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Pritzker urges use of face coverings as state reports 954 more COVID-19 cases

Among the deaths reported Sunday are 14 residents of Cook County, two from DuPage County and one from Will County.   In all, the state has now confirmed 153,916 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began and 7,187 deaths.   The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate stands at 3%, up from 2.3% last Sunday.   As of Saturday night, 1,342 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19, 311 of them in intensive-care units and 127 on ventilators, officials said. That's 10 more ICU patients than reported Saturday.   Click Here to read more.

2022 IFCA – Illinois Custom Applicator of the Year Nomination Form

In the state of Illinois, custom applicators spend endless hours in the field every year applying fertilizer and chemicals on thousands of acres.  IFCA is pleased to announce a showcase award to honor and recognize these individuals who work hard in and out of the fields and put forth a positive attitude in caring not only for the crops but also the customers.  IFCA feels there are many outstanding custom applicators who deserve a “thank you” from all of those involved in the agriculture industry.    IFCA needs your help with submitting nomination forms for ...

Adjacent and Neighboring: How Far is That with DIcamba?

An article posted to the Bulletin last November outlined several changes made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the labels of XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan.  The intent of these label amendments is to reduce sensitive plant species exposure to dicamba primarily through physical movement (i.e., drift during the application or particle movement during temperature inversions) and via dicamba residues dislodged from application equipment.  Those in Illinois who have completed the required dicamba training being conducted by registrant personnel likely heard repeatedly that preventing off-target movement during the application is solely and completely the responsibility of ...

Department of Pesticide Regulation Opens Debate on New Neonic Regulations

During a workshop Tuesday, research staff for the Department of Pesticide Regulation presented new mitigations on four neonicotinoid pesticides.   The draft regulation takes a tiered approach based on the level of threat to bees. It would prohibit applications during bloom and limit them to just one of the four active ingredients (AI) per season. Additional measures would apply when managed pollinators are present. For crops that are highly attractive to bees, such as almonds, DPR plans to further limit individual application rates and timing based on the crop type.   Alyssa Houtby, director of government affairs at California Citrus ...

Dicamba Legal Update: Here's What We Know About the Legal Status of Dicamba

A federal appeals court ruling on dicamba herbicides issued Wednesday has thrown the agricultural industry into confusion.   A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that EPA's approval of the use of XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan on an estimated 60 million acres of Xtend soybeans and cotton is vacated -- or ended -- effective immediately.   DTN is working to figure out how this ruling will affect farmers, applicators and dicamba registrants in the weeks to come. Here is what we know now.   Click Here to read more.

Enviros Appeal EPA Action, Agency Finds Itself Back in Court on Chlorpyrifos

EPA decided in July not to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos, and now, environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle to review that decision.   In July, EPA said it will expedite what is an ongoing review of chlorpyrifos in response to public concerns raised. The agency has until 2022 to complete its review.   Groups filing the petition include the League of United Latin American Citizens; Pesticide Action Network North America; Natural Resources Defense Council; California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; Farmworker Association of Florida; Farmworker Justice; Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; ...

EPA Gets Limited Dicamba Data As Dicamba Injury Complaints Rise, States' Communication With EPA Declines

Once again, most major soybean states are dealing with a deluge of dicamba injury allegations this summer, with two states already reporting a record level of complaints.   But, unlike last year, the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs is not getting routine updates from state regulators on these injury reports. Last year, representatives from the federal agency participated in weekly conference calls with state pesticide regulators on dicamba injury complaints and investigative findings throughout the summer and fall. EPA officials also visited multiple states to tour dicamba injury and hold public forums on the topic.   This year, this ...

Hopes for trade breakthrough fade as China cancels U.S. farm visits

A U.S.-China trade deal appeared elusive on Friday after Chinese officials unexpectedly canceled a visit to farms in Montana and Nebraska as deputy trade negotiators wrapped up two days of negotiations in Washington.   Chinese officials were expected to visit U.S. farmers next week as a goodwill gesture, but canceled to return to China sooner than originally scheduled, agriculture organizations from Montana and Nebraska said.   The United States had removed tariffs overnight from over 400 Chinese products in response to requests from U.S. companies.   The Chinese Embassy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture did ...

IFCA’s Best Management Practices (BMP) to Reduce Spray Drift This Spring Season

IFCA understands the pressure our industry faces this spring when planters start rolling and weather conditions are not ideal. With this is mind, it is important that we still remain focused on implementing good stewardship practices while preventing legislative proposals and additional regulations. The public is watching us very closely!   These recommendations for spraying should be practiced to accomplish effective spray applications in the field according to label directions, including performing the application in such a manner as to minimize spray drift.  Staying up to date on labeling, regulations, technology, methods, and BMPs is the most important factor ...

International Food Policy Research Institute Releases New Report on "World Markets Prices for Food and Fertilizer"

The International Food Policy Research Institute released a new report this week on “World market prices for both food and fertilizer".  IFPRI discusses the increased fertilizer prices over the past year and a half and have climbed to even higher levels following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, hitting their highest levels yet in March. T (+125% from January 2021 to January 2022, +17% from January 2022 to March 2022). While there is an immediate concern about the impact of high food prices on food security, fertilizer price spikes and concerns about availability.   All these problems have been ...

Questions surround Madigan’s handling of sexual assault allegations against ex-state rep

As a state legislator Jack Franks was known for speaking frankly about the state’s troubles.   It helped propel him to a new elected post in 2016: Chairman of the McHenry County Board.   After he left the legislature, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office received a complaint from an employee alleging Franks sexually harassed her.   That complaint was made in November 2018.  Madigan says he ordered an investigation and his office banned the former legislator from visiting the Capitol Complex.   Three months later, Madigan’s office determined the “allegations were credible.”   ...

State's Battling Billionaires Continue To Get Down, Dirty

When billionaire elephants fight, smart ants run for the grandstand.   It’s much more fun to watch a fight than be caught in the middle of one.   That’s what happened last week when — once again — multibillionaire businessman Ken Griffin faced off against multibillionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The pair launched verbal volleys that might foreshadow an acrimonious race for governor in 2022.   Click Here to read more.

States Ask EPA for Clarity on Dicamba, State’s Rights to Sell

On the heels of the decision to remove registrations for Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax herbicides, states—and ultimately, farmers are waiting for EPA to provide guidance. The decision was issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit late Wednesday night.   “USDA stands ready to assist its federal partners in meeting that goal,” says USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “I encourage the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products, which are a critical tool for American farmers to combat weeds resistant to many other ...

Trump ups ante on China, threatens duties on nearly all its imports

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Friday he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States, threatening duties on another $267 billion of goods on top of $200 billion in imports primed for levies in coming days.   The moves would sharply escalate Trump's trade war with Beijing over his demands for major changes in economic, trade and technology policy. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against U.S. companies operating there.   Hours after a public comment period closed on his $200 billion China tariff list, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force ...

