If there is no near-term resolution of the Sino-U.S. trade war, the Trump administration will need to spend billions of dollars in additional trade war payments to farmers and ranchers or watch farm income sink, said two economists on Monday. Either way, there would be painful restructuring in the sector, which has collected more than $10 billion in Trump tariff payments this year.
Between a weather-delayed harvest and uncertainties about the demand for their crops, farmers have been slow to sell corn and soybeans this fall. One consequence is tighter margins and revenue pressures on country elevators, said a report from ag lender CoBank.
Aided by the Sino-U.S. trade war, the U.S. soybean inventory doubled to a record 913 million bushels in one year, the government said on Thursday. At the same time, the USDA estimated that total will be cut in half by next September.
A hard freeze is forecast across a significant portion of the western Corn Belt, with 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 5 percent of the soybean crop at risk of freeze damage, said forecaster Maxar on Wednesday.
The EPA will adjust the Renewable Fuel Standard to "net out" at 15 billion gallons in 2020 after waivers to some oil refineries, said administrator Andrew Wheeler. During a broadcast interview, Wheeler said the agency expects to release soon a detailed version of its plan, intended as a compromise between the ethanol and oil industries.
The U.S. corn stockpile is the smallest in three years and a comparatively small crop, delayed by the rainiest spring in a quarter-century, is slow to come to harvest this year, the government said in a pair of reports on Monday. The soybean stockpile also is markedly smaller than expected, although it is still the largest on record.
Three years of bumper crops collided with the Sino-U.S. trade war to create the largest U.S. soybean stockpile ever, a price-depressing 1 billion bushels at the start of this month. But by next Sept. 1, the so-called carry-over will be just two-thirds of its current size, estimated the USDA on Thursday.
The United States and Mexico are among the world’s largest corn producers, and both are expanding production. A USDA report says that despite their geographic proximity, there are fundamental differences in the “corn economies” of the two countries.
Last summer, researchers from Mars Inc. and UC Davis announced the "discovery" of a variety of corn grown in Oaxaca that fixes its own nitrogen through mucus-covered aerial roots. Their study, in the journal PLOS Biology, touched off a debate—in Mexico and beyond—about the effectiveness of global policies designed to safeguard the genetic resources of indigenous communities, according to FERN's latest story, published with Yale Environment 360.