FARE Blog

Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics

The Impacts of China Trade Tariff on Georgia Row Crops

By Yangxuan LiuAdam N. Rabinowitz, and Don Shurley

China announced plans to implement a 25 percent increase in import tariffs on major agricultural commodities from the United States, which includes soybeans, corn and corn products, wheat, sorghum, cotton, and tobacco and tobacco products. The overall United States export value for these agricultural commodities to China are worth around 44.7 billion dollars (USDA FAS, 2018a).

United States agriculture relies on the export markets to absorb its excess supply in order to support domestic agricultural prices. The United States is the largest exporting country for corn, cotton, and sorghum, and the second largest exporting country for soybean and wheat (USDA FAS, 2018b). China is the largest trading partner for United States sorghum and soybean, and the second largest trading partner for cotton (USDA FAS, 2018a). In 2017, China bought 81.4% of the United States sorghum exports, 57.3% of the United States soybean exports, 16.7% of the United States cotton exports, 5.7% of the United States wheat export, and 1.6% of the United States corn export (Table 1).

The Chinese tariffs, if implemented, will increase the United States agricultural prices faced by the Chinese consumers relative to other countries. Thus, it will reduce demand for United States agricultural commodities by Chinese consumers. As a result, the United States needs to find alternative foreign markets to export its excess supply in order to sustain current prices. China is the largest importing country for sorghum and soybean (USDA FAS, 2018b). Developing alternative markets for these commodities might be difficult. Although much of the soybeans going to the European Union typically come from Brazil, the European Union (import 14.8% of soybean traded globally) can serve as an alternative market for United States soybeans. Globally, it is a very competitive supply market for soybeans. China could diversify its suppliers in the long run and purchase more soybeans from Brazil (export 39.8% of soybean traded globally) and Argentina (export 17.0% of soybean traded globally) (USDA FAS, 2018b). In the short run, there will not be enough capacity for these countries to increase their production acres. China will still need to buy American soybeans and sorghum to satisfy their domestic consumption.

China is the third largest importing country for cotton, importing 13.1% of cotton traded globally in 2017 (USDA FAS, 2018b). If the Chinese tariffs on U.S. cotton are put into effect, it might provide a near term opportunity for global cotton suppliers like India, Australia, and Brazil to supply more cotton to China. However, the longer term situation could involve more of a re-routing of U.S. exports to other cotton importing countries, like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, than a reduction in U.S. cotton production. Recent history of the change in China’s internal cotton policy has shown that the disruptions of Chinese raw cotton imports stimulates the importing of duty free yarn from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Indian subcontinent (J.R.C. Robinson, personal communication, April 2018; Shurley, 2018).

A study conducted at Purdue University found that the prices of United States soybeans would fall by 2 and 5% under the 10 and 30 percent tariff, respectively (Pack, 2018). Similar effects of price reduction are expected to the other agricultural commodities. The tariff impact on the sorghum price is expected to be larger than the impact on the soybean price, while the impact on the cotton price is expected to be smaller than the impact on the soybean price.

The potential 25 percent increment in tariff for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat could have a negative impact to Georgia’s agricultural industry. Cotton is the largest crop produced in Georgia with more than 1.27 million acres harvested last year, and contributes $794 million to Georgia’s economy (Table 2). Georgia produced 10.6% (2.25 million bales) of the total United States cotton production in 2017, and is the second largest cotton producing state after Texas. It is also the second largest cotton export state after Texas. Last year, Georgia exported $441 million of cotton, of which $26 million of cotton was exported to China (USDA FAS, 2018a). The Chinese tariffs will have a direct impact on the cotton exported from Georgia because tariffs will impact the entire United States cotton market and the prices received by every United States cotton farmer. It will also have an indirect impact through the prices received by Georgia cotton farmers. Even though Georgia does not export corn, sorghum, soybean, and wheat directly to China, the lower price of these commodities due to Chinese tariffs would impact Georgia farmers.

