Dicamba on trial: Get daily updates

Bayer and BASF are defending themselves against charges in a civil lawsuit that they intentionally caused "an ecological disaster" in order to increase their profits on dicamba-related projects. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is one of the few media outlets covering each day of the groundbreaking trial as part of an in-depth project on dicamba, its makers and its impact. As a thank-you for your $50 or more donation, you will receive exclusive, behind-the-scenes daily updates, photos, video and other material as we report on the trial from opening day to verdict. Check out this free preview of Monday's reporter's notebook. And make a donation here to get started:

Reporter’s Notebook : Jury pool included those with dicamba complaints

Editor's note: German agribusiness companies Bayer and BASF face allegations in a civil lawsuit that they created circumstances that damaged millions of acres of crops by the weed killer dicamba in order to increase profits from a set of new dicamba-related products offered for sale beginning in 2015. A trial of the lawsuit, originally filed in November 2016 by southeastern Missouri peach farmer Bill Bader, began Jan. 27, 2020, and is expected to last two to three weeks. The lawsuit initially named Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018. The following is a free preview of the day's outtakes, which will be made available each day of the trial to paid subscribers of the project.

Dicamba on trial: Internal docs show Monsanto, BASF prepared for drift complaints prior to dicamba launch

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - For years, Monsanto and BASF have been blaming alleged crop damage from the weed killer dicamba on other factors, including weather, other pesticides and applicator misuse. 

But on the first day of a civil trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in Cape Girardeau on Monday, internal company documents presented in opening arguments showed that both companies were warned about the herbicide’s potential to damage other crops. Documents also showed the companies prepared for complaints about the weed killer prior to the new genetically modified crop systems being released. German agribusiness companies Bayer and BASF face allegations in a civil lawsuit that they created circumstances that damaged millions of acres of crops by dicamba in order to increase profits from a set of new dicamba-related products offered for sale beginning in 2015. A trial of the lawsuit, originally filed in November 2016 by southeastern Missouri peach farmer Bill Bader, began Monday and is expected to last two to three weeks.

Opinion: Court correctly halts enforcement of Iowa ag gag law 2.0

U.S. District Court for the Southern District senior judge James E. Gritzner's preliminary injunction last month prohibiting the state of Iowa from enforcing a law making it a misdemeanor criminal offense against people using deception to gain access to agricultural production facilities for all practical purposes used the duck test.

Secretary Perdue: China Phase I Deal is a Bonanza for American Agriculture

The United States and China have reached an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China's economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.

The Ag Blazing Five for 2020 (and beyond)

It's that time of year again when your intrepid commentator whips out a divining rod, a scraying ball, a set of tarot cards and three marbles to prognosticate the most critical ag stories for 2020.

The largest single beneficiary of Trump’s tariff payments? An alternative farm lender.

The Trump Administration has paid farmers billions to offset losses from ongoing trade wars, but millions have also gone to an alternative farm lender.

Agrifund LLC, which does business as Ag Resource Management, or ARM, has received more trade mitigation money than anyone else, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Opinion: There’s likely no repairing the tattered U.S. milk industry

Here is an indisputable fact ... at the end of the day the marketplace determines business success.  Especially when it comes to supply and demand of commodities. Have not enough supply and great demand and prices will go up.  Have just enough supply and great demand and prices will hold steady if not increase slowly.  

But have way way too much supply and dwindling demand and prices and sales will plummet rapidly.  And such is the case for the U.S. milk industry which for years have ignored supply and demand forces. 

Because the truth is there are too many milking cows in the U.S. while the American public have increasingly decided the answer to “Got Milk” is nope. The supply-demand imbalance reflects, in part, the management skill of U.S. dairy farmers. Way back in 1999 U.S. dairy cows produced an average of 17,763 pounds of milk a year.  

But thanks to better genetics and improved feed rations dairy cows produced an average of 22,775 pounds of milk annually by 2018.