Left on the Desk, Oct 27: The bridge, food delivery, and trade victory laps

It has been great to be back this week writing stories for RealAgriuclture.com and hosting RealAg Radio. Time away with family is such an incredibly important component of recharging before the next big run that we see in front of us. As usual this week’s “Left on the Desk” features a scattering of tidbits, slices of data, and the things that caught my attention this week which may or may not have been covered on the website or radio show.

If you have any feedback, comments or questions, you can email me at [email protected].

Let’s start with China and its never ending bridge. With 420,000 tons of steel that would build 60 Eiffel towers, this 55 km bridge between China and Hong Kong is a nine year construction feat that did not come without controversy or cost over runs.

The Guardian reports:The $20bn, 55km bridge and 6.7km undersea tunnel link Hong Kong’s Lantau island to Zhuhai on the southern coast of Guangdong province and the gambling hub of Macau, a popular tourist spot for Chinese visitors. The mega-structure is supported by three cable-stayed bridges and designed to withstand typhoon-force winds of up to 340km an hour.

Take a look at this construction feat below in this video.  .

This is the kind of infrastructure projects that North America is competing with. This is the same commitment to infrastructure that some fear China will bring to places like Brazil to fix logistical issues to better support commodity exports from the South American country. This week, Brazil overtook the U.S. as the largest exporter of soybeans to China due to the trade war underway.

Meanwhile in Canada, in terms of infrastructure, the Churchill, Manitoba, rail line continues to seem like a massive project that could see a ribbon cutting ceremony in the spring.

This week the Alberta government proposed the federal government take a more involved role in the shipping of oil by rail. With the recently passed Transportation Modernization Act, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley believes grain shipping can be taken care of while meeting increased volumes for oil by rail as well. Based on first reactions farmers appear to be leery to give up anymore rail space than they need to.

The USMCA is not ratified yet but that has not stopped the Canadian government and the White House from doing a victory lap. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland was in Western Canada this week while President Trump was on the campaign trail for the mid-term elections.

Although it is expected the USMCA will be ratified — the remaining steel and aluminum tariffs and reciprocal tariffs are still yet to be lifted. This issue is hanging over the USMCA euphoria as free trade advocates in all three countries lobby for the White House to begin lifting them. At this point the President does not seem to motivated to do so.

While in Wisconsin at a rally, the President talked about how “the Canadian dairy market is now open to US dairy products, so go do well. We are making dairy great again.”

The more I learn about African Swine Fever the more nervous I get.  China has destroyed 200,000 pigs so for in an attempt to eradicate the disease.  Producers in Canada could see opportunity to increase exports but at the same time prevent ASF from entering Canada is vital. Steps to control the wild boar population is just one of the steps that should be a focus.

As I mentioned last week, I am reading Stephen Harper’s new book entitled, “Right Here, Right Now” and finding it an interesting perspective on politics around the world.  Not everyone is a fan of the former prime ministers perspective. Macleans magazine’s John Geddes has written a rebut to the book and how he feels Harper misses the mark. I suggest you buy the book, read it, and form your own opinion and I would like to hear it.

Grocery delivery is all the rage right now on Wall Street. With companies like Amazon, Krogers, Safeway and Walmart all trying to solidify their position in this space, the consumer is the beneficiary. At the same time food delivery companies are also experiencing good times from investors. I have to admit — although grocery and food delivery are growing among consumers, I do not get the fascination.  I enjoy grocery shopping and especially love going out to eat.  I guess I am old fashioned. 

This week RealAg Radio celebrated two years on Rural Radio 147, which is pretty cool. It’s amazing how fast time flies. A big thank you to everyone that has been a guest, listened to the show, or told your friends about it.

Everyone have a great weekend and enjoy the last weeks of fall like weather before winter really sets in.

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