Bayer's chief executive acknowledged on Friday that he will face an uphill battle to improve Monsanto's reputation once Bayer completes the takeover of the U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company. "Monsanto’s image does of course represent a major challenge for us, and it’s not an aspect I wish to play down," Werner Baumann told shareholders at Bayer's annual general meeting."Yet we are facing this challenge with all those qualities that have made us what we are today: openness, expertise and responsibility," he added. Bayer and Monsanto plan to wrap up the $66 billion transaction by the end of 2017. As part of this, Bayer aims to file for European antitrust approval during the second quarter.
Blizzard Flattens Winter Wheat; Rains Drown Corn, Soybean Fields.April is known for erratic weather, but the month may have outdone itself this year.Over the weekend, a wintry storm system dumped up to two feet of snow on parts of the Great Plains, flattening a winter wheat crop that was maturing weeks ahead of normal. Meanwhile in the Midwest and Midsouth, relentless rains swelled rivers and flooded freshly planted corn and soybean fields."Precipitation totals ranged from three to eight inches of rain in the Midwest, with heaviest totals south of Interstate 70 in Missouri and Illinois," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson. "Some reports had over 10 inches of rain. Meanwhile, western Plains wheat incurred possibly extensive damage from snowfall ranging from a few inches to more than a foot. Twenty-plus inches of snow were reported in Oakley, Kansas (northwestern Kansas)."The markets responded accordingly by Monday morning, noted DTN Markets Analyst Todd Hultman. New-crop wheat surged 20 cents; corn and soybeans posted rallies of 10 cents and 14 cents, respectively."This weekend's weather adds to the likelihood that world wheat production will be modestly smaller in 2017 and should help wheat prices stabilize as bearish pressures ease somewhat," Hultman said. "With DTN's National Hard Red Winter Wheat Index still trading near its lowest prices in 11 years, the market is overdue for a more stable, possibly even bullish performance in 2017."The weather has also "tossed a basketball into the USDA's marble game of planting estimates" as Midwest farmers weigh corn and soybean replant decisions in the coming weeks, he added.
Cargill has announced it will exit from its U.S. cattle feeding business. The move means that in the last year, the company has gone for the fourth-largest feeder in the U.S., to completely leaving the sector. Cargill has reached an agreement to sell its last two feed yards to Green Plains Inc., which will purchase the feed yards for $36.7 million. Cargill’s withdrawal from the feeding business highlights a change in priorities at the company, which says it is the world’s largest supplier of ground beef, according to Reuters. Cargill is seeking to expand its North America-based protein business by exploring plant-based protein, fish and insects, along with other opportunities linked to livestock and poultry.The Green Plains Cattle Company, a subsidiary of the ethanol producer Green Plains Inc, will supply cattle to Cargill for processing through a multi-year agreement, according to the companies. By buying the feed yards, Green Plains gains markets for its distiller’s dried grains, an ethanol byproduct used to feed livestock.
Those Wisconsin dairy cows at the center of another trade kettle now boiling between the United States and Canada, a friend suggests, aren’t really black-and-white Holsteins.They’re tiny, yellow canaries, he opines, and their tweets—not President Donald J. Trump’s—are a warning that America’s reign as the world’s ag export superpower is fading and U.S. farmers and ranchers are ill-prepared for what comes next. “This (was) the first time milk was left and not picked up at any price,” explains the friend, after more than 60 Wisconsin dairy farms were notified by their Canada-based milk buyer that they would be dropped.That shocking news meant “We better make some decisions on the future of dairying real quick (because) every farm is expanding …to leverage survival.” Grain farmers, too, plow “every acre to plant more corn and beans to be sold below the cost of production.”And, he adds, “This is insane.”He’s right. More importantly, he isn’t the only one to hear canaries when he looks at the longer-term American ag picture. On April 21, a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal gave facts, figures, and dates on how and why America’s dominance in global ag export markets is not just slipping but flagging.“With 43% of the [soy] export market,” explained the Journal, “up from just 12% 30 years ago, Brazil can sway global prices…” Additionally, “It’s projected to be the second-largest corn exporter, on the heels of the U.S. this season.” But it’s just not big, growing Brazil, continued the Journal. “As of the last crop year, Russia now beats America in shipments of wheat.”That trend likely will continue. On April 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 2016/17 total U.S. wheat acres would fall to 46.1 million, the lowest since 1919, only because that’s “when U.S. wheat production records began.”Into this ongoing global ag realignment comes the almost perfectly paradoxical farm team of President Donald J. Trump and Sonny Perdue, his long-in-waiting secretary of agriculture. A more polar opposite pair would be hard to find.
