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Unites States left out of new trade agreement

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 7:15 AM CST
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - This past Sunday, 15 countries signed a new trade agreement that would account for nearly 30% of world trade. And the United States is not part of the deal. The major players in the agreement are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and 10 other countries in Southeast Asia. The talks leading up to this deal actually started in 2012 but it’s not expected to take effect for quite some time as all 15 countries need to ratify the agreement.

Many Midwestern farmers, especially those in Iowa, wondered if they would have crops to harvest after that huge Derecho weather event swept across a big part of the Corn Belt earlier this summer. And while many acres were lost, the crops in much of the area rebounded. But now farmers have another challenge-where to store those harvested crops. The storm is estimated to have damaged or destroyed over 57 million bushels of licensed grain storage in Iowa. Observers say it will be harvest time 2022 before grain storage is back to normal in Iowa.

December 11th is an important day for farmers. For those enrolled in the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and have still not received all of their expected payments because of questions about their operations, December 11th is the last day to get any money since the USDA will de-fund the program on that day. December 11th is also the final day for dairy farmers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2021. That program put out 7 payments in 2019 and 4 so far this year. Those 11 payments have meant about 107 and a half million dollars in margin coverage payments for Wisconsin dairy farmers. So far, over 13 hundred dairy farmers in the state have signed up for coverage in 2021.

China probably won’t reach the $36.6 billion in purchases of food and other ag products they agreed to in that Phase One Trade deal between China and the U.S.-- but they’ll get close. Agriculture Economists at Iowa State and Ohio State universities say their total buys could reach about $31 billion for the year. The economists point out that since the deal is based on a calendar year, Chinese purchases starting this past February have included $11 billion worth of soybeans, almost $3 billion worth of pork, $1.8 billion of cotton and 1 and a half billion dollars worth of corn. Our best sales year ever to China was in 2012 when sold them $26 billion worth of U.S. farm products.

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