In this file:


·         Farmers urge U.S. reps, ag secretary to fix trade agreements — fast

·         China's decision to cease all agricultural imports rocks U.S. farmers

·         Roby announces a new round of payments to farmers impacted by the trade war



Farmers urge U.S. reps, ag secretary to fix trade agreements — fast


By Trey Mewes, Mankato Free Press (MN)

Aug 7, 2019


MORGAN — Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, wanted to “address the elephant in the room” at Farmfest.


That elephant was the same one farmers are talking about across the U.S. — the ongoing trade disputes and tariffs between the U.S. and other countries.


“This is causing longterm, devastating damage to not only to farmers but rural communities,” he said.


Farmers and agricultural experts across the state aired their concerns with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Minnesota representatives Wednesday morning in a public forum at the annual statewide ag expo. Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-1st District, later visited with area ag leaders in Mankato.


Tariffs and trade agreements dominated much of the discussion and Perdue’s Mankato stop, though several farmers and industry leaders shared their thoughts on issues ranging from crop report schedules to ag program classifications and whether a new dairy program included in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill would benefit farmers.


The discussion comes after Chinese officials announced on Tuesday China would suspend buying agricultural products from the U.S. in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.


The latest round of trade skirmishes could be ruinous for Minnesota agriculture. China is one of the state’s top trading partners for soybeans, pork and other commodities.


“I don’t want to beat the same drum, but I am concerned about some of these trade agreements if they string out too long,” Dave Mensink of Preston told Perdue Wednesday afternoon.


Mensink and others said they hoped the Trump administration had better results negotiating agreements with other countries to help ease the burden from the escalating trade war with China.


Perdue told ag leaders in Mankato he was hopeful the U.S. would finalize an agreement with Japan in the fall “that would be equal to or exceed the best of the (Trans Pacific Partnership agreement) for the European Union.”


“The challenge is, what do we get for that?” Perdue said.


Perdue also noted the challenge federal officials face trying to mitigate the damage from the U.S.-China trade war by developing markets in other countries.


“We as an ag industry nationwide probably got too dependent on China,” Perdue said. “They’ve proven in the past they can jerk you around. They felt like if they were a major customer, then they could dictate the rules and that’s what they tried to do. The president said, ‘No more.’”


Farmers and representatives on both sides of the aisle agreed Congress needs to review and approve the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, the replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement announced last fall.


While Trump and Republicans have pushed for swift passage, House Democratic leaders have said they wanted more details on the agreement, as well as more environmental and labor protections.


The administration has yet to formally submit the agreement to Congress.


Hagedorn said he believes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is slowing progress on the USMCA for political purposes, but he hopes Pelosi brings the agreement to a vote soon...





China's decision to cease all agricultural imports rocks U.S. farmers


By Jessie Higgins, UPI

Aug. 8, 2019


EVANSVILLE, Ind., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- China's announcement this week that it will cease importing all agricultural products from the United States sent shock waves through the nation's already battered farming sector.


"It is kind of a disaster," said Will Rogers, a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation. "There is no commodity right now that I can think of that is in good shape, no matter where you look."


China's Ministry of Commerce announced on Tuesday that it would suspend all U.S. agricultural purchases in retaliation for President Donald Trump's threat to impose a new 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports.


"This is a serious violation of the meeting between the heads of state of China and the United States," the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.


The news hit farming communities hard.


China had been the largest or second largest export market for American agriculture every year since 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That changed suddenly last summer when the nation began targeted U.S. farm goods with retaliatory tariffs. By the end of 2018, China had fallen to fifth place.


It was devastating decline, Rogers said. However, China still imported some $9.1 billion in agricultural goods from the U.S. that year.


"Now, we stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017," American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement…


... the National Pork Producers Council said its industry is being prevented "from fully capitalizing on a historic sales opportunity created by the outbreak of African swine fever in the world's largest pork-consuming nation"...





Roby announces a new round of payments to farmers impacted by the trade war


By Brandon Moseley, Alabama Political Reporter

August 8, 2019


Monday, Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) announced that farmers who have been adversely impacted by foreign retaliatory tariffs are now eligible for a second round of USDA mitigation payments.


“On Monday, the Trump Administration opened the second round of applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP),” Rep. Roby said. “MFP is designed to aid farmers and ranchers whose commodities have been directly impacted by foreign retaliatory tariffs, and President Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments through MFP.”


“These payments will be made to mitigate the losses for non-specialty crops, specialty crops, and animal products,” Roby added.


For more information about eligibility and to apply go to:


On May 23 U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that there would a second round of MFP payments to farmers impacted by retaliatory tariffs.


In May 2018 President Donald J. Trump (R) announced tariffs on goods imported from a number of foreign countries, citing what he felt were unfair trade practices. One of these countries was China. China was the largest purchaser of American agricultural products, particularly soybeans. Prior to 2018, China purchased half of the soybeans grown in this country. China immediately retaliated against American farmers with tariffs and by purchasing fewer American agricultural products


For historical perspective the price of a bushel of soybeans peaked on August 12, 2012 at $17.58. It came back down to more reasonable levels of about $9.88 a bushel. On May 28, 2018, soybeans were trading at $10.21 a bushel. Then the trade war started. By July 19 the soybeans were trading at $8.19. The appearance of some success in trade talks saw soybean prices rise to $9.25 by January 19 of this year. Then the bottom fell out again and price plummeted to $8.09 by May 6. That was the lowest price in 12 years. Soybeans are currently trading at $8.53.


While China is threatening not to buy American agricultural products ever again, on Wednesday experts in the industry said that Brazil and Argentina, China’s new suppliers, do not have sufficient supply to satisfy China’s needs forcing them to come back to the U.S.


On Monday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) said at a town hall in Hamilton, “I am worried about our agriculture because of tariffs. Soybean farmers and cotton farmers are getting hit hard.”

“You can’t sell the soybeans,” Jones said. The administration is provided aid to farmers, but “Farmers don’t want a handout they want a market. The Chinese bought half of our soybeans. If something does not change farmers are going to lose that market in China. There are more

and more bankruptcies among farmers there are more and more suicides among farmers.”


The price of lean hogs also took a hit last year; but there prices have rebounded significantly after the signing of the Mexico, Canada Agreement. Mexico and Canada are the U.S.’s largest purchasers of pork, though China is also huge. Pork producers are hopeful that Congress will ratify the MCA.


There was some good news for farmers on the trade front on Friday when the United States and the European Union have reached an agreement...