Tag Archives: FoodIssues

Trump’s $12 billion “gold crutches” to deal with trade retaliation against US agriculture

Politico quotes Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin):

This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits…I’m very exasperated. This is serious.

It also quotes Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) observing that the bailout does nothing to preserve market access lost as a result of the tariff policies.

Some in the ag community, they say, ‘That’s great, thank you for the help’ — except that the problem then becomes we’ve lost the market, so how do we get the market back?…That’s the question.

President Trump says he will fix the retaliation damage his trade policy has caused for agriculture with $12 billion added to USDA programs.

The New York Times quote of the day:  “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House’s “plan” is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches.”  –Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska

The USDA explains that

These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets. This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy.

Politico (behind paywall) quotes USDA Secretary Perdue: “”The programs we are announcing today are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in.”  It explains that the 3-part plan will:

  1. Provide direct payments to growers and producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, pork and dairy.
  2. Purchase fruit, nuts, rice, beef, pork and dairy products from U.S. producers for redistribution to federal nutrition assistance programs.
  3. Put resources toward finding new markets for U.S. farmers to sell their products abroad.

Not everyone loves this idea.  Politico quotes Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin):

This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits…I’m very exasperated. This is serious.

It also quotes Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) observing that the bailout does nothing to preserve market access lost as a result of the tariff policies.

Some in the ag community, they say, ‘That’s great, thank you for the help’ — except that the problem then becomes we’ve lost the market, so how do we get the market back?…That’s the question.

In general, agricultural groups view this as an inadequate short-term fix for a problem that won’t go away until Trump ends the trade war.

Former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman tweeted a link to a longer statement:

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is introducing legislation to ensure a fairer distribution of the bailouts.  How about some trade relief for fishermen?

In the meantime, The Street reports the effect of this plan on the market: Soybean futures for November delivery settled more than 1% higher; Deere & Co. and other farm equipment stocks also went up.  CBS News also notes the rise in ag stock prices.

Analysts generally view this as a move to maintain Trump’s base of support among soy and corn producers in the lead up to the midterm elections.  It solves a short-term political problem, but does nothing to protect US agricultural markets.  See, for example, accounts from

International Harvest, Inc. Recalls Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut Because of Possible Health Risk

International Harvest, Inc of Mount Vernon, NY is recalling 14,620 lbs. of bulk and 24,270 bags of Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Ben & Jerry’s Maker Ditches London HQ For Sole Dutch Base

News
Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods multinational whose vast stable of brands includes Dove, Knorr and Ben & Jerry’s, has opted to have its sole headquarters in the Netherlands rather than Britain, ending a dual structure that goes back nearly 90 years.
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Contributed Author: 
MIKE CORDER and PAN PYLAS, Associated Press
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Snyder’s Lance Announces Voluntary Recall of a Limited Amount of 6.5 oz Emerald® Glazed Walnuts Due to Potential Presence of Undeclared Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews and Pecans

WTF Friday news Emerald® Nuts is initiating a voluntary recall for a limited amount of its 6.5oz Glazed Walnuts product, distributed nationwide, due to the potential presence of undeclared peanuts, almonds, cashews and pecans in the product. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product

Meijer Voluntarily Recalls Select Meijer Brand Fresh Packaged Products Containing Apples Due to Potential Health Risk

As a result of the Fresh-Pak Inc. recall, Meijer is announcing a voluntary recall of select Meijer brand packaged products due to sliced apples within the products being potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. To date, there have been no known illnesses reported in connection with this recall.

World’s Top Banana Could Go Extinct

This illustrates the chief problem of industrialized agriculture – it can be trashed by fungus, virus or bacteria developed by nature to rebalance the natural system in reaction to over-population of a single species.

Videos
The most common variety of banana, the seedless Cavendish, is under threat from a fungus known as Fusarium wilt. Research projects are under way around the globe to find a replacement.
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Contributed Author: 
Wall Street Journal