**China aimed a direct strike at America's heartland Wednesday, slapping an aggressive 25 percent retaliatory tariff against U.S. soybeans, farm country's most valuable export to China last year, worth $12 billion.

Agriculture.com reports, fast-rising demand from China has fueled a sharp rise in production of U.S. soybeans, which are set to overtake corn as the country's most widely planted crop for the first time in 35 years.

U.S. government data shows China now purchases 62 percent of soy exports.

**The U.S. and China should avoid a trade war. That’s according to China's Ambassador to the United States, stressing Beijing's preference to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

According to agriculture.com, Wednesday’s meeting between Chinese officials and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan was "comprehensive and complex."

Officials say the U.S. may pursue trade negotiations, but he declined to say whether any meetings were planned.

**Call it a shot across the bow, but Ag Committee, Representative Jim McGovern, of Massachusetts, drew cheers from anti-hunger activists when he called for stopping a farm bill unfair to nutrition assistance programs.

According to Agri-Pulse, if the Republican-controlled Congress is unable to enact a new farm bill this year, and Democrats win control of at least the House in November, they’ll have a chance to protect nutrition spending and reshape farm and conservation programs.

Many worry the crop insurance program would also be a major target of Democrats.



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