READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 7th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 7th

Immigration Bill Won’t Affect Temporary Workers

The sponsor of an immigration bill suspected to reduce the agriculture labor force in the U.S. says his legislation will not impact temporary workers, which are often used in agriculture production. Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue wrote colleagues last week after concerns were raised about how the bill would impact farm workers. Referring to comments by Senate Republican Lindsay Graham, that the proposal would hurt his state’s agriculture and tourism industries, Perdue said: “What we’re focused on in this bill is permanent legal immigration — green cards only,” according to the Hagstrom Report. Because of that, Senator Perdue says the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy, or RAISE Act, would not affect programs that bring farm workers into the United States on a temporary basis.

EPA to Reject Ethanol Rules Change

The Environmental Protection Agency will reject proposed changes to the point of obligation for complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard away from refiners. Politico reports that a Trump administration official said the EPA would reject the proposal by billionaire Carl Icahn (Eye’-kahn), a key Trump supporter. EPA plans to formally announce the decision within the next two weeks and “President Trump supports the EPA’s decision.” Politico says that Icahn, refining giant Valero and smaller refiners argued that purchasing compliance credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers, squeezed their bottom lines and, in some cases, threatened to put them out of business. Icahn’s CVR lost $19 million in the second quarter of this year after guessing incorrectly that the administration would make the policy change.

Cuba, Houston, Sign Port Agreement

The Port Authority of Houston, Texas and its counterpart in Cuba have signed an agreement of “friendship and commercial cooperation.” The agreement between the two launches an opportunity to “continue trade in agricultural products between the U.S. and Cuba,” according to the Houston Port Authority. The PanAm Post reports that the agreement seeks to facilitate and promote trade, generate new business and foster a “closer” bilateral relationship between the two nations. The agreement also provides for the exchange of studies and information to improve and increase market research, joint marketing activities, training and technological exchange.  A port official from Cuba commented on the agreement that “Texas is a state that is rich in agricultural, livestock, industrial development,” adding that Cuba is interested in negotiating and developing a prosperous commercial exchange. The agreement is the eighth signed by Cuba with United States ports, other of which are in Florida and Virginia.

Monsanto Addresses Dicamba Issues in Open Letter

In an open letter to customers, Monsanto says the company is committed to supporting farmers at every stage of the growing season. Monsanto, the maker of the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend crop system that includes the dicamba herbicide formulation XtendiMax, responded in the letter to complaints of dicamba drift injury to non-tolerant crops. Monsanto says that many farmers are “experiencing tremendous success” with the crop system, but adds that they are hearing the reports of leaf cupping in nearby soybean fields, which could be attributable to dicamba. The company says it is “taking these reports extremely seriously.” Monsanto has taken action and has a report line available to report any symptoms of dicamba drift at 1-844-RRXTEND. Monsanto says it has also deployed scientists from The Climate Corporation to review weather data and how it may have affected applications. Finally, the open letter penned by Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Rob Fraley says the company will continue to expand outreach and training efforts going into 2018.

Cargill Purchases Southern States Cooperative Animal Feed Business

Cargill has reached an agreement to acquire the animal feed business of Southern States Cooperative. Withholding terms of the deal, Cargill released a statement last week saying it expects the transaction to close within 90 days. Cargill says the transaction will better serve its customers in the United States and is part of the company’s Feed and Nutrition’s growth strategy. Under the agreement, Cargill will purchase the assets of Southern States Cooperative’s animal feed business, including seven feed mills and a portfolio of products, brands and customer and supplier relationships. The other segments of Southern States Cooperative’s business – retail, farm supply, energy, and agronomy – are not part of the transaction.

Global Food Prices Hit Three-year High

Global food prices reached a three-year high in July, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The FAO Food Price Index in July averaged 179.1 points in July 2017, up 2.3 percent from June and the third successive month of increases. The report says a combination of supply constraints and currency movements provided support to prices of most cereals, sugar and dairy. Instead, meat values remained steady month-on-month, whereas the Vegetable Oil Index edged down. The latest rise put the Index nearly 10.2 percent above last year’s level and at its highest since January 2015. The Cereal Price Index averaged 162.2 points in July, up almost eight points from June. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 160.4 points in July, down 1.8 points from June and marking the lowest level since August 2016. The Dairy Price Index averaged 216.6 points in July, up 7.6 points from June and 74.3 points, or 52 percent, above its value in July 2016. Despite this latest increase, the Index is still 21 percent below its peak reached in February 2014. The Meat Price Index averaged 175.1 points in July, virtually unchanged from June, and the Sugar Price Index averaged 207.5 points in July.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service