High-stakes pesticide battle pits farmer against farmer

With the new planting season beginning, legal battles over dicamba are heating up in
federal and state courts.

Monsanto, BASF and DowDuPont are defendants in lawsuits initiated by farmers
seeking millions in compensation for crops they say were damaged last summer.

The plaintiffs have brought 14 cases in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri but, as a result of a February ruling, they will be heard together by a federal panel in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, a coalition of food safety, environmental and farming groups is asking the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rescind the Environmental Protection Agency’s conditional approval of the new version of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, known as
XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.

Report: U.S. Department of Agriculture can do more to keep pathogens out of meat and poultry supply

A new report released today from a congressional watchdog agency says the U.S. Department of Agriculture can do more to keep foodborne illness-causing pathogens out of meat and poultry products. The Food Safety and Inspection Service, a branch of the agriculture department, inspects approximately 6,500 meat and poultry processing plants nationwide. The inspectors test meat to ensure that salmonella and campylobacter bacteria, two common pathogens that cause roughly 2 million Americans to fall ill and each year, aren’t present in the food supply at unsafe levels. The new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the process the USDA uses to determine safety standards for pathogens in meat is outdated. The standards for ground beef, for example, have not been updated in more than 20 years, the report said.

Indiana-based farm issues recall for more than 200 million eggs

An Indiana-based company has recalled more than 206 million eggs over reports of illness related to a strain of salmonella. 

Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, issued the voluntary recall Friday of eggs produced from its Hyde County, North Carolina farm after an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration traced the rare strain back to the farm.

Farmers worry trade war would damage relationship with top customer

As China and the U.S. swap threats of import taxes on billions of dollars of goods, financial markets fluctuated and farmers are frustrated, saying they worry over hard-built trade relationships with one of their largest customers.

Brazil, Argentina may fill the U.S. soybean export gap

Argentina and Brazil may fill China’s soybean needs if China imposes a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean exports. And experts say : “China is the world’s largest consumer, and the U.S. is the largest producer, … so they’ll need to replace the U.S. with some other country,”

On China tariffs, farm groups say no

Earlier this month, the U.S. and China both announced billions of dollars in taxes on billions of dollars worth of imported goods - China is seeking tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products that include soybeans and pork while the U.S. announced taxes on $150 billion worth of 1,300 Chinese products, including electronics. Here’s a look at what farm organizations in the Midwest have to say.

Crop insurance help for tariff fallout could affect upcoming Farm Bill

Congressional leaders said they would explore federal help for farmers should tariffs be put in place but Tamara Nelson, senior director of commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said the moves would not help. “Farmers don’t want aid, farmers want to be able to trade,” she said.