READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 24th…

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New Poll Shows Support for TPP

A New poll from Morning Consult shows the majority of voters favor trade. The poll shows 57 percent of registered voters have a favorable view of “fair trade,” and 50 percent said they would be more likely to support TPP if they knew it would provide new markets overseas for U.S. farm products. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the results are something “all candidates should keep in mind as a congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement comes closer to reality.” Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says “the more people know, the more they will support this vitally important agreement.” Other findings include: 52 percent of voters say they would be more likely to support TPP if they knew the deal would increase annual income in the U.S. by $131 billion, and 69 percent of voters support trade policies that will open new markets for U.S. products and U.S. farmers while less than one in 10, or eight percent, oppose.


BPI Dropping Some from “Pink Slime’ Lawsuit

Beef Products Inc. is not dropping its lawsuit filed in 2012 against ABC and journalists Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila, but it has removed a number of defendants from the complaint. The lawsuit was filed over a series of reports BPI alleges were inaccurate and cost the company a significant chunk of its sales of lean finely textured beef. Politico reports BPI dropped ABC’s news division, ABC correspondent David Kerley, two former USDA microbiologists and a former BPI quality control manager who acted as a whistleblower against the company. The lawsuit seeks more than $1.2 billion in damages. It charges ABC with making more than 200 false and disparaging statements about BPI’s product, a form of beef trimmings injected with ammonia to fight pathogens, and helping to fortify the nickname “pink slime.” BPI claims ABC’s “disinformation campaign” caused sales of the product to decline from five million pounds a week to less than two million pounds, forcing BPI to close three facilities and let go of more than 700 employees.


USDA Allowing Meat, Egg Products with “No GMO” Label

The Department of Agriculture will begin allowing meat, poultry and egg producers to use labels such as “contains no GMO” or “derived from beef fed no GMO feed.” The guidance announced last week takes effect immediately and gives food makers information and examples on how to label products as non-GMO, known as a negative claim, according to Reuters. USDA says the nationwide, voluntary GMO labeling law approved by Congress and signed by the President set rules for labeling products as GMO-free, allowing for the change. Previously, USDA only allowed the use of the phrases “GMO” and “genetically modified organism” on livestock or poultry labeling. The new law gives USDA two years to create and finalize rules implementing the law.

Bayer, Monsanto Merger Talks Advancing

Merger talks between Monsanto and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of meetings in which the companies have addresses issues including the purchase price and a termination fee, according to Bloomberg News. Sources close to the talks say a deal could be reached in the next two weeks. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant have held “constructive meetings” in recent weeks, but Bloomberg said its sources caution that negotiations “could still fall apart or be delayed. Any potential merger between the two would likely face fierce antitrust approval. Any Bayer-Monsanto deal would follow two other billion-dollar acquisitions in the agricultural industry, ChemChina’s $43 billion takeover of Syngenta AG and Dow Chemical merger with DuPont to create the world’s biggest chemical company. St. Louis, Missouri Based Monsanto rejected Bayer’s previous two attempts to acquire Monsanto.

Iowa County Approves Pork Processing Plant

Wright County, Iowa approved an agreement to allow Prestage Farms to build a $240 million pork processing plant near Eagle Grove, Iowa. The decision comes after six weeks of public hearings and last week’s announcement by the Iowa Economic Development Authority that it approved $11.5 million in incentives for Prestage to build in Wright County, according to Meatingplace. The plant brings a $43 million payroll to the county with 900 new full-time jobs. Groundbreaking on the project should begin in spring 2017, and the facility is scheduled to be completed in late 2018. The approval comes two months after officials in Mason City, Iowa rejected a plan for the plant to be built there. Prestage Farms is based in North Carolina and has operations in Iowa, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma.

Louisiana Flooding to Cost State’s Agriculture $110 Million

Torrential rains that recently caused historic flooding in south Louisiana will cost the state’s agriculture industry at least $110 million. The Louisiana State University AgCenter says that figure is expected to grow as farmers realize the full extent of flood damage. Further, normal seasonal rains are likely to slow floodwaters receding. Many factors – including crop yield and quality reductions, increased production costs, infrastructure damage and loss of stored commodities – are not immediately clear. LSU officials say the state’s soybean crop will likely take the hardest hit, with about $46 million in yield losses expected. Yield reductions will cost the Louisiana rice industry about $33 million. At least $3 million worth of sugarcane will have to be replanted. Corn-producing areas did not receive heavy flooding damage, although wet field conditions have delayed harvest, which can cause plants to fall over and grains to sprout. Those issues could cost corn farmers $10 million. Finally, the University says it is not yet clear how many livestock deaths the flood caused. However, reduced pasture resources and forage availability will cost livestock producers nearly $2 million.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service