Video gambling sees significant growth in Illinois

Video gambling has seen significant growth in Illinois, with revenues increasing by more than 75 percent in just the last three years, a new state report concludes.   The report released last month by the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability found that video gambling racked up a net income of $1.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, generating about $70 million in tax revenue for local governments.   Video gambling is the driving force behind overall gambling revenues that reached a record high last year in Illinois, The Chicago Tribune reported.   Chicago has banned video ...

Voluntary compliance needed to avoid nutrient mandates

No matter where the heaviest nutrient loss contributors may be located, all farmers statewide are encouraged to meet the voluntary goals in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.   Otherwise, all farmers regardless of their contributions to the state’s nutrient losses, may be confronted with mandatory rules, said Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources.   “Where we tend to have (field) tile is where we tend to see the most nitrogen losses,” Lurkins said. “The phosphorous tends to move with the soil.”   These nutrient losses are draining into ...

$1.4 Billion Fertilizer Plant Picks Tuscola

Economic incentives potentially worth more than $14 million in taxpayer dollars played a key role in helping Illinois land a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant, says a state lawmaker who help shepherd the package through the General Assembly.   State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, said the state aid was a critical factor in convincing Cronus Chemical to build the facility in the Douglas County community of Tuscola.   Click Here to read more.

$115 million going towards broadband expansion across Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker has announced the first round of grant recipients for Connect Illinois funds set aside for broadband expansion.   $50 million in state grants will be matched by $65 million in non-state funding for 28 projects estimated to reach more than 26,000 homes, businesses, and farms across Illinois.   The funds have been released as part of the $420 million Connect Illinois plan with the goal of bringing basic internet access to all Illinois communities by 2024.   Click Here to read more.

$3 trillion and counting…

As COVID 19 deaths surpass 50,000, the states fuss over “reopening” their respective economies, and meat processing plants are closing and reopening left and right, this week total new federal spending to rescue businesses and individuals impacted by the is now just shy of $3 trillion.   And before President Trump’s signature is even dry on the latest nearly $500-billion economic “stimulus” package, a fifth legislative package is being negotiated. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) alluded to such an animal earlier this month, but then went mum; Trump is calling for a “big, bold” ...

$300 Million Dicamba Settlement Finalized, Claim Filing to Start Shortly

Soybean farmers whose fields were injured by off-target dicamba movement in the past six years could file claims for compensation as early as late December, after the details of a $300 million settlement with Monsanto (now a subsidiary of Bayer) were finalized Wednesday.   The settlement is part of Bayer's efforts to settle ongoing lawsuits involving its herbicides, including multi-district litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri over dicamba injury claims. The settlement was originally announced in June 2020, but the agreement was not signed until Wednesday, said Don Downing, an attorney with the ...

'We've Struck a Deal': Biden Announces Agreement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Spending Plan

After months of negotiations and disagreement, President Joe Biden and the White House announced a deal was reached on an infrastructure spending plan. The news came after a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators Thursday.   "We have a deal," Biden told reporters at the White House after meeting with the group. The announcement was also posted on the President's official Twitter page.   We’ve struck a deal. A group of senators – five Democrats and five Republicans – has come together and forged an infrastructure agreement that will create millions of American jobs. &...

12 Safety Tips for Working With Anhydrous Ammonia

This year, the state of Illinois required mandatory training for farmers who transport or apply anhydrous ammonia or who maintain anhydrous ammonia equipment.  The rule went into effect April 1, 2022. Under the regulation, they are certified to understand the properties of ammonia, to become competent in safe operating practices, and to take appropriate actions in the event of a leak or an emergency.   Kevin "KJ" Johnson, a farmer and president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), said if Illinois farmers balked at the mandatory training, he didn't hear complaints. A total of 12,389 Illinois growers ...

15 Factors for 2019 Dicamba Applications

Wondering how to manage dicamba in dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2019? Here’s what four Extension and university weed specialists – Aaron Hager with the University of Illinois, Bill Johnson and Joe Ikley with Purdue University, and Mark Loux at Ohio State University – are recommending regarding dicamba in 2019. Click Here to read more.

15 State Attorneys General Press EPA on Interpretive Rule of WOTUS

Fifteen state attorneys general have asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to withdraw a rule that even agency have said created confusion in the agriculture community.   The so-called interpretive rule identified 56 conservation practices that are expempt from the Clean Water Act regulations, so long as they meet Natural Resources Conservation Services specifications.  Many agriculture interest groups and farmers have expressed concern that the interpretive rule would turn the NRCS into an enforcer of the Clean Water Act.   Click Here to read more.

15% of the U.S. Corn Crop Is Seeded, USDA Says

U.S. farmers have fallen about halfway behind their average corn planting pace at this time of the year.   In its Crop Progress Report on Monday, the USDA pegged U.S. corn planting at 15% complete, behind the 27% five-year average.   As of Sunday, Iowa farmers have 21% of that state’s corn crop planted vs. a 26% five-year average. Illinois farmers have 9% of their corn seeded, behind a 43% five-year average. Indiana farmers are now 2% complete, while Nebraska has 16% of its corn in the ground.   Click Here to read more.

15% of the U.S. Corn Crop Is Seeded, USDA Says

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday defended his proposed tax increases to pay for a capital bill against critics who said they will disproportionately hurt the poor.   Pritzker acknowledged some of the proposed taxes might be considered regressive, but he said they also represent a stable source of income.   "In order to put an infrastructure bill together, you've got to have various revenue sources," Pritzker said. "It's important that they are stable revenue sources because you need to bond them out."   Investors want to know there is a reliable revenue source behind ...

17 new Illinois laws for 2017

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly may not have approved a full year’s budget in 2016, but they did manage to agree on nearly 200 laws that go into effect when the new year begins.   Here’s a look at 17 new Illinois laws for 2017: 1. Battling opioid and heroin addiction Following up on landmark legislation from 2015, lawmakers passed two measures aimed addressing the state’s opioid and heroin addiction crisis. One allows drug court participants to use medication-based addiction treatments. The other requires licensed substance abuse programs to provide educational information on medication-based treatments and ...

2015 Planting Intentions: Fertilizer, Seed, Pesticide Manufacturers Dodge a Bullet

Fertilizer, seed and pesticide manufacturers likely took comfort in the acreage numbers contained in USDA's 2015 Prospective Planting report). Farmers reported intentions to plant 89.2 million acres of corn, 1.4 million less than in 2014, but about 470,000 more than the average trade guess (farmdoc daily March 31, 2015). Farmers reported intentions to plant 84.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, 834,000 more than in 2014, but nearly 1.3 million less than the trade guess (farmdoc daily March 31, 2015). Overall, projected switches from corn to soybeans indicated in the Prospective Plantings report were less than what many had anticipated. Input costs are higher for corn than for soybeans. In central Illinois on ...

