A lot of national and world news has affected ag this week.
China approved Syngenta’s Viptera GMO corn variety, known as MIR 162. That’s great news for farmers. China had been turning away corn shipments from the U.S., out of concerns the shipments were commingled with unapproved Viptera, which limited export opportunities and decreased revenues.
China is a crucial market for our corn crop. Or at least it was, before all this happened.
Hopefully, this approval will pave the way for settlements in the lawsuits brought against Syngenta by farmers and commodities traders like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. They say the rejections of shipments has pressured corn prices and hurt their profits.
Syngenta has said the lawsuits are baseless, but it seems obvious to me that profits suffer when a crucial export market is wiped away.
And the U.S. and Cuba have normalized diplomatic relations, easing restrictions on things like travel and trade.
That’s excellent news for ag. I was interested and a bit surprised, however, when I read reactions from the ag industry in the article Mikkel Pates wrote for Agweek (http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/24655/). The industry is cautiously optimistic and one source in the commodities sector said he doesn’t think any financial restrictions will ease.
But Cuba is a large consumer of black beans and North Dakota ranks No. 1 in dry edible bean production at 8.7 million hundredweight, 988,000 in black beans alone. Minnesota is No. 4 in dry edible bean production, with 2.5 million hundredweight. If the restrictions are lifted, we would be competing with Michigan, which ranks No. 3.
Still, this should make equipment sales in Cuba far easier, and hopefully more agreements can be made to further simplify trade between our countries.
And now my dad can smoke Cuban cigars. Win-win.