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New USDBC Staff Join Global Programs

On January 1, Alexander Rowlatt and Russell Patten of Grayling took over the role of representing the U.S. Dry Bean Council in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Based in Brussels and London with offices throughout Europe and the world, Grayling is a Global Public Affairs firm with a unique depth of knowledge working in European and global markets on both policy and promotional issues.

Dry Bean Scene

Trade with the European Union remains a top priority for the dry bean industry. U.S. Dry Bean Council Executive Director Rebecca Bratter has more in the Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

USDBC Participates in Global Child Child Nutrition Forum

The U.S. Dry Bean Council participated in the Global Child Nutrition Forum annual conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The forum is the largest international conference on school meals in the world. It provides an opportunity for implementers to share experiences with school meal programs and learn what others are doing in their own countries. This year’s forum specifically focused on:
  • the main challenges countries face in implementing school feeding programs
  • the importance of setting standards and ensuring quality in school feeding programs
  • and exploring links between investing in school nutrition and the development of human capital.

Dry Bean Trade Team Headed to the UK

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.

Production Numbers Continue to Decline in Mexico

According to U.S. Dry Bean Council Mexican market intelligence, Mexico dry bean production estimates for November declined as harvest wraps up. Production is estimated around 400 thousand metric tons for all states that planted dry beans in 2019 spring/summer cycle. This would be 52 percent less than the 859,000 metric tons produced in 2018. In Chihuahua, some lots were not even harvested due to frost that occurred at the end of October and first week of November. Pinto beans are practically sold out. Zacatecas is reportedly the most stable so far. Damage is still being assessed and more cold fronts are expected during the remainder of November. Producers in Durango are trying to capitalize on the recent cold spells, demanding the government increase the price guarantee from 14,500 to 18,000 pesos (US$763.15 to US$947.36 per metric ton.) Read more.

Trade Mission Reveals Future Opportunities with Turkey

Trade dynamics with Turkey can be challenging and influenced by numerous variables. The U.S. Dry Bean Council is optimistic about reports from a trade delegation that returned from Turkey last week, confirming that contacts remain strong, as does interest in purchasing U.S. dry beans. Turkey’s own domestic dry bean production has been declining over the past decade, while consumption remains strong. A stronger currency means that Turkish buyers are now in a good position to purchase high quality U.S. dry beans this year and beyond. This is traditionally a market for white beans and garbanzos. Read more.

Mexico Dry Bean Crop May Fall Short

The U.S. Dry Bean Council’s re-survey of the Mexican 2019 Spring-Summer dry bean crop confirmed definitively that the bean planting surface was reduced as a result of the drought from June through August,. As a result, production is estimated at 417,101 metric tons, 54 percent less than SIAP’s (Mexico’s agricultural data Secretariat) estimates and 52.5 percent less than the average in the last seven Spring-Summer cycles.
 
Total production for Mexico’s two dry bean crops of the 2019 agricultural year is expected to reach 700,298 metric tons, 43 percent short of SIAP’s projections and 38 percent below average production levels. Additionally, the estimated bean production, is not enough to trigger the use of the government’s dry bean support program. Read more.

Rallying Support for USMCA Ratification

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, along with former agriculture secretaries, held a press conference on Thursday to rally support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. There is a window of opportunity for Congress to ratify the agreement between now and the end of the year. One concern from House Democrats is labor provisions. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says there are enforceability consequences in the USMCA to ensure labor concerns are addressed. Read more.
 
The U.S. Dry Bean Council, including the Northarvest Bean Grower Association, has also sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer asking for ratification of the USMCA. That letter can be read here.

Is It Too Late for the Mexico Crop?

Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Dry Bean Council has been reporting dry conditions in Mexico dry bean growing regions and offering projections about the potential impact on this year’s production levels. A lack of rain occurred during a critical time in the planting process. Therefore, most reporting, combined with the observations of an USDBC agronomist, make it increasingly certain that lack of planting, late planting and late rains will all affect production levels. Read more.

Chinese Dry Bean Production, Exports Continue to Decrease

According to the U.S. Dry Bean Council, the first planting and production report from China indicates dry edible bean planting areas in major Chinese production regions continues to decline. China’s total dry bean production is expected to be 166,000 metric tons, a decrease of 23 percent from 2018. Additionally, Chinese exports of dry beans have declined over the past five consecutive years (in value terms), while domestic consumption has kept growing. Exports in 2018 were down almost 25 percent from 2017 at 211,000 MT, and down 66.4 percent from 2013. Read more.