Coronavirus Spending Helps U.S. Budget Deficit Surge

Posted on 07/14/2020 6:45 AM

CFAP payments reach $5.8 billion as more groups want access to payouts

 


In Today’s Updates


 

* Covid-related spending helps U.S. deficit surge
* Fed’s Kaplan: Coronavirus case surge has slowed pace of U.S. recovery
* Chinese imports from the U.S. rose for first time since new coronavirus
* China import data show big appetite for farm products
* End of June Brazilian ethanol inventories surge 42% on year
* Outlook for U.S. dollar has deteriorated further
* U.S. rejects most Chinese maritime claims in South China Sea
* Kudlow comments on Phase 1 trade accord with China
* Trump aides rule out ending Hong Kong dollar peg as new sanction
* Monthly U.S. budget deficit grew to a record $864 billion in June
* $5.8 billion issued in CFAP payments as of July 13

* Argentina sues U.S. for lower biodiesel anti-subsidy duties
* Senate Republicans will complete pandemic relief plans as early as next week
* Manufacturers want R&D tax break in next relief package
* Lawmakers urge USDA to expand CFAP to small, diversified farmers
* N.Y. Dems send letter to Perdue criticizing USDA’s food box delivery program
* U.S. food industry update
* Oatly draws investment from Blackstone-led group
* Update on reopening America... and around the world
* California rolls back economic reopening plans
* Trump administration will extend travel restrictions on borders w/Canada & Mexico
* Coronavirus update
* Vaccine update
* Mexico now has the world’s fourth-highest Covid death toll

* Politics & Elections
* Preview of primaries today in Alabama and Texas
* If Trump’s numbers don’t improve, some surprising states could come into play
* Biden will unveil part two of economic recovery plan today
* Other Items of Note
* House to take up four-bill appropriations package, including Ag, next week
* Hoyer outlines House agenda
* FDA releases plan to modernize food safety
* Zoetis requests permission from APHIS to produce FMD vaccine at U.S. facility
* Trudeau tried to talk Trump from reimposing tariffs on steel & aluminum imports
* Angle leaves NIFA after less than two years
* NGFA's Randy Gordon plans to retire from organization next year.

 


MARKET FOCUS


 

Equities today: Asian stocks erased much of Monday's gain. Singapore fell into recession for the first time since the global financial crisis, with gross domestic product contracting by 41.2% in the second quarter after the city-state imposed a lockdown to battle coronavirus. In Europe, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 1.4%, led lower by stocks in Germany, France and the U.K. In the U.S., futures tied to the S&P 500 drifted between gains and losses.

 

     U.S. equities yesterday: The Dow after rising as much as 530 points ended up only 10.50 points, less than 0.1%, to close at 26,085.80. The rally fizzled Monday after California rolled back its reopening plans, spurring worries about another coronavirus lockdown. The S&P 500 fell 29.82 points, or 0.9%, to 3155.22. The index briefly turned positive for the year during the session, before stocks reversed course. The Nasdaq dropped 226.60 points, 2.1%, to 10,390.84.

     California bust

On tap today:

 

     • U.S. Consumer Price Index for June is out at 8:30 a.m. ET and is expected to show a 0.7% rise from a year ago.
     • Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin speaks to the Rotary Club of Charlotte at noon ET.
     • Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard speaks at 2 p.m. ET.
     • St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks to the Economic Club of New York at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

The Treasury Department reported the federal budget deficit in June was $864 billion, a record since the government began compiling monthly data. The agency said the deficit for the first nine months of fiscal 2020 was $2.744 trillion, up about $2 trillion, and it will get much higher with more Covid-related aid ahead.. The figures line up with what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated last week.

 

The CBO has projected the annual deficit could total $3.7 trillion in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. But the gap could widen even further if Congress and the White House as expected agree later this month on another round of emergency aid spending. Congress has authorized $3.3 trillion in new spending since March to help combat the impact of coronavirus shutdowns. Unemployment payments were $277 billion compared to $24 billion a year ago, while the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) doled out $537 billion.