 

References

Pack, D. (Producer). (2018). Study: U.S. soybean production, exports would fall if China imposes tariffs. Purdue University Agriculture News. Retrieved from https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q1/study-u.s.-soybean-production,-exports-would-fall-if-china-imposes-tariffs.html

Shurley, D. (2018). Shurley on Cotton: More Tariff Talk.  Retrieved from http://www.cottongrower.com/market-analysis/shurley-on-cotton-more-tariff-talk/

USDA FAS. (2018a). Global Agricultural Trade System Online Dataset. Retrieved from: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/gats/default.aspx

USDA FAS. (2018b). Production, Supply and Distribution Database.  Retrieved April 25, 2018 https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/app/index.html#/app/advQuery

 

The Impacts of China Tariff on Georgia Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables Industry

by Esendugue Greg Fonsah

In 2016, Georgia’s food and fiber production and related industries represented $73.3 billion in output and contributed to more than 383,600 jobs (Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, 2017). Georgia agriculture produces many of the items targeted by Chinese tariffs including nuts, fruits, soybean, corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, pork, beef, and tobacco. The Chinese retaliatory trade tariff on United States origin products would have a negative impact on Georgia’s agriculture and economy. However, the magnitude of the impact of these new tariffs on Georgia’s agricultural industry is unclear. Some industries, like the pecan industry, will be impacted more than others.

China implemented a fifteen percent increase in import tariffs on United States origin fruit and nuts. In the past few years, Georgia pecans, one of many nuts grown in the state, became a novelty for the Chinese market, especially due to the health benefits of the crop and the fact that prices for walnuts escalated exponentially in 2007 to an unbearable level.  Pecan exports to China increased by 64% in the same time period. The United States produces 80% of the world’s pecan and Georgia remains the number one producer of pecans with a record 50-70% exported to China for almost a decade. The high demand for pecans has also triggered a market distortion from the traditional distribution channel (grower-processor-consumer), to direct marketing and sales. Chinese buyers are willing to pay a proportion of pecan crops up front and pay the rest at or after delivery. This Chinese business model has provided a cushion and an additional safety buffer to United States pecan growers. An additional 15 percent tariff on nuts and fruits will be a major impact especially to the Georgia Pecan Industry and will definitely reduce the quantity exported to China. That would in turn increase domestic quantities. With the large pecan production and acreage expansion going on, the domestic market might be flooded and eventually dampen prices, if the 15 percent tariff on nuts and fruits is implemented and the trade dispute is not resolved. Note that although the overall U.S. agricultural trade have continuously enjoyed positive balances, the U.S. horticulture trade balances (fruits, vegetable and the green industry) have been negative for the past decade. In 2014, the U.S. imported $40.5 billion and exported $22.5 billion with a negative horticultural trade deficit of $18 billion (Fonsah, 2016; 2017).

On the brighter side, the trade disputes between the United States and China might help hasten the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to come up with amicable solutions to the parties involved. Presently, the Georgia Fruits and Vegetable Industry (excluding Pecans) may not suffer any negative impact of the Chinese tariffs, because most of our fruits and vegetables are shipped domestically or between the NAFTA countries, such as Canada and Mexico.

 

References

Fonsah, E. G. (2017).  “Vegetable” In: 2017 Georgia Ag-Forecast. Farm to Port: Maximizing the global impact of Georgia agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, pg. 17.  www.GeorgiaAgForecast.com

Fonsah, E. G. (2016).  “Vegetable” In: 2016 Georgia Ag-Forecast. Farm to Port: Maximizing the global impact of Georgia agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, pg. 26-27.  www.GeorgiaAgForecast.com

Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. (2017). 2018 Ag Snapshots. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia.

What is going on between the United States and China Trade Tariff Negotiation?

By Yangxuan Liu, Adam N. Rabinowitz, Esendugue Greg Fonsah, and Levi Russell

This is a series of posts related to the ongoing trade negotiation between the United States and China and its impact on Georgia agriculture. This post briefly discusses what happened recently in trade policy between the United States and China.

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed an order to impose non-country specific tariffs with 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum. By the end of March 2018, several countries, with the exception of China, have successfully been granted exemption from the tariff (Shurley, 2018). In response to the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S., China suspended tariff reduction obligations on 128 products of United States origin on April 2, 2018, effective immediately. Eighty four products on the list were food and agricultural products (Inouye, 2018). Roughly $2 billion of United States food and agricultural exports to China will be impacted by theses tariffs (Inouye, 2018). There is an additional 25 percent tariff on pork and pork products, and an additional 15 percent tariff on fruit and nut products, wine, ginseng, denatured ethanol (Inouye, 2018). It is important to note that peanuts are not included in the nut products.

