Ag Today January 21, 2020

Hidden in China trade deal is a ‘watershed moment’ for California dairy [Sacramento Business Journal]

President Donald Trump signed an initial trade deal with China Wednesday, laying the groundwork to possibly de-escalate the trade war somewhere down the road. And while many of the details of the deal are murky, it contains one bright spot for Sacramento dairy farmers. The deal puts a pause on tariff increases, but doesn’t roll back any of the existing tariffs that have been piling up since 2018. China has also committed to buying $200 billion more in American goods, including $32 billion more in agriculture products. It’s unclear what that new spending, if China does honor that commitment, would go toward, besides lots more soybeans. It’s also unclear what China plans to do with that much product — before the trade war began, it only purchased $23.8 billion in U.S. farm goods. But the agreement gets on paper China’s commitment to reform some of the trade practices that Trump says prompted the tariffs and the trade war in the first place. That includes strengthening intellectual property protections, more transparency on currency issues, and opening up the Chinese market to more American products. That last part is what has one local industry celebrating. “This is a really big deal with California dairy farmers,” said Glenn Millar, director of international business development at the California Milk Advisory Board.


Local beekeeper is robbed [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

Valued at $44,000, a total of 92 beehives were stolen recently near South Washington Boulevard in Sutter County. The owner, Mike Potts, manages the bees through his business Pottsy’s Pollination and Honey Farm based out of Oregon. He said this is the first time in his 15 years in business that he’s had hives stolen from him. “It’s about a quarter of my business that was taken,” Potts said. “Revenue-wise it was about $44,000 for the year, not including equipment.” The light-gray painted wooden beehives have the letters “MP” engraved on the side. Potts said he has about 400 hives left. “When you lose 92 hives, that’s going to affect productivity,” Potts said. Productivity is the hallmark of pollinator bees, which Potts said he transports to Sutter County around the middle of December. The bees go to work pollinating almond orchards until April, when they are taken to Oregon and Washington to pollinate apples and


Farmer approval of Trump hits record, poll shows [Wall Street Journal]

Approval of President Trump among farmers in the Corn Belt is on the rise following the signing of the long-awaited U.S.-China trade deal last week. According to a monthly poll from agricultural trade publication Farm Journal released Sunday, 83% of farmers and ranchers approve of the president’s job performance. It is the highest level of support for Mr. Trump among farmers since he took office, Farm Journal said. The poll collected 1,286 responses among roughly 5,000 ranchers and farmers asked via text to give their opinion. Respondents were nationwide, but concentrated mostly in Midwest states like Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska. “We have heard repeatedly from farmers that they believe in the end of the trade fight with China,” said John Herath, news director at Farm Journal. The uptick in farmer support comes following the signing of the so-called phase-one trade agreement in Washington on Wednesday. The deal stipulates that China will purchase roughly $36 billion worth of U.S. agricultural exports in 2020, and over $43 billion in 2021. Also playing a role in boosting farmer sentiment is the U.S. Senate passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday, the free-trade deal replacing the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.


Did the tariffs do the job and do it well? [Wall Street Journal]

At the public signing of “phase one” of the U.S.-China trade deal, President Trump quipped about Peter Navarro, his assistant and director of trade and manufacturing policy: “He’s a little different. We have all types.” That description seems apropos given Mr. Navarro’s recent “Give Trump’s Tariffs a Fair Test” (op-ed, Jan. 14), in which he claims that tariffs are attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the U.S. According to the administration’s own data, FDI into the U.S. has dropped by a whopping 45% since 2016. In 2018 America’s share of global FDI declined for the first time in a decade. That is significant because international companies employ 7.4 million U.S. workers. It may surprise some that over the last five years international companies in the U.S. have created 61% of new manufacturing jobs. These U.S. workers are responsible for producing 25% of all U.S. goods exports. When you think about it, there may be no greater measure of our economic competitiveness than when a company from outside the U.S. deliberately decides to invest and create jobs in the U.S.


Trump thanks farmers for backing him through China trade war [Associated Press]

President Donald Trump thanked farmers Sunday for supporting him through a trade war with China as he promoted a new North American trade agreement and a separate one with China that he said will massively benefit farmers. “We did it,” Trump said, recalling his campaign promises to improve America’s trading relationships with other countries. At one point during his address to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention, Trump said he has strong support among farmers following his signing last week of a preliminary trade deal with China….His follow-up speech Sunday at this year’s convention in Austin, Texas, gave him a chance to make the case to farmers that he kept promises he made as a candidate to improve trade with China and separately with Canada and Mexico. He thanked farmers for staying “in the fight.” “You were always with me,” Trump said. “You never even thought of giving up and we got it done.”


Editorial: Will Newsom cave to Trump’s flawed science on Delta tunnel? [San Jose Mercury News]

There’s no light at the end of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed Delta tunnel — not if the Trump administration’s bogus science is the basis for justifying a Southern California water grab of epic proportions. State Department of Water Resources officials announced Wednesday they are initiating an environmental review of the governor’s plan for a single Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta tunnel along the I-5 corridor. In concept, the single-tunnel idea has merit. Its cost — estimated at $11 billion — is considerably cheaper than Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion twin-tunnel proposal that Newsom killed in 2019. But review of a single-tunnel conveyance must be based on sound science. It’s outrageous that Newsom’s state Department of Water Resources appears to be backing the Trump administration’s faulty science, which the governor previously rejected, as the basis for moving forward with the single-tunnel plan. A single-tunnel plan only makes sense if the savings enables the state to invest in a comprehensive plan that would increase water supply through added storage, recycling and conservation.