A ‘black swan’ casts shadow on soggy Farm Belt
Mired by a rainy and chilly spring, U.S. farmers may soon give up on planting corn in rain-soaked parts of the Farm Belt because it is getting too late for money-making yields, said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois. “I truly believe we are in ‘black swan’ territory as far as late corn planting is concerned,” he said over the weekend, using a term popularized during the financial crisis a decade ago.
China a factor as U.S., Mexico, Canada agree to remove tariffs
The three largest countries in North America announced an end to the 11-month battle of tariff and retaliatory tariff that pinched U.S. farm exports to Canada and Mexico, the two largest customers in the world for the goods. The agreement, which took effect over the weekend, improved the prospects for ratification of the new NAFTA and altered the dynamics of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Japan removes barrier to U.S. beef (USDA): Japan agreed, effective immediately, to remove mad-cow restrictions dating from 2003 on imported U.S. beef, creating the possibility of a $200-million-a-year increase in U.S. sales.
Amazon looks to expand food delivery (Verge): Amazon led a $575-million investment round for UK food delivery service Deliveroo, causing some to speculate that the company is planning to challenge Uber Eats in the food-delivery market.
Processed food may cause overeating (Science): A diet of ultra-processed food may cause us to eat more overall as compared to a diet of less-processed foods, a “landmark” study finds.
De Blasio goes to Iowa (Politico): New York City mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio toured an ethanol facility with former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Iowa during his first campaign stop.
Canadian pork goes to Japan (Financial Post): In the first months of the TPP-11 pact, pork exports from Canada to Japan nearly match those from the U.S.
Trump’s winning offer to farmers (AP): Farmers are politically loyal to President Trump in the trade war because of this calculation: Trump will benefit if the United States wins concessions and also gains by providing trade aid to farmers in the meantime.
ON THE CALENDAR
– Organic Trade Association holds Organic Week, through Thursday, Today is Member Day; Tuesday is Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, Wednesday is Conference Day and Thursday is OTA board meeting day.
– World Farmers Organization general assembly, through Thursday, Luxembourg.
– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.
– Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, “Climate change and the agriculture sector,” 9:30 a.m. ET, 328A Russell. Witnesses include former agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack and professor Frank Mitloehner of UC-Davis.
– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “To review animal pest and disease prevention and response capabilities,” 11 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
– Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is lead witness as Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the White House’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget for the department, 9:30 a.m. ET, 124 Dirksen.
– House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing, “Enforcement in the new NAFTA,” 10 a.m. ET, 1100 Longworth.
– House Appropriations Committee votes on the fiscal 2020 Interior, environment and related agencies bill, 10:30 a.m. ET, 2359 Rayburn.
– U.S. Meat Export Federation holds 2019 spring conference, through Friday, Kansas City.
– Innovation Forum holds “Future of food” conference to help businesses “identify the main areas of opportunity and innovation within the food and beverage industry, through Thursday, Deerfield, Illinois.
– USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.
– Activists deliver petition to EPA to ban use of glyphosate as a drying agent before harvest of grain, noon ET, Freedom Plaza.
– USDA releases annual Floriculture Crops report, delayed from May 8 because of the partial government shutdown, and annual Poultry Production and Valuesreport, delayed from April 30 by the shutdown, 3 p.m.
– USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET. At present, USDA forecasts retail food inflation of 2 percent this year, below the average increase of 2.3 percent annually. Grocery prices are forecast to rise 1 percent in 2019, the fourth year in a row of lower-than-average prices increases.
– USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.
– President and Melania Trump take part in a state visit to Japan that includes meeting the newly enthroned emperor, through May 28. President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a bilateral meeting during the visit, which has raised hopes of a U.S.-Japan trade agreement. “The state visit will deepen the close bonds between the American and Japanese people and will highlight the continued importance of our alliance and partnership,” says the White House.
– Memorial Day, honoring men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. Observed originally as Decoration Day following the Civil War, Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. Waterloo, New York, is credited as the birthplace of Memorial Day because it hosted an annual community-wide observance in which businesses close and residents put flowers and flags at the graves of soldiers, says History.com. In 1868, former General John Logan of Illinois proposed a nationwide day of remembrance of the war dead.
– UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agriculture Development sponsor the global launch of the “UN decade of family farming,” through May 29, Rome. “Building on the success of the international Year of Family Farming of 2014 and on the improved knowledge about the multiple contribution of family farmers to sustainable rural life, the Decade will aim at focusing systematically on cross-cutting and multi-dimensional issues which are of concern to family farmers,” says FAO.