Montana Farmer Takes Long but Useful Trade Trip on Wheat
AgWeek – 04/08/2019
Alan Klempel believes in promoting U.S. wheat to foreign customers — so much so that he spent 11 days away from home during calving to participate on a trade mission to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. “I have to commend my family for really stepping up (during calving) when I was away,” Klempel said. “And fortunately the weather was good when I was gone.” The Bloomfield, Mont., farmer, whose crops include wheat, was part of a U.S. Wheat Associates trip in March to the three countries. U.S. Wheat Associates, often known as U.S. Wheat or USW, describes its mission as developing, maintaining and expanding international markets to make wheat more profitable for U.S. farmers and more valuable to its customers. About half of the wheat raised by U.S. farmers is exported. U.S. Wheat, active in more than 100 countries, is funded through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share money provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Klempel represented the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee on the mission, which included other U.S. wheat farmers and U.S. Wheat staff members. “It was an eye-opening experience in many ways,” Klempel said of the trip, his first overseas trade mission. “It helped to reinforce how important checkoff dollars are and how important is to work closely with our customers.”
Trade Talks Progressing, but No Deal Yet
AgWeek – 04/07/2019
China Vice Premier Liu He was in Washington this week to meet with President Donald Trump and continue negotiations on trade. No deal has been reached, but both sides seem optimistic that an agreement can be reached. The timetable remains unclear, with four or five weeks as a possible window to solidify a deal. It appears that intellectual property theft continues to be a sticking point in negotiations. In the meantime, sales of soybeans continue to lag what is needed to reach the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate for the 2018-19 crop year. There have been some sales and promises of more by China, but until those materialize, stocks of old crop soybeans will continue to be burdensome.
Montana Farms Among Those Struggling with U.S. Trade Policies
Bozeman Daily Chronicle – 04/07/2019
Montana exports more than $1 billion in agricultural products annually, helping generate revenue of about $68 million for Gallatin County farmers. Because agriculture drives the state’s economy, the Trump administration’s foreign policy, which has left some farmers struggling, is worrying politicians and industry officials. Farmers’ concerns began last year when the U.S. imposed billions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, citing national security issues and unfair trade practices. China immediately responded with tariffs on U.S. goods. At about the same time, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, prompting several countries to place retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of U.S. agricultural products, negatively impacting farmers in Montana and Gallatin County. “China and the U.S. get a lot of the focus, but under all that is the problem in Japan that needs to be addressed quickly and might be more of a concern for Montana farmers,” said Collin Watters, executive vice president of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, referring to the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership about two years ago.
WSU Researchers Aim to Crack the Wheat-Sensitivity Puzzle
Inlander – 04/03/2019
In a few years, people with celiac disease and those who are gluten-intolerant might see a strain of wheat they can digest if all goes well with work led by a team of researchers affiliated with Washington State University. By introducing an enzyme into the grain itself, the team is developing a strain of wheat they hope can break down its own gluten proteins from the inside. The research is led by Sachin Rustgi, an adjunct assistant professor with WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and assistant professor of molecular breeding at Clemson University, along with a team of scientists in Chile, China and France.
Some Surpises in Spring Wheat Planting Report
Farm and Ranch Guide – 04/07/2019
USDA came out with its long awaited Prospective Plantings Report on March 29 for wheat and other crops. Market reaction to the report, primarily because of old crop inventory estimates for the major commodities, which were also released, was somewhat bearish, according to Jim Peterson, marketing director for the North Dakota Wheat Commission. USDA conducted the survey in early March to gauge how much of each crop producers were intending to plant in 2019. The agency also provided its estimate of March 1 stocks for all the major crops. Peterson pointed out that of the two main factors in the report, the inventory estimates were more of a short-term issue for the market to consider, and that the planting intentions were more of a long-term issue. “The overall reaction of the market was bearish simply because the March 1 inventories, especially of corn, but also of wheat, came in higher than what analysts were expecting, either indicating that demand is running a little less than what people expected, or the crop production estimates were probably understated from the fall report,” Peterson said. “We’ll get an adjustment when USDA comes out with its April updated supply and demand report.”
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates