuesday supporting a science-based approach to evaluating glyphosate by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is currently conducting a review of glyphosate as part of its standard, periodic reassessment of herbicides to ensure they can still be used safely. In April 2019, the organization issued an interim registration decision reiterating that glyphosate is not likely a carcinogen and that risks to public health are low when its used by following its current label. The EPA's position has been echoed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and other major regulatory organizations around the globe. WSSA President Larry Steckel says, "We appreciate the rigorous review process undertaken by the EPA and other regulatory bodies," adding the reviews have consistently concluded glyphosate herbicides are "unlikely to pose significant health risks when used as directed." ************************************************************************************* AEM Releases July Ag Equipment Sales Numbers July 2019 saw decreases in U.S. sales of combines and four-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. two-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to July of last year. Monthly data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows U.S. four-wheel-drive tractor sales decreased 4.7 percent in July, compared to last year. U.S. July combine sales decreased 25.9 percent. And, total U.S. sales of two-wheel drive tractors in July decreased .1 percent compared to July last year. For Canada, January four-wheel drive tractor sales were negative, down 32 percent, and combine sales decreased 43.8 percent. July two-wheel-drive tractor Canadian sales were down in all size categories. A weak farm economy and trade tensions are part of the reason farmers are holding off on purchasing equipment. AEM’s Curt Blades says the association is “encouraging a swift passage of USMCA and continued focus on renewable fuels to help provide some stability for farmers in the months ahead.” Blades adds AEM is “committed to advocating for pro-growth trade policies and the end to retaliatory tariffs.” ************************************************************************************* Growth Energy and GasBuddy Partner to Launch Unleaded 88 on GasBuddy App Growth Energy and GasBuddy Tuesday announced the inclusion of Unleaded 88 in the GasBuddy mobile app and database. Unleaded 88 is a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel approved for cars 2001 and newer, and, is now available for sale at the pump all year. The Trump administration this year amended rules to allow E15, or Unleaded 88, to be sold through the summer months. GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations. The new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at retail locations around the country. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan says by including the availability of Unleaded 88, is part of “continuing our commitment” to users. More than 16 fuel retail chains are participating and offering Unleaded 88 at more than 1,800 locations across 31 states.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Trade Policy Shifts Amid deepening gloom about future economic growth, the administration delayed imposition of the next round of a number of tariffs on Tuesday to limit impacts on holiday shopping, the urban press widely reported yesterday. The Washington Post said that the White House announced a delay in the imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports of cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and certain types of footwear and clothing until Dec. 15, significantly later than the Sept. 1 deadline previously threatened. The announcement, which came from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, ensures that Apple products and other major consumer goods would be shielded from the import tax until at least December, potentially keeping costs on these products down during the holiday season. The announcement moved markets sharply higher, the Post said, noting that the Dow Jones climbed close to 500 points, or nearly 2%, on the news. The stock prices of Apple, Best Buy, Mattel and Macy’s were among those that rallied. The president told reporters that he delayed the additional tariffs “just in case they would have a negative impact on U.S. shoppers” — his most explicit admission so far that the tariffs likely would have raised costs for American consumers and businesses and had a negative impact on the economy. Previously the president had said, “We’re not ready to make a deal with China.” Now, USTR said the 10% tariff would still go into effect in September on some items, including many food products, gloves, coats and suits. But it said tariffs on other items would be waived completely “based on health, safety, national security and other factors.” Trump called the delay “meant as an overture to Chinese officials.” “I’m not sure if it was the tariffs or the call, but the call was very productive,” Trump said, referring to a conversation this week between top Chinese and U.S. negotiators. Still, he warned that China needs to buy more from the United States, “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers. So far, they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!” Chinese officials deny that they ever agreed to purchase the farm products Trump had promised, and this soon became clear to the U.S. agriculture industry. Many businesses had worried openly that higher tariffs on consumer goods ahead of the Christmas shopping season could severely damage the economy at a time when some are already warning that the risk of a recession next year has increased. The Post said that the tariff delay is likely to keep retail shopping strong this year, citing “many economists,” but also noted that it “does nothing to alleviate the confusion and uncertainty over what Trump will do next in the trade battle.” The Post called the announcement “the latest in a herky-jerky trade war between the White House and China as the president has tried to pressure Chinese leaders to change their trade practices.” Chinese officials have negotiated but refused to agree to the terms Trump demands, leading to a prolonged standoff. Trump has frequently threatened dramatic penalties only to back away. His threat of imposing a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports starting next month spooked investors and many lawmakers, and it led to a steady slide in the stock market in the past two weeks. “These tariffs were Trump’s idea. Now his team is trying to clean this up,” said Steve Pavlick, a former Trump Treasury Department official who heads policy at Renaissance Macro Research. