U.S./China talks continue via video, with U.S. team to return to Beijing soon
At first glance, USDA’s report on U.S. farm income, released Wednesday, was positive, noting net farm income will rise 10% this year. But it cautioned that liquidity measures are weakening while farm debt-to-asset ratios continue this upward trend that started in 2012. Working capital levels are forecast to fall almost 25% this year, with a far bigger reduction since its peak in 2012, while farm sector debt is forecast to rise nearly 4%. Also, farm income is well below the average that occurred for the years prior to the downturn in farm income, but cash and net farm income.
Can House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) get the lapsed biodiesel tax incentive extended? That is what California’s biodiesel sector wants. The House Ways & Means Committee next Tuesday will hold a hearing on the credit and other incentive programs that have lapsed. A letter from California biodiesel producers to Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says they are counting on the two California-based lawmakers “to provide the certainty we need to secure investments and continue growing our state’s fuel needs over the next several years.”
USDA is expanding pork cargo screenings at ports and airports to keep African swine fever (ASF) Swine Fever out of the U.S. USDA is working with Customs to add 60 new beagle teams at air and sea ports, bringing the total to 179. The ASF-prevention measures announced today by USDA include:
* Coordination with Customs and Border Patrol to expand:
-- the "Beagle Brigade" by 60 new teams for a total of 179 beagle teams at key U.S. airports and sea ports.
-- arrival screenings at key U.S. airports and sea ports, including checking cargo for illegal pork/pork products and ensuring travelers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection.
* Ramped up inspections and enforcement of garbage feeding facilities to ensure fed garbage is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread.
* Increased producer awareness, including importance of self-evaluations of on-farm biosecurity procedures.
* Research on accurate and reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives, and swine oral fluid samples.
* Collaboration with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American-coordinated approach to ASF defense, response and trade maintenance.
* Coordination with the U.S. pork industry leadership to assure unified efforts to combat ASF.
Chinese authorities are planning to buy as much as 200,000 metric tons of pork for government reserves to bolster the confidence of pig farmers shaken by the African swine fever epidemic. Reports note the purchases of pork for government reserves will begin March 8. The purchases are expected to be carried out in two 100,000-ton tranches purchased during March and late April and early May. Zhue.com.cn says the first 100,000-ton purchase this month is confirmed but there are varying rumors about the total amount of reserve purchases. Observers report the history of reserve purchases they report indicates this could be the largest purchase of pork for reserves since 290,000 tons were purchased over 11 months during 2009-10. Only 10,000 tons were purchased in 2017 and 2018 and none was purchased in 2015-16.