READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 4th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 4th

Minnesota Court Delays Syngenta Lawsuit Hearing

The Associated Press reports that the first of literally tens of thousands of lawsuits against Syngenta has been delayed until July. The suits accuse the Swiss agribusiness company of introducing a genetically engineered corn variety before China had approved it for imports, thereby causing farmers economic harm. The case was supposed to go to trial last week in a Minnesota court. Attorney Lew Remele (Rem’-uh-lee) said the court had already picked a jury in late April. The judge decided to restart the process because some of the jurors had claimed financial hardship if they heard the case. He says the juror notification requirements and scheduling conflicts means a delay until July tenth. That delay will mean the first case up will get tried in a Kansas City federal court on July fifth. Approximately 60,000 cases have been filed in Minnesota alone. The suits accuse Syngenta of wrecking China as an export market for U.S. corn farmers. Syngenta denies it’s caused farmers any financial losses.

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Dow/DuPont Merger Gets Conditional China Approval

Dow and DuPont announced this week they’ve been given conditional regulatory merger approval by China’s Ministry of Commerce. The approval is conditionally based on the companies fullfilling commitments that were given to the Ministry regarding the deal. The conditions for approval are similar to commitments the companies already made to get approval from the European Union Commission. For example, Dow and DuPont will have to divest parts of DuPont’s crop protection portfolio. Dow and DuPont have also made commitments within the Chinese market, including the supply and distribution of certain herbicide and insecticide ingredients and formulations for rice crops for up to five years after the merger is finalized. Back on March 27, the European Union gave conditional approval to the merger. Dow and DuPont still expect the deal to be finalized during August of this year. Intended company spin-offs would occur sometime during the 18 months after the deal closes. Dow and DuPont are also continuing to work to get regulatory approval for their merger from the remaining relevant jurisdictions around the globe.

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Commerce Department to End Mexican Sugar Dumping

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it intends to end the antidumping and countervailing duty suspension agreements in place with Mexico over what it calls that country’s unfair trading practices. The department will impose duties on Mexican sugar imports beginning on June 5, unless the two countries can come to an agreement. Phillip Hayes, a spokesman for the American Sugar Alliance, says they are grateful the Department of Commerce is taking steps to bring Mexico into compliance with U.S. trade laws they were found guilty of breaking. However, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told NAFB broadcasters in Washington that U.S. sugar refiners should be careful what they wish for. He feels the duties being threatened by the Commerce Department won’t help U.S. refiners. He adds that he won’t ask American sugar beet producers or cane farmers in Louisiana and Florida to do things that aren’t in their long-term best interests.  “I’m not going to ask any of them to sign a deal that will put them out of business,” Perdue said, “but I do want them to think long and hard about the potential consequences.”

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Rabobank Finds Pork Export Market Projections Favorable

Looking ahead to the second and third quarter of 2017, Rabobank says pork export projections look favorable for the industry. Rabobank Research Food and Agribusiness analysts find that a stable market is ahead into the third quarter as increased U.S. pork production is being absorbed into Asian export markets. The report on National Hog Farmer Dot Com says the industry is keeping a close eye on what’s going on with Chinese pork imports, both now and in the months ahead. Rabobank analysts report that “steady, regulatory-driven relocation of pork production will support a good price level and stabilize imports in the coming months.” Rabobank reports that the pork markets are also performing well in Japan and South Korea. Consumption in Japan is up over 4 percent in January-February, year-over-year, marking three years of increased pork consumption by Japanese consumers. South Korean pork production is growing, but so are imports. A booming pig market in the European Union will put pressure on supplies as prices are rapidly rising. U.S. pork producers are looking for exports to determine prices levels as domestic production is forecast to be four percent higher this year. With all this in mind, Rabobank says the U.S. pork sector is off to a strong start in 2017.

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CA Citrus Industry Angry Over Lemons From Argentina

The California citrus industry was livid over the decision by the Trump Administration to lift the ban that had been in place on Argentina lemons. The administration decided to allow lemon imports from northwest Argentina to resume for the first time in 16 years. The ban will be lifted on May 26, a move that California Citrus Mutual, an industry advocacy group, says left them blindsided. “They just flat-out ignored us,” says Joel Nelsen, CCM President, “and that’s unacceptable.” The ban was first put in place because California citrus growers said Argentine lemons contained diseases. Last December, the Obama administration said it would lift the ban. The Trump administration later issued a 60-day stay on the decision. “We disagreed with the Obama administration,” Nelsen said, “and this now belongs to the Trump administration. It flies in the face of the administration’s priorities, which are to protect domestic agriculture, U.S. businesses, and U.S. jobs.” He said there are also serious questions about pests that could still come in with Argentine imports and do damage to U.S. groves. Argentina farmers say they’ve complied with all U.S. regulations and say there are no problems with the sanitary condition of their fruit.

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NM Attorney Launches Probe of U.S. Beef Processors

New Mexico’s Attorney General is launching a probe into the business practices of some of the nation’s largest beef processors. He contends the state’s ranchers and cattle farmers are being “harmed by out-of-state corporations.” The Attorney General, Hector Balderas, says he’s concerned about the “unfair and anti-competitive practices” of companies like Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods, and the National Beef Packing Company, among others. The probe is believed to be first ever filed by a state attorney general. The probe accuses the mega-meatpacking companies of harming New Mexico’s families by reaping record profits at the expense of local residents, who are seeing their paychecks shrink and the price of meat rise. The news release from the attorney general’s office says the state has roughly 7,000 farms. The release also challenges any federal statutes or entities that he says illegally threaten New Mexico’s farming and ranching families. Representatives of the four largest meatpackers didn’t return calls from Meating Place Dot Com seeking comments.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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