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you see this right before Christmas. They are trying to minimize the impact.” But Trump’s demands in recent weeks signaled to many that the political peril the prolonged trade war has raised has grown. Trump had originally threatened to impose these new tariffs on $300 billion in consumer goods by early July, but at a June meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he agreed to hold off. At the meeting, held during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump said the Chinese had agreed to dramatically increase purchases of U.S. agricultural goods. Several weeks ago, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flew to Shanghai to meet with Chinese leaders about restarting trade negotiations. Those discussions went poorly, the Post said—and when the president heard back from Mnuchin and Lighthizer about how poorly the trip had gone, he announced that he would move ahead with the 10 percent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods in September. USTR’s announcement on Tuesday was the first sign that the administration might back down from that demand. Still, the mid-December tariff deadline still could raise concerns among major retailers and importers about higher costs during a crucial window for revenue. In spite of the positive market responses to Tuesday’s announcement, a number of economists worry that it won’t resolve the trade war sufficiently before the election. So, we will see. So far, it seems that the administration will ease off its “get tough” policies somewhat. Whether that means a new push for an agreement remains to be seen, however. Whatever the recent tariff policies have become, they certainly should be watched closely by producers as this economic battle proceeds, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Endangered Species Act Protections Eased The Trump administration is making changes to how wildlife regulations are implemented, answering complaints from developers who complained the law has become too onerous. Environmentalists dispute that, noting the changes will endanger critical wildlife habitats. The new rules, expected to go into effect in October, would also make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change. The Endangered Species Act was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1973.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Trump Asked Japan to Buy US Farm Products: Kyodo President Donald Trump has asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy a “huge amount” of U.S. farm products, according to a report from the Kyodo news agency. The report cited Japanese and U.S. government sources for the information. Soybeans and wheat were included in the request, Kyodo said, with the Japanese government said to be mulling its response. The report indicated one possibility was to buy the products as food security for African countries and would be worth several hundred million dollars, including transportation costs. Meanwhile, Trump took aim at Japan in wide-ranging comments while in Pennsylvania Tuesday, declaring while the U.S. imports “millions” of cars from Japan, all they buy from the U.S. was wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 14, 2019 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Weather remains a primary concern for row crops through the growing season and this week's forecast for moderate showers across the Midwest is generally favorable. The U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly inventories, including ethanol at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Any new trade news is also being closely watched. Weather Wednesday features mostly dry conditions in the Midwest. Shower and thunderstorm activity will be noted in the western and Southern Plains and Gulf Coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 13, 2019 |


Record 19 Million Prevented Plant Acres This Year The Farm Service Agency reports farmers were unable to plant a record 19 million acres this year. The recent round of Department of Agriculture reports Monday details the prevented plant acres, which are 17.49 million more than last year. Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. The data suggests prevented plant acres total 11.2 million acres for corn and 4.4 million acres for soybeans. Undersecretary Bill Northey says the results show farmers are “facing significant challenges and tough decisions” this year. USDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017. ************************************************************************************* Crop Production Report Lowers Soybean Production 19 Percent Monday’s Crop Production report from the Department of Agriculture predicts a 19 percent drop in soybean production from 2018. Meanwhile, USDA expects corn growers to decrease their production four percent from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels. Area for soybean harvest is forecast at 75.9 million acres with planted area for the nation estimated at 76.7 million acres, down four percent from the June estimate, and down 14 percent from last year. Acres planted to corn, at 90.0 million, are down two percent from the June estimate but up two percent from 2018. The figures include the information stemming from a resurvey of planted acres. The data surprised commodity markets, as traders say the numbers are higher than expected for corn production. Meanwhile, the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report, reflecting its data and the Crop Production report, lowered the season-average corn price 10 cents to $3.60 per bushel. The season-average soybean price was unchanged at $8.40 per bushel. ************************************************************************************* EPA Waivers Anger Ethanol Industry, Lawmakers The late-Friday announcement of 31 waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard angered ethanol groups. