Italy, the world's biggest pasta consumer, can't abandon the North American wheat used to make spaghetti and macaroni after smaller plantings and foul weather curbed output in the European Union. Exports of durum wheat by the U.S. and Canada are booming, foiling efforts by Italy to protect its farmers by adopting country-of-origin labeling rules in 2017, effectively damping imports. EU production of the wheat variety for the season that began in July fell 10% to 7.78 million tons, European Commission data show, triggering demand for North American supplies.
President Donald Trump's $28 billion farm bailout may be paying many growers more than the trade war with China has cost them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's calculations overshot the impact of the trade conflict on American soybean prices, according to six academic studies, a conclusion that is likely to add to criticism that the bailout has generated distortions and inequalities in the farm economy.
Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep French fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada. Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.
Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, as are temperatures and water shortages. Humanity must adapt crops to the changing climate by breeding hardier plants, but political and commercial interests continue to stymie those efforts. Sharing seeds is critical to the global food system. To develop new varieties of crops that can thrive in a warmer, wetter or drier world, researchers must screen a wide range of plant materials to find key traits, like drought- and pest-tolerance.
Heavy snow in parts of the northern U.S. could prevent some farmers from harvesting the rest of their corn and soybeans until 2020 in the latest weather-related blow to growers. Flooding from torrential rains delayed spring seeding and prompted record amounts of acres to go unplanted. As of Sunday, the U.S. corn harvest was just 84% completed, the slowest rate in a decade. If crops are abandoned in fields until the spring, that's likely to further tighten supplies at a time when cash prices are already on the rise.
Pressure is mounting on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action to end a railway strike that's curtailing shipments of one the world's biggest exporters of raw materials. More than 3,200 conductors and yard operators walked off the job at Canadian National Railway Co. on Tuesday, disrupting cargo in a country that relies heavily on two main rail companies to transport oil, grain and consumer goods from its inland Prairies for export to the U.S. and the world.
The Trump administration's trade war is ravaging exports to China across the U.S. and well beyond the farm belt, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. More than 30 states stretching from Florida to Alaska suffered double-digit drops in merchandise exports to China through September of this year. Sales to the Asian nation fell 39% in Texas, where oil and gas products comprise the largest export to that country.
The price that President Donald Trump may have to pay to convince Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to come to the U.S. to sign a partial trade deal is becoming clear with Beijing stepping up its demands for relief from existing tariffs on about $360 billion in Chinese imports. The big question: Is he willing to pay it?
Struggling dairy farmers are finally getting some relief after a wave of closures that hit particularly hard in the presidential election battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Even as Americans drink less milk, prices on commodity markets have surged to five-year highs, providing some help to those still operating.
The U.S. and China signaled further progress on Monday, Nov. 4, toward a breakthrough in trade talks that could culminate in a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month. China had hoped that if Xi traveled to the U.S. to sign a phase one trade deal it would be as part of a state visit, but is open to having him go even if it isn't, people familiar with the matter said. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday met a U.S. delegation that included National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a regional summit in Bangkok.