Ag Today August 23, 2019

Trump orders American companies to ‘start looking for an alternative to China’ [New York Times]

Hours after Beijing said it would increase tariffs on American goods in response to President Trump’s latest round of Chinese levies, the president ordered companies in the United States to stop doing business with China and warned of additional retaliation….The escalation in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies came as China said it would raise tariffs on $75 billion worth of American-made goods, including crude oil, cars and farm products, if Mr. Trump carries through with his plan to tax an additional $300 billion worth of imports….China’s plan to retaliate, which was announced late on Friday in Beijing, includes putting new tariffs of 5 percent or 10 percent on American goods.


Can Japan show the world how to avoid Trump’s trade hammer? [Wall Street Journal]

…Negotiations between Japan and the U.S. are in their final stages, according to Japanese economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi, speaking from Washington, D.C. on Thursday. It isn’t yet clear whether the two countries can reach the so-called mini-deal both are hoping for, but the mood music is in a much brighter key than for the more closely watched U.S. talks with China….Despite President Trump’s almost-immediate withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by the previous administration, the U.S. is now pushing for agricultural access to Japan at least on par with that enjoyed by the countries that signed up to the residual Pacific trade deal.


San Diego farmers facing major worker shortage [KGTV, San Diego]

A shortage of labor is creating big problems for San Diego farmers. According to the San Diego Farm Bureau, the slowing workforce is expected to impact local farmers and the price we pay at the grocery store. The bureau says the problem stems from an aging work force, the lack of an easy-to-navigate visa program, and the cost of living in San Diego County….Although times are tough for farmers in San Diego, the bureau says there is a solution – creating a boiled down visa program that simplifies things for farmers and the workers they need.


This California business was mushrooming. Then came the insurance crisis [Sacramento Bee]

Joel Gutierrez jumped into the mushroom business by chance,…Colfax is right in the middle of one of California’s many high-risk fire zones which for the past two years have been facing a growing insurance crisis. Gutierrez and his family are among thousands of locals who this summer have been dropped from their homeowners wildfire insurance, forcing them to look for more expensive plans they were unprepared to handle. The extreme fire-danger conditions also have prompted their energy supplier, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, to warn them other rural Californians about impending public-safety power shutoffs. For Gutierrez, that would mean setting business back to up to two months and losing some of his primary customers.


What is an endangered species worth? Trump rule sparks debate [PBS NewsHour]

What is the cost to the economy when an animal is listed as an endangered species? The Trump administration could soon start to publicize that calculation, along with the cost and benefits of categorizing an animal that way, under new rules it finalized earlier this month….Environmentalists caution that calculating costs and making them public could influence, even subconsciously, whether government officials list a species, saying the Trump administration already has a track record of siding with businesses and rolling back environmental protections. The new rule has, in a sense, already had an effect, by raising debate over how Americans should determine the value of a species and whether it is possible to accurately weigh the costs and benefits of keeping plants and animals from going extinct.