READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 1st…

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Supreme Court: Farmers Can Challenge Wetlands Determinations

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that landowners can challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “judicial determinations” on wetlands in court. The ruling could have broad ramifications because it raises questions about the future of the Clean Water Act, which prohibits “the discharge of any pollutant” without a permit into “navigable waters,” which it defines, in turn, as “the waters of the United States,” according to the Hagstrom Report. Farm groups, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, applauded the decision. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says “now farmers and ranchers can have their day in court when the government tells them they cannot plow a field or improve a ditch without a federal permit.” Critics of the EPA and the Army Corps noted that some justices said the situation could impact how the courts rule on the Clean Water Rule, known as the Waters of the U.S. rule.

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Global Grain Glut to Continue with Second-Biggest Crop on Record

A global grain surplus will continue to pressure crop prices as this year’s harvest will expand to the second-highest on record. The International Grains Council says world grain production will be nine million metric tons more than forecasted in April as wheat crops improve in the European Union, the United States and Russia. Bloomberg reports the International Grains Council expects grain stocks will likely grow again, with much of the increase in China. Crop prices have dropped in the past three years on increased production, and the IGC expects global grain production will reach 2.015 billion tons in the season starting in July, up 0.6 percent from a year earlier. Global stockpiles will expand to a record 474 million tons, with China accounting for about 40 percent. The report predicts farmers around the world will gather 722 million tons of wheat, 0.7 percent higher than the April forecast but down 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, corn production is predicted at 1.003 billion tons, 3.3 percent larger than the last growing season.

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USDA Launches Ag Resource Management Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is beginning to collect data from more than 100,000 farmers and ranchers for the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey.  The survey looks at all aspects of U.S. agricultural production including farm financial well-being and chemical usage, according to USDA. In 2016, the survey will take a closer look at corn production, and both organic and conventional milk production in the United States. The survey is a joint effort of NASS and USDA’s Economic Research Service. USDA claims the information the agencies obtain through the survey influences national and state policy-making decisions. The data is also used to calculate the farm sector portion of the Gross Domestic Product. The survey is conducted in three phases from May 2016 through April 2017. 

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EU Glyphosate Meeting Set for Next Week

The European Union will again attempt to reach a deal to reauthorize glyphosate next week. The EU has until the end of this month to approve the sale and use of glyphosate before the license expires June 30th. Politico reports the member countries may be seeking a very short-term extension of the authorization, pushing the final vote into next year. Doing so would allow Germany to sort out the “internal political wrangling” that is leading the country to abstain from the vote. However, the Glyphosate Task Force is calling for a full reauthorization, stating “there is no basis for anything less.” Meanwhile, a recent poll found British farmers indicated they prefer to leave the European Union, while listing the likelihood that glyphosate is going to be pulled from the market as another reason to go. The controversy over renewal stems from the International Agency for Research on Cancer listing glyphosate as likely a carcinogen, despite numerous reports that glyphosate is safe.

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California Farmers Face Further Economic Losses as Drought Persists

A new report by CoBank says California farmers face up to $1.5 billion in losses due to persistent drought conditions. CoBank says despite nearly normal rainfall and snowpack during the 2015 – 2016 rainy season, the drought’s lingering effects will lead to another round of water restrictions for farmers through the remainder of the growing year and beyond. A CoBank researcher says although California farms “are less parched today than they were a year ago, water remains in short supply.” That leads CoBank to predict California farmers will fallow up to 350,000 acres this year. The report says crops that yield the highest returns on investment, like permanent plantings of tree crops and vines, should be impacted the least. At the same time, the report expects a significant reduction in acreage for field crops that require significant amounts of water, including corn, wheat, cotton and alfalfa. However, despite a projected decline in farm income, the report says California’s agriculture sector remains strong enough to manage through another year of drought.

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USDA Streamlining Crop Reporting

USDA announced Tuesday farmers and ranchers can update their crop acreage reports at any USDA office without having to visit another. USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency can now electronically share the “common information” with other office locations. FSA Administrator Val Dolcini says “if you file your report at one location, the data that’s important to both FSA and RMA will be securely and electronically shared with the other location.” The change is part of the USDA Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative, an interagency collaboration working to streamline the information collected from USDA program participants. Producers must still visit both locations to validate and sign acreage reports, complete maps or provide program-specific information. The common data from the first-filed acreage report will now be available to pre-populate and accelerate completion of the second report.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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