A team of three industry delegates will head to the United Kingdom representing the U.S. Dry Bean Council for a packed week of business meetings with buyers and industry representatives in Manchester and London. The mission will wrap up with a visit to the trade division of the European Parliament in Brussels, where delegates will get an update on the implications of the ongoing tariff dispute that places 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dry bean imports to the EU. Learn more about the trade mission.
By Dan Gunderson, MPR News
Kidney beans are just one of several varieties of beans classified as dry edible beans. “When you take the North Dakota, Minnesota and southern Manitoba growing region, half of the North American dry bean crop is produced in that area,” says John Bartsch, a trader with Kelley Bean Company, who also grows beans on an eastern North Dakota farm. “And so if they have a good crop or a poor crop, it has an outsized impact on price.”
About 60 percent of kidney beans harvested are used in the United States and the rest are exported. “Domestically, they’re going down to Faribault, Minnesota for canning there and for foreign export. Most of them go to the E.U. or Central America,” says Perham, Minnesota farmer Mark Dombeck.
Lately, trade disputes have played a larger role in the direction of the industry. “Right now, our competition for exports is Canada and Argentina,” says Dombeck. “They don’t have a tariff, so we’re at a disadvantage,” The European Union has been a steady kidney bean customer for years, he adds. But last year, trade disputes disrupted the relationship when the E.U. put a retaliatory tariff on the beans after the U.S. had placed tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The new round of trade-related assistance totals $16 billion with $14.5 billion going to Market Facilitation Program payments. Rather than different rates for the various commodities, USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey said farmers will now be paid based on a single county rate. “The team has gone through and looked at the trade damage each county is feeling and we then divide that by the acreage planted within the county and will have a single payment, no matter which of the crops you plant.” This relief strategy is still being reviewed by OMB, but payments will be expedited. “The payments will come out in three different times of the year; we’re looking at a first payment coming out in July or August.” The second payment can be expected in November and the third will come in January. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said payments will likely be front-loaded, coming out shortly after the Farm Service Agency acreage reporting is wrapped up in mid-July. The first tranche of payments are the only ones guaranteed. The second and third tranches will be made if market and trade conditions are warranted.
Northarvest Bean Grower – Our Mission:
NHBGA, growers representing growers through the check-off system, is North America’s largest supplier of quality dry beans. Working together to better the industry through promotion, research, market development, education of consumers and monitoring of governmental policy. Our future goals must be continued market exposure and careful monitoring of new ideas, consumer choices, and producer needs.
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