Drought in the American West, Southwest and Central Plains hit farmers and ranchers hard last year, but a new survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation shows the situation has worsened this year as more producers are abandoning scorched crops, destroying orchard trees and paying for livestock feed.
Ranchers are having to go farther and pay more for hay while farmers are digging more wells because surface water supplies have dried up. The situation is the worst, AFBF says, in Texas, New Mexico, Oregon and Nebraska.
Just one of the many disheartening results of the survey from 17 states showed 37% of respondents are tilling under crops lost to drought this year, up from 24% last year.
 Cotton is one of the hardest hit crops. Texas farmers are expected to harvest only about 1.8 million acres of cotton this year, less than half of the 4.3 million acres they planted, according to Kara Bishop, director of communication for Plains Cotton Growers
USDA: Chinese barriers significantly limit US ag potential
As big a market as China is for U.S. agriculture, it could be far larger. USDA economists estimate that removing China’s non-tariff trade barriers would result in dramatic increases in sales of pork to China and substantially more shipments of wheat, beef and corn as well. 
study by the Economic Research Service estimates that domestic pork prices in China exceed the international price by 200% to 300% because of existing barriers. Removing those barriers would boost China’s pork imports by 117% in the first year and 402% in five to 10 years, the study found.
Other impacts from removing China’s non-trade barriers: Corn imports increase nearly 13% in the first year and 91% in five to 10 years. Beef imports rise 25% in the first year and 46% in five to 10 years. Wheat imports jump 48% in the first year and 249% in five to 10 years.
Take note: The study didn’t address soybeans and cotton. In those cases, the differences between Chinese domestic and foreign prices are relatively small, the study says. 
Ukraine grain making its way across the globe
Ukrainian grain is quickly making its way across the world now that three Odesa ports are able to operate during the war. Thirty-four vessels have left the ports from Aug. 1 – just days after the deal was struck to reopen the ports – through Aug. 23, carrying 724,000 metric tons of ag commodities, according to data compiled by the consulting firm APK Inform.
Ships have taken United Nations-donated wheat to the Horn of Africa, but the two top destinations of Ukrainian ag goods are Turkey and South Korea, says the firm.
Corn has made up 68% of all shipments, while wheat made up 14%. The rest includes soybeans, sunflower seed, vegetable oil and other commodities, says APK Inform.
White House hunger conference announcement likely today
The White House is expected to announce the date of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health today.
A stakeholder call is scheduled for late afternoon with White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice. The email describing the call says "we have exciting announcements" about the conference.
The Biden administration has set a goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 to reduce deaths from diet-related diseases.

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NPPC has hopes for Taiwan trade deal
A U.S.-Taiwan trade deal could be good for U.S. pork producers and exporters if the negotiators reach an agreement that tears down a key barrier to U.S. pork, according to the National Pork Producers Council.
The Biden administration announced this month that the two countries agreed on general goals for the proposed U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade and said negotiations would begin this fall.
There are several Taiwanese non-tariff barriers that impact pork trade, including restrictions on ractopamine residues and country-of-origin labels on products containing U.S. pork.
US Customs to drug smugglers: No bologna!
U.S. customs officials on the New Mexico border, ever on the alert for threats to the U.S. agriculture sector, confiscated 90 pounds of bologna from a passenger vehicle trying to enter from Mexico. Of course, there was also the load of illegal drugs stashed in the car that got the attention of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
“Mexican bologna is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry,” CBP said in a statement.
They said it: “For the past two years we have gotten only about 25% of the normal amount of feed out of our desert permit. In each of the last two years our sheep have been fed hay for an additional 40-50 days, compared to normal, at a cost of about $600 per day. It appears that we may need even more hay this year at an even higher cost.” – A Utah sheep rancher quoted in the Farm Bureau report on drought conditions this year.