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7 ag stories you might have missed this week - Dec. 18, 2020

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Phase one deal reaches one-year milestone, monarch butterfly not added to endangered species list and Indian farmers continue to protest.

Missed some agricultural news this week? Here's seven stories to catch you up.

1. As the U.S.-China Phase One deal reaches its one-year anniversary it’s time to ask: will China meet its U.S. farm goods import commitments? The latest Census data for 2020, through October, shows that China purchased nearly $19 billion of U.S. agricultural goods. That was nearly 5% higher than the same period during the 2017 baseline. – Farm Futures

2. Indian farmers have been protesting for a month over reforms they say threaten their livelihood. Many widows of farmers who are believed to have killed themselves because of debt have joined the protests. Small farmers fear the changes will mean the end of guaranteed minimum prices for their crops and leave them at the mercy of big companies. The laws loosen the rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce.  – Thomson Reuters Foundation

3. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind intentional genomic alteration (IGA) in a line of domestic pigs, referred to as GalSafe pigs, which may be used for food or human therapeutics. This is the first IGA in an animal that the FDA has approved for both human food consumption and as a source for potential therapeutic uses. – Farm Futures

4. NASA and USDA signed a memorandum of understanding to bring together NASA's experience with technology development and space-borne earth science measurements and USDA's knowledge of agricultural production, conservation and food safety. – NASA

5. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened and endangered species is warranted but precluded by work on higher-priority listing actions. – Farm Futures

6. Former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is joining Monarch Tractor, a Silicon Valley startup aiming to be the Tesla of the agricultural world. The Monarch Tractor is all-electric and driver-optional. – Bloomberg

7. Some of the world's largest food companies and grocers urged commodity suppliers to stop trading soybeans associated with the deforestation in the Cerrado region of Brazil, a hive of biodiversity and one of the country's most important carbon sinks. About 60% of the Brazil's soybeans are grown in the Cerrado region, which has become a focal point of climate-change activism. – Farm Futures

And your bonus

Born in a barn? Scroll through 11 "barndominums" up for sale in the United States. They are technically industrial buildings converted into living space. – realtor.com

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