Trade War Lengthens – May 13, 2019

As trade war lengthens, Trump orders another bailout for farmers

For the second time in 14 months, President Trump announced a multibillion-dollar government intervention to prop up the farm sector, a prominent casualty of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Sharply lower farm-gate prices forecast for U.S. crops

Farmers growing the three major U.S. crops — corn, soybeans and wheat — can expect a sizable decline in the average sales price for this year’s harvest instead of the mild upturn that was forecast in late February, said the USDA.

Cleaning up a toxic legacy in Vietnam

Fifty years after the war in Vietnam ended, the nation is still dealing with the toxic legacy of Agent Orange, one of the herbicides sprayed throughout the countryside that directly exposed generations of Vietnamese to dioxin, “the most toxic substance ever created by humans,” writes George Black in the latest story, produced in collaboration with Yale Environment 360.


Ag-exporter nations push science and innovation (Ag Insider): Five exporter nations attending the G20 agriculture ministerial meeting in Japan — Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. — said in a joint statement that science and innovation, often code words for biotechnology, must play a key role in the global food supply.

Washington State will go cage-free (New Food Economy): A new state law will require that eggs sold in Washington must come from cage-free hens by the end of 2023 in a rare display of bipartisan support of an animal-welfare bill.

Not ‘preliminary,’ but still reviewable (Washington Post): USDA drops a requirement that peer-reviewed research be labeled “preliminary,” but USDA officials, including political appointees, can request changes on work that deals with “prominent issues.”

Yogurt maker offers to pay school lunch arrearage (AP): Yogurt company Chobani said it will pay the school debts — perhaps $77,000 in all — for children in public schools in Warwick, Rhode Island, and called on other businesses to pitch in.

FDA to test frozen berries (Food Safety News): The FDA will test 2,000 samples of frozen berries throughout the food supply in an effort to develop controls against disease-causing viruses, which can survive at low temperatures.


– After attending G20 ag ministers’ meeting over the weekend, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets Japanese Health Minister Yoshinori Oguchi, Tokyo.

– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

– Senate Agriculture Committee to vote on nominations of Mindy Brashears for undersecretary of food safety, Scott Hutchins for undersecretary of research and Naomi Earp for assistant secretary of civil rights, 10 a.m. ET, location to be determined. Brashears, Hutchins and Earp were renominated by the White House early this year after the Senate failed to vote on their nominations in 2018. In the interim, they have been appointed to positions that effectively allow them to oversee USDA operations while awaiting Senate confirmation.

– USDA releases monthly Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook, noon ET.

– USDA releases monthly Rice Outlook, Wheat Outlook and Feed Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.

– It’s the USDA’s birthday; created on May 15, 1862, under a law signed by President Lincoln, who later described USDA as “the people’s department.”

– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “To review USDA farm-bill conservation programs,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.

– Chief Vicki Christiansen is lead witness at Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on proposed fiscal 2020 budget for the U.S. Forest Service, 9:30 a.m. ET, 124 Dirksen.

– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets South Korea’s agriculture minister, Gae Ho Lee, and its food and drug safety minister, Eui Kyung Lee, Seoul.

– House Appropriations subcommittee votes on fiscal 2020 funding bill for Interior, environment and related agencies, 2 p.m. ET, 2008 Rayburn.

– USDA releases annual Honey report and monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook and Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.

– Deadline for growers to submit documentation for Trump tariff payments. The cutoff date for proof of 2018 production for the Market Facilitation Program originally was May 1, but was extended because of bad weather during fall, winter and spring that delayed harvest in some regions. USDA says more than $8.3 billion has been paid to nearly 600,000 producers.

– National Restaurant Association holds its centennial National Restaurant Show, through May 21, Chicago.

– House Rules chairman Jim McGovern, an anti-hunger advocate, is commencement speaker at Tufts school of nutrition graduation, Boston.

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