Other leading pork countries join NPPC letter

A letter to Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators from the top pork countries urges them to eliminate ALL tariffs on nearly all products, pork included.

The National Pork Producers Council says they’ve been joined by hog groups in Australia, Chile and Mexico. The NPPC says the objectives of the trade agreement with one-dozen countries includes no product or sector exclusions and that all tariffs and other market access barriers – like Japan’s Gate Price – be eliminated.

Nick Giordano, NPPC Vice President and Counsel of International Affairs – at this year’s World Pork Expo – told Brownfield that it is an unfair exemption…

“The farmers in Japan are really – painting some sort of doomsday scenario that has no basis in fact. And, NPPC isn’t going to agree to anything other than elimination of the Gate Price and all tariffs.” The letter says other countries are “likely to demand a Japan-type deal” because it would set a “dangerous precedent” if allowed to go through.

Wheat inspections down on week, year

USDA reports wheat export inspections for the week ending September 4 were less than what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2014/15 marketing year.

Wheat came out at 530,773 tons, down 243,296 from the week ending August 28 and 369,038 lower than the week ending September 5, 2013. For the 2014/15 marketing year to date, wheat inspections are 7,065,112 tons, compared to 10,209,295 in 2013/14.

Corn was reported at 1,197,385 tons, up 312,399 from the previous week and 943,799 higher than this time last year. Early in the marketing year, corn inspections are 725,552 tons, compared to 207,385 a year ago.

Soybeans were pegged at 173,732 tons, 128,765 more than the week before and 105,246 above last year. So far this marketing year, soybean inspections are 78,588 tons, compared to 50,194 early in the prior marketing year.

Sorghum inspections totaled 64,019 tons. That’s a decrease of 96,566 tons on the week and 58,871 on the year. 2014/15 sorghum inspections are 62,305 tons, compared to 101,071 at the outset of 2013/14.

Soybean product sales within expectations

USDA reports soybean meal and oil export sales for the week ending August 28 were within pre-report estimates, while corn, soybeans, and wheat were below analysts’ expectations. Physical shipments of wheat were larger than what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2014/15 marketing year. Corn and soybean shipments were short of their respective marks for the recently ended 2013/14 marketing year, with both less than what the Ag Department was anticipating.

Wheat came out at 168,800 tons (6.2 million bushels), down 58% from the week ending August 21 and 56% lower than the four week average. Mexico picked up 90,700 tons and the Philippines bought 77,700 tons, but unknown destinations canceled on 163,800 tons. For the 2014/15 marketing year to date, wheat sales are 420.2 million bushels, compared to 581.4 million in 2013/14.

Old crop corn had a net reduction of 7,500 tons (-300,000 bushels), with sales of 16,300 to 121,200 tons more than offset by cancellations of 2,900 to 230,100 tons. With the 2013/14 marketing year over, except for some book squaring, corn sales are 1.915 billion bushels, compared to 747.2 million in 2012/13. Sales of 525,600 tons (20.7 million bushels) for 2014/15 delivery were mainly to unknown destinations (268,300 tons) and Mexico (103,100 tons).

Old crop soybeans had a net reduction of 87,700 tons (-3.2 million bushels), with sales of 100 to 900 tons more than offset by cancellations of 900 to 55,000 tons. With the marketing year essentially finished, soybean sales are 1.688 billion bushels, compared to 1.366 billion this time last year. Sales of 869,000 tons (31.9 million bushels) for 2014/15 delivery were primarily to China (338,300 tons) and unknown destinations (293,100 tons).

Soybean meal was reported at 32,000 tons, with Guatemala purchasing 12,300 tons and Mexico picking up 11,900 tons, while unknown destinations canceled on 17,700 tons. At this point in the marketing year, soybean meal sales are 10,436,900 tons, compared to 10,090,400 a year ago. Sales of 177,500 tons for 2014/15 delivery were mostly to unknown destinations (59,100 tons) and Pakistan (40,000 tons).

Old crop soybean oil had a net reduction of 1,300 tons, with sales of 200 to 4,600 tons offset by cancellations of 100 and 7,000 tons. 2013/14 soybean oil sales are 809,100 tons, compared to 938,100 tons in 2012/13. Sales of 3,400 tons for 2014/15 delivery were to the Dominican Republic (5,400 tons) and Colombia (2,000 tons), with a cancellation by unknown destinations (4,000 tons).

Net beef sales totaled 10,200 tons, 4% less than the previous week, but 4% more than the four week average. The listed buyers were Mexico (2,100 tons), Hong Kong (1,700 tons), Canada (1,500 tons), and South Korea (1,100 tons).

Net pork sales totaled 20,700 tons, up sharply from the prior week. The reported purchasers were Mexico (7,700 tons), South Korea (3,300 tons), Hong Kong (2,100 tons), Japan (2,000 tons), and Chile (1,600 tons).

Marketing mission to India has soy exports as goal

Matt McCrate from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is trying to do what hasn’t been done.  Even though India has never imported U.S. soybeans, McCrate was recently on a marketing mission there meeting with Indian soybean traders and representatives of USDA’s Foreign Ag Service.

“They’re just like us, but there’s just a whole lot more of them, and they have a whole lot greater need,” said McCrate about the potential of India’s soybean demand.

McCrate gained firsthand experience seeing Indian soybean production, as well as the marketing and use of soybeans there.

“India is really where China was several years ago in that currently they’re not allowing imports.  They do produce soybeans,” said McCrate.  “Their farming practices, they’re where we were 50 to 100 years ago, literally.  Most of their crops are hand planted, most of their crops are hand harvested.”