2018 Illinois State Fair attendance down 8% from 2017

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield saw 369,144 people walk or drive through its gates last month, an 8 percent drop compared to last year’s fair, state officials reported Friday.   Officials noted, however, that fairgoers this year appeared to spend more money than in 2017, according to an early look at vendors’ sales receipts.   This year’s attendance total was lower than the 401,648 who attended the 2017 fair but higher than the 347,855 who passed through the gates during the 2016 event that was plagued by flooding rains, extreme heat and power outages. The 2015 state fair, the first to be ...

2019 Observations from the Field: Dicamba

Approximately two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), and some held aspirations that the magnitude of off-target issues would be less this year than during the two previous seasons.  Today, it appears those hopeful aspirations are being replaced by the harsh reality that the magnitude of off-target issues in 2019 might be either similar to or possibly exceed those of previous seasons.  By the end of business on July 31, IDOA reported 191 dicamba-related complaints, 132 of which were received between Monday and Thursday of this week. &...

2019 Policy Outlook: Trade, Trade and Trade

The most significant policy issue of 2018 looms large over the outlook for the new year. Ag leaders of both parties say actions on trade in the first half of 2019 will decide agriculture’s fate for years to come.   It’s not just the on-again, off-again haggling with China that dragged soybean markets up and down at breakneck speed, but also the lingering issues of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) that still must pass Congressional muster.   “I just think it’s hard for Democrats to vote yes on trade agreements,” said former ...

2020 Census: Illinois Population Down Slighlty

The Illinois population shrunk only slightly, by .1 percent residents according to the first set of long-awaited of 2020 census data released Thursday.   According to the data, Illinois population declined from 12,830,632 residents in 2010 to 12,812,508 residents in 2020.   Overall, the U.S. Census Bureau said that the data shows a growing, diversifying country where populations are increasingly moving toward metro areas.   This is especially true in Illinois, where only 15 of the state’s 102 counties saw a population increase, most of them in northeast part of the state. Among U.S. metro areas, Danville in Vermilion County saw one of the ...

2021 Growing Season a Roller Coaster for Illinois Farmers

Every growing season has its twists and turns, and a southern Illinois farmer says 2021 has been no exception.   Austin Lovelady who farms 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Tamaroa describes this year as “A really big roller coaster. It started off wet, then went extremely dry for about 4 weeks, and then we ended up getting 13 inches of rain in one week. So, we went to extremely wet and currently we are back to being pretty dry.”   He tells Brownfield they have some total crop loss from flooding in their river bottom ground, but as harvest ...

2021 MAGIE Equipment Preview: 35 Products You Can Expect to See at This Year’s Show

For two days in August the best and brightest ag retail equipment and services will be on display at the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE), which turns 40 this year. The slideshow offers a preview of some of the items that will be featured at the McLean County Fairgrounds.   A favorite at MAGIE — which returns after its cancellation last year due to COVID-19 — is the “Ride and Drive” demonstrations. “This allows attendees to test drive self-propelled applicators and spreaders,” says Kevin “K.J.” Johnson, Interim President, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association. &...

2021 MAGIE Equipment Preview: 35 Products You Can Expect To See At This Year’s Show

For two days in August the best and brightest ag retail equipment and services will be on display at the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE), which turns 40 this year. The slideshow offers a preview of some of the items that will be featured at the McLean County Fairgrounds.   A favorite at MAGIE — which returns after its cancellation last year due to COVID-19 — is the “Ride and Drive” demonstrations. “This allows attendees to test drive self-propelled applicators and spreaders,” says Kevin “K.J.” Johnson, Interim President, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association. &...

2022 CropLife 100: 3 Key Challenges Facing Ag Retailers Today

As the world jumps into the 2022 holiday season with both feet, here at CropLife, we are busy wrapping up our year-end CropLife 100 report. It will be a little while yet before we officially release this year’s figures and percentages, but we can look at some of the key challenges facing today’s ag retailers.   In any year, there are always those key market issues that keep most ag retailers up at night with worry. In 2022, there were three main ones, according to the 2022 CropLife 100 survey.   Click Here to read more.

2022 Election: Early voting & vote by mail start across Illinois. This is what to know.

For those who won’t be available Tuesday, Nov. 8, or who would simply like to skip the wait at the polls, early voting across Illinois began Thursday.   A number of high-profile races are on the midterm ballot, including governor, U.S. representatives, state senators and more. The early, in-person.   Click Here to read more.

2022 Herbicides: What’s New and in the Pipeline

While there are no new herbicide modes of action for corn, cotton and soybean fields, there are new herbicide products on the market. New premixes or revised formulations of existing active ingredients that could provide growers additional options as they track down weed control products in a market with very tight supply.   Click Here to read more.

2022 IFCA Convention Registration Now Open

Peoria is the place to be on January 18th – 20th.  If you haven’t marked your calendar for IFCA’s Annual Meeting and Convention do so now. IFCA registration brochures were mailed out this week. If it hasn’t made it to your desk you can go to www.ifca.com/convention and see all the show details as well as register for the show. Do your employees need to take the Pesticide test and need in person training for General Standards? Training will be available on Wednesday, January 19th at 9:00 am. ...

2022 IFCA Golf Outing and MAGIE Show Dates

As summer is approaching quickly and IFCA has several opportunities for you to sign up for one or all of our summer outings.  Mark your calendars for a much-needed break from the office.  Grab a group of friends/coworkers and join us in July and August for a fun filled day at the golf outings and the MAGIE show. Look for registration brochures for these events in the mail in the coming months.   Golf Outings:     July 28th at Pontiac Elk’s Golf Course         &...

2022 IFCA Scholarship

At the IFCA annual meeting on January 19, 2022 in Peoria we will be awarding $1,000 scholarships to 4-year or Jr College students who are pursuing their education for a career in our industry.  The scholarship applications are posted on our home page at www.ifca.com and can be downloaded in either Word or PDF.  We always encourage students who are the sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces or nephews of our IFCA members to apply!  Applications need to be returned to IFCA by December 17, 2021.  

2022 IFCA Scholarship

If you have a child, grandchild, niece or nephew attending junior college or a four-year college, and they are studying for a potential career in agriculture, please have them complete the IFCA Scholarship application and return it to our office or email it to jason@ifca.com by December 17th. Click below for a copy of the application:   Application (WORD) Application (PDF)

2022 IFCA – Illinois Custom Applicator of the Year Nomination Form

In the state of Illinois, custom applicators spend endless hours in the field every year applying fertilizer and chemicals on thousands of acres. IFCA is pleased to announce a showcase award to honor and recognize these individuals who work hard in and out of the fields and put forth a positive attitude in caring not only for the crops but also the customers. IFCA feels there are many outstanding custom applicators who deserve a “thank you” from all of those involved in the agriculture industry.   IFCA needs your help with submitting nomination forms for those ...

