Influence Feed: China strikes back

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calendar icon 10 April 2018
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1. China Strikes Back:

On March 23, The Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) that China proposed retaliatory tariffs on $3 billion of imports from the United States, including fruit, nuts and pork. Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt told AgDay TV that the 25% tariffs could lead to a drop of $7 per head for hogs. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall complained, “This could not be happening at a worse time for American agriculture.”

Notably, the proposal did not include tariffs on soybeans — the largest agricultural export to China — but the American Soybean Association warned that the product remains at risk for retaliation. North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter commented, “We once again urge the Trump Administration to pursue constructive negotiations with the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of a trade war that will undoubtedly harm U.S. businesses and consumers.”

2. McDonald’s Commitments:

On March 20, McDonald’s Corporation pledged a “31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels.” In the press release, Environmental Defence Fund President Fred Krupp commended the company for “its ambitious new climate target.” Vegan activist group PETA tweeted, “Animals raised for their food is a Leading contributor of climate change. How about selling a veggie burger?”

Meatingplace reported on March 26 that six animal activist organisations — including Compassion in World Farming, Humane League and Mercy For Animals — were stepping up pressure to change the restaurant chain’s chicken-sourcing policies. The campaign has been most active on Twitter, using the hashtag #ImNotLovinIt. The same day, McDonald’s announced the formation of a council for chicken sustainability that includes Temple Grandin, PhD, as well as representatives from the World Wildlife Fund. Marion Gross, senior vice president of supply chain management told Chicago Tribune, “We’re not going to do that haphazardly or because someone’s knocking on our door asking us to do that. These are industry-changing decisions and we don’t take them lightly.”

3. Ag Day:

In an effort to highlight the work farmers and ranchers do to maintain a safe, affordable food supply, influencers celebrated National Ag Day on March 20. This year’s theme was “Agriculture: Food for Life.”

  • President Donald Trump: “I encourage all Americans to observe this day by recognising the preeminent role that agriculture plays in our daily lives, acknowledging agriculture’s continuing importance to rural America and our country’s economy, and expressing our deep appreciation of farmers, growers, ranchers, producers … [and] those who work in the agriculture sector across the Nation.” (
  • Farmer’s Daughter blogger Amanda Zaluckyj: “While we celebrate such abundance today, we should also recognise that so many in rural America are struggling. … Almost on a daily basis now we hear about one farm or another going under and selling everything.” (Farmer’s Daughter)
  • National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson: “Whether you’re from a rural town, a big city, or somewhere in between, you benefit economically, environmentally, and socially from family farm agriculture.” (National Farmers Union)

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