McCrate, an American Soybean Association farmer-leader, heard from Indian soy industry leaders about changes in India’s economy and population.

“It’s inevitable, as that population grows, that they’re going to far surpass their ability to produce enough soybean protein to feed their population,” said McCrate.  “They’re going to have to start importing from somebody.”

McCrate is not the first.  U.S. soybean growers have been working with India for more than 15 years with the eventual goal of getting them to import U.S. soybeans.

AUDIO: Matt McCrate (14 min. MP3)

Illinois soybean grower taking WSF challenge

An Illinois farmer and member of the World Soy Foundation board is taking part in the organization’s world hunger acre challenge.

Dan Farney farms in Morton, in Central Illinois, and says giving to people in need is a worthy goal, “We take so much for granted here in the United States that I just find it a great way to help out and be neighborly to help somebody else that doesn’t have as much.”

He tells Brownfield they hope more growers join the challenge because they are so close to their goal of raising $100-thousand dollars. Farney says next year’s goal will be even higher. Illinois is currently in second place behind Iowa for monies raised.

Where does your Acre go? World Soy Foundation Challenge

South Korea lifts ban on feed additive

The ban on the use of the animal feed additive zilpaterol in beef has been lifted in South Korea.  Last October, the food ministry said it intended to ease its zero-tolerance policy on zilpaterol-based drugs after a risk assessment found it could be permitted at certain levels.  According to Reuters, the lifting of the ban opens the door to imports containing the growth enhancer as well as domestic sales of the product.

Last year South Korea suspended some US beef imports for more than two months after traces of the additive were found in two shipments.  A South Korean food ministry official told Reuters that imports of beef muscle with 1 part per billion of zilpaterol, 5 ppb in beef liver, and 10 ppb in beef kidney had been approved in late August.

The United States, Australia, and New Zealand are all major exporters of beef to South Korea.

Solid week for wheat inspections

USDA reports wheat export inspections for the week ending August 28 were above what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2014/15 marketing year, but corn and soybeans fell short of their respective marks for 2013/14. The 2014/15 marketing year for corn, soybeans, and sorghum started September 1.

Wheat came out at 773,041 tons, up 194,099 from the week ending August 21, but down 236,865 from the week ending August 29, 2013. For the 2014/15 marketing year to date, wheat inspections are 6,533,311 tons, compared to 9,309,484 in 2013/14.

Soybeans were pegged at 37,381 tons, 107,780 lower than the previous week and 3,003 less than this time last year. Late in the 2013/14 marketing year, soybean inspections are 43,399,915 tons, compared to 35,717,135 near the end of 2012/13.

Corn was reported at 873,195 tons, a decline of 229,490 on the week, but an increase of 420,493 on the year. So far this marketing year, soybean inspections are 46,824,238 tons, compared to 17,682,669 a year ago.

Sorghum inspections totaled 158,431 tons. That’s 82,231 tons below the prior week, but 143,528 above last year. 2013/14 sorghum inspections are 5,138,680 tons, compared to 1,802,206 in 2012/13.

Vilsack mum on COOL ruling

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) latest decision on U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws is expected to be made public in September.

Many in the livestock and meat industries anticipate that ruling will go against the U.S., which could lead to retaliatory trade measures by Canada and Mexico.  Brownfield asked Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack if COOL is ruled out of compliance, if he’s willing to work with Congress at amend the COOL statue so that it complies.

“I’m not going to comment on the WTO case because it is still in the process and when the decision is ultimately public, we will deal with it at that point time—because we will have a definitive decision and a finite decision,” says Vilsack.

In late July, 112 members of Congress sent a letter to Vilsack saying that, if the U.S. loses the COOL case, he should rescind the laws and allow Congress to resolve the issue.

“What we intend to do and what we have always intended to do, and will continue to try to do, is to make sure we are consistent with congressional direction and, at the same time, also consistent with the WTO rules,” Vilsack says.

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

AUDIO: Tom Vilsack (1:04 MP3)

EU to help dairy producers

The European Commission announced it will offer Private Storage Aid to pay for the storage of butter, skim milk powder and some cheeses for three to seven months.  Farm milk prices have plunged in Europe since Russia banned imports from countries which imposed sanctions on them.

A draft proposal will be presented to the Commission in the next week.  The EU Ag Commissioner Dacian Ciolos  also announced he will present a full analysis of the impact the Russian ban is having on European agriculture.  The Commissioner promised “further measures” if needed to support EU farmers.

Russia imposed a one-year embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norwayy in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Another record year for ag exports

The U.S. is on its way to another record year in agricultural exports. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Brownfield that, by the end of this fiscal year on September 30th, exports will have set another new record.

“(A record) 152.5 billion dollars of ag exports, as well as a trade surplus record of 43 billion dollars as far as selling more than we purchase in terms of ag products,” Vilsack says.

There are several reasons for the strong export numbers, says Vilsack.

“I think it’s a quality product at an affordable price—it’s a reliable supply—and I think it’s aggressive promotion that USDA is engaged in with commodity groups and others to basically make sure the world knows about American agriculture.”

Ag exports for fiscal year 2015 are currently projected at 144.5 billion dollars, down eight billion dollars from the revised forecast for fiscal 2014. The declines are due to lower values of soybeans and soybean meal, and lower volumes and prices for other grains.

AUDIO: Tom Vilsack (:51 MP3)