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USDA, FDA Strengthen U.S. Food Supply Chain Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic response continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been working around the clock on many fronts to support the U.S. food and agriculture sector so that Americans continue to have access to a safe and robust food supply. As a next step in carrying out Executive Order 13917, the USDA and FDA announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF, 137 KB) to help prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including fruit and vegetable processing.
This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons, when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be...
Dr. Cindy Nickerson Appointed as USDA Deputy Chief Economist
U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Robert Johansson today announced the appointment of Dr. Cindy Nickerson as the Deputy Chief Economist, effective June 7.
In her role as Deputy Chief Economist for Policy Analysis, Dr. Nickerson advises the Chief Economist, the Secretary, and top policy officials regarding the economic implications of programs, regulations, and legislative proposals affecting the U.S. food system and rural areas.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Nickerson is joining the Office of the Chief Economist,” said Johansson. “She brings to the position significant experience both in program and policy analysis...
USDA Announces Additional Food Purchase Plans
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of $470 million in Section 32 food purchases to occur in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, in addition to purchases previously announced, which will enable USDA to purchase surplus food for distribution to communities nationwide. These Section 32 purchases will provide additional support for producers and Americans in need, in response to changing market conditions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency.
“President Trump has authorized USDA to support our farmers affected by this national emergency and this action to purchase food and deliver to those in need further demonstrates his unwavering support for the American people during these unprecedented times,” said Secretary Perdue. “America’s farmers and ranchers have...
NCBA Applauds USDA Relief Plan
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Marty Smith issued the following statement regarding the announcement related to USDA’s plan for distribution of CARES Act funding.
“We appreciate Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the agency will soon distribute funding to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who desperately need help during this national emergency. We applaud USDA’s work to quickly craft a plan to distribute the funds to those who need it most and we look forward to learning more about that plan very soon. America’s cattle producers are facing unprecedented crisis after...
Rabobank: Impact of Coronavirus on Southeast Asian Food & Agribusiness
Southeast Asia will face far-reaching challenges from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, such as economic decline, reduced out-of-home consumption, and supply chains disruptions, even beyond the lockdowns.
After panic buying, consumers will shift from foodservice to retail and – after a short, suppressed splurge (if any) – to recession-period spending.
Production will also be affected, albeit less, but transporting goods will continue to experience problems due to...
NPPC Urges SBA to Ensure Ag Businesses Can Access Disaster Loan Program
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined 30 agriculture organizations yesterday in urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure agricultural business can participate in the economic disaster loan program included in the CARES Act.
Earlier this week, SBA posted information on its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program website stating applicants do not qualify for loans if they are an agricultural enterprise (e.g. farm). However, the CARES Act, signed into law last month, does not specifically exclude agriculture from this program. Congress intended for all business fewer than...
Retail Fresh Produce Demand Soars, but Landmines Remain During Coronavirus Pandemic
The COVID-19 situation has created a surge in fresh produce demand in retail grocery, but challenges around foodservice, logistics, macroeconomics, and labor availability pose ongoing threats. While fresh produce sales through foodservice channels have largely dried up, consumers continue to stock up on grocery items, including fresh produce.
Logistics have been strained, both globally and domestically, but the industry is adapting rapidly. The imminent global recession and rapid climb in the value of the US dollar will continue to threaten global demand, even after the virus is contained. Labor availability constraints and increases in...
Farmers Join Forces for Sustainability and Responsible Climate Policy
Twenty-one farm and ranch groups representing millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers are launching Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF), a coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability. This coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider climate policies.
The coalition will share with elected officials, media and the public U.S. agriculture’s commitment to sustainability and the incredible strides already made to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. As policy proposals are developed and considered, the goal is for the coalition and its guiding principles to serve as...
Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump submitted his FY 2021 budget proposal to Congress:
“The United States is leading the world in economic growth and prosperity. President Trump’s pro-growth policies like tax cuts, common-sense deregulation, and new trade deals have increased confidence in the economy and put hard earned money back into the pockets of Americans,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump’s budget continues to reign in an overgrown Federal government with fiscally responsible cuts in spending. USDA is doing its part to improve our customer service while reducing our economic and regulatory impact. We will continue to...
North American Meat Institute Issues Statement on USDA’s Proposed Rule for Meat and Poultry Markets
The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) made the following statement regarding the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service proposed rule on meat and poultry markets:
“We will review the proposed rule and work to ensure livestock producers have a variety of tools available to market their animals and to ensure meat and poultry markets remain competitive,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Any rule must protect marketing agreements between packer/processors and livestock producers, which provide stability to the industry and benefits consumers with lower prices and...
