#AgAlerts: Atrazine; salmonella; Russian soybeans

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A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues.

The Trump administration plans to weaken environmental safeguards for atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S., even though it’s known to castrate frogs and is linked to birth defects and cancer in humans and animals.

The report also highlights how diffuse the contaminated turkey products have been, with no common supplier, type of product (ground turkey, whole, frozen turkeys, and so on), or production facility. “Evidence suggests that this outbreak strain has become widespread within the turkey production industry, warranting continued preventive actions to reduce contamination,” the report reads.

Russian soybean exports to China have been growing rapidly in recent years. In fact, in five years they increased 51 times. But such pace mainly reflects the fact that a few years ago there were almost no exports.

According to a well-presented American Farm Bureau analysis released in October, U.S. farm income in 2019 will reach $88 billion, or the highest net farm income since 2014’s $92 billion, but it will still be a third lower than the record high in 2013. It is important to note that of that $88 billion, 40 percent (or $33 billion) will come from trade or disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities, the AFB report says. Farm debt in 2019 is projected to be $416 billion, a record-high, with $257 billion in real estate debt and $159 billion in non-real estate debt.

“This is the most advanced pork facility in the entire world," says Null. "We built this plant with a producer mind-set. Producers always look at packers with a skeptical eye. It was clear that the capital we were investing in the live end of the pig business was not being rewarded proportionately to the packer end. You have to vertically integrate or you are not going to be around. Prestage did it once in turkeys, so we are doing it in pork.”