READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 16th…

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmland Value’s Declining on Lower Farm Income

The Farm Credit Administration says farmland prices continue to soften across the country, particularly in the Midwest. At a monthly meeting last week, the Farm Credit Administration Board heard a report on farmland values across the nation. The report says a third consecutive year of declining crop prices and reduced farm income is causing cropland values to soften. The decrease follows five years of double-digit price increases since 2009 for most Midwest states, with cropland values reaching record levels in 2014. The Federal Reserve Banks’ quarterly surveys of agricultural bankers found that for the fourth quarter of 2015, cropland values declined between two percent and six percent on average over the past year in the Midwest as well as in some Mountain states. Depending on land quality and region of the state, some cropland is down as much as 10 percent over the past year.

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Bayer Could Divest Assets to Acquire Monsanto

Speculators say Bayer’s potential bid for Monsanto may lead to the company selling some assets to help fund its quest for the seed company worth an estimated $43 billion. Bayer has held preliminary discussions internally and with advisers on an offer for Monsanto, according to Bloomberg, which reports deliberations remain private. Market experts say Bayer could shed its stake in its plastics unit and its animal-health business to make the acquisition work. BASF is also reportedly considering a bid for Monsanto. The potential bids are just the latest in a line of acquisitions within the industry. Dow Chemical and DuPont agreed to a merger in December of last year, and ChemChina agreed to Purchase Syngenta earlier this year. Both deals face U.S. regulatory scrutiny.

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Lawmakers Want EPA to Explain Early Release of Glyphosate Report

The House Agriculture Committee wants the Environmental Protection Agency to explain why the EPA accidentally published a final report early. Documents released last month online said glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. However, EPA pulled the report three days after publishing, saying the documents were not ready to be released. The documents indicated the information was the final report from the EPA and also included an assessment of atrazine. Lawmakers and agriculture industry groups together claim the errantly published documents indicate “problems with EPA’s management of its chemical review and publication process,” according to Reuters. Lawmakers also asked what steps still need to be taken to finalize and issue the glyphosate report. EPA officials say the agency will “respond appropriately” to the letter.

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Chinese Cotton Auction Ahead of 2015 Totals

Purchases in the first week of China’s cotton auctions are already well ahead of total sales for 2015. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports that in the first week of daily cotton auctions that began May third, China sold 120,350 metric tons of the fiber. The sales, which largely entailed imported supplies, equated to nearly the entire amount put up for sale in 2015 and have already nearly doubled last year’s total sales. USDA says this indicates a critical shortage of high-grade cotton for China’s textile sector. China plans to auction two million metric tons of cotton between May and August. China will likely raise the daily sales rate of 30,000 metric tonnes, according to the USDA office in China, as China appears buyers are welcoming this year’s offer price.

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Kubota to Acquire Great Plans Manufacturing

Kubota USA announced Friday the company will purchase Great Plains Manufacturing based in Kansas. Kubota USA is based in California and owned by the parent company, Kubota Corporation, of Japan. Great Plains includes the Land Pride brand, which manufactures grounds maintenance tools such as mowers, rototillers, rotary cutters, and dirt-working equipment. The company says that by acquiring Great Plains, Kubota will expand the company’s long-time partnership with Land Pride and will include all five Great Plains divisions. Company leaders say that for the foreseeable future, all five Great Plains divisions will continue to operate as they have been with their infrastructure intact, according to Kubota.

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Bee Health Survey Find Eight Percent less Honey Bee Colonies in 2016

A recently released study by USDA shows the number of honey bee colonies dropped eight percent to start 2016, compared to 2015. The first ever Honey Bee Colony Loss Survey questioned more than 20,000 honey beekeepers about the number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by stressors. USDA says the results will provide a baseline about honey bee losses and can help guide honey bee management decisions in the United States. NASS created the survey questions with input from beekeepers and researchers. USDA says the results will allow the Agency and other federal departments to create a more unified approach to implementing the National Strategy on bee health, which was unveiled in May of last year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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