Tractor spraying pesticides on soybean field with sprayer at spring

China is biggest buyer of American soybeans: As tensions escalate between the U.S. and China, one crop is emerging as the most powerful weapon in a potential trade war: Soybeans. China is the biggest buyer of American soybeans, picking up about a third of the entire U.S. crop, which it uses largely to feed 400 million or so pigs. President Xi Jinping’s administration is studying the impact of restricting soybean imports in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg last week. Any China soybean curbs would directly hit farmers in Midwestern U.S. states that President Donald Trump needs to win re-election in 2020. Yet they would also pose a big risk for Xi: His nation is the world’s largest pork producer and consumer, and higher costs for pig farmers could increase prices of meat for his nation’s 1.3 billion citizens. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Sorghum ships re-routed: When China slapped a 178 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum, ships in transit to Chinese harbors were forced to turn around. Fortunately, most of that sorghum was re-routed to countries like Spain and Saudi Arabia. The in-transit ships got only 24 hours notice about the new tariff. Meanwhile, the National Sorghum Producers is adamant that the U.S. has not been dumping sorghum in China. READ MORE

Dead cattle in NW Oklahoma: An estimated 1,500 head of cattle have died following wildfires in Oklahoma that have burned for nearly two weeks, and the state veterinarian said that projection could increase to as high as 2,500 head. The Rhea and 34 Complex wildfires have burned in northwest Oklahoma since April 12. Fires in the same general region—northwest Oklahoma and southwest Kansas—last year killed an estimated 9,000 head, but this year’s fires have consumed more wheat pasture. READ MORE

President Trump invited to view fire landscape: Cattle producers and rural communities in western Oklahoma are reeling from wildfires that have engulfed over 320,000 acres of land and continue to grow, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association have invited President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to visit Oklahoma to survey the damage. According to reports from producers on the ground, total damage and losses are far worse than when wildfires last struck in 2017. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Number of E. coli victims jumps: The number of victims in an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce jumped almost 60 percent in the past week as public health officials struggled to determine the source or sources of the implicated produce. Three more states have laboratory-confirmed victims, federal officials reported Wednesday. The 19 states now involved in the outbreak have a total of 84 people with E. coli O157:H7 infections, according to an update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. READ MORE

Olive oil fraud: Olive oil fraud is common. The most troubling and, thankfully, least common takes place when producers blend cheap nut, seed, or other vegetable oils with just enough olive oil to lend the look, taste, and aroma of the real thing—a potential nightmare for anyone with food allergies. Other perpetrators perform a similar sleight of hand,  diluting extra-virgin olive oil with lower-grade olive oil, or simply mislabeling lesser olive oil as extra-virgin. Last, though not nearly as appalling, packers intentionally mislabel the country of origin. READ MORE