**USDA requirements for exporting U.S. beef to China are out, opening a key market that’s been closed for more than 13 years.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Thad Lively says the requirements for China still go beyond those imposed by most international destinations, and will include testing for residues from synthetic hormones and beta agonists.

Lively says this will require a period of adjustment and likely limit export volumes in the near term, but says there’s still much to like in the agreement.

**USDA left its production estimates for major crops unchanged or little changed in advance of a June 30 report on planted acreage.

The corn harvest was projected at 14.07 billion bushels in World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates, the same as in May, down from last year’s record production of 15.15 billion.

Estimates for soybeans also held steady, at 4.26 billion bushels, while planted acreage was left unchanged, as the oilseed threatens to overtake corn as the country’s most widely sown crop.

All wheat production was up slightly to about 1.82 billion bushels, with all wheat use categories unchanged.

**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has selected the chief Republican counsel for the Senate Ag Committee, Anne Hazlett, to be his new assistant to the secretary for rural development.

The position will replace the undersecretary for rural development, a Senate-confirmed position which Perdue is eliminating as part of a reorganization of the department.

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