3 Economic Forces to Watch that Will Impact Agriculture

U.S. inflation is at a 40-year high, and the U.S. is not the sole owner of the inflation situation (see map). “We didn’t talk about inflation for 20 years,” says Jackson Takach, chief economist at Farmer Mac. “That’s not the case anymore.”   Expect higher interest rates on loans in 2023. “There is time to do balance sheet management,” Takach says. “Farmers can still restructure to protect themselves from interest rate risk.”   Click Here to read more.

3 Factors to Watch for Clues to the Future of Fertilizer Prices

Fertilizer is always a big line item for your production costs. For 2023, plan on it being an even bigger chunk.   Why are prices so high? “In the last 24 months we have seen a stupid number of black swans,” says Josh Linville, director of fertilizer for StoneX.  Even though the U.S. produces a large amount of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, we still import nearly 20% of our fertilizer needs, and the global market is shaky to say the least.   Click Here to read more.

3 Things Every Ag Retailer Should Know About Adjuvants

Terry Kippley, president of the Council of Producers and Distributors of Agrotechnology (CPDA), says adjuvants are the most cost effective input a farmer can use. And he explains how the industry grew from in 1976 three crop protection product labels requiring the use of an adjuvant  (atrazine, glyphosate and paraquat) but that number is now more than 1,000.   “Things have changed so much when it comes to the formulation of all these different products,” Kippley says. “Adjuvants really are key in order to deliver that technology.”   Click Here to read more.

3 Things Every Ag Retailer Should Know About Adjuvants

Terry Kippley, president of the Council of Producers and Distributors of Agrotechnology (CPDA), says adjuvants are the most cost effective input a farmer can use. And he explains how the industry grew from in 1976 three crop protection product labels requiring the use of an adjuvant  (atrazine, glyphosate and paraquat) but that number is now more than 1,000.   “Things have changed so much when it comes to the formulation of all these different products,” Kippley says. “Adjuvants really are key in order to deliver that technology.”   Click Here to read more.

3 Ways to Reduce the Pressure on Fertilizer Logistics

During a time-sensitive period, with already stressed logistical resources, ag retailers are concerned about fertilizer transportation. The announcement last week by Union Pacific Railroad (UP) saying they’d be reducing 20% of rail space to 30 large-scale customers–including a handful of fertilizer shippers–ؘwas another hurdle thrown up in the way of a smooth spring season.   “Everybody's already scrambling to get material and so this is going to make it that much more difficult,” says Ag Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock. “It’s our understanding that UP is trying to ...

3 Ways to Reduce the Pressure on Fertilizer Logistics

During a time-sensitive period, with already stressed logistical resources, ag retailers are concerned about fertilizer transportation. The announcement last week by Union Pacific Railroad (UP) saying they’d be reducing 20% of rail space to 30 large-scale customers–including a handful of fertilizer shippers–ؘwas another hurdle thrown up in the way of a smooth spring season.   “Everybody's already scrambling to get material and so this is going to make it that much more difficult,” says Ag Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock. “It’s our understanding that UP is trying to ...

3rd Annual IFCA 4R Field Day Dec 12

Please mark your calendars to attend the IFCA 4R Field Day on Thursday, December 12.  This will be an "indoor" field day but we will have footage of 4R field practices from the fall of 2019 to illustrate how nutrient placement can help reduce losses.   The meeting will be held at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington, IL.  If you need some CCA credits before year-end, this is another great way to pick up nutrient management and soil & water credits.  You'll receive new information on the status of water quality in Illinois Rivers, how ...

4 Ag Policy Issues to Watch

Tom Vilsack was sworn in as USDA Secretary for the second time at the end of February. Since then, he has pushed forward advances on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), climate and mitigation policies and equity in USDA programs. He’s also provided glimpses of ag priorities in an infrastructure package.   CFAP - Checks for $20-per-acre payments for price-trigger crops will go out in April. The payments are part of the third round of CFAP.   Vilsack’s USDA is renaming a portion of the CFAP program to Pandemic Assistance for Producers. The newly named program ...

4 Court Cases Agriculture Needs to Watch

It appears that 2017 could be an important year for a number of agricultural law issues. From the Clean Water Act, to “Ag Gag” legislation, to the Endangered Species Act, there are a number of pending cases that could have major impacts on the agricultural industry in the coming year. Here is a brief look at four of the biggest cases to watch this year.   Click Here to read more.

4 Dicamba Rules for Illinois Farmers and Ag Retailers in 2022

Illinois farmers and ag retailers know the dicamba story. Dicamba-related complaints statewide hit a record high number of 723 in 2019. Then in 2020, the Illinois Department of Agriculture issued an emergency ruling including a June 20 cutoff date and an 85-degree-F temperature restriction for dicamba application in soybeans. This led to an 80% decrease in complaints.   IDOA then built upon those emergency rules in 2021, adding regulations to consult the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry, complete proper record-keeping and pay attention to wind direction before spraying. Dicamba-related complaints totaled 161.   Click Here to read more.

4 small words may hamstring Trump team's WOTUS overhaul

The Trump administration might have unwittingly cleared a path for a legal assault in its proposal for delaying the effective date of the contentious 2015 Clean Water Rule, experts in administrative law say.   At issue are four words in the proposal released last month by U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers aimed at delaying by two years the Obama rule defining which wetlands and waterways get protection under the Clean Water Act.   The administration said it intended to "provide clarity and consistency" to the rule, also known as Waters of the U.S., or ...

4 winners and 2 losers in the Illinois primary election

Illinois primary voters went to the polls for the 2018 midterms Tuesday night, where Chicago-style machine politics showed it’s still got what it takes to win.   For Republicans, that means Gov. Bruce Rauner hung on, beating back a far-right challenger who ran ads that even the state GOP rejected. Rauner already has a target on his back since Donald Trump lost the state by 20 points in November. Plus, Rauner has been in charge through multiple financial crises, including higher education and state employee pensions.   For Democrat J.B. Pritzker, the fall is shaping up to be high-stakes. ...

4,000th ResponsibleAG Audit Completed

ResponsibleAg, a voluntary and industry-led safety and stewardship initiative, has completed its 4,000th facility audit.  The effort is a joint venture between The Fertilizer Institute and the Agricultural Retailers Association to help participating locations keep employees, customers, and communities safe.   The milestone was completed at Rutherford Farmers Cooperative in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, an affiliate of Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.  Drew Landerman, environmental, health, and safety specialist for TFC says by participating in the ResponsibleAg program they’re able to focus on educating their employees at all levels to better understand and meet safety regulations.   The ResponsibleAg audit ...

