READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 11th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 11th

Missouri and Arkansas Halt Dicamba Sale and Use

The Missouri and Arkansas Agriculture Departments both halted the sale and usage of dicamba in their respective states. Those two states have been in the middle of hundreds of misuse complaints. The Arkansas ban is effective for 120 days while the Missouri Ag Department would like to reinstate product usage this growing season after their investigation is concluded. The Missouri Soybean Association issued a statement saying over 200,000 acres of soybeans show at least some level of dicamba damage. The state’s soybean checkoff issued a statement saying it’s clear some type of action is necessary. Missouri Ag Director Chris Chinn said in a statement on the department’s YouTube channel that they’re actively working on the issue. “I’ve asked the makers of these approved, post emergent products and farmers to work with us to determine how we can expeditiously allow applications to resume this growing season,” she said in the video. Monsanto released a statement saying they’re complying with the order and they encourage all growers to do the same. The 120-day ban goes into effect at midnight on Tuesday, July 11th. Arkansas farmers have filed nearly 600 complaints in which dicamba is the suspected pesticide.

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Syngenta Settles Nebraska Complaint, Minnesota Trial Next

Syngenta has reached a confidential settlement with a Nebraska farmer who claims the company mishandled marketing of its genetically modified seed, which in turn caused corn prices to plummet. Bloomberg says a settlement heads off a trial that was to start this week. Terms of the settlement were not made public. It was just two weeks ago that Syngenta lost a jury verdict worth $218 million dollars because of a class action suit brought by Kansas farmers alleging similar claims against the company. Syngenta will next face a class action suit, which starts in August, up in Minnesota. Farmers there are seeking more than $600 million dollars. The farmers allege that Syngenta rushed its seed into the marketplace before getting approval from China to export the grain over there. China stopped bringing in shipments of corn in 2013, calling the grain shipments contaminated by the GMO seed. The farmers say that set off a five-year depression in corn prices. They also say Syngenta misled them on when China would approve the seed for import. Syngenta disputes the damage claims, saying it did nothing wrong. The company says it didn’t sell the seed until approved in the U.S. and didn’t need China’s approval to do so.

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Canadian Problems with PEDv Continue to Grow

The continued surge of a piglet-killing virus in Canada is starting to threaten a share of pork supplies in the U.S. Fifty cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, have been confirmed in Manitoba between May 1 and July 4th. The virus has affected over 63,000 sows at hog operations in southeast Manitoba, Canada’s third biggest pork producer. Bloomberg says some U.S. brokers have already quit taking shipments from Canada because of the outbreak. The virus causes diarrhea and vomiting. While older animals typically recover from the virus, mortality rate in young piglets can be as high as 100 percent. A recent U.S. outbreak back in the winter of 2013-2014 killed millions of animals, sending pork prices to record highs. Canada’s veterinarian service is still allowing pigs without the virus to be shipped south into the U.S. The latest outbreak is estimated to have cut production by as much as 200,000 piglets, with roughly half of that number ending up in U.S. barns.  

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Northern Plains Drought Damage Mounts

The northern plains drought is continuing to damage crops and forage with no real end in sight anytime soon. Grassland and spring wheat have both suffered significant damage. A DTN article says South Dakota is the driest it’s been for April-June since 2006. Other locations have seen the driest April-June time period ever. Experts are worried about damage to the corn crop. “Corn is so short that even cutting for silage is questionable,” says North Dakota State Extension Crop Specialist Ryan Buelow. “The way it’s starting to look now, it’s not even going to make silage.” South Dakota State Climatologist Laura Edwards says the dryness is becoming historic. June was the eighth-driest month on record for the state and the weather forecast is continued hot and dry for the next two weeks. “Corn in South Dakota starts to pollinate around mid-July,” she says, “and that could be a tough time.” The impact is being felt across the entire ag industry. Cattle ranchers are selling large parts of their herds because of feed shortages. There have also been big reductions in fertilizer and herbicide sales.

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Utah Ag-Gag Law Gets Overturned by Judge

A federal judge has officially overturned a 2012 Utah law that made a criminal offense of lying to access a farm and filming once inside. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says that makes it the second “ag-gag” law to be struck down for violating the First Amendment. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals brough suit against the law. In a ruling issued last Friday, Judge Robert Shelby of the Utah U.S. District Court found that the state undoubtedly has an interest in addressing threats to the state’s agricultural industry. Shelby said, “As history shows, the state has a variety of constitutionally permitted tools at its disposal to do so. Supressing broad swaths of protected speech without justification, however, is not one of them.” The decision is similar to a ruling from a district court judge in Idaho in 2015. That case is currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after that state appealed a lower court’s ruling that found the law unconstitutional. Oral arguments took place in May of this year and a final order could possibly come at any time.

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Southern Cotton Producers Heading to California

Twelve cotton producers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri will travel west to observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin (Wah-keen’) Valley during the week of July 17th. It’s part of the National Cotton Council’s 2017 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E) Program. The P.I.E. program is now 29 years old and sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation. The program has exposed more than 1,100 cotton producers to innovative production ideas in cotton belt regions different from their own. The program’s goal is to help cotton producers boost the efficiency on their operations through several ways, including getting new perspectives on fundamental practices like land prep, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation, and harvesting. Producers also get a look at innovative ways others are using current technology. This year’s other P.I.E. tours will have southwestern cotton producers touring operations in Georgia in early August. Southeast and Far West cotton producers will tour Texas cotton regions in mid-August.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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