What Do the U.S. and China Want from Trade Negotiations?


Eighteen months after the U.S. initiated the trade dispute with China, the two parties may or may not be close to a Phase-1 agreement depending on whether we accept the Washington or the Beijing comments of the day.  It is generally accepted that if there is an agreement, it will involve some rescission of tariffs, partial resumption of imports of agricultural commodities from the U.S. and promises by China to make cosmetic changes to structural issues that formed the basis of the dispute.


It is clear that China will not enter into an agreement unless some or most tariffs are withdrawn.  The $64-question is the extent of the concessions that may be made by the U.S.  China is apparently willing to match the U.S. tariff-for-tariff but “face” requires the U.S. to make the first move.  The Rashomon-like nature of the negotiations is evident in that the U.S. is thinking of simply not imposing the December 15th round of tariffs announced in August as a gesture.  In contrast China believes that the U.S. will remove all existing tariffs, not simply planned future tariffs. 


On Tuesday November 27th the President announced that the U.S. and China were in the “final throes of a deal”.  One week later on December 3rd, the President opined that any deal could be deferred until after the 2020 election, eleven months hence.


From the U.S. side, nothing short of resolution of the structural issue will allow for a comprehensive trade agreement which was the objective of the “quick and easy to win” trade war initiated in May 2018.  Although negotiations have centered around tariffs and agricultural commodities, China has yet to declare that it will cease support of state-owned industries, respect intellectual property and allow foreign investment without coercive transfer of technology.  Even if China makes concessions, how these will be monitored and policed has yet to be determined.


Support of Midwestern agricultural states is critical to the reelection of the President.  Approximately $28 million has been disbursed over the first two years of the dispute to compensate farmers for losses in export revenue and a decline in the value of their crops, predominantly soybeans.  John Newton, chief economist at the Farm Bureau Federation noted that the demand from China representing 25 percent of total U.S. soybean production equivalent to 30 to 35 million tons annually prior to 2017. This volume was sharply curtailed by the trade dispute resulting in a fall of approximately 60 percent in the 2018-2019 marketing year representing $5 billion in lost income.   Given that farmers generally operate with razor-thin margins, a difference of $1.00 to $1.50 per bushel could represent the difference between profit for the crop or loss. The 2019 season was marked by heavy spring rains and flooding delaying planting. An early frost occurred in the current season accompanied by snow in some areas delaying harvest. Corn, soy and beet farmers have experienced a horrible year.


It would appear that the divergent interest of the U.S. and China are far from reconciled.  It would be best if the respective negotiators considered a series of smaller agreements such as the proposed Phase-1 accord. If successful, negotiators could then move progressively towards resolution of the major structural issues that divide the U.S. and China. Reluctance by China to make changes is embodied in the 2025 Made in China growth objectives leading to domination of trade in Asia and with inroads into markets in the EU, Latin America and Africa. 


It would also be beneficial if politicians in both nations and especially the U.S. could refrain from politically self-serving, over-optimistic or condemnatory comments and pronouncements that roil markets. Early morning tweets are causing $300 per day swings in the Dow and close-to- limit fluctuations in soybeans on the CME.



Poultry Industry News



Corn and soybean prices diverged this past week attributed to:-

  • Renewed optimism over soybean purchases by China despite uncertainty over finalization of a "Phase 1" agreement. The parties have not reached an understanding on either tariff rescission or structural issues.
  • Prospects of exports of soybeans to China have resurfaced after dormancy since the White House announcement of "$40 billion in agricultural imports by China" following the October 10/11 th round of negotiations. The market for soybeans is responding positively despite the absence of specific details on quantities and prices or even an expressed commitment from state-controlled brokers in China.


Uncertainties still exist:-


  • Traders are responding to low yields of both corn and soybeans and the effect of recent bouts of severe weather in the upper Midwest.
  • Brexit and the U.S. relationship with the U.K and the E.U. especially with the threat of punitive tariffs on food products from France.
  • An unpredictable political situation delaying ratification of the USMCA possibly until early 2020.



Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices

Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on December 4th confirmed that a total of 233.2 million eggs were set during the week ending November 30th, one percent lower than the corresponding week in 2018. A total of 173.9 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending November 30 th. This was two percent more than in the corresponding week in 2018. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 182.2 million. Claimed average hatchability was 82.1 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2019 through November 30th amounted to 8.90 billion, two percent more than YTD 2018.

Broiler Production

According to the December 6th USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 49) for the processing week ending November 30th 2019, 129.9 million broilers were processed during the past short week at an average live weight of 6.30 lbs. (6.22 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 21.5 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 615.0 million lbs. (279,540 metric tons), 22.4 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Production YTD of RTC in 2019 is 37.54 million lbs. (17,065,187 metric tons), 3.1 percent more than in 2018 YTD.


Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Poult Production and Placement:

The November 18th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on November 1st 2019 (29.6 million eggs on October 1st 2019) and down 11.0 percent (3.4 million eggs) from November 1st 2018.

A total of 24.9 million poults were hatched during October 2019 (22.6 million in September 2019) representing an increase of 2.3 percent from October 2018.

A total of 21.6 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in October 2019, (19.8 million in September 2019), amounting to 3.3 percent less than in 2018. This suggests disposal of 3.2 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 25.8 percent of October-hatched hen poults or 12.9 percent of all October 2019-hatched poults were not placed.

For the twelve-month period November 2018 through October 2019 inclusive, 289.4 million poults were hatched and 257.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 31.6 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 21.8 percent of hen poults or 10.9 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-October 2019.


Export data for the first ten months of 2019 indicate a fractional increase in exports of broiler parts in comparison to the corresponding period in 2018. The overwhelming impression from progressive monthly comparisons is the consistent erosion in unit price although reversed in September. The trend in successively lower or static unit prices is attributed to the fact that leg quarters comprise over 96 percent of exports. This product represents a low-value commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions. The extensive outbreak of African swine fever may boost U.S. exports in the intermediate term as all animal protein will rise in price as pork supply is curtailed.

Total exports of broiler parts for the period attained 2,667,250 metric tons, 0.2 percent more than the corresponding period in 2018 (2,60,653 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 1.4 percent to $2,706 million ($2,670 million).


Harvest Report for the Past Week


The December 9th USDA Crop Progress Report, the last for the 2019 season, documented a continued advance in harvesting a crop delayed by late planting due to flooding in spring, drought in some areas at mid-stage and inclement weather during the harvest period.



As of December 8th in 18 major corn-producing states, responsible for 94 percent of the 2018 crop, 92 percent of corn had been harvested. This compares to a five-year average of 98 percent. During the past week, 3 percent was gathered consistent with the trend of diminishing returns at the end of each harvest year. States with suboptimal harvests of corn included N.Dakota (43 percent of projected total) and Wisconsin and Michigan at 74 percent each. The remaining 15 states posted harvests of 93 percent to 100 percent.


Farmers harvested an additional 4 percent of soybeans crop past week completing the harvest of the faster-growing crop. North Carolina harvested only 75 percent of soybeans planted with Michigan and Wisconsin at 75 percent each. Other states ranged from 92 percent (N. Dakota) to 100 percent as of December 8th.


Any remaining corn or soybeans in fields can be regarded as unmarketable.


USDA-WASDE FORECAST #595 December 8th 2019



Predictably the December 10th 2019 USDA WASDE Report was unchanged from November but with lower price projections for soybeans and soybean meal.

Corn and soybean harvests reflected in the December WASDE are based on actual yield and harvested area. The corn acreage harvested was 89.9 million acres (81.8 million in 2018) unchanged from the November WASDE. Soybeans were harvested from 75.6 million acres, unchanged from the November WASDE. (88.3 million acres in 2018)

The December USDA projected corn yield was retained at 167.0 bushels per acre, (178.9 bushels in 2018) The low value was due to late planting, delayed development and adverse weather before harvest. Soybean yield was retained at 46.9 bushels per acre from the November WASDE, (52.1 bushels in 2018). The November USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was retained at 1,910 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans will be unchanged from the November estimate to 475 million bushels.