40th MAGIE Show - Apparel, Special Guest Max Armstrong & Online Registration

The MAGIE show is approaching fast and the IFCA staff is excited to see you in Bloomington on August 25th and 26th.  Show your support for our 40th celebration and visit our on-line store to purchase a commemorative polo shirt, t-shirt and/or hat.  Hats are in short supply and are limited at the moment, so don’t delay with your order.  Click here to go directly to the IFCA store.  We would love to see our attendees wearing their newly purchased apparel at the show.   Are you an avid fan of ...

4R Field Day September 15th

Please join us for an in-person, on-farm field day September 15th where researchers will discuss NREC practices and the data as well as demonstrations. More details, including a full agenda, will be available soon. Free lunch will be provided from Jo’s Country Diner.  

4R Field Day September 15th

Don't miss out on the upcoming 4R Field Day sponsored by the 4R Field Day Alliance and IFCA next Thursday, September 15th. The event will take place at Eric Miller's Farm, and will showcase Illnois researchers and highlight many of the practices listed in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy that are currently being implemented at the field day site. To register, please call the IFCA office at 309-827-2774 or email KJ Johnson at kj@ifca.com. 

4R Field Day September 15th - Register Today!

IFCA and the 4R Field Day Alliance are jointly hosting a 4R Field day on September 15th in Hammond, IL, and we want you to be there! The agenda is posted below and will feature field demonstrations, farm tours, and a great list of speakers and topics. CEU's will be available for certified crop advisors and free lunch as well from Joe's Country Diner. Please call the office at 309-827-2774 or email KJ Johnson at kj@ifca.com to register.  

4R Field Day September 21st at Precision Planting PTI Farm

On Tuesday, September 21st, Precision Planting will host an upcoming 4R field day at their Precision Technology Institute (PTI) farm in Pontiac, IL.  The field day is sponsored by the 4R Field Day Alliance and will cover many agronomic topics that impact both retailers and growers.  Click here to view the agenda.  To register for this free event, please email kj@ifca.com or jason@ifca.com.

4R Nutrient Stewardship Research Funding to Double

The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and more than 100 partners will more than double existing investment in nutrient stewardship research, outreach and implementation.  The announcement was made at Michigan State University during a panel led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “4R Nutrient Stewardship – or in the words of Secretary Vilsack, the use of the right source, rate, timing and placement of fertilizer, is the framework that helps growers boost the performance of inputs, leading to a reduction in air emissions from fertilizer application and improved water quality,” said Jahn. Click ...

5 Conservation Needs to be Met in Farm Bill 2023

More than 140 million acres of farmland in the U.S. are currently receiving conservation-related financial and technical assistance from the federal government, according to an analysis from the Farm Bureau.   In preparation for farm bill 2023, the House Ag Committee met on Tuesday to “hear how our conservation programs are currently working for producers, how investments in conservation programs are addressing our resource needs, and how these programs can be utilized to help address the climate crisis,” according to Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), subcommittee chair. Click Here to read more.

5 Fertilizer Trends To Watch

It’s elemental—N, P, K, secondary nutrients and micronutrients. But with annual fertilizer sales totaling $180 billion—that’s three times more than crop protection sales, three times more than seed sales and more than two times ag machinery sales—the fertilizer industry is also quite complex.   Those stats are courtesy of Charlotte Hebebrand, director general of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA). Hebebrand notes the area for growth in the fertilizer industry isn’t necessarily in the massive totals of products used but rather how products are used.   “The average uptake ...

5 Key Takeaways from MAGIE 2022: Reflections in Prose and Pictures

In mid-August, the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE), hosted by the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) took place at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington, IL. Now celebrating its 41st year, the event attracted more than 2,400 attendees over the course of its two days.   Besides hosting a first-class trade show, IFCA presented a pair of awards at this year’s MAGIE: the Image Award and the Illinois Custom Applicator of the Year Award. Meanwhile, CropLife IRON presented its 2022 ShowStopper Award to Horsch, LLC. Photo: Peter Ovrebo of Horsch (center) poses with the 2022 Showstopper Award in front ...

5 things to know about Election Day in Illinois

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling and your chance to play a role in democracy is fast approaching.   President Donald Trump is halfway through his four-year term. And the chance to push his agenda forward — or stop it in its tracks — has arrived. In Illinois, citizens can vote in U.S. House races to help determine if Congress switches to Democratic control and for governor and other state races to determine the balance of power in Springfield.   On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, whether you’re politically apathetic or ready to tackle your ballot ...

5 Things You May Not Know About Pesticides

It’s a hot topic in all circles involving agriculture: pesticides. Some are for, some are against, but in truth, most people simply don’t know that much about them. The term pesticide is actually a bit of a catch-all, and is often used interchangeably with herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides, among others. Historically, pests have been loosely defined anything that negatively impacts a food producer’s efforts or interferes with crop or animal production.   While we tend to think of pesticides in a modern sense (over the past couple of generations or so), the reality ...

50 Years of Little Change: The Distribution of US Farming by State

Specialization is a defining attribute of US farming over the last 50 years.  For example, share of farms that had beef cows, grew corn, grew wheat, sold hogs, and sold milk declined from 72%, 44%, 23%, 25%, and 20% to 36%, 15%, 5%, 3%, and 2%, respectively, between the 1964 and 2017 Censuses of Agriculture.  Nevertheless, state shares of US farm, crop, and livestock cash receipts has changed little, implying a mostly stable geographical distribution of US farming by state.  Individual livestock types have experienced more change, but even then no more than 20% of states had a share change that exceeded 1.5 percentage points over 50 years.   Procedures:  The US ...

52% of New Spending in Senate Infrastructure Bill Funds Transportation, Passage Expected to Hit Major Roadblock in the House

The Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday, and transportation could receive more than half the new funding slated in the bill. However, the House leadership's desire to pass the infrastructure bill in tandem with a human rights bill could cause the infrastructure plan to hit a major roadblock in the coming weeks.   The Senate passed the “Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act” with a vote of 69 to 30, which included 19 Republicans supporting the bill, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill includes more than $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports and broadband.   ...

6 Anhydrous Ammonia Reminders

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association provides these six seasonal reminders about using anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.   This week is sure to be a busy one with ammonia application in central and northern Illinois.  Here are a few reminders to keep foremost in your mind in working with ammonia:   Slow down!  Nurse tanks should not travel down the road more than 25 mph.     Click Here to read more.

6 Fertilizer Facts For World Fertilizer Day—Oct. 13

The U.S. fertilizer industry employs 89,000 people and contributes $155 billion to the U.S. economy. Additionally, the industry supplies the crop nutrients needed for food production to feed a hungry world. In celebration of the role fertilizer has in our everyday life, one day—Oct. 13—is set aside to celebrate the impact fertilizer has had.   As part of marking the special day, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released this new video, “You Taught Me Hope”   Here are some fertilizer facts from TFI: U.S. farmers have more than doubled corn production using just 6.9% more fertilizer ...

