U.S. and Chinese trade officials will return to the bargaining table. After a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 Summit, President Donald Trump sounded very optimistic. “We had a very, very good meeting with China; I would say probably even better than expected.” In a news briefing, Trump said China agreed to purchase a tremendous amount of U.S. farm commodities. Trump also praised U.S. farmers as patriots. During the overseas trip, Trump also tweeted about a Farm Journal survey that said he has a 74 percent approval rating from farmers.

McKinney: Ag must be part of EU-U.S. trade negotiations
    If agriculture is not included, the United States and European Union will not be able to reach a trade agreement. USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney made that point during his visit to Brussels. Europe wants a trade deal with the United States, but is refusing to discuss increased market access for U.S. farm products.

Dairy exports decline
    According to USDA, U.S. dairy exports in May were at 425 million pounds, down 60 million pounds from one year ago. Total cheese exports increased 7 million pounds. Butter exports declined nearly 4 million pounds. The total exports of nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder dropped 14 million pounds and dry whey exports declined 20.5 million pounds.

Censky meets with Minnesota farmers, talks MFP
    Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky came back to his home state of Minnesota and met with state farm leaders. States like Minnesota, which are more dependent on exports, will see that reflected in the new Market Facilitation Program payments. “It is based on the calculated impacts on trade per commodity,” Censky said. “That is totaled up together with all the commodities within a county, including how much is produced in each county, and that will determine the county rate. So yes, there will be differences between counties.” The county rate structure has not been announced and that may not happen until after the Farm Service Agency certifies acreage in mid-July. “Our goal is to have it available right around or shortly after the USDA acreage report.”

USDA moves up cover crop haying and grazing date
    USDA’s Risk Management Agency has moved up the date for farmers and ranchers to start haying and grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres to Sept. 1. The adjustment was made due to this year’s late planting season and forage shortages, with the previous date for grazing and haying being Nov. 1. Producers who use cover crops for silage, haylage or baling will remain eligible for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity. RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said the adjustments are only made for 2019. The agency is evaluating the prudence of a permanent adjustment moving forward.

Higher cover crop seed costs
    Tight supply and strong demand are driving up the price of cover crop seed. Albert Lea Seed House owner Mac Ehrhardt said millet is in short supply in southern Minnesota. “The only millet we have left to sell now is proso millet. It’s probably the weakest of all of the millets in terms of forage production,” Ehrhardt said. “Most of the others are sold out. There still seems to be sundangrass, though it’s getting more expensive. Oats are also in tight supply. We’re having to go to Canada for seed, because bins are running out in the Dakotas.” If farmers in southern Minnesota are buying oats legally labeled, the cost will be about $10 to $12 a bushel. Ehrhardt said that is extremely high. Albert Lea Seed House just raised the price of oats $1.25 a bushel a few days ago. Ehrhardt tells farmers if they are buying cover crop seed, make sure it is from someone you trust and it is properly labeled.

Navigating conflict and tough times in agriculture
    Agribusiness professionals and farmers are diving deeper into conflict resolution and tough conversations in a three-hour workshop series sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. University of Minnesota Extension Educator Denise Stromme told attendees at the Thief River Falls workshop conflict resolution is not a 12-step program. It is really about connecting with others, meeting people where they are at. “It’s to be able to understand even though we may have tough information to share, we can share it in a way (that’s) beneficial for the people hearing this also for the people giving the information.” Stromme also said conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. “You can have positive outcomes from conflict.”

Consumers face misconceptions about food
    Consumers may not be getting accurate information about what they eat. Dr. Nina Shapiro, who has written a book about medical myths and exaggerated health claims, cites the hype over alternative milk beverages. “Plant-based beverages, such as soy milk or almond milk, are touted as healthier and better for you. In reality, they have a lot of added sugars and added flavoring. One of the myths out there is that these alternative milk products are better for you and that is not the case.” Shapiro said consumers are inundated with false health claims, especially through social media and online stories.

Two co-ops work together in China
    Land O’Lakes and the Dutch cooperative, Royal Agrifirm Group, are partnering on a joint venture in China. The new company is called Agrilakes and will be based initially at Agrifirm’s current manufacturing plant in Tianjin. The joint venture will focus on the dairy nutrition sector for China’s expanding dairy industry.

An expanded label
    Aureomycin is now labeled for bacterial pneumonia control in dairy replacement heifers. A veterinary feed directive is required to feed rations with this Zoetis feed additive. Aureomycin has a zero-day withdrawal period.

MN-Pearl to be released in 2020
    The University of Minnesota, in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, has released MN-Pearl. This new white hull oat variety is described as late-maturing and high-yielding. MN-Pearl will be available for the 2020 growing season.

Meyer to leave World Ag Outlook Board
    World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer is leaving his post effective July 13. Prior to becoming chair of the World Ag Outlook Board in 2014, Meyer worked in the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. Meyer will return to the faculty of the University of Missouri’s Department of Agricultural Economics. USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson named Mark Jekanowski as the acting Ag Outlook Board Chair.

Trivia challenge
    More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week. That answers our last trivia question. What is the most popular ice cream topping in the world? We’ll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.