READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 9th…

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 9th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Groups Continue Push for GMO Labeling Compromise

The Coalition for a Safe Affordable Food Supply and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture this week called on lawmakers to make a deal to block the Vermont labeling law. The groups made the push as Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas, and ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, are meeting to discuss a compromise on the labeling of genetically modified foods, according to the Hagstrom Report. Roberts said at a Bloomberg Government event that the agreement is down to three sticking points, but did not elaborate. In a joint news release, the groups expressed confidence “that a Roberts-Stabenow compromise will get 60 votes in the Senate and will be passed by the House” before the Vermont law goes into effect on July first. However, the groups add, for this to happen, “a Roberts-Stabenow compromise must be reached this week.”

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Farmer Sentiment Lower in May Compared with April

Farmers are growing more pessimistic regarding the overall agriculture economy, according to the latest Agriculture Economy Barometer by Purdue University and CME Group. After a surge in producer sentiment in April, spurred in part by a favorable swing in commodity prices, producer sentiment settled lower in May at a value of 97. The dip in May brings the index back in line with readings provided by producers in January and February of this year, reading 98 and 96. The base period score is 100. So if the index falls below 100, the measure would indicate sentiment has declined. A score greater than 100 means sentiment regarding the health of the agriculture economy has increased. Some of the decline in producers’ sentiment during May was attributable to changing perceptions about the livestock sector. Further, just 10 percent of the 400 farmers surveyed said they expect profitability to improve in the next year. However, the outlook on farmland prices was more favorable as 52 percent respondents rated farmland favorably and nearly one-quarter of survey respondents provided a neutral rating for farmland as an investment.

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Monsanto Formulating Plan for Handling Xtend Soybeans

Monsanto is working with the U.S. farm sector to keep Xtend soybeans separate from varieties approved in all major export markets, according to Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Xtend soybean seeds have been engineered to resist the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. The variety was launched before garnering approval of shipments from Europe, something that has yet to come. As a result, Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports some of the world’s top grain handlers have said they will reject deliveries of such soybeans engineered to resist the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Richard Wilkins, president of the American Soybean Association, also said the company is working on a plan for Xtend soybeans in case approval from Europe does not come over the summer as expected.

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USDA Extends Organic Livestock and Poultry Rule Comment Period

USDA this week extended the comment period for the agency’s proposed rule regarding revised organic livestock and poultry production standards. The extension comes following a request by the House and Senate Agriculture Committee’s last month. The lawmakers say their constituents were concerned about possible unintended consequences like reduced access to organic products, substantially increased organic food costs for consumers, increased exposure to disease and mortality for organic poultry, according to The Hill. The rule, first proposed in April, clarifies how organic producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry throughout the animals’ lives, including when they are transported and slaughtered. The comment period will be extended 30 days to July 13th, 2016.

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Racial, Ethnic Diversity Increasing in Rural America

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports ethnic and racial diversity is increasing in rural parts of the nation. Racial and ethnic minorities made up 21 percent of rural residents in 2014. USDA said this week Hispanics, who may be of any race, and Asians are the fastest growing minority groups in the United States as a whole and in rural areas. Over 2010-2014, the rural Hispanic population increased 9.2 percent, and their share of the total rural population rose from 7.5 to 8.2 percent. Asians and Pacific Islanders represent a small share of the rural population, about one percent, but their population grew by 18 percent between 2010 and 2014, while rural Native American and Black populations grew at more modest rates. Meanwhile,  the rural non-Hispanic White population declined by 1.7 percent between 2010 and 2014. USDA says overall rural population loss, which was down 0.2 percent for the period, would have been much higher if not for the growth in the rural racial and ethnic minority groups.

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Officials Say No Link between California Cage laws, Nevada Poultry Sales Increase

While California egg producers adapt to new cage size rules, the industry in neighboring Nevada is booming. The Capitol Press reports poultry and egg production cash receipts in Nevada are up 200 percent since 2010, from a level of $5.32 million to $15.9 million in 2014. The jump comes as the state’s overall agriculture production value rose by 50 percent during the same period, according to the Nevada Department of Agriculture. The agency says cow-calf, milk and hay production helped drive the growth. However, farmers and the department would not say if the California cage laws spurred increased poultry sales for Nevada. California voters passed Proposition Two in 2008, requiring that each egg-laying hen have at least 116 square inches to spread its wings. The new rules have been blamed for a drop in egg production in California. However, both egg production and the number of layers in California have been rebounding since early 2015.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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