 

     As a share of gross domestic product, the 12-month deficit came to 14% last month, compared with 10.1% in February 2010, when the U.S. was still recovering from the last recession.

     Federal spending for the first nine months of fiscal 2020 hit a record $5.005 trillion. Receipts were down only 13% in the first nine months, and much of that reduction came from deferred tax payments

    Deficit and GDP

Fed’s Kaplan: Coronavirus case surge has slowed pace of U.S. recovery. Recent U.S. economic data points to a slowing recovery as the number of cases of illness related to the coronavirus pandemic surge across the country, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said Monday.

 

Chinese imports from the U.S. rose for the first time since the new coronavirus emerged earlier this year. China’s appetite for meat and other agricultural goods helped Chinese imports of U.S. goods to jump by 11.3% in June from a year earlier, after a 13.5% drop in May, data from Beijing’s General Administration of Customs showed today. The Chinese buying helped to narrow Washington’s trade deficit with Beijing from a year earlier, though Chinese exports to the U.S. also improved, rising 1.4% in June from a year earlier after a 1.3% decline in May.

     In the first six months of 2020, China imported 2.12 million metric tons of pork, 1 million tons of beef and 45 million tons of soybeans from its trading partners, which represented increases of 140%, 42.9% and 17.9%, respectively, from the same period a year earlier. Its overseas purchases of iron ore, crude oil, coal and natural gas also increased by volume in the first six months as commodity prices tumbled.

 

     Beijing’s overall trade surplus fell to $46.42 billion last month, much smaller than May’s $62.93 billion figure and economists’ expectations for a $59.30 billion surplus.

 

     Details: China's exports rose 0.5% in dollar terms in June from a year earlier, while imports climbed 2.7%, resulting in a trade surplus of $46.42 billion for the month (below the $59.3B surplus expected by economists). The figures showed China's trade surplus with the U.S. widening to $29.41 billion, compared to $27.89 billion in May.

 

Market perspectives:

 

     • Farm sector stocks update shows Corteva is down about 9% year to date and Deere is down about 5%, a little behind comparable moves of the Dow and S&P 500 over the same span. Fertilizer stocks have been hit harder. Nutrien and CF are down 31% and 38% year to date, respectively. Fertilizer peer Mosaic is down 40%.

 

     • Ag commodities in new market slump. On Monday, corn futures hit the lowest intraday level since June 30. Soy futures neared two-week-lows, while wheat fell by the most since June 26.

 

     Corn futures

     Corn and SB

     • Grain volumes on U.S. railroads have steadied in recent weeks while Canada’s output has soared. The country’s two big railroads moved record grain loads in the second quarter and Canada’s overall grain loads by rail rose 27% on an annual basis in the first week of July, according to the Association of American Railroads.


     • End of June Brazilian ethanol inventories surge 42% on year. Brazilian ethanol stocks added up to 5.96 billion liters at the end of June, a surge of 42% or 1.76 billion liters on the year, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. The total was the highest on record for any end of June since S&P Global Platts started to track such data in 2010.

 

     • Oil dropped for a second day on expectations that OPEC+ will start winding down production cuts next month and as escalating tension between Washington and Beijing worsened sentiment across financial markets. Futures in New York fell below $40 a barrel after retreating 1.1% yesterday. OPEC+’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meets tomorrow and the group is expected to stick to its plan of tapering the cuts from August.

 

     • Outlook for U.S. dollar has deteriorated further, analysts note, citing growing concerns over the reopening of the U.S. economy amid a steady increase in Covid-19 cases, as well as increased political threats and a hit from investors exiting safety-seeking bets in the dollar. Against a basket of other currencies, the U.S. dollar has slipped 0.9% since the start of July, inching lower against both its developed and emerging markets peers, following a 0.4% fall in June. It is now more than 6% below the peak it reached in late March.

