READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 30th…

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

UPDATED

Senate GMO Labeling Bill Clears First Hurdle

The U.S. Senate Wednesday night cleared a procedural vote on the GMO labeling compromise by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts. The Senate voted 68-29 in favor of the vote, clearing the way for considerations on the Senate floor. Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the bill “will have the votes” to pass the Senate, likely next week. Senator Roberts, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, echoed Stabenow’s comments after the vote saying he looks forward to the Senate acting on the bill next week. Still, Politico reported it’s unclear how many Democrats may ultimately support the bill. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced this week he plans to put a hold on the bill. Other Democrats want the bill to include mandatory on-package requirements, rather than giving food manufacturers the option of on-package labels, or smart labels that direct consumers to more information. However, it’s not too late for lawmakers to preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate. Though the state law takes effect Friday, the Vermont attorney general has said he will not start enforcing the law until the beginning of 2017.

************************************************

Stabenow: GMO Labeling Bill Will Pass Senate

While lobbyists continue to pressure the U.S. Senate this week to consider the GMO labeling compromise introduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee, the committee’s ranking Democrat says the bill is more likely to pass after July 5th. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the compromise between her and the Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts “will have the votes” when it comes up for consideration by the Senate. Still, Politico reports even though some Democrats have said they will back the bill, it’s unclear whether it has enough votes. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced this week he plans to put a hold on the bill. Other Democrats want the bill to include mandatory on-package requirements, rather than giving food manufacturers the option of on-package labels, or smart labels that direct consumers to more information. However, it’s not too late for lawmakers to preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate. Though the state law takes effect Friday, the Vermont attorney general has said he will not start enforcing the law until the beginning of 2017.

*********************************************************************************************

Nobel Prize Winners Urge Greenpeace to End GMO Opposition

More than 100 Nobel Prize winners are asking Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms. A letter by the Nobel laureates asks Greenpeace to cease its efforts to block introduction of a genetically engineered strain of rice. Supporters say the rice strain could reduce Vitamin-A deficiencies causing blindness and death in children in the developing world. Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs, helped organize the letter campaign. Roberts stated the current stance on GMO’s by Greenpeace is “damaging, and is anti-science.” Greenpeace International’s website says the release of GMOs into the natural world is a form of “genetic pollution.” Nobel laureate Randy Schekman, a cell biologist at the University of California-Berkeley, told the Washington Post, “I find it surprising groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change…can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future.”

*********************************************************************************************

EU Promises Review of Any Bayer-Monsanto Merger

The European Union’s antitrust agency this week says it will conduct a strict review of Bayer AG’s proposed $62 billion purchase of Monsanto and similar mergers by rivals. Dow Jones reports the comments are unusually early and come before the EU has received formal notification of a deal. In a letter to the European Parliament, an antitrust official told lawmakers “our final decision must strictly and impartially apply European merger control rules.” In a review of a potential deal, the EU will consider the impact of a merger on prices, the variety of available seed products along with research and innovation. The European Commission has the power to block deals or demand the parties submit remedies, such as divesting assets, to ease any competition concerns. Monsanto said this week the company is still in discussions with Bayer and other companies regarding “alternative strategic options,” while also announcing lower-than-expected sales for the sixth straight quarter. Monsanto rejected the initial proposal by Bayer earlier this year.

*********************************************************************************************

Mexico Could Pass Japan as Top U.S. Corn Importer

Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports buying patterns for U.S. corn have shifted, with U.S. corn export sales to Mexico helping to offset light purchases by more traditional buyers like South Korea. Mexico is well positioned to take over the top buyer role of U.S. corn from Japan as Japan is on pace to buy the second smallest amount of U.S. corn since 1999. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that South Korea’s purchases through mid-month are also the second lowest in a decade. The data also highlights how the rise of suppliers like Ukraine and Brazil has shifted global grain flows. There is also concern the recent boost in demand among Asian buyers could stall due to Britain’s vote to exit the European Union and its impact on the currency market.

*********************************************************************************************

European Commission Extending Glyphosate License

The European Commission is extending its approval of the herbicide ingredient glyphosate. The Commission will extend the license for 18 months, a move that was earlier proposed to allow time for more research on glyphosate. The Commission announced the extension after several rounds of failed talks within the European Union. The license was set to expire June 30th (today) without action. Expiration would have barred the use and sale of glyphosate throughout the EU and require a phase-out of products containing glyphosate. American Soybean Association President Richard Wilkins says the extension “gives U.S. farmers and exporters the assurance that they will at least have access to the European market for that period of time.” Some fear the ban of glyphosate could lead to export issues between the U.S. and the EU.

*********************************************************************************************

SNAP Participation Decreasing

The Agriculture Department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, served an average of 45.8 million people per month in fiscal year 2015. USDA says the percent of Americans participating in the program declined from 15 percent in 2014 to 14.2 percent in 2015, marking the second consecutive year of a decline in the percent of the population receiving SNAP. Between 2014 and 2015, 39 States and the District of Columbia saw a decrease in the percent of residents receiving SNAP benefits, while 11 states experienced no change or small increases. The percent of state populations receiving SNAP benefits ranged from a low of 5.6 in Wyoming to a high of 21.7 in New Mexico, reflecting differences in need and program policies. Southeastern States have a particularly high share of residents receiving SNAP benefits, with participation rates of 16.4 to 21.3 percent.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

nafblogobluegoldcopy