Weather and Trade

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by
the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.
They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural
America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

All reports from the heartland tell us that this year’s crops look good. Corn and soybeans
on my farm are as good as I can remember. However, they are not ready to harvest. A hot dry
August could do some serious damage. Besides watching the weather, we keep an eye on the
markets. China has been an aggressive buyer of our corn, soybeans, pork, and beef. The pork
production in China is still suffering from swine fever. They are 20% below one year ago. The
big question that we have is – will China meet, or even come close, to buying the volume of our
farm products they promised?

Jamieson Greer, former Chief of Staff to the U.S. Trade Representative had this to say, “I
don’t think it’s going away. The Chinese really need this deal and the Trump Administration has
every incentive to keep it.” A column in the Wall Street Journal informs us that China wants to
keep trade matters separate from other frictions in the relationship. President Trump has not
been soft on China. Blaming China for the “Chinese” virus, intellectual property thefts, human
rights violations and more. China’s crackdown on Hong Kong has the U.S. and other countries
pushing back. We called China’s aggressive action in the South China Sea “completely

With an election coming up both Republicans and Democrats are fighting to see who can
be toughest on China. So far, the trade deal seems to stand alone. If China does follow through
and buy the huge volume of our ag products agreed to, that would be terrific. In addition, they
have promised to buy an additional $200 billion of U.S. products by the end of next year.
I was not happy to read what President Trump had to say, “The trade deal with China
means less to me now than it did when I made it.” Well, the trade deal means a lot to American
agriculture. We don’t want it to go up in smoke. Hopefully, we can keep our trade relationship
away from the other long list of disputes. After the November election the winner needs to sit
down with China and find a way to live together. We don’t need a Cold War.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to