READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 29th…

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Anti-GMO Labeling Petition Reaches 100,000 Signatures

A White House petition asking President Barack Obama to veto the GMO labeling bill reached 100,000 signatures recently, passing the threshold needed to get a formal response from the President. However, as Politico reports, the petition is almost certainly too little too late, as Obama has already said he intends to sign the bill. In the midst of the bill getting through Congress, the White House earlier this month said the President would sign the bill; however, there is no indication when he may do so. The House and Senate passed the compromise bill earlier this month. The legislations preempts state labeling laws, such as the Vermont law, and mandate’s GMO disclosure through on-package labeling or smart labels.

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Rural Group for Hillary Forms at DNC

A group called Rural for Hillary was organized earlier this week during the Democratic National Convention to begin campaign efforts for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in rural America. While not formally affiliated with Clinton’s campaign, the group did hold a closed-door session with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this week, according to the Hagstrom Report. Organizers of the group are volunteers and include Pam Johnson, former president of the National Corn Growers Association. Other organizers include AgriBank’s vice president for government affairs, Vicki Hicks, and Trevor Dean, a former Clinton aide who also worked in the Department of Agriculture during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

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China Pig Prices Reaching Near Record Levels amid Flooding

Pig prices in China may climb to near record levels following floods that drowned animals and prompted fears of possible disease outbreaks. In one village alone, local reports say roughly 10,000 hogs drowned in flood waters. Flooding also raises the risk of disease, as improper treatment of corpses could cause widespread disease after flood. China is the world’s largest pork consumers and farmers in the country are increasing slaughter, including animals that aren’t fat enough, after floods in China’s central and south regions, according to Bloomberg. Pig prices may surpass the record 21 Yuan per kilogram reached in May, the equivalent of $3.15. China will import a record amount of pork this year to cover a supply gap amid declining domestic production. Output fell 3.9 percent in the first half of this year and the five provinces hardest hit by flooding produce about one-third of the country’s pork. Analysts say domestic pig prices in China surged 51 percent already this year, and Imports will surge at least 30 percent.

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Dollar General Buys Walmart Express Locations, Will Expand Meat Offerings

Dollar General announced this week the discount retailer has purchased 41 former Wal-Mart Express locations across 11 states. Dollar General anticipates relocating 40 existing Dollar General Stores into the purchased sites by October. The newly-relocated Dollar General stores will use a new layout with expanded offerings such as fresh meat and produce. Dollar General also intends to operate the fueling stations in 37 of those locations, according to Meatingpalce. Wal-Mart launched the Express stores in 2011, which emphasized packaged foods and were designed to appeal to shoppers looking for convenience, while Wal-Mart’s Neighborhood Markets stock fresh meat and produce. In January, Wal-Mart announced it would close all 102 of its small-format Express stores while preparing to open more Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in 2017. 

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North American Farmers Increasing Rye Plantings on Higher Whiskey Sales

Farmers in North America are turning back to what Reuters calls a neglected crop, sowing fields with the largest rye crop in years as consumers satisfy a growing thirst for whiskey. Rye, planted in autumn and harvested in mid-summer, fell in popularity during the past decade as other crops produced bigger profits. However, with whiskey demand high and new varieties of rye on the market, farmers have regained interest. U.S. farmers planted 1.76 million acres for the 2016-17 season, the biggest area since 1989 and a 12 percent increase from last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Canada, a major rye exporter along with the European Union and Russia, farmers sowed 405,900 acres, the biggest rye area in seven years. Meanwhile, U.S. whiskey sales increased nine percent on the year to $4.1 billion in June, topping the six percent demand growth for total spirits.

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Oregon State Fair to Feature Prize Winning Marijuana Plants

The Oregon State Fair this year will feature a unique cash crop for the first time: marijuana. While the annual fair celebrates oddities like the curviest vegetable, this year fairgoers will see prize-winning marijuana plants, according to the Oregonian Newspaper. The Oregon Cannabis Business Council, which sponsors the marijuana exhibit, says nine plants will be displayed in a greenhouse that will have its own entrance and exit and a security guard will monitor the area. Only people 21 and older will be allowed in. Fair officials said the inclusion of cannabis plants is a nod to the newly legal status of the crop. A spokesperson for the Oregon State Fair said feature the state’s marijuana crop shows the fair is moving in the “direction that the entire state is moving.” The fair opens August 26th in Salem, Oregon.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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