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Agriculture News

Dicamba Cases Consolidated in St. Louis

DTN | Posted on February 7, 2018

Dicamba-related off-target crop damage complaints will be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis, according to an order issued Thursday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Multiple lawsuits have been filed by farmers alleging off-target dicamba damage to crops in at least 24 states from dicamba-based products manufactured by Monsanto, BASF and DuPont. Lawsuits have sought the stoppage of sales of dicamba products under the names Xtend, Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax, and have also sought damages for crop losses.

U.S. Sen. Nelson calls for funding to save Florida citrus industry

Villages News | Posted on February 7, 2018

In an effort to save Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry and speed-up work on Herbert Hoover Dike, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida on Tuesday called on Senate leaders to include additional disaster assistance for Florida in a government spending bill the chamber is expected to take up this week.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions wrong to blame renewable fuel standard for bankruptcy

The Hill | Posted on February 7, 2018

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) filed for bankruptcy last week, pointing fingers and laying blame squarely on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a federal program that requires refiners to blend increasing amounts of ethanol and other biofuels. That may make for a provocative headline, but the public and PES’ 1,100 employees deserve to know the truth: PES has no one else to blame but itself. PES operates one of the nation’s oldest refineries, which is handicapped by hopelessly antiquated technology. This is not the first time the refinery has found itself in a precarious financial position. In 2012, the Carlyle Group and Sunoco rescued the refinery from bankruptcy, thanks to a taxpayer-funded rescue package. The following year, PES invested in new infrastructure to allow the importation of cheap oil from North Dakota. While PES was able to capitalize on that investment in 2014 and 2015, the collapse in oil prices and the end of the U.S. crude export ban in late 2015 hit the refiner hard and left it hostage to the higher-priced Brent crude index. Since that time, PES has been dealing with a substantial debt burden.

Grassley Analysis Finds RFS Has Minimal Impact on Success of Refineries

Dhuck Grassley Senate pages | Posted on February 7, 2018

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a memorandum produced by his energy policy staff who analyzed recent claims made by opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which attributed its recent bankruptcy filing in part to the RFS. The analysis finds that the biofuels blending requirement and the cost of Renewable Identification Number credits (RINs), a compliance mechanism designed for flexibility, have little to do with the success of refineries and were not significant factors in the PES bankruptcy. The Grassley analysis reached similar conclusions as those of multiple recent studies, including multiple by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

China supersizes pig farms to cut costs in world's top pork market

Reuters | Posted on February 7, 2018

Surrounded by mountains in a remote part of southwestern China, Xinguangan’s first large-scale, modern pig farm is getting ready to produce its first offspring.By the end of the year, 10,000 sows will live inside two huge barns on this 73-hectare (180-acre) site, producing up to 280,000 piglets annually, or about 20,000 tonnes of pork.The farm, big even by American standards, is one of a record number of large-scale projects that will be built in China this year as it shifts a big chunk of its pork production from backyard pig pens to automated, intensive hog barns of the kind widely used in the United States.Some in the industry estimate it could build several hundred sow farms with about 5,000-8,000 head this year, even more than last year, accelerating the transformation of the world’s biggest pork industry.

Improve soil health to reduce erosion

Agrinews | Posted on February 7, 2018

Bad things tend to happen when the ground isn’t covered, Johnson said, so it is important to do practices such as no-tilling, growing cover crops, leaving the stover or managing the grazing. By keeping soil covered, it protects the soil from wind, rain and temperature fluctuations.“When those intense rainfall events come and the ground is not covered, we can see mud running down the ditch and we know there are nutrients in that mud,” Johnson said. “We are giving our topsoil away when we let it wash away.”Armoring the soil will reduce evaporation.

Global cereal output heading for a new record, lifting consumption and stocks

FAO | Posted on February 7, 2018

 Global food prices dipped in August, mainly as the prospect of bumper cereal harvests pushed up expectations for larger grain inventories. The FAO Food Price Index declined 1.3 percent from July, averaging 176.6 points in August.The drop was largely driven by a 5.4 percent decline in the FAO Cereal Price Index, reflecting a sharp fall in wheat prices as the outlook for production in the Black Sea region improved.FAO raised its forecast for global cereal production to 2 611 million tonnes, an all-time record. Worldwide stocks of cereals are also expected to reach an all-time high by the close of seasons in 2018

Oregon has big pot overproduction problem

AP | Posted on February 6, 2018

 Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said Friday the state has a “formidable” problem with marijuana overproduction that winds up on the black market and that he wants to work with state and local leaders and the pot industry to do something about it. U.S. Attorney Billy Williams convened the unprecedented summit of influential federal law enforcement representatives, state officials and marijuana industry scions after Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew an Obama administration memo that had guided states with legalized weed on how to avoid federal scrutiny.

Effects of milk prices reach far beyond the dairy

Frederick News Post | Posted on February 6, 2018

But the decline of dairy is not just a loss of landscape and heritage; it is a real economic loss too. Few people realize that the economic impact of one dairy farm goes far beyond the farm lane. In many cases, a dairy will have several full-time employees representing multiple families’ incomes, but it goes even beyond employee salaries. A dairy almost always has a plumber or electrician on speed dial, a veterinarian they regularly have out, a nutritionist they consult, a feed or seed salesman, the trucking company that hauls the milk, and on and on. That one farm is like a hub that supports other businesses in the community. While the loss of one farm won’t bankrupt these other businesses, the loss of many will.

Kansas legislation introduced in response to Tyson-Tonganoxie saga

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 6, 2018

Bills introduced last week in the Kansas House and Senate would require countywide public votes on large-scale poultry project proposals like the one Tyson Foods abandoned amid public opposition in Tonganoxie. Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie, and Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said the bills would expand to poultry operations existing state law allowing public scrutiny of hog and dairy facilities.