Projections for ending stocks of both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations concurrently with conflicting reports on trade negotiations with China. It is presumed that projections are based on the assumption that there will be no comprehensive settlement of the trade dispute with China in 2019. It is hoped that some concessions on tariffs will be incorporated into an anticipated "Phase-1" accord. China failed to commit to purchase commodities following the June meeting between President Trump and Premier Xi at the G-20 Meeting in Osaka. No substantial orders have been placed by China since the mid-October negotiations in Washington. Some orders representing four percent of projected 2019 exports of soybeans were forthcoming in September after the August G-7 Summit in France. In mid-September, China rescinded a ban on all agricultural imports from the U.S. imposed on August 4th. This followed the announcement of a delay in introducing a September 1st threatened tariff of 10 percent on imports from China valued at $300 billion not already subject to duty.


The corn harvest for 2019 documented in the December WASDE Report #595 is projected to be 13,661 million bushels consistent with acreage planted, crop progress and estimated yield. The projection for 2019 can be compared to the 2018 harvest of 14,420 million bushels and is down 9.0 percent from the 2016 record harvest of 15,148 million bushels. The "Ethanol and Byproducts" category was retained from November at 5,375 m. bushels despite the prospect of year-round use of E-15 but eroded by Small Refinery Exemptions and reduced domestic demand for E-10. Exports were held at 1,850 million bushels taking into account intense competition from Brazil and Argentine and increased World domestic coarse grain production relative to demand. The "Feed and Residual" category was retained at 5,275 million bushels. Ending stocks were projected to be 1,910 m. bushels. The forecast USDA farm price was unchanged at 385 cents per bushel. Near close of trading on December 10th after release of the WASDE the CME quotations for December 2019 and March 2020 corn were 364 cents and 367 cents per bushel respectively. December corn was down 3.5 percent from trade levels following the release of the December 10th WASDE.


Harvest Area

81.8 m acres

(89.9 m. acres planned, corresponding to 91.0% of are harvested)


167.0 bushels per acre

(was 168.4 bushels per acre in October WASDE. 175.4 bushels per acre in 2017)

Beginning Stocks

2,114 m. bushels



13,661 m. bushels



50 m. bushels


Total Supply

15,825 m. bushels

Proportion of Supply

Feed & Residual

5,275 m. bushels


Food & Seed

1,415 m bushels


Ethanol & Byproducts

5,375 m. bushels


Domestic Use

12,065 m. bushels



1,850 m. bushels


Ending Stocks

1,910 m. bushels


Stock-to-domestic use proportion


(Was 15.9 % in the October 2019 WASDE Report)


Average Farm Price: $3.85 per bushel. (unchanged from the November 2019 WASDE Report)


USDA projected the 2019 soybean crop to be 3,550 million bushels, unchanged from the November WASDE estimate, based on a yield of 46.9 bushels per acre, down 2.1 percent from the earlier September projection. Use parameters were unchanged from the November 2019 WASDE Report with crushings at 2,105 m. tons. Projected exports were retained at 1,775 million bushels, presumably not anticipating any resolution of the trade conflict with China during 2019. The export projection appears speculative given that negotiations are still in progress although China has rescinded the complete ban on importation of U.S. agricultural products imposed in August. The U.S. has identified and is supplying alternative markets to China. It is ironic that some of this volume is probably transshipped to China. In recent years our largest trading partner imported the equivalent of 25 percent of U.S. soybeans. Ending stocks were held at 460 million bushels.

The USDA projection of the ex-farm price for soybeans for the 2019 harvest is 885 cents per bushel, down 15 cents per bushel from the November WASDE estimate. Near close of trading on December 10th following release of the WASDE the CME quotations for soybeans for January 2020 and March 2020 delivery were 900 cents and 915 cents per bushel. January 2020 soybeans were 2.1 percent lower from the December trade level, following the release of the December 10th WASDE.

