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Trade policy, government payments and shuffle in leadership on House Ag Committee among news of the week.

Janet Kubat Willette, E-Content Editor

December 4, 2020

3 Min Read

Need a quick look at the ag news of the week? Here's what you may have missed.

1. How will President-elect Biden shift U.S. trade policy? Biden has offered few specifics, but he has pledged to focus on fence-mending with allies and trading partners to address mutual problems and concerns. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the Trump trade imprint will last for a long time. – Roll Cal

2. Direct government payments to farmers and ranchers are forecast to increase 107% from 2019 to 2020, according to the latest data from USDA's Economic Research Service. All payments in 2020 are forecast at $32.6 billion, with $11 billion coming from the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and $13.3 billion coming through the second CFAP. Also included are $5.9 billion in PPP loans, which will be forgiven in requirements are met, and other payments at $2.4 billion. – Wallaces Farmer

3. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pennsylvania, will take over as the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress. Thompson was first elected to Congress in 2008 and is the most senior member on the panel. Rep. David Scott, D-Georgia, will be the committee chairman. He was first elected to the House in 2002. – Roll Call

4. A fourth round of talks between the Indian government and 40 farmers' unions failed to make headway. Talks continue. Tens of thousands of growers are protesting on the outskirts of capital Delhi against laws seeking to rid the sector of antiquated procurement procedures and allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers. Farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the law changes could leave them at the mercy of private buyers. - Reuters

5. Researchers from Cornell University, Oregon State University and the North-West University–Potchefstroom in South Africa will team up on a four-year Dimensions of Biodiversity grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how bacteria live inside the cells of fungi.  The research is expected to have applications for industry, sustainable agriculture and preventing food waste. – Cornell Chronicle/Cornell University

6. As more premium-paying buyers emerge, Devin Lammers the CEO of Gradable, expects more farmers to try sustainable production. Gradable is a farming group associated with Farmers Business Network. Some farmers are making money from selling carbon credits. Companies, like PepsiCo, are paying farmers $10 an acre to plant cover crops. – Christian Science Monitor

7. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell 16 points from a month earlier in November to a reading of 167. On the other hand, farmers perception of current conditions on their farms actually improved and farmers remained relatively optimistic about making large investments in their operations. – Farm Futures

And your bonus.

What are the top 21 wishes for pork producers for 2021? An ASF-free U.S. swine herd, a COVID-relief package that includes compensation for euthanized and donated hogs and mandatory labeling for cell-cultured and plant-based meat are among the items on the list. – National Hog Farmer

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