Word "TRADE WAR" with United States and Chinese Flag isolated on white background. Trade war Concept 3D render

Tariffs exacerbating cracks in economy: The trade war between the U.S. and China continues to heat up. China’s debt and need for a constant inflow of foreign currency (largely U.S. dollars) continues to cause unanticipated consequences to the Chinese economy. The tariffs and threats of more are exacerbating cracks in the Chinese economy. China portrays itself as possessing an unstoppable economy, yet reality says something different. China and the U.S. will eventually have to come to some sort of truce, likely opening the Chinese markets to U.S. products with lessened, but for the time being not totally eliminated, tariffs. China cries foul with the U.S. tariffs, stating they interfere with “free trade.” That claim is at the least richly ironic, given that China has never engaged in free trade and nothing in China is truly free, given the authoritarian nature of the Communist government. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.

TARIFFS

Russia offers China land to grow soybeans: Russia has made 1 million 2.5 million acres of arable land available to foreign investors. While that could be boon for Beijing as it struggles with limited supplies of soybeans in its trade war with the US, analysts are concerned about the quality of the plots available. Most of the fertile land in Russia’s Far East region has been taken, however, so the land will likely be less productive and in remote areas with poor infrastructure and transportation. READ MORE 

This columnist asks if China will come back to the U.S. for soybeans: Agweb columnist Jerry Gulke writes that the fact that the Chinese are using U.S. agriculture as a pawn has long-term implications. Unfortunately, some in the media are still in the denial phase, he says, with the anxious question still out there as not if but when will the Chinese have to come back to the U.S. for soybeans. READ MORE

Smithfield’s Chinese parent warns earnings are down: China-based WH Group Ltd, the world’s largest pork company, has boosted its U.S. exports to Japan, South Korea and Mexico to reduce the impact of the trade spat between Washington and Beijing, Chairman Wan Long said on Tuesday. The company, which  owns Smithfield Foods in the U.S., warned in its first-half earnings that its biggest challenge is the overabundance of meat in the United States and uncertainty over growing trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners. READ MORE

Drought losses prompt FSA emergency loans: On Tuesday, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that counties in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma will be available for FSA emergency loans because of losses from drought. Producers in primary disaster areas as well as contiguous disaster areas are eligible for loans. A total of 36 counties have been declared primary disaster areas and another 36 contiguous disaster areas. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Growing Salmonella outbreak traced to frozen chicken: In the past three weeks the number of people confirmed with Salmonella infections has increased 300 percent in an outbreak traced to raw frozen chicken products. Canadian officials continue to warn consumers to check their freezers for the implicated products. As of Aug. 10, an additional 21 people were confirmed as outbreak victims, bringing the total to 28, according to Public Health Canada. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY & SUSTAINABILITY

Super-swine: Scientists have engineered swine that pollute less, fend off disease, and produce more meat. The savings in terms of cost and lost animal lives could be tremendous were genetically resistant pigs to become available to the livestock industry, and biotech firms have started work to commercialize them. But will this little piggy go to market? That’s far from certain. READ MORE

Aggressive salmon: A new study demonstrates that young male salmon raised in fish farms mate more aggressively than their counterparts in the wild. This means that fish escaping from farms are likely to pose a greater threat to native species than previously thought, by depleting wild fish populations and reducing their genetic diversity. READ MORE

USDA will purchase milk: In a very welcome development for the domestic market and for supplying vulnerable populations with essential nutrition, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced in a “presolicitation for bids” that it will purchase $50 million of pasteurized fluid milk and will distribute it through food assistance programs and food banks. READ MORE

Innovative technology ‘stacks’ plant genes: If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at about 7 kilometers per year on average, worldwide. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has published a pilot study on an innovative technology that could solve the problem. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Sentencing for Microsoft engineer who used ransomware: A former Microsoft network engineer who was charged in April this year has now been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering in connection with the Reveton ransomware. Reveton malware is old ransomware, also known as scareware or police ransomware that instead of encrypting files locks the screen of victims’ computers and displays a message purporting to come from a national law enforcement agency. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Measles outbreak grows: The CDC said Tuesday afternoon that 107 people from 21 states have reported contracting the measles. The states  are North Carolina, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. READ MORE

Vector-borne diseases soar: Recent CDC findings reveal a staggering threefold increase in reported cases of what we broadly term “vector-borne diseases”—or illnesses transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, lice, ticks and the like—between 2004 and 2016 in the United States. Making matters worse, nine new pathogens emerged for the first time in the U.S. during this same period. READ MORE

TERRORISM

London terrorism: A British man accused of a terror attack after driving into a barrier protecting the Houses of Parliament faces investigation for attempted murder, police said Wednesday. Three people were injured when the 29-year-old, named by media as Salih Khater, drove over a pavement and into cyclists before crashing into the barrier on Tuesday morning. He is originally from Sudan. READ MORE

Terrorism decreases: Statistics released this month by the University of Maryland suggest that 2017 was the third consecutive year that the number of terrorist attacks around the world — and the deaths caused by them — had dropped. So far, 2018 looks on track to be lower still. The university’s Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) program found there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world last year, which killed a total of 26,400 people, including perpetrators. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

No water, no food, no medicine: The situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, with hospitals curtailing surgeries because of lack of water, and more than two million people fleeing the country because of lack of food and medicines. Read more HERE and HERE.