Projected output of soybean meal was held at 49.5 million tons. Domestic use was unchanged at 36.7 million tons. Exports were retained at 13.4 million tons despite an uncertain trade environment. The USDA reduced the ex plant price of soybean meal by $15 per ton from the November WASDE to $310 per ton. Near close of trading on December 10th CME quotations for December 2019 and March 2020 deliveries of soybean meal were $297 and $302 respectively. The December 2019 quotation on December 10 th was 2.6 percent lower than the November 8th quotation following the release of the November WASDE.


Harvest Area

75.6 m acres

(76.5 m. acres planted, corresponding to 99.0% of planted acreage)


46.9 bushels per acre

(Was 49.5 bushels per acre in 2017, 52.1 bushels/ per acre 2018)

Beginning Stocks

913 m. bushels

(Was 1,005 m. bushels in September WASDE)


3,550 m. bushels



20 m. bushels


Total Supply

4,483 m. bushels

Proportion of Supply


2,105 m. bushels



1,775 m bushels



96 m. bushels



32 m. bushels


Total Use

4,008 m. bushels


Ending Stocks

475 m. bushels

10.6% (Was 460 m. bushels in October WASDE)


Average Farm Price: 885 cents per bushel (Down 15 cents per bushel from the November WASDE Report)


Soybean Meal

Beginning Stocks

0.402 m. tons


49.498 m. tons


0.500 m. tons

Total Supply

50.400 m. tons

Domestic Use

36.650 m. tons


13.350 m. tons

Total Use

50.000 m. tons

Ending Stocks

0.325 m. tons


Average Price ex plant : $310 (Down $15 per ton from the November WASDE Report)



The price projections based on CME quotations for corn and soybeans suggest lower production costs for broilers and eggs. Going forward, prices of commodities will be determined by World supply and demand and U.S. domestic yield, use and exports.

· For each 10 cents per bushel change in corn:-

  o The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

  o The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per live pound

· For each $10 per ton change in the cost of soybean meal:-

  o The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen

  o The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per live pound.



Global coarse grain production for 2019/2020 was raised by 6.8 million m. tons to 1,401 million m. tons. Higher output from Russia, China and Bolivia will be partly offset lower production in Mexico and Canada. The 2019/2020 season will be characterized by higher production and trade in coarse grains and raised ending stocks. Brazil will increase exports to traditional U.S. markets including Japan, S. Korea and Mexico.

The global projection for oilseeds was increased by 3.3 m. metric tons to 574 million m. tons including 1.0 million metric tons additional soybeans from China but lower production in the U.S. The production of sunflower was lower in Canada and Australia but higher in Russia and Ukraine. Updated World production and use of total grains and oilseeds is summarized for the 2019/2020 season taking into account Northern and Southern Hemisphere production:-

Factor: billon m. tons

Coarse Grains

Oil Seeds







World Trade






Ending Stocks



(1 metric ton corn= 40 bushels) ("ton" represents 2,000 pounds)




USMCA Agreement Finalized by Representatives of Three Nations

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner met with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland of Canada and President Andres Lopez Obrador on Tuesday December 10th and finalized details that are understood to be acceptable to the Senate of Mexico and to the Canadian Administration.


If the USMCA is placed before the House the agreement is expected to gain passage based on consensus. House Democrats reached agreement with the Administration on outstanding issues that have been negotiated for a year since the earlier signing ceremony.  The Senate is expected to ratify the USMCA when it is considered early in January 2020.


The USMCA incorporates about 90 percent of the 26-year old NAFTA but has been updated to provide security for workers, environmental considerations and aspects of the digital age not relevant in 1993. The agreement has been welcomed and praised by Industry associations representing agriculture and livestock production.


Fair Oaks Farms Rebuilding Reputation


Following negative publicity demonstrating egregious mistreatment of calves, Fair Oaks Farms has made personnel and operational changes to prevent a reoccurrence. It was unfortunate that the incident occurred at a facility known for transparency and agri-tourism.

Owner Mike McCloskey to his credit recognizes that problems existed but has outlined upgrades including the appointment of a Veterinarian dedicated to animal welfare, installation of surveillance cameras and retraining of personnel.

