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Soy Briefs

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Today is the deadline to sign up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program. The program was launched last year to help producers suffering from damages due to trade retaliation. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Washington, D.C. — The deadline for U.S. farmers and ranchers to sign up for Market Facilitation Program payments in response to tariffs recently levied against American agricultural exports is Feb. 14. Agriculture leaders have encouraged farmers who have not yet applied to take advantage of this program.

“Farmers are very resilient, and these payments are helping agricultural producers meet some of the costs of disrupted markets in 2018,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “We view it as a short-term solution to help America’s farmers, and we encourage impacted producers to apply for this program by the February 14 deadline.”

“The Agriculture Department has paid $6.4 billion to farmers and ranchers affected by retaliatory tariffs. A total of $9.6 billion has been set aside for payments on 2018 production,” said Dave Salmonsen, AFBF senior director of congressional relations. “The other components include the trade promotion program, which has awarded $200 million to 57 different organizations to promote U.S. agricultural products worldwide. The program is also committing $2.1 billion to purchase products for donation. We urge farmers impacted by these retaliatory tariffs to take advantage of this program.”

Farmers and ranchers can sign up for the MFP at their local Farm Service Agency offices. Producers need only sign-up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments.

Arlington, VA — The Animal Agriculture Alliance has extended the deadline of its photo contest offering farmers the opportunity to win a free registration to the Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit May 8-9 in Kansas City. To enter, take a photo of a seat at your table, post it on Instagram or Facebook with a clever caption, tag the photo to @animalagalliance and use the hashtag #AAA19. Farmers can submit their photos through Sunday, Feb. 17 and the Alliance team will select the top photos to be eligible for public voting. The five farmers whose photos receive the most votes will be announced as the winners on Friday, February 22.

Read more about the Summit:

Consumer Demands & Purchase Behavior

Engage Influencers About Animal Ag

Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would consider postponing the March 2 deadline for tariffs if the U.S. and China can reach a trade deal soon.

Trump softened his stance on the trade battle with China, saying he's open to letting the deadline slide, but "would prefer not to." He also said Beijing "very much wants to make a deal," and he has "a big team" in China trying to reach a resolution.

When asked if he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of March, Trump said, "Not at this point."

The March 2 deadline is crucial in the negotiations as U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will increase if a deal is not struck before then. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer headed to Beijing this week for another round of talks with Vice Premier Liu He. The trade talks still seemed far apart as the two sides have not even drafted an accord specifying the matters they agree and disagree on.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Thursday that there is a "pretty sizable distance to go" before China and the U.S. reach a deal. Kudlow also indicated, however, that Trump is "optimistic with respect to a potential trade deal."

Mnuchin said last week the talks have been "very productive," although he noted that a "wide range of issues" remains to be worked out.

Washington, D.C. — Farmer investments in international markets produced strong results in the 2017-18 marketing year, despite trade dynamics developing as the export period closed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. soybean farmers exported a record-breaking 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products, valued at more than $28 billion last market year. The U.S. also set a new record high in combined volume of the whole soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil exported in 2017/2018, with soybean meal exports accounting for the greatest growth.

Derek Haigwood, a soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas and chairman of U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and director for United Soybean Board (USB), said he expects to see the impact of trade issues in the next, 2018/2019, marketing year. The official marketing year runs from October 1 to September 30. Exports during the 2017/2018 marketing year would not have been largely impacted by the tariffs introduced by China as shipments abroad normally take place after harvest (October-December).

USSEC recently initiated the “What it Takes” strategy to grow U.S. soybean demand worldwide and mitigate export losses to China. The program provides opportunities for industry experts and farmers to remind buyers about the intrinsic feed value of U.S. soy, mainly its exceptional amino acid content, the nation’s reliable transportation system and sustainable farming practices.

“Particularly at a time when global trade flows have dramatically changed, it is critical that we ensure access in all markets that want to purchase U.S. soybeans and soy products,” states Haigwood.

Keith Tapp, chair of USB and farmer from Sebree, Kentucky, says the dedication to opening new markets for soy has been and will remain a priority USB investment and support.

“Our work to build the preference for U.S. soy is more important than ever,” he says. “Soy production is growing worldwide, and we continue to work across borders, industries and disciplines to find and develop markets for U.S. soy products.”

Read more.

West Lafayette, IN — The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rebounded sharply in January to a reading of 143, a 16-point improvement compared to December and the highest Barometer reading since June 2018. The January survey provided the first opportunity to measure farmer sentiment following USDA’s announcement that the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments would be made to soybean producers and it was also the first survey taken following passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), both of which appear to have helped boost farmer sentiment. In particular, total MFP payments (first and second installments, combined) to U.S. soybean farmers were estimated by USDA to be about $7.3 billion, providing a significant revenue boost to most Corn Belt farming operations.

Read more.

Ellisville, MO — A new study released today finds that the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has been a tremendous success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with nearly 600 million metric tons of GHG reduction since 2007. Actual GHG reductions under the RFS2 have far surpassed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) original expectations of 422 million metric tons, according to the study. The analysis was conducted by Life Cycle Associates, a California-based scientific consulting firm, and commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF).

The findings, which come as two House committees hold climate change hearings this morning, highlight the important role that ethanol and other biofuels can play in efforts to fight climate change and reduce GHG emissions.

“The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 600 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation,” according to the study. “The GHG reductions are due to the greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels. These emissions savings occur even though cellulosic biofuels have not met the RFS2 production targets. Biofuels have achieved and exceeded the GHG reductions estimated by EPA.”

As outlined in the report, the larger-than-expected GHG reductions are due to:

  • The adoption of technology improvements in the production of corn-based ethanol, resulting in far greater GHG reductions than originally estimated by EPA;
  • The GHG emissions of petroleum are higher than the baseline estimates originally projected by EPA; and
  • Advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas have contributed additional GHG reductions, even though actual cellulosic biofuel production has been lower than initially projected.

The 600 million metric tons of GHG reduction achieved under the RFS is equivalent to the GHG savings that would result from removing roughly half of the nation’s automobiles from the road for a full year or shutting down 154 coal-fired power plants for a year, according to EPA.

Read more.

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

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