USDA tightens eligibility rules for farm subsidies – August 24, 2020

USDA tightens eligibility rules for farm subsidies

Loopholes remain, but the USDA is tightening its crop subsidy rules by limiting who can collect a payment for managing a farm, historically one of its most porous definitions. The new regulation, to be published on Monday, requires people to perform at least 500 hours of management or at least 25 percent of the management work required annually to merit a subsidy check.


House chair: USDA coronavirus aid process ‘risks public distrust’

The Trump administration should be more forthcoming on how it decides which commodities qualify for its $16-billion coronavirus relief program, said House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson. “Without consistent public clarity … the program is at risk of public distrust,” said Peterson in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.




U.S. and EU resolve lobster tensions

The EU will remove tariffs on imports of live lobsters and frozen lobster products from the United States under an agreement that calls for lower U.S. tariffs on a variety of European goods, including prepared meals. “These tariff reductions are the first U.S.-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades,” said a joint statement by EU and U.S. trade officials.



In turnabout, Pebble Mine to be blocked: The Trump administration will block the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, following opposition from GOP donors and within the president’s family, weeks after opening the door to the gold mine, said six people “familiar with the plans.” (Politico)


China says it will meet U.S. on trade: Chinese and U.S. officials will speak “in coming days” about trade relations, a chance to carry out the six-month review of the “phase one” agreement that took effect in February, said the Chinese Commerce Ministry, although the Trump administration refused to confirm talks were scheduled. (South China Morning Post)


Apple exports recover somewhat: Exports of U.S.- grown apples rebounded to 44.9 million bushels during the past year, compared to the trade war-reduced 38.9 million bushels of the 2018 crop; low prices reduced the overall value of the 2019 crop. (U.S. Apple)


It’s not just derecho damage in Iowa: The U.S. corn crop could total 14.82 billion bushels and soybeans 4.36 billion bushels, notably less than USDA’s forecast of a record 15.3 billion bushels and 4.42 billion bushels respectively, according to Pro Farmer’s annual crop tour, which found “a myriad of challenges” in the Midwest that may limit production this year. (Farm Journal)


A first-generation path to farming: Zemua Baptista, the U.S.-born son of immigrants from Angola, began the journey to becoming a Black farmer in Nebraska with a telephone call to a poultry processor while he was a college freshman; three years later, he is a chicken farmer. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)




President Trump visits farmer-owned Flavor 1st Growers and Packers, a participant in the administration’s $3-billion Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway program, 3:30 p.m. ET, Mills River, North Carolina. The president is expected to watch workers pack boxes and load them onto refrigerated trucks for delivery. “For us, this is not a political event,” owner Brian Rose told the Asheville Citizen News. Rose said the visit would highlight the work of farmers and the impact the pandemic is having on their income. Trump will visit the packing house a few hours after arrival in Charlotte for the Republican National Convention. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is expected to accompany the president.

U.S. Soybean Export Council and Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance hold U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and Specialty Grains Conference online, through Thursday.

USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.

USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.


USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, noon ET. At present, grocery prices are forecast to rise by a larger-than-usual 3 percent this year and revert to a 1.5-percent increase in 2021. Over the past 20 years, grocery prices rose by an average 2 percent a year.

Council for Agricultural Science and Technology holds webinar on its new issue paper, “Agriculture and the microbiome,” 1 p.m. ET. The report will be available on the CAST website on Monday.

Farm Journal holds “holds Covid-conscious” Field Days farm show, through Thursday, with a virtual pavilion and a limited number of farmers allowed on farms In Iowa and Ohio to watch field demonstrations. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is scheduled to speak on Thursday.

Farmdoc Daily holds webinar, “Outlook for farmland prices and evaluation of determinants of farmland,” noon ET.

Global Aginvesting holds Aginvesting 2020 New York online conference, through Thursday.

USDA releases U.S. and Canadian Cattle report and U.S. and Canadian Hogs report, 3 p.m. ET.


Anniversary of adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1920, assuring women’s suffrage. The day also is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day. The campaign for the vote began at the Seneca Falls convention — the world’s first women’s rights convention — in upstate New York in 1848.

USDA releases quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, 3 p.m. ET. The report will make the first forecast of exports in the fiscal year opening on Oct. 1 and update the estimate of exports this fiscal year. The current estimate, $136.5 billion, is a marginal increase from fiscal 2019 but 5-percent below the levels recorded before the Sino-U.S. trade war. The new forecast will incorporate the effects of pandemic on agricultural trade.


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks to the online Field Days farm show, 4:30 p.m. ET.

Farmdoc Daily holds a webinar, “Where are we at financially on Illinois farms,” noon ET.

International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.


USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices report, 3 p.m. ET.

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