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  • Quiet shakeup begins at CHS after fraud and overstated profits | Minnesota Star Tribune

    A quiet shake-up is happening at CHS Inc. after the firm uncovered an employee’s financial misstatements had led CHS to massively overstate its profits in recent years.A trader at the Inver Grove Heights-based agricultural cooperative inflated the value of rail-freight contracts, lied to an auditor about it and was fired, the firm announced last month.Because of the misvalued rail contracts, CHS overstated its pretax profit by as much as $190 million over the past four fiscal years, or 12 percent of its $1.6 billion pretax profit in that time. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company’s reports about its financial performance in those years “should no longer be relied upon.”Since that announcement, Dan Mack, the vice president of rail transportation and terminal operations, has resigned, he confirmed to the Star Tribune. Mack was not directly responsible for overstating the rail contracts, he said. He added he “strongly supports CHS’ decision to terminate that employee.”Mack arrived at CHS from Canadian Pacific in 1998, rose to vice president of transportation and was promoted to his most recent role in 2011. The problems with misvalued rail contracts started about five years ago. CHS makes long-term contracts with rail lines for rail capacity and then sells some of that capacity to other grain companies and elevators in a secondary market as prices fluctuate based on demand and other factors.The rail-contract values contributed to the company’s reported profitability. It’s unclear whether or how other executives will be held accountable for the fraud that led to the inflated results.

     

    Over the past three years, CHS has awarded $20.6 million in incentive pay and $1.2 million in bonuses to six top executives including CEO Jay Debertin, CFO Timothy Skidmore and former CEO Carl Casale. Asked whether the company planned to take back any of the performance pay, since the company’s performance was not as good as had been reported, a CHS spokeswoman declined to comment, saying executive pay is a personnel matter

    Post date: Wed, 11/14/2018 - 11:01
  • Immigration, unemployment and labor force participation in the US | Nationa Foundation for American Policy

    Critics of immigration often allege that immigration worsens US-born workers’ labor market outcomes, such as their employment and earnings. A large body of economic research has examined how immigration has affected natives’ wages. Most of these studies have concluded that immigration has little or no adverse effect on US natives’ wages. However, few studies have examined other key dimensions of US natives’ success in the labor market: unemployment and labor force participation. Understanding how immigration affects unemployment and labor force participation among US natives is important for several reasons. The foreign-born share of the population is the highest in a century, and immigrants account for 1 in 6 workers. Although unemployment is currently near a record low, it soared during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and was slow to return to pre-recession levels. Labor force participation, meanwhile, has been declining for years, a trend that accelerated with the recession and has yet to reverse. Unemployment and labor force participation are markedly worse among disadvantaged groups, such as less-educated workers, that may compete the most intensively with immigrants in the United States. This study examines the relationship between immigrants’ share of the labor force and US natives’ unemployment and labor force participation rates using comprehensive data from 2005-2013. The study controls for economic conditions that may affect the number of immigrants in a state and presents two-stage least squares estimates that control for endogeneity. The results of the state-level analysis indicate that immigration does not increase US natives’ unemployment or reduce their labor force participation. Instead, having more immigrants reduces the unemployment rate and raises the labor force participation rate of US natives within the same sex and education group

    Post date: Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:52
  • California’s most destructive wildfire should not have come as a surprise | Los Angeles Times

    The Camp fire raging in Butte County and the Tubbs fire that torched Northern California’s wine country are a year and 100 miles apart. But they have much in common.Flames and embers, pushed by strong dry winds out of the north and northeast, setting a town ablaze. Thousands of buildings destroyed. Fleeing residents burned to death.Both burned their way into the record books by searing areas that have burned before — and will undoubtedly burn again.“These are areas that have burned before,” he said. “And if we were to go back and do the wind mapping, we would find that at some intervals, these areas are prone to these north and northeasterly Santa Ana-like events.”

    Post date: Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:51
  • Vietnam becomes 7trh county to ratify trans-Pacific trade agreement | Reuters

    Vietnam’s lawmaking body, the National Assembly, unanimously ratified a landmark 11-country deal that will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific.One of the region’s fastest growing economies, its status cemented by strong exports and robust foreign investment, the Southeast Asian nation is believed to be among the largest beneficiaries of the trade deal.The ratification makes Vietnam the seventh country to have passed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the National Assembly said in a statement.

    Post date: Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:50
  • Federal Milk Marketing Order goes into effect in California | Western Farmers Stockman

    With this new order more than 80% of the total U.S. milk supply will be covered by the 11 orders overseen by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. California represents more than 18% of all U.S. milk production and with this new order more than 80% of the total U.S. milk supply will be covered by the 11 orders overseen by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.Federal milk marketing orders are voluntary, industry-initiated, industry-driven marketing tools intended to prevent damaging price competition inherent in the marketing of highly perishable commodities. FMMOs establish the terms of trade between the farmer and the first buyer of milk by enforcing timely payments from milk processors to milk producers and developing minimum milk prices based on market values with respect to supply and demand conditions.

    Post date: Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:48

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Gleanings

Farm

Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices. 

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