6 Machinery Trends Highlighted For Ag Retailers

With almost 40 years of experience working in the ag retail and application equipment sector, Arnie Sinclair is now leading Heartland AG Systems, which resulted from a 2019 merger of AG Systems Inc. and Heartland Ag. In 2021, Heartland AG Systems acquired Ag West Distributing in the Pacific Northwest, who like Ag Systems and Heartland Ag, has a long legacy of servicing ag retailers.   With the recent twists and turns in the ag retail industry—Sinclair reflects on top trends he’s seeing across ag retail, and specifically in the machinery segment.   Click Here to read more.

6 Safety Reminders When Working With Ammonia

Anhydrous ammonia is being applied around the state, and farmers and others working around and with ammonia should keep safety practices in mind. Thanks to the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, here are some safety reminders. Slow down! Nurse tanks should not travel more than 25 mph down the road. Always turn nurse tank valves off at the tank source and disconnect hoses before pulling onto a public roadway as required by law. Never have a "charged" system when sharing the road with other drivers. Don’t operate nurse tanks in low light conditions or before or after ...

65% of Illinois Corn, 63% of Soybeans are in Good to Excellent Condition

The USDA says crop conditions declined slightly in Illinois last week.   As of Sunday, the state’s corn crop is rated 65 percent good to excellent, down three percent from the previous week, but four percent above the five-year average.   Soybeans are rated 63 percent good to excellent, down four points on the week, but consistent with the five-year average. Twenty-two percent of soybeans are blooming.   It was a productive week for winter wheat harvest, jumping from 63 to 87 percent complete.   Click Here to read more.

7 Key Forces Driving the Global Crop Inputs Industry in 2022

Last year at this time we made a number of what have turned out to be accurate predictions for 2021 – including the unfortunate continuation of COVID-19, unreliability in global shipping, labor shortages, and a rebalancing of food distribution between at-home and away-from-home.   Looking ahead now to 2022, here are what we see as the seven key forces that will drive the crop inputs industry.   Click Here to read more.

8 Ag Statistics to Know in 2018

USDA looked into its crystal ball this week and released its first round of numbers for many key forecasts for agriculture in 2018.   “There are a lot of factors that could shift farm income higher or lower than our current forecast,” says USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. “Prices may be higher due to growing global economic growth driving demand for agricultural commodities.”   Johansson speaking at USDA’s 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., shared these facts and figures, which are good to keep in mind as you finalize your plans for 2018.   Click Here ...

8 Illinois Ag Retailers Ranked Among the CropLife 100

Ag retailers have always relied heavily on their state associations to stay on top of the latest regulations and legislative news to ensure they are in fertilizer and pesticide compliance. From NH3 training and certification, to the dicamba FAQs, these groups have assisted the crop production supply and service industry in promoting the sound stewardship and use of agricultural inputs.   One state association that has been a leading influencer on legislative and regulatory policies for ag retailers has been the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA). Led by the recently retired President Jean Payne, IFCA has made a number ...

8 Things To Know About Dicamba Application In 2018

In Illinois, for example, more than 11,000 applicators have attended a classroom training for dicamba application in 2018.   1.This year is the final year for a two-year EPA registration of the three new dicamba formulations: Xtendimax with VaporGrip Technology; Engenia Herbicide; DuPont FeXapan Herbicide.   “If EPA amends the registration (beyond 2018), we will not amend it with an expiration date later than 2021,” says Reuben Baris, with the EPA office of pesticide programs. He explains this time frame allows the agency to monitor any potential increase or change in weed resistance patterns linked to dicamba-tolerant crop applications.   Click Here ...

8% of. U.S. Corn, 6% of Soybeans Harvested

The USDA’s condition rating on corn improved slightly over the past week, while soybeans held steady.   61% of U.S. corn is in good to excellent shape as of Sunday, up 1% on the week, with 95% of the crop dented, compared to the five-year average of 90%, and 59% of the crop mature, compared to 49% on average, and 8% harvested, compared to the usual rate of 10%.   63% of U.S. soybeans are called good to excellent, unchanged, with 59% of the crop dropping leaves, compared to 50% typically in mid to late September and 6% harvested, matching the five-year average.   20% of winter wheat is ...

94% of U.S. Corn, 78% of Soybeans Planted

The USDA says this year’s corn crop is nearly fully planted. How many acres that actually represents is questionable with widespread planting delays in some key growing areas, along with flooding in parts of the region potentially impacted planted area.   As of Sunday, 94% of U.S. corn is planted, compared to the five-year average of 92%, with 78% emerged, compared to 81% on average, and 73% of the crop in good to excellent condition, up 1% from the first rating of 2021.   Click Here read more

A $3 billion construction boom swept through these small Iowa towns. Here's what it left behind.

A lone fifth-wheel camper surrounded by a sea of gravel and grass stands as one of the few remnants of the construction frenzy that descended upon this corner of Iowa to build the $3 billion Iowa Fertilizer Co. factory.   Thousands of construction workers swarmed here after the 2012 groundbreaking ceremony, filling this RV park and nearby hotels. They engulfed bars and restaurants across the region.   The influx couldn't be missed in tiny, unincorporated Wever, which isn't home to a single stoplight.   Click Here to read more.

A $3 billion construction boom swept through these small Iowa towns. Here's what it left behind.

In an effort to promote workforce development, Ivanka Trump visited the welding program Wednesday at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey.   The visit by Trump, presidential adviser and daughter of the president, was part of an effort to promote the president’s Council for the American Worker. The visit came shortly before fall classes were scheduled to begin at the education center.   Accompanying Trump was U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. Godfrey is in Davis’ district.   Trump toured the welding facilities at the education center, even took a turn with some of the equipment, ...

A better bean or Frankenfood: First gene-edited crop harvested

For Pete Zimmerman, a Minnesota farmer, the age of gene-edited foods has arrived. While he couldn’t be happier, the hi-tech soybeans he’s now harvesting are at the crux of a long-running debate about a frankenfood future.   Zimmerman is among farmers in three states now harvesting 16,000 acres of DNA-altered soybeans destined to be used in salad dressings, granola bars and fry oil, and sold to consumers early next year. It’s the first commercialized crop created with a technique some say could revolutionize agriculture, and others fear could carry as-yet unknown peril.   In March, ...

