Volume 17, Issue 45
November 12, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Slow but Steady, Rice Market Looking for Direction
  • Tropical Storm Eta Hits Guatemala, Affecting Local Rice Production
  • Nation's Leading Ag Educational Conference is Heading for a Virtual Conference
  • DC Update: 2021 Outlook for Agriculture
  • MU Extension Hosting Virtual Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Meeting - November 23
Slow but Steady, Rice Market Looking for Direction
Cash Market Update:
In the South, the cash market has traded mostly sideways for the past several weeks. There is just enough trading taking place that the market is remaining relatively steady. Ultimately, there will have to be a change in the export picture before the market establishes further direction. As mentioned in previous reports, the robust demand to Brazil has been more than offset by a lag in Mexico and Haiti. Although demand to these destinations is expected to grow, it has yet to really materialize which has certainly been a stagnating factor.

The November certified acre data appears to be included in this month’s WASDE. The report shows decreased acreage that led the USDA to slightly lower their production estimates for the 2020/21 crop, albeit by a negligible amount. The November FSA report cited certified planted long grain acres to be 2.299 million. Roughly 324,000 acres were catalogued in the prevented planting column and another 19,000 acres in the failed column. As known for some time, southern medium grain acres were down significantly against last year with the current data pegging acreage at 179,000, with about 12,000 as failed acres. 

Overall, the total long grain supply was unchanged as the agency added imports to offset the decline in output. While domestic use was left untouched, exports were lowered by 2 million cwts which ultimately left the carry out with an additional 2 million cwts of supply. Despite the stocks increase, the season average farm price was revised upward by $0.20 per cwt to $11.70. 

Turning to US medium & short grain, production edged lower but was also offset by a bump in imports. Since demand for both domestic and export projections held constant this month, so did ending stocks at 12.3 million cwts. The season average farm price for California is still forecast at $18.80 per cwt, while southern medium grain was given an additional $0.20 per cwt ($11.80 per cwt). 

At the global level, 2020/21 is expected to bring higher supplies, lower consumption, minimal change to trade, and increased stocks.

In Asia, Thai prices are expected to come under pressure with main-crop supplies entering the market, however, the market has demonstrated a surprising resilience with prices currently up $20 per ton from a few weeks ago. After undergoing a sharp decline in exports in 2019/20 on low supplies, exports from this origin look poised to bounce back in 2020/21. From Jan-Sep (2020) so far this year, rice exports have reached only 4 million metric tons, which is 32% less year over year. Thailand is projected to export an additional 1.8 million metric tons by year end. Thai rice has been $40-50/metric ton lower than Vietnamese rice, and $135/metric ton higher than Indian rice this year.

In Brazil, despite the abject shortage this year that prompted three paddy vessels from the US, Conab has revised their paddy production estimates slightly, from 10.9 million metric ton to 11 million metric ton. Consumer inflation in Brazil has been increasing since the summer and is exacerbated by food prices that have been bumping as well. While Brazil is no stranger to a volatile currency, the combination of COVID and strong exports to China have forced more consumers to eat staples at home that are now scarce because of a strong export market for those same staples. For example, 5kg of rice in December of 2019 cost a consumer $12.41 R$. The same 5kg of rice in September 2020 now costs $20.35 R$, an increase of 64%. Staples have increased more than other packaged foods, but this highlights the problem that some countries are facing in response to the global pandemic.
Bulk carrier “Revenger” set sail with 30,000 tons of Southwest Louisiana and East Texas rough rice headed to Brazil this week.  The vessel is scheduled to arrive at the destination port on December 1st.  This is the second vessel sold to Brazil by the South Louisiana Rail Facility (SLRF), a member of the US Rice Producers Association, for a total of 60,000 tons. 
Brookshire Dryers Works with Texas Rice Farmers
Brookshire Drying Company, Inc., a member of the US Rice Producers Association, has been an active participant in the rough rice market in Mexico. These railcars are headed south of the border to the largest market for U.S. long grain rice.

Congratulations once again to Pam West, manager of Brookshire Drying (Brookshire, Tx) and her crew. Our rice farmers appreciate your support and we all look forward to your continued success!
Tropical Storm Eta Hits Guatemala, Affecting Local Rice Production
The US Rice Producers Association stands in solidarity with the people of Guatemala and ARROZGUA. Tropical storm Eta has affected over 144,000 people just in the country of Guatemala, with the official death toll at 42 as of Tuesday morning.

Among those affected, the rice producers of Guatemala have been severely impacted by this natural disaster which took its toll during harvest, causing major losses in production. Guatemala produces approximately 715,000 cwt of paddy rice per year in an area of ​​roughly 13,200 acres throughout the country.

“We estimate that the producers with the greatest loss are those in the northern areas of Las Verapaces and Izabal, where we have a good part of our national production, which is already going through difficult times due to political measures. We are in constant communication with the affected rice producers, to whom we express our solidarity and moral support in the face of the damage caused by the tropical storm Eta,” said Sergio García, President of Arrozgua.

“We are shocked to see the pictures of totally flooded land. At just one farm more than 600 acres of rice were lost ready for harvest. We sympathize with them and with all those affected in our country and ask the population will follow the recommendations of the authorities, in these difficult times,” said Roberto Wong, Executive Director of Arrozgua.
Nation's Leading Ag Educational Conference is Heading for a Virtual Conference
The 24th Annual Conservation Systems Cotton & Rice Conference, the Southern Corn & Soybean Conference, the Southern Precision Ag Conference and the Delta States Irrigation Conference are headed for a “Virtual Conference”.

