Trade Deal – Big Numbers, Few Details – December 16, 2019

Sino-U.S. trade deal: Big numbers, few details, many questions for ag


Although President Trump declared “a very large Phase One Deal with China,” the White House put few agricultural details in writing over the weekend, saying the agreement calls for “substantial purchases” of farm exports, rather than the quadrupling trumpeted by U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer. 


Booker introduces bill that would reshape livestock farming


Sen. Cory Booker, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for president, today introduced new legislation that would reshape how livestock farming operates in the U.S. The Farm System Reform Act includes a moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and a plan to phase out large CAFOs in the next 20 years.


Peterson to vote no, Van Drew may change parties over impeachment

House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson told Minnesota dairy farmers that he will vote against impeachment of President Trump, barring persuasive new evidence; “Maybe something will change, I doubt it.” Meanwhile Rep. Jeff Van Drew, also on the Agriculture Committee, met Trump and reportedly told aides he will switch parties, to become a Republican, just before or just after voting against impeachment.



A hitch in USMCA progress (Washington Post): Mexico objected during USMCA negotiations to a U.S. proposal to put labor inspectors in Mexico, and a top Mexican official flew to Washington for last-minute talks to quash a proposal to base five U.S. labor attaches in Mexico to police the USMCA.


Acrimonious end of COP25 (Reuters): The UN climate conference ended with a declaration of the “urgent need” to control greenhouse gases as industrialized nations resisted bolder actions; UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the meeting disappointing.


Argentina raises tax rates on ag exports (MercoPress): Facing $100 billion in debts, the new Argentine government of President Alberto Fernandez increased its export taxes on soybeans, soy oil, soymeal, corn, wheat and beef.


Corn exports by Brazil double (USDA): Brazil has exported 33.3 million tonnes of corn in the marketing year that opened in March, more than double its usual tally, and is encouraging farmers to expand second-crop plantings of corn to take advantage of rising market prices.


Delivering beneficial fungi via bioplastics (USDA): Agricultural Research Service scientists are testing a bioplastic made of corn starch and other natural ingredients as a medium for delivery of beneficial fungi that can prevent the development of highly toxic aflatoxin in corn, peanuts, cotton and other crops.


The status chickens of Silicon Valley (Washington Post) Backyard poultry has long been an urban signifier of food-movement cred. “But in the Bay Area — where the nation’s preeminent local food movement overlaps with the nation’s tech elite — egg-laying chickens are now a trendy, eco-conscious humblebrag on par with driving a Tesla.”




– USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, noon ET.


– USDA releases monthly Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.


– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “Access to conservation programs by historically under-served farmers and ranchers,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.


– Senate Agriculture Committee meeting to vote on National Bio and Agro-defense Facility and lands legislation, 10:30 a.m. ET, 328A Russell.


– The House could begin a series of votes as early as today to wrap up work for this year, say Democratic leaders. The first vote is expected to be on funding of the federal government for the rest of fiscal 2020. A vote on impeaching President Trump is likely on Wednesday and a vote could come on Thursday to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.


– USDA releases annual National Hop Report, 3 p.m. ET.


– Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, “to examine the effects of wildlife on electric grid reliability,” 9:30 a.m. ET, 366 Dirksen.


– USDA releases Census of Aquaculture, delayed from Oct. 10 because of the partial government shutdown, 3 p.m. ET.


– Final day under USDA’s extended deadline to enroll in the ad hoc Market Facilitation Program for trade-war payments on this year’s crops and livestock and for the Dairy Margin Coverage subsidy for 2020 milk production.


– USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET.


– USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.


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