Lighthizer counts on wave of purchases to lift China to ag goal – June 18, 2020


Lighthizer counts on wave of purchases to lift China to ag goal


China is closer than commonly realized to fulfilling its commitment to buy vast amounts of U.S. food and ag products this year, said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, rebutting criticism that the “phase one” trade agreement is faltering. “If you had to bet right now, you’d say they’re going to do it.”

USDA adds vendors, extends others as food box program enters second round

The government will spend $1.16 billion in July and August to buy surplus food at the farm level, package it, and donate it to food banks and other organizations for distribution to hungry Americans. In announcing the second round of the Farmers to Families Food Box program on Wednesday, the USDA said it was extending the contracts of “select vendors” from the first round, adding “a few” new vendors, and dropping some others.


Trump asked Xi for help with farm vote (Washington Post): During a one-on-one meeting in 2019, President Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that larger Chinese purchases of U.S. farm exports would aid his chances of re-election, “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” wrote former national security adviser John Bolton in a new book.



Volatile pesticides cause damage across Midwest, South (MCIR): Widely used herbicides, namely dicamba and 2,4-D, “are causing widespread damage to trees, native plants, and natural areas” from Indiana to Kansas and from North Dakota to Arkansas.



Coronavirus antibodies from cows (NPR): South Dakota-based SAB Biotherapeutics is testing whether cows that have been given genes from the human immune system can produce antibodies for use in treating people infected with the coronavirus or in preventing an infection from exposure to the virus.



Senate votes for recreation funding (Outside): The Senate passed, 73-25, and sent to the House the Great American Outdoors Act, which would provide $9.5 billion over five years for overdue maintenance on federal lands. The act would also permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, spent on outdoor recreation, at $900 million a year.



Culling mink in Denmark (Reuters): The 11,000 mink at a farm in Denmark, the world’s largest producer of mink pelts, will be killed because they are infected with the coronavirus, said Danish authorities.


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