On April 3, 2018, the United States formally proposed $50 billion worth of 25 percent tariffs on 1,333 Chinese products. On April 4, 2018, China responded with a list of an additional 25 percent tariff on 106 United States origin products, which are worth $50 billion. Thirty-three products on this list are food and agricultural products, which are worth approximately $16.5 billion (USDA FAS, 2018). These products include soybean, corn and corn products, wheat, sorghum, cotton, beef and beef products, cranberries, orange juice, and tobacco and tobacco products (USDA FAS, 2018). The announcement made on April 4, 2018, by China did not  indicate a specific date of implementation (USDA FAS, 2018). It stated that the date of the Chinese tariff will be announced later, depending on when the United States tariff actions will take effect (USDA FAS, 2018). Meanwhile, the United States allows 60 days for public feedback on the proposed tariffs of 1,333 Chinese products. The fact that these trade tariffs are not carried out immediately indicates there may be room for negotiation.

Exports are an important component of United States agriculture. During fiscal year 2017, the United States exported a total of $140.5 billion worth of agricultural products resulting in a $21.3 billion trade surplus (USDA Press, 2017). Exports are responsible for 20 percent of United States farm income that supports more than one million American jobs; both on and off the farm (USDA Press, 2017). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) (Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS), 2017), China is the second largest agricultural trading partner with the United States. Last year, around $22 billion of United States agricultural products were exported to China, while the United States only imported $4.5 billion of  agricultural products from China. This resulted in a $17.5 billion United States agricultural trade surplus with China. Soybeans, coarse grains (excluding corn), hides and skins, pork, and cotton are the top five United States agricultural products exported to China (USDA FAS, 2017).

The recent trade tariffs implemented between the United States and China would have a defined impact on overall agricultural trade. According to economic trade theory, there would be no winners for either the United States or Chinese economies. In particular, where United States agriculture runs a significant surplus in trade, there are limited (if any) opportunities to increase the sale of exported goods within the domestic market. If the Chinese tariffs on the major agricultural products stay in place, then we anticipate fewer United States exports which will lead to higher ending stocks, especially for soybeans, pecans, and sorghum. Lower domestic prices for these products will be anticipated in the United States. The loss of a price advantage of United States agricultural products will make global suppliers like the European Union and South America more attractive to Chinese buyers. It also encourages these suppliers to add more acres to meet the demand of Chinese buyers, creating increased supply in the world market and a further reduction in the price that United States farmers can receive for their crop.

United States agriculture has been struggling in recent years due to low prices. According to the USDA ERS (2018), net farm income in 2018 is expected to fall to the lowest level in nominal terms since 2006. This leads to greater risk and vulnerability of the agriculture sector to further price reduction. The uncertainty in trade policy between China and the United States creates concerns among the agricultural community about lengthening the period of stagnant farm incomes.

Meanwhile, President Trump has instructed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to implement a plan and assistance to protect United States farmers and ranchers. The United States Department of Agriculture is working on emergency aid programs under the Commodity Credit Corporation to help compensate farmers and ranchers for expected losses due to new Chinese tariffs. In order for the USDA to make payments to farmers, the actual losses need to be evaluated to calculate the amount of assistance. There is still much more information and analysis that is necessary before we can begin to understand what a compensatory program may look like.

References

Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS). (2017). Top 15 U.S. agricultural export destinations, by fiscal year, U.S. value. Retrieved from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/foreign-agricultural-trade-of-the-united-states-fatus/fiscal-year/

Inouye, A. (2018). China imposes additional tariffs on selected U.S.-origin products. Beijing, China Retrieved from https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/China%20Imposes%20Additional%20Tariffs%20on%20Selected%20U.S.-Origin%20Products_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_4-2-2018.pdf.

Shurley, D. (2018). Shurley on Cotton: More Tariff Talk.  Retrieved from http://www.cottongrower.com/market-analysis/shurley-on-cotton-more-tariff-talk/

USDA ERS. (2018). Highlights from the February 2018 farm income forecast. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/farm-sector-income-finances/highlights-from-the-farm-income-forecast/.