Secretary Perdue Statement on USMCA Agreement
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): “USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers. The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are laying the foundation for a stronger farm economy through USMCA and I thank them for all their hard work and perseverance to get the agreement across the finish line. While I am very encouraged by today’s breakthrough...
Cargill Survey Reveals Consumers Believe Technology Will Feed the World More Sustainably
Technology in agriculture (ag-tech) is how we’ll feed a growing population, make farming more sustainable and improve the lives of farm animals, say 85% of the 3,000 participants in Cargill’s new three-continent consumer survey. At the same time, only about half of those surveyed want their food to come from a technologically advanced (versus traditional) farm. Industries like medicine and education are where respondents most want to see technology used. Farming ranks third—above defense, manufacturing, retail and food.
“We know that new technologies are allowing farmers to make better, faster, more informed decisions to feed a hungry world while protecting the planet,” said Sri Raj Kantamneni, managing director of Cargill’s digital business. “We also know that agriculture is still the least digitalized industry sector in the world. That means...
Western Hemisphere Ag Leaders Unite in Support of Science-Based Standards
U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney issued the following statement following the Inter-American Board of Agriculture’s (IABA) endorsement last week of a resolution emphasizing the need for science-based agricultural regulations to facilitate global agricultural trade.
“We have an opportunity to support the agricultural producers in the Western Hemisphere – and across the world – by committing to science-based standards and policies that ensure the quality and safety of our food while also facilitating international trade. I’m pleased that we’ve come together as neighbors across the hemisphere in support of this resolution, which lays a foundation for continued cooperation that will...
NCBA Applauds Introduction of Hours of Service Legislation
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation by U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (D – 2nd Dist., Minn.) and Lloyd Smucker (R - 11th Dist., Penn.) that would provide flexible and common-sense relief from Hours of Service (HOS) rules for agricultural haulers.
The Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act would ensure that the current Hours of Service exemption that applies to the 150-air-mile radius from the source of an agricultural commodity adds the same 150 air mile radius flexibility to the back end of a trip, or the destination. The bill also clarifies that...
Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply and Agricultural Industries
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industries at the border. The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional inspectors, support staff and canine teams to fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry.
Peters serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Roberts and Stabenow are Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, respectively.
“Agriculture is a critical economic driver in Michigan and across the country, but longstanding shortages of agricultural inspectors limits Customs and Border Protection’s ability to...
A Hard Landing for Some: US Trade Tariffs on EU Agricultural Products
On Wednesday, October 2, the WTO ruled in favor of the US in a long running trade dispute over illegal government support to European aircraft builder Airbus. It allowed the US to impose tariffs on USD 7.5bn worth of products from the EU-28. The tariffs proposed are not a broad list focused on the whole European agricultural sector, rather it targets specific countries and product categories. For example, in 2018, almost 80% of US wine imports in value terms were imported from the EU-28. Not only do US consumers favor European wines, they also have a taste for whiskies, olive oil and dairy products from the region.
Alcoholic Beverages: French and Spanish Wine Impacted Most, Followed by Scottish Single Malt Whiskies
The US accounts for around 18% of French and 12% of Spanish wine exports in value terms. Even if sparkling wines and those with over 14% alcohol content are...
Former Agriculture Secretaries Announce Support for USMCA
All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.” Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:
“President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn’t be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including...
Industry Reacts to U.S. Trade Agreement with Japan
On Sunday, President Trump announced that the United States and Japan reached a trade deal in principle, that would pave the way for more exports of U.S. agricultural products to Japan. In a tweet, President Trump stated, "We have excess corn in various parts of our country with our farmers because China did not do what they said they were going to do. And Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, on behalf of Japan, they're going to be buying all of that corn."
Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said, "Japan is a significant market for United States agriculture exports, making today a good day for American agriculture. By removing existing barriers for our products, we will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets." Perdue added that at the same time, the United States will be able to close gaps that allow...
USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate Calculations
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist has published a detailed accounting of how estimated damage from trade disruptions was calculated for its support package for farmers announced on July 25, 2019. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by China, India, the European Union, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels. USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases. “Just as we did before, we want to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know...
USDA Forecasts U.S. Corn and Soybean Production Down from 2018
The Crop Production report issued today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecasted soybean and corn production down from 2018. Soybean production is down 19 percent from 2018, forecast at 3.68 billion bushels; corn growers are expected to decrease their production 4 percent from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels.
Area for soybean harvest is forecast at 75.9 million acres with planted area for the nation estimated at 76.7 million acres, down 4 percent from the June estimate, and down 14 percent from last year. Soybean yields are expected to average 48.5 bushels per acre, down 3.1 bushels from last year. If realized, the forecasted yield will be a record high in...
