The trade in wild animals is coming under increasing pressure to shut down, ever since the source of the Covid-19 pandemic was linked to a "wet market" in Wuhan, where throngs of customers shop for live animals held in cramped quarters, according to FERN's latest story, by Brian Barth. (No paywall)
Although U.S. shoppers concerned about the coronavirus pandemic have largely emptied stores of paper products and household cleaning supplies, so far most other grocery aisles remain stocked. Still, as the virus spreads across the U.S., it could expose other weaknesses in our food supply chain, experts say. (No paywall)
The USDA will move quickly to eradicate the African swine fever if the viral disease is discovered in the United States, said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. The USDA would order a 72-hour nationwide "standstill" of hog shipments, as a step to prevent spread of the virus, and it would kill all infected and exposed hogs, potentially thousands of animals or more.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the odds of a multibillion-dollar round of trade war payments to farmers this year are “less than 10 percent,” although a senior lawmaker said the payments may be "absolutely vital" for survival in the Farm Belt. China will turn to the U.S. market for soybeans “late this spring, this summer,” Perdue predicted during a House Agriculture hearing on Wednesday.
Farmers are optimistic about the resumption of trade with China and, as a result, fewer of them believe the Trump administration will send trade war payments to producers this year, said a Purdue University poll on Tuesday. Fewer than half of the producers contacted by the Ag Economy Barometer said they anticipated payments this year, compared to nearly six out of 10 last fall.
A handful of farm states, mostly in the Midwest and Plains, emerge as net winners when the impact of retaliatory Chinese tariffs are weighed against the Trump administration's trade-war payments to farmers, say three university economists.
Six firms are seeing disruptions in the supply chain because of Covid-19 that could lead to shortages of animal drugs for the U.S. market, said the FDA in an update. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA animal scientists are "looking for any kind of possibility, even vaccines, that may help" against the viral disease.
China can satisfy two objectives — filling a huge gap in its meat supply and complying with the "phase one" trade agreement with the United States — by buying American-grown pork, say two Iowa State University economists.
U.S. ag exports have gained limited traction from President Trump's ballyhooed trade victories, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is optimistic that demand will improve. "I hope we can show that a third round [of trade war payments] is not needed for 2020," Perdue said in a statement. "We still believe farmers want trade rather than aid."
Researchers have identified a promising candidate for an African swine fever vaccine but the United States remains two to five years away from having a large supply, said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach. Speakers at the USDA's annual Ag Outlook Forum said China, hit by an ASF epidemic, would struggle to rebuild hog herds in the near term.