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the small refiner waivers, which exempt refineries from the RFS. However, ethanol and corn and soybean groups say the waivers destroy demand. The Trump administration has now waived granted more than 50 waivers since 2016, representing more than three billion gallons of biofuels. The Renewable Fuels Association says more than 14 ethanol plants in the U.S. have recently shut down, three permanently, as a result of the waivers. House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson says the waivers will "only make things worse" for farmers. He touted the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, which would stop the EPA from "recklessly granting" waivers to oil refineries and undermining the market for ethanol. Meanwhile, the EPA announced further exploration of removing burdens on E85 and flex-fuel vehicles. And, EPA also noted its communication with the National Corn Growers Association, working to expedite the reregistration of atrazine. ************************************************************************************* Interior Department to Implement ESA Revisions The Interior Department Monday announced the implementation of revisions to the Endangered Species Act. The Trump administration says the changes apply to ESA sections which deal with listing and critical habitat, threatened species protection, and interagency consultation. The changes direct ESA listings to be determined “solely on the basis of scientific and commercial information,” and clarifies standards for delisting and reclassification. Further, when designating critical habitat, the new regulations reinstate the requirement that areas where threatened or endangered species are present at the time of listing be evaluated first before unoccupied areas are considered. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council welcomed the final rule. Public Lands Council President Bob Skinner says, “commonsense will once again be inserted into the ESA process.” The Natural Resources Defense Council calls the changes a “drastic rollback” of the ESA, which make it “harder to protect plants and animals.” Barring court action, the rules package will officially take effect following a 30-day objection period. ************************************************************************************* Fake Meat Deserves the Same Regulations, Oversight as Beef Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Director Missy Bonds says imitation meats should be regulated with the same oversight as beef. In an editorial released Monday, Bonds says it’s essential “consumers, cattle producers, and government regulators come together now,” to craft the regulations. With lab grown meats readying for market, she says the industry must “ensure that fake meats are properly vetted and regulated to protect the health and well-being of consumers and prevent false or deceptive marketing.” Bonds alleges deceptive marketing is already a problem, with lab-grown meat producers calling their products “clean meat,” which is not a legal marketing term. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have agreed to a regulatory framework for lab-grown meat. However, Bonds says there are still many details to be determined. Both agencies will likely be creating guidance documents and rules to define the food safety evaluation process. She urged cattle ranchers to stay engaged, and “Demand that regulators clearly and carefully label imitation products.” ************************************************************************************* Tyson to Pay Employees, Rebuild, Following Fire at Kansas Facility Tyson Foods is pledging to pay employees and rebuild a Holcomb, Kansas, plant after a fire partially destroyed the facility. In a news release, Tyson officials say they are still assessing the damage and say the plant will be shut down indefinitely but will be rebuilt at the same location. Employees were asked to report to work Monday for informational meetings and have told local reporters the plant is expected to be closed for six to eight weeks. Roughly 1,200 employees at the facility Friday night were evacuated, and no injuries were reported. More than 3,500 employees work at the facility. Tyson says full-time, active team members at the facility will be paid weekly until production resumes. Tyson Fresh Meats group president Steve Stouffer says Tyson has “built in some redundancy to handle situations like these,” and will be using other plants to keep the supply chain full. Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, employing more than 5,600 people, paying $268 million in wages in 2018.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 13, 2019 |


