READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 27th…

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Brexit Impact on Agriculture, Markets, Immediate

Britain’s exit from the European Union is projected to take years, but the impact on U.S. agriculture is immediate. Britain voted to leave the EU on Thursday, and many British farmers seemed to prefer the exit because they were upset over EU regulations. However, those same farmers will lose massive amounts of farm subsidies, according to the Hagstrom Report. British farmers have often complained about the European Common Agricultural Policy but also have opposed measures restricting subsidies. For the UK will no longer be included in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. Britain will have to negotiate trade deals of its own. The United States is currently the single largest investor in Britain. The U.S. sells near $2 billion of agriculture and food products to Britain each year.


Vermont Governor Concerned with U.S. Senate GMO Bill

Vermont’s Governor says a national GMO labeling standard makes sense, but Peter Shumlin says he has deep concerns regarding the Senate’s bill. Vermont Public Radio reported Shumlin is concerned because the Senate compromise would delay labeling “for several years,” and allows the food manufacturer to choose how to disclose the information. Shumlin signed the Vermont mandatory labeling law in 2014. The Senate bill would supersede Vermont’s law and prohibit states from setting their own labeling requirements. It would also give the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to finalize the national regulations. Many agriculture groups applauded the compromise announced by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week, recognizing the need for a national standard, rather than a patchwork of state laws. The legislation does not come in time to completely block the Vermont law, as the House is on recess until July 5th. It is also still unclear if the Senate has enough votes to pass the legislation. A voluntary GMO labeling bill failed on a procedural vote in the Senate earlier this year.

Bayer Shareholder Approval Not Needed for Potential Monsanto Acquisition

Bayer AG says the company does not need the approval of shareholders to acquire Monsanto. In a legal filing, an executive from Bayer wrote “a shareholder vote is not required by German law.” The statement comes after Bayer had spent more than a month trying to warm shareholders to the idea that buying Monsanto is good for business, according to the St Louis Business Journal. The St Louis, Missouri Based Monsanto has rejected an offer by German-owned Bayer. Bayer reportedly has secured $63 billion in financing but has not publicly stated if it’s presented another offer to acquire Monsanto. Monsanto rejected the initial offer and also rejected a request for information to justify Bayer increasing its bid. Monsanto said it would only release more details if Bayer boosted its offer, stalling the efforts.


Data Coalition Forms Farmer Advisory Board

Last week, the Agriculture Data Coalition formed a farmer advisory board aimed at helping guide the coalition as it develops a data management repository to house agricultural information. The ten member board features members from seven states who raise crops ranging from corn and soybeans to cotton, sorghum, wheat and potatoes. One of the coalition’s founder members, Keith Coble of Mississippi State, says the members will “provide invaluable insight into the unique needs of these different regions and their various crops.” ADC is entering a pilot phase, and many advisory board members will be among the first to work with ADC to drive short and long-term user needs, according to the Coalition. ADC’s mission is to create a neutral, independent warehouse where farmers can securely store and control the data generated by their tractors, harvesters, aerial imaging and other devices.


Conservation Efforts Reducing Mississippi River Basin Runoff

A federal study shows Conservation measures by farmers have reduced nitrogen and phosphorus runoff along the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says voluntary agricultural conservation practices helped reduce nitrogen downstream in the Upper Mississippi River Basin watershed by as much as 34 percent. The impact on phosphorus reduction was less promising, with reductions topping out at 10 percent, according to the Des Moines Register. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack last week said the study provides evidence that investments by federal, state, local and nonprofit groups are improving water quality. Vilsack says more farmers in the basin are using cover crops, no-till practices and embracing precision agriculture to cut down on runoff of nitrogen, phosphorous and other pollutants from fertilizer and manure.


Getting Accustomed to Summer Heat on the Farm

The most common problem identified in heat-related deaths and illness of workers is the lack of a heat prevention and acclimatization programs, according to federal safety investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA says agricultural and construction workers are particularly vulnerable to heat illness because working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. OSHA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Kansas City, Missouri, Bonita Winingham, says a review of heat-related deaths found “frequently it was their first day on the job and the workers were not acclimated to the constant exposure to the heat and sun.” To reduce heat-related illnesses, OSHA recommends drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty, rest in the shade to cool down and to wear a hat and light-colored clothing.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service