McClosley stated “I can’t assure you or anyone that there may not be another person who decides to maybe do the wrong thing, but I can assure you that we will detect it immediately with the systems we have now”.

Fair Oaks Farms will open a robotic dairy center open to public review. McCloskey observed “We need to gain back trust and we are working every day to gain it back”.


Evonik Resumes Production of Methionine


According to a statement by Dr. Emmanuel Auer, Head of Animal Nutrition Business at Evonik, a supply of hydrocyanic acid is now available. Accordingly the Company is able to resume producing methionine at the Antwerp plant in Belgium. With this development, the force majeure declared in mid-November has now ended and the company is shipping supplies.

This incident highlights the danger of extreme concentration of production capacity for critical nutrients, additives and vaccines in a few plants or limited geographic areas. In past years  Hurricane Maria in 2017 in Puerto Rico reduced the supply of pharmaceuticals and medical disposables to the U.S. The 2011 tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of Tohoku, Japan and the subsequent Fukushima meltdown disrupted the supply of industrial chemicals. Curbs on industry before and during the 20018 Beijing Olympics reduced the availability of vitamins produced in affected plants. Serious disruptions in supply of critical nutrients and additives lead to escalation in the cost of production for poultry companies and inevitably fake and substandard items enter the supply chain.


Aviagen Awards Scholarship to Canadian Doctoral Student


According to a December 9th press release, Aviagen has awarded a scholarship to Jeffrey Friend of the University of Alberta to complete studies leading to a Ph.D. He is the second recipient of the Aviagen® Poultry Genetics Scholarship. Selection from a pool of strong candidates was based on extensive research that potentially will lead to improvements in flock health and welfare.


Aviagen offers the funding through the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) Post-Graduate Scholarship program. As a leading primary breeder, Aviagen is committed to the Canadian poultry industry, and has supported the CPRC since 2012. A part of the Aviagen contribution has been allocated to this important program, which is intended to advance the education of promising poultry professionals with eventual benefit to the broiler industry.


McDonald’s Ups Ante on Chicken Sandwiches


McDonald’s is testing a Crispy Chicken Sandwich in selected stores in Houston, TX and Knoxville, TN.  This follows the unprecedented publicity gained by Louisiana Kitchen owned by Restaurant Brands International for their innovative chicken sandwich. The McDonald’s product comprises a chicken fillet on a potato-roll bun with pickles, tomato and lettuce.  The sandwich apparently resembles the proven Chick-fil-A® item that has led the family-owned chain to 2,000 restaurants and close to 400 licensed kiosks. Chick-fil-A® is now apparently third ranked among chain restaurant sales and is the leader among chicken restaurants.

If the Crispy Chicken Sandwich is successful on test it could be rolled out to as many as 12,000 stores nationally. It is questioned whether increased sales of the new menu item will cannibalize existing chicken and beef offerings. It is questionable whether the improved sandwich will increase traffic and boost same-store sales. 


Naturally the McDonald’s National Owners Association representing franchisees have in mind the 10 percent increase in same-store sales experienced by Popeye’s during the brief August run of their well-publicized spicy chicken sandwich.


As always with “chicken wars” may all the competitors win!


Assay and Fate of Peracetic Acid in Processing Plants


Researchers at Georgia Tech recently completed Study F074 funded by USPOULTRY entitled Fate and Effect of Peracetic Acid Solutions in Poultry Processing Wastewater Treatment Systems.  The senior researcher, Spyros Pavlostathis and colleagues in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering reported on their results circulated by USPOULTRY and due to be published.

The project was designed to determine the most appropriate analytical methods to detect and quantify peracetic acid (PAA) in processing wastewater.  In addition carryover of peracetic acid was investigated and the rate of decay in wastewater systems was evaluated.


Analytical methods to detect and measure the amount of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide in waste streams were accomplished.  Carryover of PAA added to spin chillers and other processing water was evident in wastewater.  Environmental factors including pH, temperature and protein content influenced the rate of decomposition of peracetic acid.