Washington Insider: More Food Safety Inspections Coming Food Safety News reported recently that not only have FDA officials called for increased plant inspections, “they’re on the way,” and that there have been “plenty of warnings” under the relatively new Food Safety Modernization Act. These include new “calls for inspectors to visit produce farms and packing houses.” under the act’s rules. In addition, there have been additional reports of food illness outbreaks this year that have increased political pressure on FDA to enforce its new authorities. As a result, plant inspections are to begin this month for farms and orchards making more than $500,000 in annual gross product sales. Smaller farms have another year to comply with the rule. As for packing houses, even though there have been some questions over whether a packing house is a farm or not, the FDA is focusing more on what happens in the plant than who owns it. In any case, the FDA wants all packing companies to follow the packing and holding requirements of the Produce Safety Rule or the good manufacturing practices portion of the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. And while farms will, for the most part, be inspected during harvest, packing line inspections may happen any time that they are running, FSN says. “We won’t come down like a ton of bricks right out of the gate,” Hector Castro, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Agriculture said. “The goal is to help farms comply with the Produce Safety Rule to ensure that food is safe—not to hand out fines and penalties.” Still, that won’t mean that farms and packing sheds that pose an immediate danger to public health won’t face penalties. After all, these inspections are aimed at preventing conditions that could lead to foodborne diseases, FSN says. “That’s what the Food Safety Modernization Act is all about: preventing health problems, not just reacting to them, as was the case before the act was signed into law.” Whereas in most states, agriculture departments will be conducting the inspections, six states — Oregon, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois — will turn to FDA. That agency says that the Produce Safety Rule establishes mandatory science-based, minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption and notes that the standards are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce operations. And, FDA concludes that clarifying and unifying the standards operations covered by the rule will need to meet will help make the nation’s food supply safer by reducing the presence of dangerous bacteria--and thus reduce the number of illnesses caused by contaminated produce. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. In its approach, FDA says higher-risk farms will obviously be higher on the priority list than lower risk operations. The agency will rely on known food-safety risks, defined by an internal analysis prepared last winter by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s Food Safety Modernization Technical Working group. These include a number of known food-safety factors, including the farm’s history of class 1 recalls and outbreaks, the soil treatments used, its compliance history, the end users of the produce and other conditions. The growing season also figures into where a farm falls on the inspection priority list, as well as other factors. As part of its guiding principle, the food safety inspectors will use the new “On-Farm Readiness Review.” This program guide is offered free to farms and is designed to foster a dialogue between the producer and the regulator and/or educator about what it takes to comply with Produce Safety Rule. Each visit is scheduled at the farmer’s convenience and generally takes only a modest amount of time. At the end of the review, the assessor gives the farmer his or her top three suggestions for the farm to improve its food-safety practices. Produce that is usually eaten raw is covered under the Produce Safety Rule, which includes berries, tomatoes, almonds, lettuces, and melons among others, FSN says. However, since cooking produce before it is eaten can reduce the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death, FDA has decided that it is not “reasonably necessary” to subject produce that is “rarely consumed raw” to the requirements under the Produce Safety Rule. So, we will see. Fresh food production rules are both difficult and hard to follow in many cases, and have historically been unpopular with producers because they can intrude on critical, time sensitive production operations. Nevertheless, political pressure to upgrade consumer confidence in the safety of increasingly popular food for raw consumption has intensified sharply in recent years. The expanded safety inspections should be supported and followed closely by producers as they are rolled out, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 13, 2019 |


USDA, AFGE reach agreement on workers to be moved to Kansas City Employees of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) who agree to move to Kansas City will be allowed to telework until December 30 and will receive incentive payments of one month’s salary, according to an agreement reached between the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and USDA. The agreement also gives the employees until September 27 to decide whether to move. The agreement "is certainly a positive development that could encourage more employees to relocate, but it does not make up for all the anxiety and anguish that employees have been going through since this relocation was first announced,” AFGE President J. David Cox said of the accord reached with USDA.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 13, 2019 |