 

       Dollar outlook

        Source of chart: Financial Times

 

Gun sales are surging. The pandemic, mass protests and efforts to defund the police are bringing new buyers to gun stores. Background checks for firearms were up 136% in June compared with last year, and dealers estimate that 40% of sales are going to first-time buyers.

 

        Guns

 

Gummies and coronvavirus. Managers of dispensaries said they saw an increase in orders for weed gummies and other edibles from new consumers in March, many of whom were working from home and dealing with the stresses of the coronavirus. Edibles, as opposed to smoking or vaping, are more discreet, they say. Also, consumers may not want to share cannabis in the same way they used to, because of transmission fears.

 


POLICY FOCUS


 

$5.8 billion issued in CFAP payments. As of July 13, 409,423 applications have been approved for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and $5.8 billion has been paid.

 

     More than half of the funds have gone to livestock producers, with $2.97 billion spent and 293,513 approved and enrolled applications. Top states for livestock payments are Iowa, $306.4 million; Nebraska, $255.7 million; Texas, $235.6 million; Oklahoma, $218.6 million; South Dakota, $214.5 million, and Kansas, $211.5 million.

 

     Non-specialty producers have received just more than a quarter of funds, with $1.54 billion going to 214,041 approved and enrolled applications. Top states for non-specialty payments are Iowa, $275.1 million; Illinois, $184.1 million; Nebraska, $167 million, and Minnesota, $150.8 million.

 

     Dairy producers have received $1.2 billion, which has gone to 20,247 approved and enrolled applications. Top states for dairy payments are Wisconsin, California and New York. Wisconsin producers got $247.8 million; California got $171 million and New York producers got $119.9 million.

 

     Specialty growers: There are 4,620 approved and enrolled applications for specialty growers who have received $158 million. Top states for specialty crop payments are California and Florida. California producers have been paid $69.7 million. Florida producers have been paid $35.5 million.

 

     Iowa producers have received the most in payments. Nebraska is second with $430 million and Minnesota is third with $374 million. Four other top states: Wisconsin at $363 million; Texas ($304 million), South Dakota ($303 million), and California ($301 million).

 

     CFAP July 13

 

Argentina sues U.S. for lower biodiesel anti-subsidy duties. The government of Argentina and producer LDC Argentina are challenging U.S. anti-subsidy duty rates on Argentine biodiesel at the U.S. Court of International Trade, arguing that changed circumstances in its export tax regime warrant drastically lowered duties.

 

     Background. The U.S. imported an estimated $1.2 billion worth of biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oils or animal fats, from Argentina in 2016, according to the Commerce Department. In 2017 Commerce determined that these imports were being unfairly subsidized, and the U.S. began imposing countervailing duties. The Argentine government in 2018 asked Commerce to revise these duties through a changed circumstances review. The National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition opposed lowering the duties.

 

Update on China:

  • The Trump administration rejected Beijing's expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, reversing a previous policy of not taking sides in such disputes. A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. called the Trump administration’s actions “completely unjustified," saying it is "flexing muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation."

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was aligning itself with a landmark 2016 tribunal ruling which rebuked China over its claims to waters inside the so-called “nine-dash line” that encompasses roughly 85% of the South China Sea. “We are strengthening U.S. policy in a vital, contentious part of that region, the South China Sea,” Pompeo said. “We are making clear Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”

     
  • China announced it was imposing sanctions on Lockheed Martin Corp. after the U.S. approved a deal for the supply of missile parts to Taiwan. China's move comes after the U.S. approved a possible $620 million deal for Taiwan to buy parts to refurbish defensive missiles made by the company. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the announcement at a briefing in Beijing today. He called on the U.S. to cut military ties with Taiwan — which China considers part of its territory — to avoid “further harm to bilateral relations.”
     
  • U.S. National Security Robert O’Brien and his deputy Matt Pottinger are in Europe this week to rally allies around a tougher, united front towards China.
     
