READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 14th…

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GMO Labeling Debate Continues as Deadline Nears

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow are still trying to find common ground on GMO labeling legislation this week. The debate continues as time dwindles ahead of the July first implementation date of the Vermont GMO labeling mandate. Roberts says progress was made last week, but several issues remain unresolved, according to Politico. One remaining argument, according to those familiar with the ongoing negotiations, is over what to do about processed foods that contain both meat and genetically modified crops like corn, soybeans and sugar from sugar beets. Foods in that category include products like pepperoni pizza. The livestock industry is pushing for such items to be exempt from labeling requirements, based on what appears to be an agreement that meat and dairy products from animals fed GMOs should be exempt.

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Monsanto Rejects Second Chance at Bayer Deal

Monsanto has rejected a second attempt by Bayer AG to purchase Monsanto. The Wall Street Journal Reports a second offer, that did not offer more money, requested detailed business information, known as due diligence, which Bayer said could lead to a higher offer. Monsanto saw the offer as little changed compared to the $62 billion proposal Bayer originally offered. Monsanto is refusing to grant such access until Bayer raises its bid. Monsanto also asked for clarity on other matters including regulatory risks before agreeing to a deal. Bayer has secured the financing needed to complete the original proposal. The deal would combine Monsanto, the biggest seed provider with a leading position in biotech crop development, with Bayer, which has a robust lineup of pesticides but a smaller presence in major crops like corn and soybeans.

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Dow, DuPont Shareholders to Vote on Merger Next Month

Stockholders for Dow Chemical and DuPont will hold separate shareholder meetings next week to vote on the proposed merger between the two companies. Both meetings will be held on July 20th. DuPont’s meeting will take place at its Wilmington, Delaware, headquarters, and Dow Chemical’s meeting will be at its Midland, Michigan, offices. The two companies announced a merger in December worth more than $120 billion. Once completed, Dow and DuPont will split into three separate publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products. The combined company would have about $90 billion in total revenue, based on 2014 numbers. If approved, the merger would mark the end as independent entities of two of America’s oldest corporations as DuPont was founded in 1802 and Dow started in 1897.

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African Flour Millers Touring U.S. Wheat Supply System

African flour millers from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana are touring through wheat country this week. The team is traveling through Texas, Kansas, North Dakota and Minnesota to assess trade opportunities and U.S. wheat quality. The tour started Sunday and will wrap up next Friday. The U.S. Wheat Associates says bringing the team to see U.S. wheat quality and to discuss ways to keep their importing costs down is critical during a time of very aggressive competition. Throughout the tour, the team will meet with grain merchandisers and state wheat commissions, and visit farmers in each state to see the progress of this year’s crop.

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China Soybean Imports on Pace for another Record

Rising feed demand in China is expected to lift the nation’s soybean imports to another record this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. China’s 2016-2017 soybean crop is expected to total 12.5 million metric tons, up 900,000 from the year prior. Despite the increased domestic production, Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports the nation is still expected to boost soybean imports to another record of 85 million metric tons. That represents a three million metric ton difference from what USDA’s office in China expected shipments to total this marketing year. USDA says recovery in China’s swine production and growth in its poultry sector are projected to boost feed demand.

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Microsoft Mogul Says Chicken Farming Can End Poverty in Africa

The world’s wealthiest man and founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, believes chicken farming can be a path out of extreme poverty for rural families living in sub-Saharan Africa. Gates says he is working with a global nonprofit organization on a project that aims to help people start flocks, according to People Magazine. Gates discussed the economics of raising chickens in a blog, noting they are a good investment and can help fight malnutrition, which kills more than 3.1 million children a year. He is working with the nonprofit Heifer International to donate 100,000 chickens to people in 12 different countries and provide training on how to raise them. His goal, Gates says, is to help start a “livestock revolution,” boosting the percentage of rural families raising vaccinated chickens in the region from five percent to 30 percent.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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