Soy Briefs03/28/2019 | Biodiesel, Policy, Transportation, Soybean News, Economics
Washington, D.C. — Iowa soybean farmers took to Capitol Hill last week to make their voices heard on legislative priorities, including:
- Biodiesel: The biodiesel tax credit has been issued previously to provide a $1-per-gallon credit to blenders which blend biodiesel with petroleum. The tax credit expired and was not included in the House’s government funding bill. Farmers said the extension of the tax incentive is important to the industry’s continued growth.
- Infrastructure: Increased funding in transportation infrastructure would help increase the efficiencies of delivering soybeans by rail and by ship, farmers said. They urged lawmakers to secure $118 million for federal share of the project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel from 45 feet to 50 feet.
- Market competitiveness: In addition to passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and negotiating a deal with China, Iowa soybean farmers pushed for additional funding for the Market Access program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Beijing, China — U.S. soybean exports to China have declined by nearly two-thirds since the country imposed duties last summer on oilseed imports from its once-largest supplier.
Business will rebound when the countries resolve key issues involving intellectual property, tech transfer and the timely approval of biotech traits, predicts Xiaoping Zhang, U.S. Soybean Export Council’s regional director for greater China.
The multi-billion-dollar question for farmers like Tim Bardole of Rippey is: How soon?
“We have good soybean yields and quality but this combination doesn’t do us much good when you’re having to sell at a loss,” said Bardole while participating in an Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) trade mission this week to China. “That doesn’t work for long.”
Washington, D.C. — The American Soybean Association (ASA) is not pleased with recent comments from President Donald Trump that he could leave tariffs in place under an agreement with China. ASA has always considered the lifting of the Section 301 tariffs by the United States in exchange for China removing its retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean imports as essential to any initial agreement between the two countries.
Davie Stephens, president of ASA and a soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said, “The President’s statement that the tariffs should remain in place to ensure China’s compliance with the terms of a deal, rather than being rescinded as a part of that deal, is confounding. If reciprocal tariffs have generated current pressure to reach an agreement, why wouldn’t removing the tariffs and relieving that pressure be a necessary part of any initial deal? How can the U.S. and China reach any deal without doing so?”
Stephens continued, “We do understand the President’s concern regarding enforcement of other provisions of a deal, given China’s past record of walking back its commitments. And we would understand why the President would want to include a “snap back” mechanism to re-impose tariffs in the event other parts of any agreement were not honored, but we are tired of being collateral damage in this ongoing trade war and suffering because of these tariffs.”
ASA has gone on record in prior statements that it is has not been enough for China to make one-off “good will” purchases of U.S. soy over the last three months. Any longer-term plan to “manage” soybean trade under which China would guarantee to buy specified amounts of soybeans over an extended period of months or years—but still keep its 25 percent tariff in place—is not an acceptable alternative to full market access.
Soybean farmers continue to suffer from restricted access to China, by far the industry’s most important foreign customer. With depressed prices and unsold stocks forecast to double before the 2019 harvest begins in September, producers need China reopened to U.S. soybean exports within weeks, not months or even longer.
Any agreement reached between the U.S. and China that does not include removal of China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans would not be acceptable to American soybean farmers. Bypassing elimination of China’s soybean tariff should not be on the table.
Contact your elected officials through the American Soybean Association's Soy Action Center to make your voice heard for soybean farmers.
Washington, D.C. — The National Biodiesel Board says in a letter signed by more than 70 other organizations and stakeholders that the very industry they represent is on the line if lawmakers are unable to pass an extension of a $1-per-gallon tax credit. The letter says the uncertainty surrounding the tax credit “is curtailing investments in new plants and capital projects to upgrade existing plants. It is beginning to force some producers, blenders and distributors to cut back purchases of raw materials and deliveries of renewable fuel to consumers, which will have impacts across the economy. The tax credit was not addressed in 2018, leaving biofuel producers unsure if it could be incorporated into business planning for the last year. The credit has traditionally been extended every year, but a multiyear extension did not gain traction at the end of last year, leaving the credit lapsed.