  • Trump aides rule out ending Hong Kong dollar peg as new sanction. Top advisers to President Trump have ruled out undermining the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the greenback as they seek to punish China for infringing on the territory’s political freedoms, according to reports. Aides at the White House and State department had weighed the possibility of limiting Hong Kong banks’ access to U.S. dollars as a way of striking back at Beijing, Bloomberg News reported last week. But administration officials dropped the idea after advocates could not gather enough support, with those against the move concerned that it would be difficult to implement and could end up hurting the United States.
     
  • No surprise that a Phase 2 trade deal was not going to happen” says China watcher Bill Bishop of Sinocism. “The two sides punted the intractable issues into phase two, and they have become even more intractable since the January signing of the Phase 1 deal.”
     
  • Kudlow comments on Phase 1 deal with China. While President Trump remains upset at China for its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and its clampdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, that isn’t getting in the way of the Phase 1 trade deal that is facilitating increases in agricultural trade, according to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. “The president is not in a good mood about China, nor is anybody in the administration,” Kudlow told Fox Business in an interview Monday. “Having said all that, we are still engaging on the Phase 1 trade deal as China said they will implement their side of the deal.”
     
  • Customs clearance at Chinese ports is taking far longer as officials test meat, seafood and other goods for the coronavirus. A process that normally takes three days has stretched to as long as 10 days, after Beijing blamed salmon imports for a new Chinese outbreak last month, Bloomberg reports (link).
     
  • Quartz analyzes how much trade is dodging Trump’s tariffs on China. Link for details.

    Vietnam dodge

     
  • U.S./China Phase 1 tracker: China’s purchases of U.S. goods. Link.

Update on next aid package:

  • Senate Republicans will complete their new round of pandemic relief as early as next week and then will open negotiations with Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is working with the Trump administration on drafting a GOP-only proposal. Democrats have already put out a $3.5 trillion stimulus bill that has cleared the House.

    “We shouldn’t lightly add more to the national debt, but I’m predicting that we will have one more rescue package, which we’ll begin to debate and discuss next week,” McConnell said during a news conference in his home state of Kentucky. McConnell said he’s been talking to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a Republican plan for weeks, and will discuss legislation next week with Senate Republicans before bringing Democrats into talks later.


    The GOP is expected to include financial incentives to push schools to reopen while also shielding health care workers and companies against lawsuits, Republicans said Monday, a move that will spur a fight with Democrats. The coming plan is expected to have a price tag of around $1.3 trillion.

    On Monday, McConnell reiterated his call for lawsuit protections for "everyone related to the coronavirus" — whether it's doctors, nurses, businesses, K-12 schools and colleges — covering the period from December 2019 to December 2024. "It must have, must, no bill will pass the Senate without, liability protection for everyone related to the coronavirus," McConnell told Kentucky reporters. "Nobody should have to face an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic that we already have related to the coronavirus."

    GOP leaders say the relief bill could be completed before an annual August recess that is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 10.
  • Manufacturers want R&D tax break in next relief package. U.S. manufacturers are pushing lawmakers to reverse a provision in the 2017 tax law that will force companies to write down research and development expenditures starting in 2022. Businesses and experts are concerned that if the policy isn’t reversed soon, U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing will be further diminished, as tax incentives to keep factories stateside weaken.

Update on implementation of CARES 1, including CFAP:

  • Reps. Pingree, Fortenberry urge USDA to expand CFAP to small, diversified farmers. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) asked USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to make the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) more inclusive for small, diversified farms who rely on local market outlets and direct-to-consumer sales. Recognizing that farmers who sell directly to consumers or to now-shuttered institutions would be disproportionately harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress specifically directed USDA to provide relief to “producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools,’’ the lawmakers wrote. “Despite this, USDA did not provide any specific accommodation for these producers in the design of CFAP payments. Indeed, the program’s rules have meant many of these farms are struggling to access relief or are entirely ineligible for assistance through this program.” The lawmakers requested that USDA allow for payments on total revenue losses, rather than price losses for individual commodities; provide flexibility on documentation regarding losses; and extend eligibility to additional commodities to be more inclusive of local food producers. Link to letter.
     
