READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 22nd…

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…

NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 22nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Dow, DuPont Merger Wins Shareholder Approval

Dow Chemical and DuPont Company both announced that shareholders in each company had voted in favor of having the two companies merge into an entity which would be called DowDuPont. The Wall Street Journal reports after the initial merger, the companies would then break up into three separate entities. Just under 825 million Dow shareholder votes were in favor of the deal, while 13 million were against and ten million abstained. A DuPont spokesman said 669 million shares voted to approve the merger, with 8.5 million against and 3 million shares abstaining. The deal needs approval from regulators, and if it’s approved the deal should close later this year. The deal will serve as a way to reduce costs for both companies before they break up into three separate units. Each would deal with specific products like agriculture, material sciences, and specialty products in nutrition and electronics. Each of the new companies would be publicly traded. 

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Many Consumers Are Unfamiliar with Ethanol

Agriculture and Big Oil have been battling over what fuels American automobiles for a long time. A recent Reuters poll seems to show that Americans largely don’t know or care what’s going in their tank. More than half the drivers in the survey said they are unfamiliar with ethanol, and the same number of people surveyed said they don’t pay a lot of attention to whether the gas they were buying contained ethanol. Many consumers are unaware that all gasoline contains a ten percent blend of ethanol. In fact, the only “green” they seem to really care about is the green in their wallets. Price and a convenient location are what consumers primarily look for. 93 percent of respondents said price was the key factor in making their buying decisions. Big Oil manufacturers are equally struggling to get out their message about higher ethanol blends having a negative impact on their vehicles. The poll said 40 percent of respondents had no idea whether or not ethanol was good for a vehicle’s performance.   

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Senators Want Higher Biodiesel Targets

40 senators from states across the country are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to increase biodiesel volumes in the pending Renewable Fuels Standard proposal. The senators feel biodiesel and renewable diesel are leading the way in the renewable fuels industry and they want the EPA to do more to increase the product’s growth. The letter to the EPA states that biodiesel has met the EPA criteria for growth, exceeding goals that Congress set when the Renewable Fuels Standard was created in 2005. Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated biofuel to reach commercial-scale production around the nation and is currently the only one to reach that status. The industry also supports over 47,000 jobs. Organizing the letter was Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri, Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of Senators from California to Minnesota to Maine. 

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Campbell’s Transitioning to Antibiotic-Free Chicken

Calling it a “sweeping plan to produce real food,” Campbell’s announced they would only purchase antibiotic-free chicken in the future. Meatingplace Dot Com says the company wants to set “the standard for transparency in the food industry,” and feels this will give their consumers more of a “direct connection to their food.” The company’s business goal is to diversify its portfolio of offerings with what it calls “fresh, healthful, and organic foods.” The Camden, New Jersey-based company will transition to antibiotic-free chicken in its products, and that process is expected to take roughly the next few years. To track the results of their efforts, Campbell’s has developed the “Campbell’s Real Food Index.” The goal is to track the progress the company is making in its food plans, including goals of removing artificial flavors and colors from its North American products by the deadline of 2018. CEO Denise Morrison said the goal is for their foods to “always be safe, delicious, and available at a fair price.”

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Nebraska Cattle Rancher Leads Trump Ag Council

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has put together an Agriculture Coalition and Task Force, tapping Charles Herbster of Falls City, Nebraska as Chair. Herbster owns Herbster Angus Farms and the Conklin Company. He’s been a personal friend of Trump for more than a decade. Herbster said his number one goal is to defeat Hillary Clinton and then turn his attention to agriculture issues. Some of those issues will include rural development, eliminating the “death tax,” growing the economy, and renegotiating trade deals. Several groups and leaders in the agriculture industry met the new Chair during the Great American Farm Luncheon in Cleveland during the GOP Convention. The discussion talked about agriculture topics in general but didn’t get into platform specifics that include splitting the SNAP Program from the Farm Bill, and has sections on crop insurance and the dairy program that may not sit well with agriculture groups. None of those topics were brought up during the luncheon.

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Southern Corn Rust Working Farther North

As the name implies, southern corn rust is primarily found in the southern corn growing areas of the U.S. However, it’s been pushing those boundaries farther north in recent years, and it’s moving quicker than ever this year. By August of 2015, the disease had worked as far north as fields in Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, and Missouri. A DTN/Progressive Farmer report says late planted corn will be at the most risk of developing the disease. With a heatwave in the Midwest and the Deep South this week, the disease has a better chance to spread rapidly. Late planted corn delayed by a wet spring is the most at-risk. If corn is still silking or in the milking stage, growers need to get scouting and consider fungicides if it shows up in their fields. The corn rust symptoms are orange pustules and can be confused with common rust, which prefers cooler weather. The report says fields can suffer serious yield loss, even if the disease doesn’t arrive till mid-summer.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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