READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 21st…

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Canada lawmaker introduces GMO Labeling Bill

Canada is joining the United States in again considering a GMO labeling bill that would create a national standard. Meatingplace reports the bill is not the first GMO labeling effort considered in Canada, but the sponsor of the bill claims nearly 90 percent of nation’s citizens support labeling GM foods. All previous attempts at GMO labeling in Canada’s Parliament have fell short. The sponsor of the bill referenced a Health Canada report on food labeling that indicated “Canadians want the government to take concrete measures to ensure that GM foods are labeled.” The bill was proposed just weeks before a hotly debated GMO labeling law is set to take effect in Vermont, a state that borders Canada. Lawmakers in the U.S. continue negotiations on reaching a compromise on a national GMO labeling standard that would supersede state laws like Vermont’s. However, given the legislative calendar, if the U.S. Senate fails to reach an agreement this week on GMO labeling, the Vermont law will go into effect as scheduled.


Climatologists Watching for Midwest Flash Drought

Weather experts in the Midwest say they are monitoring what could become a flash drought, according to arepresentative of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The weather event often develops when a drop in precipitation combines with increased temperatures and winds. So far, 2016 is comparable to 2012, when widespread drought parched the Midwest, at a time when there was also little concern regarding drought. However, while recognizing the similarities to 2012, the climatologist told DTN “right now, we’re not anticipating another 2012.” Soil profiles across the region have adequate moisture, even in some of the driest areas. While some areas are starting to show signs of drought, a soil recharge that occurred in the winter and spring is limiting the impacts. Regardless, most of the Corn Belt has seen temperatures anywhere from five to ten degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the past 30 days.

President Obama to Sign Chemical Safety Bill

The White House says President Barack Obama will sign a chemical safety bill this week that passed the U.S. House and Senate recently. Obama will sign the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act Wednesday morning. The new chemical safety rules are designed to overhaul federal regulation covering thousands of chemicals in daily use. The Wall Street Journal calls the bill a rare bipartisan action in a year when Congress is torn by presidential politics. Chemical makers, including Dow and DuPont, favored the legislation as retailers, such as Wal-Mart, were stepping in with their own, sometimes far-reaching rules on chemical safety. The bill is the first significant update to federal chemicals safety law in 40 years. The legislation gives the Environmental Protection Agency authority to evaluate and impose restrictions on chemicals used in everything from dry-cleaning to grease removal to paint thinners. In most cases, that authority pre-empts states from passing laws to regulate a chemical while the EPA is making its determination.


ChemChina adds Investor to Syngenta Deal

The ChemChina acquisition of Swiss-based Syngenta faces further regulatory review after ChemChina announced changes to the deal’s structure. Dow Jones reports ChemChina has secured a $5 billion investment from an arm of Citic Ltd., one of China’s largest state-owned conglomerates. ChemChina says the investment allows the company to reduce the need for loans in the deal. Because of the changes, ChemChina was forced to re-file with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, which reviews deals for national security concerns. ChemChina and Syngenta agreed to a $43 billion takeover earlier this year. The acquisition, of approved, would be the biggest by a Chinese company and would supercharge China’s effort to develop its domestic seed industry. The state-owned company still expects the deal to be completed by the end of 2016.


France to Vote against Glyphosate

Ahead of a European Union meeting of environment ministers this week, leaders in France say the country will vote against the continued use of the herbicide glyphosate, according to Reuters. The EU license for glyphosate expires at the end of June and, if not extended, manufacturers will have six months to phase out products containing glyphosate. The European Commission, after failing to win support for a proposal to renew the license for up to 15 years, had offered a 12 to 18-month extension pending further scientific study. However, with countries such as France and Germany abstaining from an earlier vote, the compromise lacked enough support to be adopted. The issue was transferred to an appeal committee consisting of representatives of the 28 EU nations. The committee will meet Friday. If no decision is reached by the qualified majority there, then the European Commission could choose to act on its own.

Country Music Star Announces Tour to Benefit Agriculture Students

Country star Luke Bryan Monday announced eight tour dates that will benefit agriculture students. The singer’s eighth annual Farm Tour, which is set to visit small, farming communities in October, will fund agriculture scholarships. At each stop, Bryan says a portion of ticket proceeds provide college scholarships to students from farming families or students studying agriculture within the community. Bryan, along with the tour’s sponsor Bayer, will also make a presentation to a local farmer onstage. The Farm Tour is in connection with his extended play, or EP album titled ‘Here’s to the Farmer,’ due out in September. The tour will make stops in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service