FSA Data Shows Prevent Plant Acres at 19 Million Farmers were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to certified acreage data released by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Not surprisingly, more than 73 percent of the prevented plant acres were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. “Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.” The data is also utilized by the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) in putting their Crop Production report together, relative to acreage. While NASS said in issuing their Crop Production report Monday, the data was not likely complete. “It is also important to note that data are reported to FSA over an extended period of time, with varying due dates across the country, and is historically incomplete in early August,” NASS said. “NASS has carefully analyzed these data for many years and has determined they normally don’t become nearly complete until September for cotton and October for corn, soybeans, and sorghum.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 13, 2019 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Tuesday's grain markets have a lot of new information to digest from Monday's new crop estimates and Crop Progress update. Livestock prices are adjusting to news of Friday's fire at a Tyson plant in Kansas. This week's rains are seen as helpful for row crops across the Midwest. At 7:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Labor Department will report on consumer prices for July. Weather Showers and thunderstorms will cover portions of the southeastern Plains along with portions of the southern and eastern Midwest Tuesday. We'll also see light showers in the northern Midwest. Meanwhile, stressful heat will cover most of the southern U.S.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 12, 2019 |


USDA says Land Values Rising; Farm Bureau Notes Declines The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its 2019 Land Values Survey that showed land values nationwide are on the rise. However, the American Farm Bureau Federation says that’s not entirely the case. Farm Bureau notes in its own Market Intel analysis that land values and farm rents have gone in the opposite direction in certain parts of the country. “Many of the areas with declining agricultural land values and cash rents over the past half-decade are found in the Midwest, where a prolonged downturn in crop and livestock prices has reduced net cash income,” says Farm Bureau’s Chief Economist John Newton.” Around the rest of the country, Newton says agricultural land values were the highest in states near urban areas, such as Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. The USDA report says the U.S. farm real estate value averaged $3,160 per acre, which includes the value of all the land and buildings on farms. That’s a rise of $60 per acre, or 1.9 percent, over 2018. The U.S. cropland value averaged $4,100 per acre, $50 per acre higher over the previous year, or a jump of 1.2 percent. ********************************************************************************************* China Makes Last Ag Buy Before Suspending Purchases Is this China’s last ag purchase for now? The answer appears to be yes. Reuters notes that China actually made small purchases of U.S. soybeans, wheat, sorghum, and pork during the week of July 26-August 1. That could be China’s last ag buys from the U.S. for some time as trade tensions continue to heat up between the U.S. and China. It was shortly after those purchases that China announced it will be suspending more ag purchases after President Trump decided to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods starting on September 1. China’s overall soybean imports fell by 5.6 percent during July. However, the country’s soybean exports jumped by their highest level in almost a year. The South China Morning Post says a 3.3 percent jump in Chinese exports came about because of higher demand from some of China’s neighbors, including Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea, who’ve all been hurt economically by the trade war between the world’s largest economies. The South China Morning Post says it’s unlikely that China’s neighbors will be able to adequately fill in the gap in China’s outbound sales totals as the U.S. remains the world’s largest economy and the world’s most vibrant consumer market. ********************************************************************************************** Guarded Optimism in the Minneapolis Fed’s Ag Survey Sixty-two percent of ag lenders across the Minneapolis Fed District say that farm incomes across the district decreased through the second quarter of 2019 when compared to last year. Only eight percent say that farm incomes have increased. Capital spending was also down in the second quarter, with 64 percent of lenders reporting spending had dropped, while just five percent say it increased. A Wisconsin banker wrote in the survey that, “Crops are behind, and we will need warmer weather and an extended fall for our crops. Yields have been affected and will be lower in our area.” However, that same banker did say with improved crop prices, farmers are in a better position than they’ve been in for the last three years. The survey also shows that falling farm incomes have pushed loan repayment rates down slightly, while renewals and extensions increased. Respondents did note that cropland values did increase slightly. While the third-quarter outlook is for continued contraction in the ag sector, fewer survey respondents predicted decreasing income, capital expenditures, and household spending over the next three months than they did in the last three months. States in the Minneapolis Fed District include Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, northwest Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. ********************************************************************************************** EU: ASF is an “Urgent Challenge” The European Union faces a serious challenge in taking on the outbreak of African Swine Fever that is threatening Bulgaria’s pig breeding industry. Reuters quotes an EU Commission spokeswoman as saying, “Fighting African Swine Fever in the EU represents an extreme and urgent challenge.” As many as ten EU nations are currently affected by ASF. However, the outbreaks are especially bad in Bulgaria and neighboring