John R. Block Reports from Washington July 23, 2021 “Issues”
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And now for today’s commentary –
Gary Baise, an attorney with OFW, brought this to my attention. I am shocked. The U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that gives California the right to deny the sale of pork, veal, and other farm products in California unless producers comply with that state’s confinement standards. California should not be able to adopt trade barriers designed to dictate to farms in other states. Now farmers in the Midwest and other states will have to spend millions on new livestock facilities or go out of business. I thought we had free trade between states.
Next subject: We haven’t escaped the COVID-19 virus yet. In the U.S., every state reports an increase in new cases. Trader anxiety is one reason the stock market took a dive on Monday. Crude oil prices slid 7.5%. We are starting to worry about the U.S. economic recovery and the rest of the world as well. There isn’t much confidence since our relationship with China just hit another rough patch. This Monday, the U.S., Europe, and other world powers have “accused the Chinese government of a broad array of cyber-attacks.” Microsoft was just one of a large number of other companies that were targeted. A White House statement read, “China’s pattern of irresponsible behavior in cyberspace is inconsistent with its stated objective of being seen as a responsible leader in the world.” I’m starting to think that with all the technology that the world has today there is no security for any one or any company. Spyware hacks are everywhere.
On the farm front – prices of most commodities are holding up in spite of the uncertainty. Some of our toughest competitors have suffered severe weather problems. The soybean crop in Brazil was pretty good, but the drought has seriously cut their corn yield. Dry weather in Canada, here in the U.S. on the West Coast, and in some northern states is taking a toll. Also, on the farm front – Did you know that China has been buying up U.S. farmland? They have 192,000 acres. That’s not very much since we have 900 million acres. But some government officials want to keep an eye on their ownership. It could become a national security issue. Also, China owns our biggest pork processing company, Smithfield.
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