In a normal year we would be debating several worthy agricultural stories as the most important. We certainly would be taking a hard look at the continuing dicamba herbicide saga. 2020 saw the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit de-register dicamba formulations in the middle of the growing season from Bayer AG, Corteva, and BASF because of shoddy regulatory control at the Environmental Protection Agency:
ByCynthia Voelkl/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
The USDA announced today that 14 states have received waivers to “congregate feeding” requirements. To date, Washington, California, Maryland, Alaska, Utah, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Maine, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia have all received waivers.
It was all smiles in Washington D.C. January 15 when the President Trumped inked a Phase 1 trade deal with China. Looking on were dozens of Wall Street chief executive types from familiar companies like AGI, JP Morgan Chase, Honeywell, Boeing, and Citibank. As for Big Ag types … not so much.
The POTUS trade war with China took a huge toll on U.S. farmers. U.S. agricultural sales to China were down nearly $16 billion over the past two years requiring the White House to provide $28 billion in government bailouts to U.S. producers, notably soybean farmers. So on the face of it you would think producers would be jumping for joy over Phase 1 trade deal provisions including:
“For the category of agricultural goods identified in Annex 6.1, no less than $12.5 billion above the corresponding 2017 baseline amount is purchased and imported into China from the United States in calendar year 2020, and no less than $19.5 billion above the corresponding 2017 baseline amount is purchased and imported into China from the United States in calendar year 2021;
The Parties project that the trajectory of increases in the amounts of manufactured goods, agricultural goods, energy products, and services purchased and imported into China from the United States will continue in calendar years 2022 through 2025.”
So do the math. That's $32 billion in new agricultural purchases over 2017 baseline levels during the next two years. U.S. agricultural exports to China in 2017 were $19.6 billion. Bottom line: China will import $32.1 billion this year and $39.1 billion in 2021 from U.S. farmers. Those are heart pumping, fist bumping, joy jumping POTUS trumping numbers, right? But the ink had not even dried on the President's John Henry when reality reared its ugly head. The South China Morning Post reported the day before the signing that China had zero intention of increasing its annual low-tariff import quotas for corn, wheat and rice to meet demands from the United States.