China on track for $31 billion in U.S. ag imports over 12 months
While China may not meet the first-year target under the “phase one” trade agreement, it is buying huge amounts of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood products that could total $31 billion over 12 months, said Iowa State economist Wendong Zhang at a farm conference on Thursday. Neither Zhang nor Ohio State professor Ian Sheldon said they expected the Biden administration to roll back U.S. tariffs on China in the near term.
Will Colorado’s vote to bring back wolves be a model for conservationists?
Colorado voters narrowly approved a ballot initiative directing wildlife officials to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Rocky Mountains. It was the first time in U.S. history that voters mandated the reintroduction of a threatened species. “The ballot initiative was the final Hail Mary approach to get this done, to break the stranglehold that the livestock industry has had over this for decades,” said Rob Edward, president of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, the organization behind the initiative.
Farmland values rise in Midwest and Plains
Ag bankers in the Midwest reported the largest year-over-year increase in agricultural land values, 2 percent, since 2014, said the Chicago Federal Reserve on Thursday. The Kansas City Federal Reserve said land values rose by 1 to 3 percent in the Plains, with the value of ranchland and non-irrigated cropland rising the most.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Meat drives food inflation: Grocery prices are 4 percent higher than a year ago, with meat up by 6.1 percent, while the overall U.S. inflation rate was a modest 1.2 percent, said the monthly Consumer Price Index. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Rural vote split is as wide as ever: Both political parties won larger shares of the presidential vote this year than in 2016 by squeezing down the vote for third-party candidates, but Republicans maintained their 2-to-1 advantage over Democrats in rural areas. (Daily Yonder)
Klobuchar eyed for USDA: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is being considered by the Biden administration for a Cabinet post, including attorney general and secretary of agriculture. (CNBC)
USDA proposes faster line speeds: The USDA’s meat safety agency submitted a proposed regulation for White House review that would allow line speeds of up to 175 birds per minute, a 25 percent increase, at poultry plants operating under the New Poultry Inspection System. (Office of Management and Budget)
Pelosi nominates Bustos: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nominated Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos — a member of the House Agriculture Committee and one of the few midwesterners in Democratic leadership — to be one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which decides committee assignments. (Pelosi)