The information obtained in the study will be applied to develop procedures to allow the continuous use of peracetic acid without materially impacting anaerobic treatment of wastewater.


KFC Testing Plant-Based Chicken Products in Canada


KFC will commence a trial of meatless popcorn “chicken” and fried “chicken” sandwiches in Ontario.  This follows a trial of Beyond Meat nuggets and boneless wings in Atlanta, GA.  The Ontario trial will take place over a single day in only one restaurant although this appears inadequate to determine customer response.  If the trial is biased by publicity, the “curiosity factor” will obviously skew the result creating the impression of intense consumer interest.


KFC in Canada will evaluate Light Life™ brand products produced by Green Leaf, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.


Dan Curtin, president and CEO of Green Leaf Foods commented, “We are proud to join forces with KFC to bring Canadian plant-based chicken* with incredible taste.”  He added, “With pioneering partners like KFC we can make plant-based foods more broadly available to the growing number of consumers seeking the option on the go.”


*actually to be produced in Indiana!


Wayne Farms Completes Enterprise AL. Expansion


According to a company release, the Wayne Farms subsidiary of Continental Grain has completed installation of controlled atmosphere stunning and other upgrades in the Enterprise AL. plant to expand production of the Naked Truth™ premium brand from 250,000 to 400,000 birds per day.


Since late 2016, Wayne Farms has invested $350 million in their Alabama operation including expansion of the Dothan plant, erection of a feed mill near Ozark and extensive expansion and modernization of the Enterprise plant.  To supply the additional broilers, erection of 170 new houses was required and the projects created 1,000 new full-time positions.



Requirements for Export of Poultry to China


Following the approval of 172 U.S. poultry plants to be eligible to export to China, the Nation’s Customs Authority (GACC) has issued additional requirements.  These include approval of cold storage facilities and labeling in both English and Mandarin for outer and inner packs.  Tariffs will be levied a rate of 35 percent as a “most favored nation”. Punitive tariffs will be waived.


Alltech Highlights Mycotoxin in 2019 Corn


According to an Alltech press release, 2019 has been a challenging year for corn farmers across the Midwest due to excessive rainfall that delayed planting in many areas. Extreme weather conditions and moisture levels reduced yields and resulted in plant stress, and manifest as infection with molds and the evolution of mycotoxins. High moisture at harvest can allow Fusarium molds to flourish, producing a variety of mycotoxins including deoxynivalenol (DON), fusaric acid, T-2, HT-2 and zearalenone (ZEN).

Samples assayed by Alltech revealed an average of 7.13 mycotoxins, with a range of 2 to 14 mycotoxins per sample. In 86.6% of the samples, DON was present; 99.5% contained fusaric acid; and 94.1% tested positive for emerging mycotoxins, including beauvericin, moniliformin, enniatins, phomopsin and alternariol. These emerging mycotoxins will add to the risks potentially affecting rumen function, gut health and immune response. A point of interest is that ZEN was found in 48.9% of the samples and has become increasingly prevalent over the past two years.

 “These levels of mycotoxins found in the 2019 crop are significantly higher than average values,” said Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management team. “Livestock producers across the U.S. should test their corn to identify the levels of individual mycotoxins and the subsequent risk present to livestock health and performance.”

 Mycotoxins are seldom found in isolation, and when multiple mycotoxins are consumed, they may have additive — or even synergistic — interactions that increase the overall risk to performance and health. As a result, an animal may have a stronger response than what would be expected if it was only experiencing a single mycotoxin challenge.

 Alltech will host a United States Corn Silage Report webinar with Dr. Max Hawkins on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. EST. Registration details are available on <www.Altech.com>


Iowa Ag Gag Law Placed on Hold


The newly enacted and revised Iowa law preventing dissemination of videos arising from illegal intrusion has been set aside following a request for a preliminary injunction by the American Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.  Judge James Gritzner of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Iowa noted in his ruling that, “The deprivation of First Amendment rights is a serious harm and plaintiffs have shown that their planned undercover investigations will not proceed due to the risk of prosecution.”  The ruling added, “By contrast defendants have not made any persuasive record regarding the interest that statue is set to serve.”


