Volume 17, Issue 10
March 12, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Capitol Hill, USDA and Covid-19 Means Not Business As Usual
  • Coronavirus + Planting New Rice Crop = ???
Capitol Hill, USDA and Covid-19 Means Not Business As Usual
As with most regions, Washington is in the throes of Coronavirus reaction. Both House and Senate are scheduled to be in recess next week which will allow time to further assess the situation. Congressional offices are independently implementing their responses (based on advice from appropriate health officials) ranging from office telework, canceling face-to-face meetings and arranging telephone meetings, to “business-somewhat-as-usual” with heightened hygiene practices.  Today March 12, effective at 5 p.m., the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms have ordered limited access to the Capitol Complex. The limited access is anticipated to remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. April 1, 2020.

Last week the President signed the coronavirus funding bill providing $8.3 billion toward treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19. In comparison, Congress put $5.4 billion toward the Ebola response in 2014 and nearly $7 billion for H1N1 in 2009. Of course, each epidemic is unique and requires a tailored response. Today March 12, the House is expected to consider another multi-billion dollar supplemental bill HR 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The bill provides funding for various assistance programs to support the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and assist workers facing economic hardship as a result of the virus. The Senate and White House have not yet announced their position on the proposal.

How has this affected Agriculture? In many ways, including agencies and groups changing meeting plans due to the outbreak. For instance, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission postponed their ag commodity futures conference, which was planned for April 1-2 in Overland Park, Kansas and is relocating back to D.C. their open meeting planned for Kansas City on March 31. Commodity groups, such as the American Soybean Association is canceling next week’s in-person board meetings and Hill visits in D.C. and the National Corn Growers Association is holding a scheduled board meeting next week via video conference. Commodity markets across the globe are also impacted by the spread of coronavirus and the ramifications it may have on the world economy. Reports indicate that volatility in outside markets is spilling over into commodities pushing ag markets lower. Meanwhile in the US, the CME Group announced it will close the Chicago trading floor after trade tomorrow to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus. Thankfully in most markets, electronic trade already dominates, so this will have little impact on commodities trading. As another indication of the widespread effects of this virus, ocean freight charges have increased as much as $3000 per container to some markets, including Asian destinations. Exporters expect disruptions to last for a while.
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart
This is how we help slow the spread of coronavirus
By Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott
Mar 10, 2020 9:50 am EDT
The main uncertainty in the coronavirus outbreak in the United States now is how big it will get, and how fast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nancy Messonnier  told  reporters on March 9, “many people in the US will at some point, either this year or next, get exposed to this virus.”
Like you, the US Rice Producers Association has been closely monitoring the daily developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) with regards to the Rice Market & Technology Convention, May 19-21 in Panama.

We are in frequent contact with the federal government of Panama, the U.S. Embassy in Panama and the U.S. Department of State. These developments change almost on a daily basis. We will continue to assess the situation and make a decision in early April regarding postponement and re-scheduling. 

We sincerely appreciate your support of this conference over the years. Any comment or concern you may have please email info@usriceproducers.com.
Coronavirus + Planting New Rice Crop = ???
Another week has passed in the rice market and while the news cycle is dominated by the coronavirus, rice has seen subtle movements in both new and old crop markets. Export sales for the week were up modestly over the previous report. Recall that this number is lagged by a week and any trade impacts following the presidential announcement this week will not be reflected until the next report. It is probable with all of the news, that exports will be impacted and as such it is worth paying extra attention to in the coming weeks. Exchange rates are also being significantly impacted which limits the buying power of overseas purchasers. These currency disparities will also play havoc in the export market in the months and weeks to come. 

Vessel loadings were up as compared to last week’s report as well. For similar reasons as sales, this number should be muted over the next report or few and is also worth watching to keep the pulse of the international trade. 

Benchmark Asian pricing has continued to appreciate on fundamental factors. The Thai drought has made its market and will remain an influence in prices of the near future. The other origins are buoyed both by the weather patterns as well as the reaction to the viral pandemic and appear to remain firmly bullish at this time. 

Domestically, very little has changed for old crop as there is virtually nothing left to trade. New crop continues to be planted across the South and growers remain very anxious as to what the new crop pricing holds in store. It is widely expected that there will be a large amount of acres planted in 2020 and with the uncertainty in the international marketplace, it is difficult for producers to make long term financial decisions in periods of such uncertainty. 

The futures market has and will continue to ride the financial roller coaster. At least the rice futures contracts are tentatively holding on to the underlying fundamentals at this time. Old crop contracts posted all of the gains for the week while new crop contracts noted the losses. Overall, the gains/losses for the week ranged from -0.8% to 0.91% across the open contracts on the board. This trading occurred on significantly higher average daily volume but lower open interest at Thursday’s close. 

The monthly WASDE was released by USDA this week. It noted no changes to the rice balance sheet from the February installment. The April report should be able to incorporate the March 31 planting intentions which will give the industry the first “official” peek into the 2020 projections. There should be notable adjustments at that time.  
Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Address to the Nation Regarding COVID-19
(Washington, D.C., March 12, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued this statement following President Donald J. Trump’s address to the nation regarding COVID-19:
“President Trump has made the safety, security, and health of the American people his top priority. The whole of government approach and the unprecedented, preemptive actions the President has taken continues to keep the risk of Coronavirus to most Americans low,” said Secretary Perdue. “This is a time we all need to remain ever vigilant, pull together, put any kind of partisanship aside, and do what we need to do for the American people. At USDA, we are working to ensure children who are affected by school closures continue to get fed. We intend to use all available program flexibilities and contingencies to serve those affected by the outbreak.”
Upcoming Events
March 15, 2020
Deadline to Enroll in ARC or PLC for 2019 & 2020 at the country FSA office

May 19-21, 2020
 Rice Market & Technology Convention, Panama

June 30, 2020
Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
David R. Wintermann Rice Research Station, FM 202 just north of Eagle Lake, Texas. Field tour in late afternoon, then move to the Eagle Lake Community Center for dinner and a business meeting. More details to come.

July 1, 2020
H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Annual Field Day
Crowley, Louisiana. Tours early in the morning, followed by presentations inside. Check back later for more information.

July 9, 2020
73rd Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1509 Aggie Drive in Beaumont, Texas. More details to come.
China’s overall feed demand and consumption are down though not as a dramatically as expected with the reduction in the swine herd due to African Swine Fever. Losses have been offset by increased feed demand for other animal proteins, namely poultry, eggs, and aquaculture, all of which are expanding production.
On Wednesday, 3/4/2020 the Government of Argentina announced adjustments to its export tax regime. Key modifications to existing rates included an increase from 30 percent to 33 percent for soybeans and soybean products. Wheat, corn, and sorghum export taxes remain at 12 percent.
Mexico: Maritime Ports of Veracruz and Lazaro Cardenas The following document reports on the maritime ports of entry (MPE) of Veracruz and Lazaro Cardenas, through which ag products transported by vessel arrive to Mexico. In 2019, the US exported approximately USD 2.3 billion ag and food products by vessel. 

Monday, March 16 Is the Last Day to Schedule an Appointment with Your FSA Office For Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Enrollment

Call Today Regarding 2019 Crop Year Eligibility

Grain: World Markets and Trade
Global rice production is raised this month primarily on a larger crop in India. Global trade is down, with lower imports forecast for several African countries including Nigeria. Exports are revised lower for India, despite its larger crop.  
World Agricultural Production
Monthly report on crop acreage, yield and production in major countries worldwide. Sources 

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