Radio Script 10-22-19

USDA Photo Stephen Ausmus

Sustainability in agriculture has been picking up speed in 2019. In March, General Mills announced an initiative to advance regenerative agriculture on one million acres by 2030, which was followed by organization of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance formed by Danone North America, Mars Corporation, Nestle USA and Unilever to accelerate of federal climate legislation. Recently Bayer AG, the largest supplier of seeds, crop protection and data acquisition in the world has jumped onto the ag sustainability bandwagon. Bayer acquired Monsanto Agrochemical Company last year just in time to be pulled into suits alleging that Roundup herbicide is responsible for causing cancer in people who have applied the popular weed killer. By 2030, Bayer pledges to reduce the environmental impact of crop production by 30%, reduce field greenhouse gas emissions and empowering 100 million small holder farmers in developing countries by providing more access to sustainable agricultural solutions. Last year, Bayer invested $2.5 billion in crop science research and development, and expects to spend an additional $25 billion on research and development over the next ten years.

There is a grassroots effort to return whole milk to school cafeterias in the U.S. A petition with over 5,300 signatures will be delivered to the head of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service during the third meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and to the Senate and House Agriculture committees this week. Dairy farmers, veterinarians and consumers have signed on to the campaign in support of legislation that would amend the national school lunch and breakfast programs, which currently allows serving only 1 and 2 percent milk.

President Trump’s assertion that China would begin purchasing $40 to $50 billion in agricultural products immediately after negotiations ended on October 11th, got off to a slow start last week. Reuters News Organization reported that Chinese importers have been busy booking fresh purchases of soybeans from Brazil, rather than from the United States, which indicates that Chinese buying has been driven more by price than by policy. After the trade talks ended, commodity traders anticipated that Chinese buyers would return to the U.S. market immediately to make big purchases in the wake of the deal, which drove U.S. soybean prices to their highest levels since the start of the trade war more than 15 months ago. This rally on U.S. Markets made Brazilian soybeans more of a bargain for Chinese buyers because they were cheaper, while the Chinise 25% duty on U.S. soybean shipments remains in effect, without awarding non-state-owned firms any new tariff waivers. On October, 13th, Trump said on Twitter that China had already begun making U.S. agricultural purchases. But as of last Friday, three large U.S. soybean exporters said there have been no U.S. sales to China since talks in Washington ended, and none have been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Colorado State University Extension and the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College are offering the Understanding Your Agriculture Financial Statements Workshop on Tuesday, November 12th from 9 am until 2 pm at the Montezuma County Annex. Presenter Pat Calhoun will help participants understand how to develop, interpret and use financial statements to make strategic decisions in their agricultural operations.

Mark Twain said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

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