A Breakdown of Changes to the 2020 Dicamba Labels

EPA released three new dicamba over-the-top herbicide labels on Tuesday: XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta).   (FeXapan -- Corteva Agriscience's marketed version of XtendiMax -- is not yet registered for use, but Corteva confirmed to DTN that the company will be seeking a federal registration of the product now that XtendiMax is registered).   The three new labels come with many pages of details and use restrictions, some old, some new. DTN analyzed each one to see what changes were made from the 2018 registration, as well as what might look familiar to applicators. Here's the breakdown. &...

A controversial technology could save us from starvation — if we let it

Maybe it was a mistake to pack the bag of fried kale chips in his suitcase, Stefan Jansson thought as he hoisted his luggage onto the airport security scanner for a flight from Sweden to Norway.   The last time he'd taken the leafy greens across borders he was nearly detained. The kale, which had been modified using a powerful gene-editing technology called CRISPR, was not allowed in the country. But Jansson, a Swedish plant researcher who studies how to make healthier and more efficient crops, decided it was worth the risk.   In the US, foods made this ...

A CRISPR Future: Five Ways Gene Editing Will Transform Our World

A CRISPR Future   Over the past few years, CRISPR has been making headlines. Experts predict that this gene editing technology will transform our planet, revolutionizing the societies we live in and the organisms we live alongside. Compared to other tools used for genetic engineering, CRISPR (also known by its more technical name, CRISPR-Cas9) is precise, cheap, easy to use, and remarkably powerful.   Discovered in the early 1990s, and first used in biochemical experiments seven years later, CRISPR has rapidly become the most popular gene editing tool among researchers in fields such as human biology, agriculture, and ...

A Huge Rally in Food Prices Is Stoking Record Fertilizer Demand

Fertilizer producers are next in line to benefit from rising crop prices, with farmers poised to plant more acres in 2021.   For the world’s handful of companies that produce potash -- a potassium-rich fertilizer mined underground from evaporated sea beds -- it is the light at the end of the tunnel following several volatile years. Bloomberg’s Green Markets pegs global potash demand at a record in 2021, while Morningstar Inc. says it will likely set a new “high watermark.”     Farmers’ incomes in the U.S. and Canada are up from a year ...

A Koch Company in Fertilizer Patent Dispute

A small North Carolina agriculture business is accusing a fertilizer company owned by the billionaire Koch brothers of trying to drive it out of business.   The claim by Eco Agro Resource came in a court filing in U.S. District Court in North Carolina in early September in response to an August patent infringement lawsuit against it by Koch Agronomic Services.   Click Here to read more.

A look at the political gridlock over state school funding

Illinois may have ended its historic budget impasse, but the Capitol finds itself stuck in political gridlock again, this time over school funding.   The Democratic-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are at odds over a proposal that would alter how Illinois distributes school money.   Legislators approved a required plan that re-writes the funding formula, but Rauner opposes it and says he’ll send it back with changes. Democrats are unsure if they have the votes to override him and are using a procedural hold to keep it off Rauner’s desk, but that hold is ...

A New Environment for Ag Policy

Following a turbulent 2020, which included a global pandemic, hard-fought presidential race and numerous congressional changeovers, the path of U.S. ag policy is likely headed for an adjustment. The “Sonny” sided leadership of USDA and its motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” will see the return of the long-tenure of Tom Vilsack. Add in new and retiring ag committee members in Congress, and the future of ag policy feels poised for a reset at the start of this new decade.  ~By Clinton Griffiths, John Herath and Tyne Morgan   Tom Vilsack, who led USDA ...

A New EPA Crop Grouping Proposed Rule

The EPA has amended several pesticide crop groupings that are open to public comment.   Ed Messina, director of EPA’s pesticide program, says his office works to ensure growers have the tools they need to address pest pressures making sure pesticides are approved in a responsible way.   Click Here to read more.  

A new gene-editing toolbox will revolutionize farming and food production.

Whether you know it specifically as CRISPR or “gene editing 2.0,” this technology has already descended upon agriculture and will continue to disrupt plant breeding for years.   These new breeding techniques are distinct from GMOs because they represent a much less invasive process. It’s not unlike the copy-and-paste function on a computer — plant breeders can highlight desirable crop traits, expressed as snippets of genetic code, clip out that code and reinsert it into other breeding lines.   “To describe it in three words: genetic molecular scissors,” says Kan Wang, Iowa State University global ...

A New Stream of Clean Water Act Litigation in Iowa

The Des Moines Water Works has opened a new stream of litigation in the Clean Water Act as the board voted Thursday to sue three northern counties in Iowa over agricultural runoff.   The board voted to sue Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties in federal court.  Each of the counties is a minimum of 125 miles from Des Moines, but water work officials claim those three counties are the major driving force behind high nitrates that are found in the Des Moines River.   Click Here to read more.

A Peek Inside the US House Next Year

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE -- Several congressional races have yet to be called, but we’re starting to get a better sense for what the makeup — and dynamics — will look like in the House next year. The big picture? Democrats are on track to have their thinnest majority in two decades. Here are the major storylines you can expect in each party:   IN THE DEM PARTY: It’s all about the Mods versus the Squad. Both factions are already sparring over the party's agenda, what went wrong in the election and who has a ...

A Request for 2019 Yields

On October 17, 2019, the UI College ACES put out a news release that described an effort to gather yields from a lot of Illinois corn and soybean fields in 2019. We’re doing this because of the unique opportunity we have to try to get a handle on how planting date affected yields in 2019, so we know better what to expect if and when planting is this late again.   Although late planting is nothing new in Illinois, never before have so many acres been planted as late as in 2019. I describe it in the release as a “giant, unplanned, ...

A sad day for our society when salt is labeled non-GMO

There it was on the salt container label, the proud proclamation that the product inside was "non-GMO."   I looked at the label a second time and then a third time, not quite trusting my eyes, before telling myself, "But salt doesn't have genes. Of course it's not genetically modified. Why bother labeling it non-GMO?"   Then I realized why: some consumers will pay extra for anything labeled non-GMO — and some food companies are happy to sell it to them at the higher price. Salt, though an extreme example, reflects this powerful and ...

A to Z: Photo Highlights From MAGIE 2021

After cancelling last year’s Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) was more than eager to host the annual event last week in Bloomington, IL. MAGIE’s return was especially rewarding as IFCA was able to celebrate its 40th anniversary in grand style.   Click Here to read more.

A year after tax increase, Illinois is still in the red

Last July, lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto, passing a $36.5 billion budget that took an additional $5 billion from taxpayers and ended a more than two-year standoff between the freshman governor demanding pro-business reforms and Democrats in the General Assembly, who passed a budget with the help of a handful of defecting Republicans.   The final vote tallies were slim, but Democrats passed the budget Rauner said in his veto message included “no changes to create jobs and grow our economy. It will push more families and businesses out of our state.”   On the House Floor, ...

