READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, September 15th…

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Bayer and Monsanto Agree to Merger

Bayer and Monsanto announced today (Wednesday) that they’ve signed an agreement to merge the two companies together. Bayer will acquire Monsanto for $128 dollars per share in an all-cash transaction. Monsanto’s Board of Directors, Bayer’s Board of Management and Bayer’s Supervisory Board have all unanimously approved the merger agreement. The transaction brings together two different, but complementary businesses together under one umbrella. The new company will have Monsanto’s expertise in seeds and traits, as well as its Climate Corporation platform, and Bayer’s broad crop protection product line that covers a wide range of crops.  Bayer intends to finance the deal through a combination of debt and equity. The combined business will have its North American headquarters and Global Seeds and Traits division in St. Louis, Missouri. The global crop protection and crop science divisions will be located in Germany. The company will also have a strong presence in Durham, North Carolina, as well as other locations across the U.S. and the globe. The Digital Farming activities for the combined business will be in San Francisco, California.


NFU Reacts to Bayer-Monsanto Merger

The National Farmers Union is concerned about continued consolidation among agribusinesses. After hearing the news of a $66 billion merger proposal between Bayer and Monsanto, NFU President Roger Johnson said consolidation of this magnitude cannot be the standard for agriculture, nor should we allow it to determine the landscape of agriculture. He said, “The merger deal between Bayer and Monsanto marks the fifth major deal in the last year, preceded by an approval of the Syngenta/Chem China acquisition, as well as proposed mergers between Dow/DuPont, Potash Corp/Agrium, and John Deere/Precision Planting.” He said farm and ranch families have been on Capitol Hill asking members of Congress to conduct hearings to review the staggering amount of pending merger deals in agriculture today. “We will continue to express concern that these megadeals are being made to benefit corporate boardrooms rather than family farmers, ranchers, consumers, and rural economies,” he added.


Countries in TPP Won’t Renegotiate Terms of the Deal

The countries that signed on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal decided this week that they will not renegotiate terms of the deal. The Japanese TPP Minister confirmed that the 12 countries will move ahead quickly with their individual domestic processes to implement the U.S.-led trade deal. The remarks came after a meeting held on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. The gathering was held because of growing suspicion that the deal won’t take effect in spite of being signed in February. The speculation comes from both U.S. major-party candidates for president criticizing the deal while out on the campaign trail. The Japanese Prime Minister is expected to try to achieve ratification in his country as early as September 26 during a special session of the government. The TPP deal would cover 12 countries and roughly 40 percent of the global economy.


House Ag Committee Talks Trade with Cuba

The House Ag Committee held a hearing today (Wednesday) on the potential opportunities for American producers if trade relations were normalized with Cuba. Much of the conversation revolved around the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (HR Bill 3687) as well as the potential removal of financial restrictions that limit trade opportunities with Cuba. “The history between the U.S. and Cuba is long and complicated,” said House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican. “The Castro regime’s stranglehold on the island nation has long prevented normalized trade relations between the countries.” He added that many are starting to believe lifting financial restrictions on agricultural trade could improve the lives of Cubans and also help American producers who are struggling through one of the worst economic downturns they’ve seen since the Great Depression.  Conaway said he hopes to find a path forward to allow and expand agricultural trade to Cuba, but at the same time, he remains firmly against lifting the travel embargo.


Livestock Groups Launch Website on Antibiotic Changes

Several major agricultural groups launched a website to provide information on the Food and Drug Administration’s new rules that will change how antibiotics are used to keep animals healthy. The groups include the Animal Health Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Animal Agriculture Alliance. A news release from the Animal Health Institute says the new website address is together ABX Dot Com. The new policy is effective on January 1 of 2017 and stops the use of antibiotics similar to those used in humans for animal growth purposes. The new policy also requires producers to consult veterinarians when antibiotics used to fight disease in humans are also used to fight disease in livestock. Human and animal health experts agree that antibiotic resistance is a public concern. That’s why animal production rules use guidelines that ensure that antibiotics can be used to keep food animals healthy while not posing a threat to human health because of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


EPA Glyphosate Assessment Moved to Next Spring

The new target date for the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment on glyphosate is now sometime in the spring of 2017, which coincides with the arrival of a new presidential administration. The EPA is two years late in proposing risk levels that will be the basis for a decision on whether or not lawmakers will keep the herbicide on the market. Some say the blame falls on the International Center for Research on Cancer for the delay in decision making. A report in March of 2015 from the Research Center found glyphosate to be a possible carcinogen risk. That report is making it more difficult for policymakers around the world who say that the product is safe for its prescribed uses. The report didn’t actually look at approved uses of the product or deal with exposure levels, it just found that it is possible for the chemical to cause cancer.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service