Romania. Outbreaks in Slovakia were found in July in four backyard farms. Bulgaria is one of the poorest states in the European Union and has reported more than 30 outbreaks of the disease, which is harmless to humans but incurable to pigs. Approximately 130,000 pigs have already been culled in Bulgaria. The disease first spread into the EU from Russia and Belarus. While many of the outbreaks that occurred on small farms were quickly contained, the European Food Safety Authority says it is still spreading locally among wild boar. Experts say a country like Bulgaria could eventually lose its entire pig breeding industry that totals up to 600,000 animals. Outbreaks of ASF have taken place in both the European Union and in Asia. ********************************************************************************************** Six States Sue EPA Over Chlorpyrifos An Agri-Pulse report says that six states, including both California and New York, have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. The suit alleges that the EPA’s decision to allow continued use of Chlorpyrifos (Klor-PEER-ih-fahs) didn’t ensure that infants and children were protected. “Chlorpyrifos causes significant harm to our children, farmworkers, and vulnerable communities,” says California Governor Gavin Newsom. “California is doing its part to address the harms of this pesticide and it’s time for D.C. to do theirs.” The states filed their lawsuit on the same day that a coalition of environmental, farmworker, and other groups also sued the EPA over the same decision. The EPA says it didn’t have enough evidence of the insecticide’s neurodevelopmental effects to justify revoking its use. The states are saying that the EPA didn’t comply with the language in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that requires the agency to “ensure that there’s reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from exposure over time to the pesticide’s chemical residue.” The groups’ lawsuit says, “Rather than carrying the burden of finding that the tolerances of Chlorpyrifos are safe, the EPA wrongly placed the burden on the petitioners to furnish “valid, complete, and reliable data that set forth why tolerances are unsafe.” ********************************************************************************************** EPA Won’t Add Cancer-Causing Labels to Glyphosate A DTN report says that the Environmental Protection Agency will no longer approve product labels that claim glyphosate causes cancer. The agency issued new guidance late last week that says, “EPA will no longer approve product labels claiming that glyphosate is known to cause cancer, a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.” EPA says California’s much-criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products like glyphosate because it misinforms the public about the risks they face. Most of the scientific work and study of the product shows no link between glyphosate and human cancers. In May, the EPA said it continues to find no risks to human health and the herbicide is not a carcinogen. “It’s very irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when the EPA knows it’s not a cancer risk,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release. “We will not allow California’s flawed program to go ahead and dictate what federal policy should be.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 12, 2019 |


Washington Insider: Wall Street Journal Recession Warning The Washington Post reported late last week that trade policies have become increasingly personal and focused on a particular controversial advisor, Peter Navarro—who warned on Thursday that the “Trump’s trade war could trigger a recession.” The Post noted that Navarro is a strong proponent of going hard after China using tariffs to force trade practices. His official title is White House assistant for trade and manufacturing. “The Wall Street Journal will write what it writes. It doesn’t sound a lot different from the People’s Daily in terms of the news that it puts out," Navarro said in an interview on Fox Business Network.” The Post obviously enjoyed the controversy and noted that People’s Daily is the largest newspaper in China and provides an official outlet for the Chinese Communist Party. The Journal, by contrast, is owned by businessman Rupert Murdoch and his family and its editorial board is widely considered a leading Republican and capitalist voice. The Journal’s Thursday editorial, “A Navarro Recession?,” cautioned that Trump’s escalating trade battle with China is backfiring by causing businesses to stop investment and reduce hiring. The editorial blamed Navarro for giving the president poor advice. “Mr. Trump’s willy-nilly trade offensive could be the mistake that turns a slowdown into the Navarro recession,” the editorial board wrote. Navarro dismissed the editorial as biased and wrong when he was asked about it in a Fox TV appearance. He insisted the U.S. economy is doing well and blamed Congress and the Federal Reserve for the fact that hiring has slowed from last year and that business investment dried up in the second quarter. “This economy is solid as a rock,” Navarro said. “But President Trump doesn’t want a very good economy, he wants a great economy.” However, the stock market has mostly gone sideways since Trump started putting tariffs on various items and countries in January 2018, the Post said. And, while business leaders and the Wall Street Journal editorial board say the trade war is harming the economy Navarro insists that all blame falls on the Fed, even though Trump appointed the Fed chair and most of its board of governors. Navarro predicted that the Fed would reduce interest rates three or four more times by the end of the year, an unprecedented amount of aid at a time when the economy is doing pretty well. “I believe that by the end of the year, we’ll have 75 to 100 basis points in cuts, not because this economy is weak, but because of this spread problem,” Navarro said, referring to the difference between the Fed’s 2.25 percent benchmark interest rate and the 1.72 percent yield on 10-year Treasury bonds. The Fed cut interest rates in July for the first time since the financial crisis, citing increased uncertainty from slowing global growth overseas and trade tensions. Hope of a quick resolution to the U.S.