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

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

Sonny Perdue Vote Delayed to Thursday

Sonny Perdue’s nomination vote out of the Senate Agriculture Committee will wait another day after it was delayed Wednesday. However, a vote seems likely Thursday morning. The next Senate floor vote was scheduled for 10 am ET Thursday, and the Senate Agriculture Committee said Wednesday afternoon the vote would take place Thursday, following the next Senate floor vote. Perdue, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Agriculture Secretary, is expected to easily pass the Senate Agriculture Committee. But, if the Senate is unable to fit a full chamber vote on Perdue’s nomination by the end of next week, the confirmation vote may not happen until the last week of April, meaning another month before Perdue can take his desk at the Department of Agriculture. The Senate will take a two-week Easter recess at the end of next week.


Very Early Planting Not Worth the Risks

An agriculture professor from the University of Illinois says very early planting is not worth the risks involved. Emerson Nafziger says planting well ahead of normal is unlikely to result in higher yields. In Illinois, he says some corn and soybeans were planted as early as February this year, with unseasonably warm and dry weather. However, he says “the earlier the better” typically doesn’t work well. Yields are usually no higher for crops planted in March or early April compared to those planted in late April or early May, so there’s little reward for taking the risk of very early planting. He says the primary cause of stand loss in both crops is heavy rainfall soon after planting, something early planted crops are more prone to. He says the potential for frost damage and standability issues due to wet April and May soils are also common in early planted crops. Planting very early also affects insurability, and if the crop needs to be replanted, can increase production costs.


Study Find Some Confusion Regarding New Fuel Choices

A new nationwide study has found Americans seem to remain confused about new fuel choices at the pump and their appropriate usage. The study was commissioned by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and surveyed more than 2,000 adults online. The poll found that more consumers have reported mis-fueling engines not recommended for ethanol blends higher than 10 percent, which includes small engine outdoor power equipment, increasing from three percent in 2015 to five percent in the most recent study. Study results show ethanol awareness in fuels remains steady, at 84 percent, and that 44 percent of outdoor power equipment owners are paying attention to the type of fuels they are using. Ethanol blends greater than 10 percent in small engines is not authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency. Regardless of the fuel, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute says it’s also important to drain fuel out of small engines if they will be left unused for more than 30 days, or to add a fuel stabilizer.


Cargill Making a Case for International Trade

Cargill’s CEO took a stand for international trade during a speaking engagement this week. David MacLennan told the Financial Times Commodities Summit in Switzerland that the world is at a critical tipping point in international trade policy. He called on industries represented at the event to support the development of sound trade agreements and to be on guard against a growing sentiment toward more restrictive trade measures. MacLennan told the audience: “The success of our companies, our employees and the wider world depends on us making a strong, collective stand for trade.” In addition to advocating for comprehensive trade agreements, MacLennan argued for public policies that will result in the creation of a “new workforce paradigm” in which the public and private sectors work together to provide ongoing education and training to workers, including those whose jobs are threatened either by the consequences of trade, or by other factors such as greater implementation of robotics and information technology.


Report Names Ag Labor in Human Trafficking List

A new report on sex and labor trafficking in the United States places agriculture labor in the top 25 industries for human trafficking. The Typology of Modern Slavery report announced Wednesday breaks down instances of sex and labor trafficking into 25 distinct categories. The report ranked agriculture 11th in known instances of human trafficking. Specifically, the report classifies agriculture labor as “Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.” Restaurant and Food Service took the ninth spot on the list, which included a top ten dotted with several categories of sex trafficking. Construction ranked 14th, while manufacturing was listed as 20th, and forestry and logging took the 23rd spot. The report was commissioned by Polaris, a self-described leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. The report relies on data gathered from Polaris-operated hotlines between December 2007 and December 2016. During that time, Polaris received reports of 32,200 cases of potential human trafficking and 10,000 potential cases of labor exploitation.


Farmers Union Urging trump to Oppose Dow-DuPont Merger

The National Farmers Union is asking President Donald Trump to oppose the merger between Dow and DuPont. NFU wants the administration to block the deal because of concerns it would lead to reduced competition and less innovation, as well as less choice and higher prices for farm inputs. NFU President Roger Johnson says: “If the Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto mergers were both approved, there would effectively be a duopoly in the corn and soybean seed markets.” Farmers Union says the merger of Dow and DuPont, the fourth and fifth largest firms, would give the resulting company about 41 percent of the market for corn seeds and 38 percent of the market for soybean seeds. The European Union approved the merger after Dow and DuPont agreed to sell off assets, including key research and development activities. The deal is still to be approved by regulators in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and Canada.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service