A previous Ag Gag law passed in 2012 was ruled unconstitutional.  The present legislation at issue is intended to prevent deception to gain access to a private facility with the intent to cause physical or economic harm.  This wording is included in the legislation enacted by a number of states with large agricultural operations.  Recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit known for liberal interpretation of legislation confirmed that using misrepresentation to obtain employment with the goal of causing injury or to acquire records was acceptable with regard to the Constitution.


Monitoring Formaldehyde Levels Essential to Safe Operation


Formaldehyde is widely used in Europe to decontaminate hatcheries, hatching eggs and buildings as it is effective against a wide range of aerobic pathogens and fungi.  Because formaldehyde can be acutely toxic following excessive exposure and also has long-term detrimental health effects, it is important to monitor levels of formaldehyde in the air of work spaces. 


ENMET LLC is the U.S. distributor for the Formaldemeter htV™ developed by PPM Technology in the U.K.  The instrument measures formaldehyde, temperature and humidity in real-time and incorporates data-logging for up to a month.


USDA to Organize Trade Missions in 2020


In an attempt to diversify the export base for agriculture products, Ted McKinney Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs has announced seven agribusiness trade missions to take place in 2020.  The destinations will be:


  • North Africa
  • Philippines
  • Spain and Portugal
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Peru
  • United Arab Emirates


In commenting on the program McKinney noted “Trade missions help agribusiness - both large and small – get their foot in the door to new markets, build strong relationships with existing and potential customers and expand their global footprint in sales of U.S. farm and food products.”


The dates of the events and related details can be accessed on www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-missions


Tariffs on Products Exported to China


USAPEEC has issued an advisory relating to the potential re-opening of poultry exports to China.   Tariffs on chicken are calculated on weight. USPEEC recently provided an official table from which the following values were extracted:



  • Frozen whole chicken: 9 cents/pound + 35 percent retaliatory tariff


  • Bone-in cuts: 4 cents/pound + 35 percent retaliatory tariff


  • Feet: 6 cents/pound + 35 percent retaliatory tariff


  • Turkey: 20 percent ad valorem +35 percent retaliatory tariff


Costco to Commence Selling Beyond Meat Products


Beyond Meat has extended its retail presence in to Costco following Walmart, Target, ShopRite and Publix. 


The company faces competition from Nestle that has launched the Awesome Burger and the Kellogg Incogmeato brand.


Shane Commentary

Decontamination of ASF Virus


Scientists at the USDA Plum Island Animal Disease Center will evaluate the effectiveness of common disinfectants and procedures to decontaminate surfaces present in hog barns against African swine fever virus. Research will be funded in part by the National Pork Board and the USDA through a cooperative research and development agreement.

Given that the most likely route of introduction of ASFv into the U.S. will be through importation of contaminated pork, it is considered essential to interdict consignments at seaports and to identify and destroy pork products in the luggage of air travelers. It is noted that within the past few months, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have confiscated pork from the luggage of travelers originating in China and Vietnam where the disease is endemic. In a number of instances, confiscated pork has yielded ASF virus.

The U.S. cannot rely on declarations by passengers at point of entry. It is essential that the Beagle brigade be rapidly expanded to maintain a presence at all airports. During recent months, this commentator has entered the U.S. through Minneapolis St. Paul and Raleigh-Durham on international flights. Raleigh-Durham has no Beagle surveillance since it is regarded as a “low risk” point of entry. This is completely fallacious. The two daily flights from Europe originate at Heathrow London and Charles de Gaulle Paris. Both hub airports accommodate transiting passengers from all over the world including Asia for onward travel to the U.S.

It will be infinitely less expensive to intensify protection at airports than to eradicate an outbreak of African swine fever or foot and mouth disease. It is hoped that pork producers and swine veterinarians can generate sufficient concern among their Congressional representatives to divert funds to strengthening the first line of defense against introduction of two significant viral pathogens of livestock.


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