-China trade war faded last week as both sides have dug in further, the Post said. At Navarro’s urging, Trump said he will put 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. China responded by devaluing its currency, a move Trump detests, although it does help alleviate the costs of the tariffs. It turns out that the Wall Street Journal is far from the only critic of current U.S. trade policies. Bloomberg also reported that former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said on Sunday that the U.S. and world economies are at their riskiest moment since the global financial crisis a decade ago as a result of growing trade tensions. He spoke on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” about what he called a “sadomasochistic and foolish trade conflict” the U.S. has engaged with China under President Donald Trump. “We are losing very substantial amounts in terms of uncertainty, reduced investment, reduced job creation – for the sake of benefits that are very unlikely to be of substantial magnitude,” Summers said. He concluded, “I don’t think there’s any question that American workers are going to be poorer, American companies are going to be less profitable and the American economy is going to be worse off because of the course we’re on,” Summers said. Summers, director of the National Economic Council during the Obama administration and a former chief economist of the World Bank said that despite the risks, a crisis of the magnitude seen during the previous recession is still unlikely and “would be a great surprise” if one occurred. Even if the economy is not broadly undercut by the current trade policies, many very significant markets likely will be, including those for ag products. This is a key fight that producers should watch closely as it intensifies, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 12, 2019 |


Judge Dismisses Antitrust Suits Against US Pork Companies Antitrust lawsuits filed against several U.S. pork companies that alleged they conspired to limit supplies in order to boost prices and their own profits have been dismissed by a federal judge in Minneapolis. Chief Judge John Tunheim said that plaintiffs in the case did not show there was “parallel conduct” among the companies that indicated they conspired to rig prices. The dismissal of cases against Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods and data provider Agri Stats was without prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs would be able to amend their complaints. The suits contended the companies had reduced production in the years following 2009. But Tunheim said the allegations focused on industry data and public statements but did not have any specific allegations of action to cut production besides Smithfield. "It may be true that some of these defendants cut production in the years following 2009. It may also be true that all of these defendants cut production," he wrote. "The fact that the complaints contain this ambiguity is exactly the problem." At least one of the attorneys involved said they would amend their complaints.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 12, 2019 |


EPA Issues 31 Small Refiner Exemptions for 2018 Compliance Year The agency received 40 requests for the 2018 compliance year and prior to Friday (August 9), data showed two had been withdrawn/declared ineligible. The data now show that 31 have been granted, six denied and three were withdrawn/declared ineligible. The data also show that EPA has now denied a request for the 2016 compliance year and one for the 2017 compliance year that had previously been showing as pending in the data until the update on Friday. The 31 requests granted for the 2018 compliance year is down from 35 granted for the 2017 compliance year but still above the 19 approved for the 2016 compliance year and seven approved for 2015 and eight each for the 2013 and 2014 compliance years. As expected, the news has not been welcomed by biofuel supporters. House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., expressed disappointment at the data released Friday. “The Administration tried to bury bad news for rural America by quietly approving 31 more waivers this Friday afternoon that undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the market for corn,” Petersons said in a statement. “On Wednesday, I hosted a packed forum at Farmfest with Secretary Perdue where farmers raised this issue again and again. Farmers are on the front lines of the tariff war and this announcement by the EPA will only make things worse.” Other biofuel backers offered similar negative reactions.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 12, 2019 |


Monday Watch List Markets Forty-five days after USDA's Acreage report, the market will receive the results of a second planting survey that should be more accurate in Monday's WASDE report, due out at 11 a.m. CDT. USDA's Farm Service Agency will also release its first estimate of prevented plantings at the same time. USDA's usual weekly inspections report will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by its Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. CDT. Weather Monday features heavy rain and heat stress in the central U.S. Moderate to heavy rain is in store in the Northern Plains and western Midwest with flash flood potential. Meanwhile, stressful heat will cover the Southern Plains, southern Midwest, Delta and Southeast. Temperatures will be cool north and stressfully hot south.