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Soy Briefs

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The Iowa Soybean Association’s 2019 Farmer Research Tour kicks off next week. The tour is the main event for the three ISA Research teams to showcase the culmination of their work over the past year. It’s also a great opportunity for farmers to learn tips, techniques and new approaches to better manage crops, inputs and natural resources. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ankeny — The Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) 2019 Farmer Research Tour kicks off next week! Register today for one, or more, tour stops:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, Storm Lake
  • Thursday, Feb. 7, Ames
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12, Cedar Rapids

“We want to make your experience with ISA research more relevant, so we are presenting speakers and research results that pertain to each region,” said Ed Anderson, ISA senior director of research. “The agendas at each tour stop will vary to address issues tailored to that region. I encourage you to attend these valuable meetings to learn ways to improve productivity, the environment and profitability.”

View agendas and register at

Des Moines — A trade mission to Colombia and Panama Feb. 3-9 will include Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, Iowa Soybean Association’s Chief Operation Officer Karey Claghorn and representatives of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and agricultural groups. The trip marks Gregg’s first state trade mission. Last year, Iowa sold more than $80 million in goods to Colombia. Panama, with the famous and expanded canal, is a key strategic partner, the state noted. Also on the trip will be representatives of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Midwest Premier Foods.

Washington, D.C. — For the last two days, high-ranking officials from the United States and China have engaged in intense and productive negotiations over the economic relationship between our two countries. The United States appreciates the preparation, diligence, and professionalism shown throughout these meetings by Vice Premier Liu He and his team.

The talks covered a wide range of issues, including: (1) the ways in which United States companies are pressured to transfer technology to Chinese companies; (2) the need for stronger protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in China; (3) the numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers faced by United States companies in China; (4) the harm resulting from China’s cyber-theft of United States commercial property; (5) how market-distorting forces, including subsidies and state-owned enterprises, can lead to excess capacity; (6) the need to remove market barriers and tariffs that limit United States sales of manufactured goods, services, and agriculture to China; and (7) the role of currencies in the United States-China trading relationship. The two sides also discussed the need to reduce the enormous and growing trade deficit that the United States has with China. The purchase of United States products by China from our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and businesses is a critical part of the negotiations.

The two sides showed a helpful willingness to engage on all major issues, and the negotiating sessions featured productive and technical discussions on how to resolve our differences. The United States is particularly focused on reaching meaningful commitments on structural issues and deficit reduction. Both parties have agreed that any resolution will be fully enforceable.

While progress has been made, much work remains to be done. President Donald J. Trump has reiterated that the 90-day process agreed to in Buenos Aires represents a hard deadline and that United States tariffs will increase unless the United States and China reach a satisfactory outcome by March 1, 2019. The United States looks forward to further talks with China on these vital topics.

Columbus, Ohio — Ohio Soybean Council created the website Precision Ag Reviews to assist farmers in making important precision ag equipment decisions. From reviewing other farmer ratings and thoughts on specific software and equipment to educational videos on the next up and coming technologies, farmers can visit the products tab and rate precision ag equipment currently in use and review other precision ag producers may be thinking about purchasing. The main goal of the site is to help farmers make informed decisions and offer a portal for expert advice to be exchanged and shared.

Washington, D.C. – Conservation practices required for U.S. soybean production meet EU sustainability standards, and biodiesel produced from documented soybeans can now be used in the EU, the European Commission has formally announced.

The EU requires biofuels to meet a set of sustainability criteria outlined in its Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The U.S. soy industry has its own sustainability guideline, the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) that, with this announcement, the EU acknowledges meets its rigorous RED requirements.

Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., and American Soybean Association (ASA) president said, “U.S. farmers have long prided themselves on adopting newer and better methods for producing high-quality soybeans that are grown responsibly and sustainably. The SSAP sets a high standard that demonstrates that commitment, and we are pleased that the EU Commission has recognized our efforts by opening the door for SSAP-certified soybeans to be used in EU biodiesel.”

The United States is the lead supplier of soybeans to the EU, and while this announcement applies only to soybeans exported for biodiesel, ASA sees it as a positive step for enhancing its EU market and validating the quality of the SSAP sustainability initiative. The EU’s decision will remain in place through at least July 1, 2021.

Ames — Join the Practical Farmers of Iowa on Monday, February 4 at Gateway Hotel 2100 Green Hills Drive Ames, IA 50014 to learn about changes to the supply chain cover crop support program for 2019.

Kirk Leeds, CEO of Iowa Soybean Association, will share insights on soybean exports and tariffs.

Ray Gaesser, farmer in southwest Iowa, will share his playbook for how he plants and manages 2,600 acres of cover crops.

Reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and program from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring a neighbor or invite another farmer to attend and learn more.

RSVP here.

Washington, D.C. — A major priority at the USDA will be to get the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report out on schedule Feb. 8, government sources tell Agri-Pulse. The January report was cancelled due to the shutdown.

Other reports like Crop Production will also be coming out, but specific dates have not been set, sources say. The USDA has failed to produce dozens of reports that farmers and ranchers depend on for market information since the government shutdown began on Dec. 22, but none was missed more than WASDE, says Veronica Nigh, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The report would have contained updated expectations on supply and use for grains, oilseeds and cotton for the 2017/2018 marketing year for both the U.S. and international markets,” she said in a blog post. “While the industry probably has a good handle on the U.S. numbers at this point in the marketing year, foreign production and demand is a different story.”

St. Louis, MO — People who most intensely oppose genetically modified food think they know a lot about food science, but they actually know the least, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in January in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

GMOs are widely considered safe by scientists, but opponents have said they want more science on the potential harm so that subjective arguments aren't part of the equation. However, previous surveys have shown that providing more scientific facts about GMOs to people doesn't change their minds.

The survey, conducted by four universities, asked 2,000 people in Europe and the United States how much they knew about genetically modified food, what their opinion was and how intense it was.

Then it went on to ask a series of true-or-false questions about science, ranging from basic issues like whether the core of the Earth is hot or cold to questions on genetics, like "Does a non-genetically modified tomato have genes?"

The results showed the more strongly people reported being opposed to GMOs, the lower their test score.

Read more.

Fargo, ND — Ongoing trade war fallout in corn and soybean markets could cause a production shift that could overwhelm the dry edible bean supply in 2019, speakers said at an annual Northarvest Bean Growers Association meeting in Fargo on Jan. 18.

Rebecca Bratter, executive director of the U.S. Dry Bean Council, based in Portland, Ore., said if soybean prices are low at planting time in 2019, farmers will be tempted to shift toward the much smaller dry bean market, she said.

“Don’t overdo it,” said Tim Courneya, executive director of Northarvest Bean Growers Association, regarding planting beans.“We’re scared today about maybe dry bean acres getting out of hand, beyond our demand.

“When you have 90 million acres of corn, 90 million acres of soybeans in the United States and you have a swing of 1 to 2 percent of those acres where farmers are thinking about growing a ‘few’ dry bean acres, then dry bean acreage will explode to the point where demand will be down the road,” he said.

Read more.

Washington, D.C. — US feed organizations welcome the US’s agriculture-inclusive talking points for upcoming US-EU negotiations, but are concerned the EU would seem to be insisting that topic is kept out of any trade deal talks.

Read more.

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