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Agriculture Hopes For A Win As U.S. And China Prepare To Sign Phase One Trade Deal

The first phase of a new trade agreement between the United States and China is scheduled for a White House signing ceremony Wednesday and many in the agriculture community are hoping the deal will bring some relief to the farm economy.

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Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

A much-anticipated update to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement is one step closer to implementation.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voted 25-3 to approve the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. Two Republicans and one Democrat cast the "no" votes.

Amy mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

People are eating a lot of meat, both in the U.S. and around the world, and that could be good news for the cattle sector in 2020. Things are looking up for pork, too.

Lee Schulz, a livestock economist at Iowa State University, says there’s typically a 9 to 14 year cycle for beef production. At the current point in that cycle, heading into year six, he says the number of cattle should be leveling-off, which would mean farmers and ranchers would get lower prices for their beef.

Food Pantries Strain To Serve More People

Dec 24, 2019
courtesy of DMARC

Food pantry use is up in many Midwest communities, despite a reasonably strong economy and low unemployment rate. There can be several reasons for the increased need for free food.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The Trump administration confirmed this week negotiations for the first phase of a US-China trade agreement are finished. President Trump also elected not to enact additional tariffs planned for December 15th.

 

Brad Lubben, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was happy to see a trade ceasefire between the two countries. But he said the hardest work likely lies ahead for negotiators who may not see eye-to-eye on how to de-escalate tariffs.

 

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On a side street near the Des Moines Water Works, a tall fence surrounds three garden plots. Geese fly overhead while trucks drive past a sign between the road and the fence. It says: “Industrial Development Land For Sale, Contact City of Des Moines.”

Until recently, the city rented the land for growing vegetables but now it’s been rezoned and put up for sale.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

Congress has reached a deal to keep the federal government open, pending a final vote in the Senate that’s expected this week. The spending bill also addresses many additional provisions, including the extension of some tax credits that had lapsed.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, worked late into the night Monday to Tuesday finalizing a deal on the so-called tax extenders.

A possible solution for one form of water pollution is moving out of the lab and into the field in Nebraska, in a development that could revive some unused wells and save some towns a lot of money.

Becca Costello / Harvest Public Media

The holiday season is officially upon us, and so are its classic dishes. For some home cooks who are vegan or vegetarian, Thanksgiving can be a time to flex their culinary creativity, and make the well-loved new.

The sky is dark and cloudy, but inside Rutabaga’s Comfort Food in downtown Lincoln, the light is warm, and it smells like Thanksgiving.

Sara Brown and her kitchen team are bracing for the lunch rush. Though the restaurant opened just two months ago, the dining room already tends to be busy by noon.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

The comment period on an Environmental Protection Agency rule regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) ends this month, but farm state lawmakers and biofuels advocates continue to argue the rule isn’t adequate.

And they are pushing for a deal they say the president promised them.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

During 2019, the curveballs thrown at farmers began with the partial government shutdown in January, when some U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies were closed. Spring brought a storm system—called a bomb cyclone—that dumped rain on top of frozen fields unable to make use of it, kicking off weeks of flooding exacerbated by additional precipitation. Planting ran later than usual and some farmers never got a cash crop into certain saturated fields.

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