It’s early, but China is No. 1 buyer of U.S. corn

Thanks to a buying spree, China is far and away the top customer for U.S. corn six weeks into the marketing year, said chief executive Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council on Thursday. Its purchases of 10.4 million tonnes for delivery during 2020/21 are twice as large as sales to date to Mexico, usually the No. 1 importer.

U.S. and Mexico broaden food safety partnership

Food regulators from Mexico and the United States issued a statement of intent on Monday to expand a six-year-old partnership on food safety to cover all of the human food regulated by the FDA. Mexico is a leader in food trade with the United States; about one-third of all the food imported …

Feds investigating after H-2A worker died of Covid-19 complications at a Texas potato plant

Marco Antonio Galvan Gomez, a 48-year-old husband and father from Guanajuato, Mexico, had worked eight years on a seasonal visa at Larsen Farms, one of the biggest potato producers in the nation, when he died of complications related to Covid-19 on July 20. He had spent the previous 12 days struggling to keep working despite suffering from fever, aches and shortness of breath; Larsen officials denied his request to return home to Mexico, and Galvan got no medical treatment from local health officials, according to FERN's latest story, published with Texas Observer. (No paywall)

U.S. ag exports to China on the rise, but not at ‘phase one’ pace

China is stepping up its purchases of U.S. farm exports, but it will not meet the ambitious sales goals of the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war, said USDA data on Wednesday. In a quarterly forecast, USDA analysts said China, the farm sector's No. 1 customer before the trade war, will remain locked in third place as an export destination in 2021, behind Canada and Mexico.

Maybe we should cut off cattle imports, says Trump

The United States “should look at the possibility of terminating” trade agreements that allow cattle imports into the country, said President Trump on Tuesday — a suggestion that would almost solely affect Canada and Mexico, partners in the USMCA. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said …

U.S. embassy and consulates in Mexico to shut down, threatening labor supply for American farms

American farmers are bracing for major delays in the arrival of workers through the H-2A visa program after U.S. officials announced late Monday that the embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will close, effective March 18, due to health and safety concerns caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Officials at the embassy did not say when the facilities might reopen. The H-2A program brings some 200,000 foreign workers to U.S. farms each year.(No paywall)

Voluntary, not mandatory, meat-origin labels, says Perdue

Despite interest among cattle activists, a return to mandatory country-of-origin labels on beef "is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.

Senate to give Trump a trade victory days before impeachment trial

In a sudden legislative speed-up, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate will pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the end of this week, a trade victory for President Trump days before an impeachment trial begins. The “new NAFTA”  would bring modest …

Near-unanimous Senate approval, ‘hopefully soon,’ predicted for USMCA

The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved one of President Trump’s top priorities, an updated free trade pact with Canada and Mexico, on Tuesday with Democrats claiming a share of the credit in a trade victory for the president. U.S. agriculture would see modest increases in exports …

Lighthizer seeks to reassure Mexico on USMCA deal

With the "new NAFTA" nearing a House vote, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer assured Mexico that disputes over labor provisions of the trade agreement will be resolved by independent panels. Mexico was suspicious that a U.S. proposal to post five Labor Department attaches in Mexico City was an underhanded way of bringing foreign labor inspectors into the country.