At the end of a long gravel road in East College Station, the world's first cloned cat -- now 15 years old -- lives in what longtime Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science researcher Duane Kraemer describes affectionately as a "kitty barn." CC, also known as Copy Cat, was born in December 2001, the result of the 87th attempt at cloning a cat by Kraemer's lab at Texas A&M after several years of trying.Kraemer, who recently retired from the university, said the success was simply the product of his team's work in pushing the boundaries of what is possible to accomplish. Kraemer said CC even had a litter of her own years ago with a male cat named Smokey -- a test to see if she was genetically capable of reproduction. Today, she lives in a small house built by Kraemer and located in his back yard alongside Smokey and her three offspring.
Researchers at Cornell University hope to tackle a small pest and a big problem that has plagued agriculture since the 1800s: controlling the destructive diamondback moth through genetic engineering. The diamondback moth is a small creature, about the length of two grains of rice, but they are capable of inflicting billions of dollars of damage on cabbage and broccoli crops every year. In fact, the moth is Enemy No. 1 when it comes to the cabbage and broccoli family. Cornell University’s agriculture research division in Geneva, New York, is studying how to invade the invaders with genetically engineered male diamondback moths that mate with females, which then die before reaching adulthood. The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said last week it is seeking public comment on Cornell’s plan to release sterile male diamondback moths from the United Kingdom on Cornell’s research grounds.
A Florida teacher stands to lose his job after school officials said he bullied and harassed Future Farmers of America students who are raising livestock to be sold for slaughter. Middle school teacher Thomas Roger Allison Jr., 53, has been placed on unpaid leave from Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks near Ocala for calling the students who are raising livestock “murderers,” according to a Marion County school district letter documenting the case. Allison is also accused of harassing the group’s teacher adviser and encouraging his honors science students to harass FAA members. A district investigation revealed that teacher is on a quest to end the animal agriculture program because of his animal rights beliefs.
Antimicrobial resistance is a global issue affecting public, animal and plant health. Before the 1960s, antibiotics were expensive and were not widely used in livestock production, said Wondwossen Gebreyes, executive director of Global One Health Initiative at Ohio State University. However, there are economic benefits to using antibiotics in livestock production. A study from the University of Kentucky found the total benefit per pig was $3.98. “There is huge incentive to use antibiotics and when you withdraw them there are huge consequences,” he said.
Dr. Charles Hatcher, the Tennessee State Veterinarian, was at the center of the recent flurry of activity with avian influenza when the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was discovered in a commercial facility in the state. “The state of Tennessee benefitted from the previous states going through the outbreak in 2015. The lessons learned there were critical for what we did,” Hatcher said at yesterday’s National Institute for Animal Agriculture meeting in Columbus. “We knew there was a possibility of this happening because the Mississippi Flyway and the Atlantic Coastal Flyway touch Tennessee. Since 2015 we have been planning. The bombshell hit us and once we determined it was HPAI, our pre-determined plans went into place. We had the incident command structure just like you would have going into war. It is like fighting a war because you have all of these battles.”
Here are the worst sites on the internet about agriculture in no particular order:
Environmental Working Group
Pesticide Action Network
The Non-GMO Project
GMO Free USA
David “Avocado” Wolfe
Green Med Info
Food Democracy Now
Kids Right to Know
Food & Water Watch
Just Label It
US Right to Know
Organic Consumers Association
Moms Across America
Erin @ Health Nut News
Mercy for Animals
Best Video You Will Ever See
Healthy Holistic Living
The Mind Unleashed
March Against Monsanto
When reading anything off of these sites, take the information presented with a grain of salt. Look at their background, funding, sensationalism and lies. Check out the authors and see if they’ve ever actually been to a real large scale farm!