After visiting with the Sponsors and numerous Delta States University personal, the steering committee has made the decision to prepare for and create Virtual Conferences instead of live conferences, which were originally scheduled for January 10-12, 2021 at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Presently the Arkansas Secretary of Health has a restriction on the Embassy Suite Conference Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where they can only operate at 66 percent capacity. University of Arkansas and most other Delta States Universities have a restriction on personal, where they are only able to attend meetings of 50 people or less. This situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

Present plan are to make the Virtual Conferences available to the public free of charge somewhere around the first (1st) of February 2021. The final date will be announced later. There will be approx. 110 speaker presentations, and over 50 CEU’s (all disciplines) will be available for Certified Crop Advisors. 
Sponsored by Cotton Incorporated, US Rice Producers Association, and a production of MidAmerica Farm Publications. Academic Partners are: University of Arkansas, Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, LSU AgCenter, Auburn University and Texas A&M. Technical Partners are USDA-ARS centers in Oxford, MS, Stoneville, MS and Auburn, AL. Ag Media Co-Sponsors Delta Farm Press.
Plans are being made to hold the 25th Annual Conservation Systems Conferences at the Embassy Suites Conference Center, Jonesboro, Arkansas in 2022. 
DC Update: 2021 Outlook for Agriculture
Key Takeaways:
▪ New Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees
▪ Agriculture Committees will begin to consider Farm bill priorities
▪ New Chair for the House Appropriations Committee
▪ New Secretary of Agriculture
After nearly a week of awaiting election results, former Vice President Joe Biden has been declared President-Elect. Democrats will likely retain control of the House, although with a narrowed majority, and the Senate will await a runoff in Georgia that will determine which party will be in control.

Democratic control of the White House will significantly shift the Congressional approach to agriculture, nutrition, and trade policy issues. The Senate Agriculture Committee and the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate will have new leadership and addressing climate change, nutrition programs, and support for small and minority farmers will likely take priority. The election outcome also emboldens nutrition assistance policy changes, including a widely-pushed-for 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits in response to pandemic-related economic needs. President Joe Biden will work closely with the 117th Congress to achieve many of the agriculture policy priorities he outlined during his campaign. In addition to the aforementioned, President Biden’s agriculture priorities include investment in research and development, expanding farmworker protection through changes to the H-2A visa program and providing wage and union protections, and an additional $20 billion investment to expand rural broadband and network deployment. While Biden’s trade priorities are less defined, U.S. relations with China will remain a top priority, including fulfillment of the Phase One trade deal, albeit Biden’s approach and process on confronting China will shift to seek coordination with U.S. allies.

It is difficult to predict potential Biden appointments as the campaign did not release any preliminary short-lists. The transition for USDA is being led by former USDA official, Robert Bonnie. Rumors regarding Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture have centered around former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH). Other potential candidates include former Deputy Secretaries of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and Krysta Hardin, former President of the American National Farmers Union Tom Buis, and Congressman Collin Peterson, after his narrow loss to Republican Michelle Fischbach.

President Biden has also said he plans to direct sweeping changes across federal agencies, which could include appointing a climate and energy czar. While a list of candidates has not been formalized, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Bill Clinton adviser John Podesta are likely among those being considered for the possible position.

As we move into the lame duck session, Congress has several legislative deadlines, including FY 2021 appropriations. The House has passed ten of the twelve appropriations bills, while the Senate has not passed any. The Senate will likely begin the appropriations process immediately upon their return as the Continuing Resolution expires on December 11. Other upcoming legislative items include reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, National Defense Authorization (NDAA), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, and Child Care Entitlements to States (CCES), and health extenders. Additionally, Congress will work to pass another Coronavirus stimulus package. However, there is a likelihood that final action on these legislative to do’s will be delayed until after regime change.
MU Extension Hosting Virtual Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Meeting - November 23
The CCA meeting this year will be a live virtual meeting through Zoom. The live meeting will be held on November 23rd. 

Participants must be registered and participate online at a live event to receive credit. Two sessions will be offered for registration. 

The morning session will cover IPM, Crop, and Nutrient Management. The afternoon session will cover Soil & Water Management. 

The registration links for the 2020 CCA Meeting Morning and Afternoon sessions are available.

The morning and afternoon sessions will provide 4 CEU’s in each for a total of 8 CEU’s.

The morning session will provide 1.5 IPM, 1.5 Nutrient, and 1.0 Crop. 
The afternoon session will provide 4.0 Soil & Water.
The registration fee is $35 per session. 

Regardless if planning to attend one or both sessions, registrants will have to register separately through the provided links:
Upcoming Events
November 17, 2020
Virtual Field Trip: An Introduction to Agricultural Sustainability

November 23, 2020
MU CCA Meetings
IPM, Crop, Nutrient - Morning Session
Soil & Water - Afternoon Session

December 2-3, 2020

December 10, 2020
2nd RMTC Virtual Session

February 21, 2021
Virtual NCS Cotton & Rice Conference
COVID-19 Legislative Update
Food & Ag Regulatory &Policy Roundup
Although Brazil eliminated import tariffs on rice, corn, soybeans, soy oil and meal, food inflation is unlikely to subside for several more months until the 2020/21 grain and oilseed harvests begin to come online.
Thai rice prices are under downward pressure as supplies of MY2020/21 main-crop rice began entering the market. Thai rice exports are expected to decline 23 percent in 2020 due to tight supplies of white paddy rice.
Nigeria will rely on imports to meet its national requirements for grains (especially, wheat, corn, rice) in MY2020/21. Several factors are responsible for this dire situation - coronavirus lockdown restrictions, currency devaluations, insecurity, and climate change. 
World Agricultural Production
Monthly report on crop acreage, yield and production in major countries worldwide. Sources include reporting from FAS’s worldwide offices, official statistics of foreign governments, and analysis of economic data and satellite imagery.
Corn and rice production continue to decline, but at a slower rate than initially forecasted, as farmers find creative solutions to input shortages. 

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