  • New York Democrats sent a letter to USDA Sec. Perdue criticizing USDA’s $3 billion food box delivery program for “failing to achieve [its] mission” of getting surplus meat, dairy and produce from farms to food banks. Many food banks have said they’re happy for the assistance, though some have been left waiting for boxes they were supposed to receive or forced to shoulder the extra costs of transporting food from warehouses to distribution sites. Link to letter.

Food and beverage supply/industry update:

  • Oatly draws investment from Blackstone-led group. The Swedish oat-milk maker has sold a $200 million stake to a group that includes Oprah Winfrey, former Starbucks Corp. chief Howard Schultz and the entertainment company founded by Jay-Z.
     
  • PepsiCo, a giant American maker of fizzy drinks and snacks, reported a fall in profits but still beat analysts’ expectations. Net revenue in the second quarter was $15.9bn, 3.1% less than in the same period a year ago. Bumper sales of snacks such as Frito-Lay chips were offset by the damaging impact of restaurant closures on drinks sales.

Update on reopening America... and around the world:

  • California retrenches. With coronavirus cases surging, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses to close indoor operations. Bars will be forced to close across the state. California’s largest public-school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said all classes in the fall will be online-only. The closures are similar to the recent, but less extensive, U-turns taken by Arizona and Texas.

    L.A. public schools will be remote-only this fall. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the U.S., said it would start the school year online on Aug. 18 due to the skyrocketing infection rate in the state.

     
  • The Trump administration will extend travel restrictions on the borders with Canada and Mexico at least until late August, as coronavirus cases continue to spike in states from California to Florida, according to three people with knowledge of the plans, Politico reported.

Coronavirus update:

  • Summary:

    — 13,113,181: Confirmed cases world-wide, and 573,288 deaths
    — 58,114: New U.S. cases recorded yesterday
    — 3,364,547: Total confirmed cases in the U.S.
    — 400 deaths in the U.S. recorded yesterday
    — 135,615: Total U.S. deaths
    — 41,004,275: Tests conducted in the U.S.

     
  • Production of a potential coronavirus vaccine was expected to begin before the end of the summer following news that Pfizer and BioNTech were granted fast track designation by the FDA for two of the companies' four Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
     
  • Mexico now has the world’s fourth highest Covid death toll, surpassing Italy this weekend to reach a grim milestone: Only the United States, Brazil and Britain have recorded more deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 35,000 Mexicans have died so far, and the country has nearly 300,000 confirmed cases.

    Link to Covid Case Tracker

    Link to Our World in Data

POLITICS & ELECTIONS

  • Links
    2020 Presidential Election Interactive Map
    The Green Papers

     
  • Primary races today:

    Alabama: Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) is seeking the Senate seat he gave up to join the Trump administration and faces the president’s preferred candidate, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.

    Texas' 13th District: President Trump is backing former White House physician Ronny Jackson in a runoff against Josh Winegarner, who is supported by state and national farm groups. Winegarner is an executive with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and a former U.S. Senate aide. The winner will win the GOP nomination and likelybe the next congressman from Texas’ 13th District. In the March 3 Republican primary, Winegarner received 38.8% of the vote to Jackson's 19.9%.

    Winegarner supporters include incumbent Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who did not seek re-election, endorsed Winegarner, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas). Winegarner highlighted his personal background in the 13th District and said that he "knows first-hand the struggles of the farmers, ranchers, and small business owners who drive our economy."

    Jackson supporters include President Trump, U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Jackson, who served as physician to the president for Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Jackson said he would "bring influence and access to the district that is about to go away when the current representative of 26 years retires," citing what he described as his "strong relationships with the Executive Office of the President ... and most importantly President Trump."