High Consumer Expectations, Low Levels of Appreciation Make it Tough to Be a Farmer
Add conflicting consumer expectations to the list of reasons farming is a tough row to hoe. In its new global study, Cargill found consumers had a hard-to-satisfy wish list for those who put food on our tables—with most claiming to feel knowledgeable about how our food is raised. Farmers should care most about “providing safe, healthy, abundant and affordable food,” said a majority of survey takers. Yet those same respondents would prefer their food come from smaller/specialty, local or organic farms—which can’t necessarily compete on cost.
“Farmers are foundational to feeding the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” says Pilar Cruz, president of Cargill’s feed and nutrition business. “But they do so under pressure. On one hand, affordable food is central to many families’ budgets. On the other, people are questioning the farming approaches that have made food more available and affordable. Cargill sees all viewpoints because we partner with...
United States and European Union Sign Breakthrough Agreement on U.S. Beef Access to EU
The United States will be able to nearly triple its annual duty-free exports of beef to the European Union (EU) over the next seven years under a new agreement signed today at the White House.
American ranchers will be guaranteed a bigger share of Europe’s beef market, with annual duty-free exports expected to grow from $150 million to $420 million when the agreement is fully implemented.
“American ranchers produce the best beef in the world. Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, this new agreement ensures that American ranchers can sell more...
2019 Annual Report Highlights Cargill’s Commitment to Sustainable Growth
Cargill’s 2019 annual report, published today, tells the story of how the company is reaching higher to create more value for customers, accelerate its growth and sustainably nourish the world.
“We are directing our insights, capabilities and resources toward answering some of the world’s biggest questions,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO. “Everyone at Cargill is relentlessly determined to transform what is possible in food, agriculture and nutrition.” In 2019, this included enhanced policies and commitments in support of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, including a strengthened human rights commitment and global forest policy.
During the past 12 months, Cargill’s global team leaned into a challenging business and geopolitical environment. By remaining agile and focused on...
USDA Announces Details of Support Package for Farmers
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced further details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.
In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.
“China and other nations have not played by the rules for a long time, and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices,” Secretary Perdue said. “The details we announced today ensure farmers will not...
USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Funding
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.
In May, President Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs to support farmers, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. ATP is one of three programs that will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.
“China and other nations haven’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate...
Cargill and Ecolab Accelerate Food Industry Innovation
Recognizing the critical role that innovation plays in creating a safer and more sustainable food system, Cargill and Ecolab are supporting a second class of startups through the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator.
“Solving the greatest food and sustainability challenges the world faces today requires partnership and fresh, innovative ideas. These are the two key ingredients of the Techstars Farm to Fork program,” said Justin Kershaw, Cargill CIO. “Having the brightest minds in food and ag tech in Cargill and Ecolab’s backyards provides an amazing opportunity to infuse startup energy into our company, while also helping bring critical solutions to...
REPORTER: Planting Season Gets Off to a Slow Start
Canine Officers: Protecting U.S. Agriculture One Sniff At A Time
This article was originally featured in the Summer 2019 Edition of Urner Barry's Reporter magazine.
Canines have a history and reputation for being man’s best friend. However, some may not realize that dogs can also become agriculture’s best protector.
Building on such history and reputation, the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) detector dogs are a primary benefactor for screening passengers and cargo to impede the introduction of harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. The ability to target and zero in on specific odors make the dogs priceless agents in detecting prohibited agricultural items that cannot be seen with the naked eye, or detected by a human’s sense of smell. When it comes to finding fruit, vegetables, plants, and meat products from high-risk countries...
USDA Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced an update on the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementing key programs. In addition, USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public specific to each agency’s respective mission areas. “America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers depend on the certainty and availability of USDA’s programs and assistance. That is why we are working diligently to implement the 2018 Farm Bill with efficiency and accuracy,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have listened to our stakeholders and consulted with our customers. As we continue to implement the Farm Bill, USDA is committed to focusing...
National Pork Producers Council Launches 'Keep America First In Agriculture' Campaign
Today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) launched “Keep America First in Agriculture,” a new campaign to highlight the importance of establishing a proper regulatory framework for gene editing in American livestock.
Gene editing technology, which introduces useful genetic variation into food animal breeding programs, promises significant animal health benefits, including a natural immunity to disease and a reduction in the need for antibiotic use.
“Gene editing is a huge step forward for America’s farmers, as it offers a powerful new way to combat animal disease..."
Cargill and InnovaFeed Partner to Bring Innovative, Sustainable Feed to Animal Producers
Cargill and InnovaFeed have entered into a strategic partnership to bring sustainable and innovative feed options to the animal nutrition industry. Through the partnership, Cargill and InnovaFeed will collaborate to jointly market fish feed which includes insect protein, enabling both partners to support the growth of sustainable aquaculture.