USDA FAS. (2017). Infographic: U.S. Agricultural Exports to China, 2016. In. Washington, D.C.

USDA FAS. (2018). China responds to U.S. section 301 trade action announcement. Beijing, China Retrieved from https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/China%20Responds%20to%20U.S.%20Section%20301%20Trade%20Action%20Announcement_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_4-4-2018.pdf.

USDA Press. (2017). U.S. farm exports hit third-highest level on record [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.fas.usda.gov/newsroom/us-farm-exports-hit-third-highest-level-record

Publication: Surviving the Farm Economy Downturn

by Levi Russell

A new publication entitled “Surviving the Farm Economy Downturn” is now available online free of charge. The publication provides a general farm economy outlook as well as discussions of topics such as risk reduction, cost control, alternative crops, livestock sales during drought, crop insurance, ARC and PLC payment forecasts, stress and suicide, and other issues. Please follow the link below to check out essays on these and other topics:

https://afpc.tamu.edu/extension/resources/downturn-book/

Information on Livestock Emissions Reporting

A recent court case striking down the agricultural exemption for reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) means that many producers will have to start reporting complicated emissions information in May of this year. Currently, a federal Senate bill is being considered that will make the exemption legal, but congress must act swiftly.

In the event that action by congress fails or is delayed, producers should be aware of the rules and how they will impact their operations. Extension agricultural lawyer Paul Goeringer has a pair of short podcast episodes available that explain the rule. Click below to listen!

Part 1

Part 2

Understanding Your Generic Base Conversion Options With the Seed Cotton Program

by Don Shurley and Adam N. Rabinowitz

We have developed a third publication in a series of fact sheets on the new seed cotton program. Included in this document is a little history of what happened with the 2014 farm bill that led to the development of the seed cotton program.  We provide an example of the decision process and identify things to think about when making the decision.

The PDF can be downloaded here.

MYA Prices and Calculating Payments with the Seed Cotton PLC

by Don Shurley and Adam N. Rabinowitz

This post presents a second fact sheet in a series of publications that briefly explain the basic workings of the new seed cotton program.

Effective with the 2018 crop, “seed cotton” is now a covered commodity under Title I of the 2014 farm bill and eligible for PLC (Price Loss Coverage) payments. For purposes of the legislation, “seed cotton” is unginned upland cotton—a combination of both cotton (lint) and cottonseed.

The linked document discusses:

  • Reference price and payments,
  • Marketing year average prices and how to calculate them,
  • What would have been the past 10 years had the seed cotton program been in place,
  • Payment yields, and
  • A payment calculator

Click on this link to access the factsheet.

 

Changes to the Dairy Margin Protection Program in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

by Levi A. Russell

UPDATE

The big questions left on the table back in February when the Bipartisan Budget Act was passed have been answered. The information below in the original post is still correct, but I wanted to fill in the gaps here.

Re-enrollment for 2018 CAT-level and buy-up coverage began on April 9th 2018 and ends on June 1st 2018. All outstanding balances for 2017 and prior years must be paid in full before a dairy operation can be approved for 2018 coverage.

Coverage elections made for 2018 under the re-enrollment will be effective retroactive to January 1st 2018 for eligible dairy operations.

All dairy operations that want to participate in MPP in 2018 must sign up during the re-enrollment period.

During the 2018 re-enrollment period only, producers in dairy operations with an active policy under LGM-Dairy who have target marketings insured during months in 2018, will be allowed to register for 2018 coverage under MPP-Dairy while still meting the contractual requirements for the LGM-Dairy contract. Producers may participate in either LGM-Dairy or MPP-Dairy, but not both.

Example: A producer purchases LGM-Dairy in November 2017 with target marketings through April 2018. Coverage under LGM-Dairy will conclude at the end of April 2018, and coverage under MPP-Dairy may begin May 2018. Premiums for 2018 will be prorated based on when LGM-Dairy coverage ends and MPP-Dairy coverage begins for 2018.

Dairy economists at DairyMarkets.org have a longer fact sheet with several examples of coverage benefits calculated based on projections done in February 2018.

The MPP decision tool on their site has also been updated with the latest policy information, so you can calculated projected indemnities for 2018.

For more information about the changes and enrollment, contact your local county agent or FSA office.