     
  • If Trump’s numbers don’t improve, some surprising states could come into play, says the latest issue of Sabato's Crystal Ball (link).

    CB changes

     
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will unveil the part two of his economic recovery plan today focusing on infrastructure and clean energy. Biden’s plan includes $2 trillion in spending over four years and sets the goal of a 100% clean-energy standard by 2035. That’s more spending over a shorter period than the $1.7 trillion, 10-year plan that Biden had offered during the Democratic primary.

    Biden wants the federal government to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more on housing, education, health and business capital, part of a broad economic agenda designed to help shrink the racial wealth gap in the United States. The proposals from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee would cost an estimated $7 trillion over the next decade, about $4 trillion of which would come from tax increases on corporations, investments and high earners.

    Biden plan

    Biden budget

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE


 

  • House to take up four-bill appropriations package, including Agriculture, next week. The House will begin debating fiscal 2021 appropriations bills next week, kicking off the floor process with a package containing the Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and State-Foreign Operations measures, according to a Democratic aide. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) hopes to bring nearly all of the bills before that chamber leaves town for its August recess. Hoyer wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter Monday that a "second package" would come to the floor the week of July 27 "in order to prevent a shutdown by ensuring that most government funding measures are passed well in advance of the end of the fiscal year."
     
  • Hoyer outlines agenda. The House next Monday will begin a two-week push to clear the decks of most of Democrats’ top legislative priorities. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) outlined an ambitious schedule in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to members yesterday, calling for them to be prepared to vote on several measures, including fiscal 2021 appropriations bills and another economic recovery package, before the start of the annual August recess.

    The House could move as soon as July 22 to the Great American Outdoors Act (HR 1957). The bipartisan bill would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently and was passed by the Senate last month.

    The House could also vote next week on the first package of fiscal 2021 appropriations bills, which would include the Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and State-Foreign Operations bills.

    Hoyer said he plans action on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will mark up Wednesday.

     
  • FDA releases plan to modernize food safety. The 20-page document (link) focuses on how to approach big issues like artificial intelligence, blockchain and the shift to new food business models, like online ordering and delivery. “It’s a long-term view for the U.S. food system over the course of the next decade,” Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response, told reporters on Monday.
     
  • Zoetis requests permission from APHIS to produce FMD vaccine at U.S. facility. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking public comment on a petition by Zoetis to produce foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine at a U.S. facility. The vaccine was developed jointly with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and is non-infectious, non-transmissible and incapable of causing the FMD. Live FMD virus is currently prohibited in the U.S. except for at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center federal research facility. The Zoetis vaccine contains inactivated FMD virus and the company is petitioning APHIS not to consider it live virus. The vaccine would be produced at the Transboundary and Emerging Disease Vaccine Development Facility, a joint project of Zoetis and Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM). APHIS is seeking public comment on Zoetis’ interpretation of live virus and whether there is support for producing the vaccine domestically. Public comments will be accepted through Sept. 14, 2020.
     
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to talk President Donald Trump down from reimposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from north of the border. Trudeau said he told Trump it would “be a shame to see tariffs come in between our two countries at a time when we’re celebrating [the new] USMCA and at a time that we want our businesses and manufacturers to get going as quickly as possible.”
     
  • Angle leaves NIFA after less than two years. Scott Angle, the director of the Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIF), has left the position after less than two years of a six-year appointment. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that Parag Chitnis, the associate director of programs at NIFA, will serve as acting director, and that Bryan Kaphammer, associate area director for the Agricultural Research Service’s Plains region, will serve as NIFA acting associate director of programs during the transition. NIFA, created by Congress in 2008, makes grants for agricultural research. Angle has accepted a position as vice president of agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida in Gainesville and will lead the university’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
     
  • NGFA's Randy Gordon plans to retire from organization next year. Gordon has been with the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) for the last 43 years and its CEO for the last eight. He will retire after the association’s 125th annual convention in March 2021. NGFA designated a search committee to select Gordon’s successor, the group announced.

 

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