“We recognize that the planet has finite resources,” said Pilar Cruz, president of Cargill’s compound feed business. “It is our job to find innovative feed options for our customers that protect the planet and support sustainable protein production.”
InnovaFeed’s circular economy approach brings added sustainability benefits as the company uses co-products from the agriculture production of starch and sugar to feed black soldier fly larvae known as Hermetia illucens. Once the larvae reach a certain stage, protein and oil are extracted from the larvae, to be used in feed for pets, aquaculture species and young animals like...
Strengthening the U.S.-Kenya Trade Relationship to Grow U.S. Agricultural Exports to East Africa
Kenya is an emerging middle-income country and has one of the best performing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. It serves as the commercial hub for East Africa, with coastal ports that allow for imports to be received and transported to landlocked neighbors. Kenya relies heavily on imported food and farm products, much of which the United States produces competitively. In 2018, Kenya imported $2.5 billion of agricultural products from the world.
While the country’s global imports of food and agricultural products has trended upwards, its imports from the United States have remained steady, resulting in a reduced U.S. market share as other nations increase exports to Kenya. Indonesia is currently the top agricultural exporter to Kenya.
The United States is looking to strengthen its trade relationship with Kenya and increase its agricultural exports to the country. Kenya currently boasts...
Chairman Roberts Hears from Administration on Current, Future Ag Trade Efforts
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing titled, “Certainty in Global Markets for the U.S. Agriculture Sector.”
Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Good morning. I call this meeting of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry to order.
Ambassador Doud, Undersecretary McKinney, and Dr. Johansson, we are happy to have you all back again before the Committee to discuss the need for certainty in our global agricultural markets...
NPPC Supports Executive Order to Keep America First in Agriculture
Based on recommendations by the administration’s Rural Development Taskforce, President Trump today signed an executive order to streamline regulations for agriculture biotechnology, a development welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
“Agriculture is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. economy,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “Today’s executive order paves the way for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture so that we remain the global leader in an economic sector that has offset the U.S. trade imbalance for decades and that is so critical for the prosperity of our rural communities.”
The executive order (EO) provides a framework to support leadership in emerging technologies such as gene editing for livestock, an innovation that promises to eliminate costly diseases that...
Developing Alternatives to Antibiotics Used in Food Animal Production
Antibiotics are a lifesaving technology widely used in human and veterinary medicine. However, the use of antibiotic drugs, by humans or animals, can also create selective evolutionary pressures that can spawn microbes and genes resistant to the drugs. Antimicrobial resistance has become a global human health concern, with widespread public and private initiatives aimed at managing resistance. Livestock agriculture is a major consumer of antibiotics and, thus, a contributor to antibiotic resistance.
As the agricultural use of antibiotics becomes a greater focus of policymakers and consumers, animal pharma—the industry that develops and markets antibiotics for food animal use—is altering its outlook on developing as well as investing in new antibiotic products. Rising awareness of antibiotic resistance has generated a number of effects, including regulations on the use of...
United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Pays Dividends to American Farmers and Exporters
The United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) entered into force on May 15, 2012, laying the foundation for a surge in U.S. agricultural exports. Since 2012, U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia nearly tripled from $1.1 billion to $2.9 billion in 2018. Despite its geographic proximity to major U.S. competitors Brazil and Argentina, Colombia, the third-largest economy in South America, purchases half of its agricultural imports from the United States. Preferential access from CTPA and a strong Colombian economy have allowed the United States to increase its market share from 19 percent prior to CTPA, to 50 percent in 2018. Changing demographics, a growing middle-class, and consumer trends toward more modern retail outlets is expected to keep demand strong into the future for high-quality U.S. agricultural exports.
Colombian Macro-economic Trends and Changing Demographics
In addition to CPTA, political stability and a dynamic economy have contributed to Colombia becoming the United States’ 12th-largest destination for agricultural exports, up from...
Perdue Responds to UGA Study on USMCA
The University of Georgia recently published a study claiming the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement would cost some Georgia vegetable and fruit growers revenue and jobs. The sensational assertions are flat wrong. As a proud UGA alumnus, I’m here to tell you USMCA is good for Georgia’s farmers and all American agriculture.
Chapter by chapter, verse by verse, USMCA improves virtually every component of NAFTA and Georgia’s agriculture industry stands to gain significantly. It’s important to note we didn’t get all the improvements we wanted for seasonal fruits and vegetables. While we were hopeful we could make progress in the renewed NAFTA, USMCA isn’t a step backward. The UGA study assumed we lost ground, but the facts are it wasn’t ground we had to begin with. Since the inception of NAFTA more than 20 years ago, agricultural trade between our three countries has...
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