Des Moines, IA — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has added a landing page to their website which includes a list of state and federal agency resources regarding flooding: http://bit.ly/2JqlztB
41 Iowa counties have been declared disaster areas: Adair, Bremer, Buena Vista, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Clay, Clayton, Crawford, Dallas, Delaware, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Fremont, Guthrie, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Kossuth, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O'Brien, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pottawattamie, Shelby, Sioux, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth and Wright. A state map is available here: https://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/
San Francisco, CA — A jury last week sided with a California man who said the use of Monsanto's (a company acquired by Bayer in June 2018) glyphosate product was the cause of his cancer. Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. was the first federal Roundup cancer lawsuit to proceed to trial before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria.
Specifically, the jury found the company liable on failure to warn, negligence and design defect claims.
The jury said 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, whose Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission, should receive $80 million — about $200,000 in past medical expenses, $5.6 million in compensatory damages (including $3.6 million for past pain and suffering) and $75 million in punitive damages. In the first phase of the trial, the jury had found exposure to Roundup was a "substantial factor" in causing Hardeman's NHL.
In reaction to the phase two verdict Bayer released the following statement:
"We are disappointed with the jury's decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances. Bayer will appeal this verdict.
"The jury in this case deliberated for more than four days before reaching a causation verdict in phase one, an indication that it was very likely divided over the scientific evidence. The legal rulings under which the court admitted expert scientific testimony from the plaintiff that it called 'shaky' is one of several significant issues that the Company may raise on appeal. Monsanto moved to exclude this same evidence before trial.
"We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family. Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.
"Roundup products and their active ingredient, glyphosate, have been used safely and successfully for over four decades worldwide and are a valuable tool to help farmers deliver crops to markets and practice sustainable farming by reducing soil tillage, soil erosion and carbon emissions. Regulatory authorities around the world consider glyphosate-based herbicides as safe when used as directed. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed.
"Notably, the largest and most recent epidemiologic study – the 2018 independent National Cancer Institute-supported long-term study that followed over 50,000 pesticide applicators for more than 20 years and was published after the IARC monograph – found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer. Additionally, EPA's 2017 post-IARC cancer risk assessment examined more than 100 studies the agency considered relevant and concluded that glyphosate is 'not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,' its most favorable rating. As Health Canada noted in a very recent statement, 'no pesticide regulatory authority in the world currently considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed."
A third trial started March 28 in Oakland, CA in which a husband and wife in their 70s both claim they got cancer from using Roundup in their garden. Last August, a Bay Area jury awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million, an amount later reduced to $78 million.
Washington, D.C. — The 2018 Farm Bill requires USDA to produce a report that outlines data currently collected about conservation practices and the effects of those practices on crop yields, farm and ranch profitability, and soil health. USDA must then summarize the data and steps needed to provide secure data access to university researchers. Additionally, the farm bill calls for improved crop insurance guidance on cover crops, which would support conservation adoption on more acres.
Lenexa, KS — Recent flood events mean many corn and soybean acres are at risk of late planting, if fields get planted at all. Planalytics, a business weather intelligence firm based in Pennsylvania estimates more than half of all corn and soybean acres are at risk of flooding this spring.
“Planalytics… recently reported on the convergence of conditions that led to what has already been described as the worst flooding disaster to ever hit the region,” the company said in a news release. “Planalytics estimates that 55 percent of U.S. corn acres and 60 percent of soybean acres are at risk of either major or moderate flooding this spring.”
Just 8 percent of the soybean and 14 percent of corn acres are minimal flooding risk for the year, according to the company. Most risk is concentrated in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, with additional risky states of Missouri, North Dakota and Illinois.
Lenexa, KS — This spring, farmers will likely need to cope with ruts and wheel tracks and determine what kind of tillage, if any, is needed to work soil back into shape. It all depends on where, how deep and how many ruts there are.
“Anything deeper than 3" is a rut,” says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “Most years, farmers can plant through wheel tracks, but due to a wet harvest in 2018, farmers aren’t dealing with ‘average’ wheel tracks.”
The goal should be to grow the best crop farmers can this year while setting the stage to get back to their normal program as quickly as possible, whether that is conventional tillage, vertical tillage, no-till or strip-till.
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