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Soy Briefs

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Just five percent of soybeans began dropping leaves, almost 2 weeks behind last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ankeny, IA — Iowa soybean conditions improved slightly last week as this year’s crop heads toward harvest, though farmers say this harvest won't be a bin-buster.

Sixty-three percent of the Iowa soybean crop was rated good to excellent earlier this week, up 8 points from last week, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Three Iowa soybean farmers share how this year’s soybean crop is shaping up.

Washington, DC — The United States is working on several fronts to secure trade deals with some of the country’s biggest trading partners.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is tentatively scheduled to meet today with a working group that’s negotiating House Democratic concerns with the USMCA, reports Agri-Pulse.

Democrats still don’t think the Trump administration is going far enough to ensure Mexico will follow through with labor and environmental reforms required by USMCA, but several lawmakers say the two sides are coming closer to a deal.

“There’s a sense that there’s a ways to go, but we’ve made some progress,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal told reporters Wednesday after a meeting of the working group.

China

China has resumed new purchases of U.S. soybeans as physical exports continue. The USDA announced Friday a new export sale of 204,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for delivery to China in the 2019-20 marketing year, but more of those announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks.

U.S. Soybean Export Council CEO Jim Sutter tells Agri-Pulse that, while details are still unclear on the exact moves the Chinese government is making, it appears the country has begun to allow some of its importers to again avoid tariffs on U.S. soybeans.

A Chinese deputy finance minister, Liao Min, lead a delegation to Washington this week to “pave the way” for the 13th round of negotiations, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The negotiations are aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level talks in early October that will determine whether the two countries are working toward a solution or headed for new and higher tariffs on each other’s goods.

Japan

President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration had reached an initial trade agreement with Japan and would announce a deal in the coming weeks.

The trade pact, while limited, is expected to increase access for American agricultural products to the Japanese market. In a letter notifying Congress of its plans Monday, the administration said it would enter into a trade agreement with Japan regarding tariffs, as well an agreement on the rules governing digital trade.

Washington, DC — President Trump has held more than a half dozen meetings and helped broker at least three near-deals on U.S. ethanol and biodiesel mandates since he moved into the White House. Despite the intense Oval Office negotiations, a lasting compromise between warring oil and biofuel interests has eluded the commander-in-chief. And now his patience may be wearing thin.

However, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, citing a conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, says the Trump administration is still on track for announcing biofuel production guidelines

“As he knew, things were moving forward,” Reynolds told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “He didn’t have a lot of details but didn’t raise any concerns, either.”

Sources tell Agri-Pulse that senators representing oil-producing states will be at the White House today. Reynolds and a handful of biofuel senators met with administration officials last week.

Washington, DC — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), the 2015 federal regulation of waters and wetlands.

The action officially ends regulations that critics called “an example of government overreach” and sets the stage for a new rule that will provide much-needed regulatory certainty for farmers, home builders, and property owners nationwide. But some still see a long road ahead, as the repeal is hardly the final chapter in a dispute that has stretched on for years.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) tweeted her support for this rollback this week, stating, “I’ve worked closely with the Trump Administration to roll back the burdensome Obama-era WOTUS rule, & I’m glad just last week the administration took decisive action to remove this threat to Iowa. Now it’s time to pass my bill to codify a reasonable & clear definition of #WOTUS.”

St. Paul, MN — CHS Inc. announced plans for a significant renovation at its Fairmont, Minn., soybean processing plant. The expansion will increase market access for regional soybean growers and return value to its owners through increased production of high-demand soy-based food and feed ingredients. The area of primary soybean origination for the plant extends into northern Iowa.

Washington, DC — Signups began last week at Farm Service Agency (FSA) locations for agricultural producers around the country who are in need of disaster aid assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details about signups for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) earlier in the week. The $3.1 billion in disaster assistance is intended to help with recovery efforts for producers in disaster affected counties in 2018 and 2019.  

Lenexa, KS — If the hustle and bustle of harvest slides into overpowering stress, it can produce long-term effects and even threaten your health. Learn the symptoms of harmful stress and how to manage it while still managing your farm this harvest season.

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

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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