ORIGINAL POST

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made some significant changes to the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers. These changes apply beginning with the 2018 calendar year and make the program more producer-friendly and substantially decrease premiums for Tier I coverage. The specific changes are as follows:

-Dairy-MPP now operates on a monthly basis. Feed costs, milk prices, the margin, and payments are all calculated or paid monthly. There are no additional changes to any of the formulas to compute these costs, prices, margins, and payments.

-The 2018 election year is extended by at least 90 days after the enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (February 9, 2018)

-Limited resource, beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers are exempt from the administrative fee associated with Dairy-MPP

-The base production history is maintained

-Tier I premiums now apply to the first 5,000,000 pounds of production instead of the previous 4,000,000. Tier II covers production in excess of 5,000,000 pounds

-Premiums for Tier II are unchanged. Premiums for Tier 1 are lowered as follows:

Coverage Level Old Premium New Premium
$4.00 None None
$4.50 $0.010 None
$5.00 $0.025 None
$5.50 $0.040 $0.009
$6.00 $0.055 $0.016
$6.50 $0.090 $0.040
$7.00 $0.217 $0.063
$7.50 $0.300 $0.087
$8.00 $0.475 $0.142

Sources:
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

7 USC Chapter 115, Subchapter III, Part A

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: What Farmers and Landowners Need to Know about Cotton and Generic Base

by Don Shurley and Adam N. Rabinowitz

On the morning of February 9, 2018, the U.S. Congress passed budget legislation that included the designation of seed cotton as a covered commodity under the 2014 farm bill. The President has signed this legislation and it has become law. The document linked below highlights the critical components about the new cotton program and treatment of Generic Base.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

More information, including a decision aid, will be available soon at http://agecon.uga.edu/extension.

Reports: Beef Demand and Cattle Inventory

by Levi A. Russell

A couple of recently-released reports provide some interesting observations about the state of the beef industry and some good news for the long run as well.

Beef Demand

First, a few of my colleagues at Kansas State and Purdue Universities have written an extensive report on many drivers of beef demand. Below I reproduce the Executive Summary, but the rest of the report is also informative:

Several key findings are of elevated importance:

1. Over the past decade, the quantity of beef consumers purchase has become less sensitive tochanges in beef prices yet more sensitive to consumer incomes. This could be a result of record high retail beef prices in recent years that resulted in loyal beef consumers, who are less price sensitive, having the strongest presence in the market. As consumer incomes have grown, more consumers who might have been priced out of the beef market, have allocated some of that income growth to purchase beef again thus increasing beef demand response to growing income.

2. The relative impact of pork and chicken prices on beef demand is economically small relative to other factors. This does not imply individual beef, pork, and chicken products are not substitutes, rather the substitutability in aggregate is just not as strong as traditionally thought.

3. Print media and medical journal coverage of topics around beef changes notably over time in areas of focus and volume of coverage. Certain types of media coverage are found to affect meat demand, and an emerging area of negative impact focuses on climate change. Having an impactful presence in the media is immensely important as it shapes perceptions.

4. Some demographic trends are favorable for beef demand including anticipated growth of Hispanic and African-American populations within the U.S.

Cattle Inventory

On January 31, the 2018 cattle inventory report was published by the USDA. This report compares inventory levels on January 1, 2018 to those of January 1, 2017. This report is a great opportunity to see what is happening on the national scale for cow-calf producers and in the feedlots.

This year’s report tells a familiar story: slow herd expansion. Nationwide, the herd has been expanding since hitting a bottom in 2014. The previous several years saw a decline due in part to serious drought in the western U.S. Expansion in the herd overall was only 1%, significantly slower than the previous few years. This was expected, as we’ve seen slaughter rates for beef heifers and cows pick up significantly in the last couple of years. This year’s report showed a 4% reduction in the number of heifers currently held as beef cow replacements, indicating that during 2018 we will likely see very little to almost no growth in the herd. Finally, the calf crop increased 2% relative to last year and the number of cattle on feed increased 7%. This pre-report commentary provides additional context to the report.

As we continued to see slower herd growth and some bright spots for beef demand, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be able to maintain profitable calf prices and stocker margins through 2018. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at lrussell@uga.edu.

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