AASA: Answering Pesticide Questions

The American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) has completed its 12th year of inspecting bulk agricultural retail facilities. This program helps ensure compliance and stewardship of pesticide handling and storage.   The AASA is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board that includes pesticide manufacturers, distributors, retailers and a state ag department advisor. AASA conducts a national stewardship inspection program for ag retail facilities that store bulk pesticides, portable refillable containers, and packaged products.   Once every three years, your bulk ag retail facility will receive an AASA inspection. The inspection is no cost to you, and the inspection report is ...

AccuWeather Thinks Next Week's Heat Wave Could Scorch 30 to 45 Million Bushels of Corn

Triple digit heat blankets the Southwest this week, and forecasters expect the ridge of high pressure to park over the western Corn Belt next week. AccuWeather forecasters project U.S. corn production to be severely impacted.   July is expected to be hot, but it's the intensity of the heat, along with the forecasts for below normal precipitation, that could potentially impact the U.S. corn crop this year.   Click Here to read more.

ACTION NEEDED: EPA Re-Opening Atrazine Registration - Comment Period Open Until September 6.

Recently, EPA announced it has re-evaluated the current atrazine level of concern (LOC), which is 15 ppb, and “determined” in its proposed revised interim registration review decision (IRRD) that the LOC is 3.4 ppb with additional label mitigation measures required for atrazine use. EPA then issued a notice announcing a public comment period of 60 days ending on September 6, 2022.   In its announcement, EPA stated: “After considering comments on the proposed revisions to the atrazine ID, EPA will determine if any changes are warranted to the proposed revisions and then release its decision on this re-evaluation. The Agency also intends ...

Activists on both sides pushing hard as marijuana legalization bill looms in Illinois

When a new study reported that legal marijuana could have dire circumstances for the Midwest, it marked the latest in an onslaught of public relations attempts to affect the outcome of the legalization debate in Illinois.   On one side, the cannabis industry, investors, social justice advocates, and mostly Democratic lawmakers are calling for an end to what they consider a destructive war against a relatively harmless and sometimes beneficial drug.   On the other side, law enforcement, addiction counselors, preachers, and most Republican lawmakers warn about the dangers of legalizing another mind-altering addictive substance.   While each side has ...

Additional Dicamba Herbicide Approved for Over-the-Top Use

The company says Engenia reduces drift by 70% compared to Clarity—with a greater reduction when compared to Banvel. It’s still important to read and follow label directions to reduce risk of off-target movement.   “Soybean and cotton growers now have a new tool at their disposal to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds,” said Neil Bentley, director of marketing, U.S. Crop, BASF. The new tool uses a BAPMA salt.   BASF offers the following recommendations for ground sprayers: •Nozzle Size: TTI11004 •Spray Volume: greater than 10 GPA •Boom Height: less than 24" above target •Equipment ...

Adjacent and Neighboring Dicamba Applications: How Far is That?

An article posted last November outlined several changes made by the Environmental Protection Agency to XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan labels. The intent of these label amendments is to reduce sensitive plant species exposure to dicamba primarily through physical movement (i.e., drift during the application or particle movement during temperature inversions) and via dicamba residues dislodged from application equipment.    Illinois applicators who have completed the required dicamba training being conducted by registrant personnel likely heard repeatedly that preventing off-target movement during the application is solely and completely the responsibility of the applicator.   Click Here to read more. &...

Administration Asked to Suspend WOTUS Enforcement Nationwide

Some producer groups are asking the Obama administration to suspend enforcement of its new Clean Water Act rule until a court case is resolved.   The administration considers implementation of the rule blocked in only 13 states as a result of last week's decision by a North Dakota federal judge. In a letter to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, the National Milk Producers Federation said that because of the ruling, dairy farmers will be treated differently nationwide depending on where they live.   “Therefore, we ask that EPA and the Corp of Engineers use ...

Adult-use cannabis sales generated nearly $35 million in February in Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office said statewide adult-use cannabis sales totaled nearly $35 million in February.   The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on Wednesday said the legalized recreational marijuana pulled in $34,805,072.01 and dispensaries across the state sold 831,600 items over the 29-day period.   Sales to Illinois residents totaled $25,615,371, while sales to out-of-state residents totaled $9,189,701.01; these figures do not include taxes collected.   “These numbers show there continues to be a strong demand across the state as the most equity centric cannabis program in the country moves forward in Illinois,” said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor ...

Aerial Application By The Numbers

Every six to eight years, the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) conducts its Aerial Application Industry Survey of operators and pilots. "With our growing numbers, embrace of environmental protection technologies and techniques and an infusion of younger operators and pilots, NAAA's 2019 industry 'census' demonstrates the industry is well-positioned to work hand in hand with ag retailers in support of farmers," says NAAA executive director Andrew Moore. Here are the key takeaways for ag retailers.   Click Here to read more.

Aerial Applicators Expect High Demand For Services in 2022

According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), there will be greater demand for aerial application services in 2022 than 2021. The organization cites 127 million acres of cropland in the U.S. are treated by ag aviators, and an additional 7.9 million acres of pasture and rangeland are treated.   “With everything going on in the world, including food supply issues, aerial application is going to be vital this year,” NAAA CEO Andrew Moore said. “Because aerial applicators will be in such high demand, NAAA strongly advises farmers to schedule work with them in advance whenever possible.”   Click ...

After credit downgrades, Rauner defends Illinois bond sale

Gov. Bruce Rauner says many bond buyers support the pro-business changes he’s pushing and want to invest in Illinois despite its worst-in-the-nation credit rating.   The Republican said Tuesday that taking on more debt is appropriate because the money is for improvements to roads and bridges, not daily operating expenses.   Illinois will go to market Thursday to sell $550 million in bonds.   Click Here to read more.    

After GMO resistance, gene-editing technology is the next new thing

A lack of science in public decision making, punctuated by a misunderstanding and dislike of GMOs, are hurdles the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development face, Director Jamie Clover Adams said.   Public pushes against GMOs and for animal welfare improvements such as “cage-free” eggs hurt food producers financially because the efforts needed to adjust to public opinion cost more than people are willing to pay for the final product, Clover Adams said.   “There is not one lick of science out there that’s peer reviewed that says that genetically modified organisms are not safe,&...

After House Rejection, Farm Bill Timeline May Stretch Into 2019

In the last farm bill, conservative Republicans demanded the biggest cuts in food stamps in a generation, leading the House to defeat the bill in June 2013. It then took Congress more than six months to put the pieces together. The same outcome is possible now after a revolt by Republican conservatives defeated a new farm bill calling for stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients and looser payment limit rules for farmers. Once again, the delay may stretch into the new year.   House Speaker Paul Ryan preserved a last chance to revive the farm bill this week by requesting ...

After Joe Biden Election Win, China Will Seek to Renegotiate Trade Deal, Beijing Advisers Say

Joe Biden’s US election victory will encourage China to try and renegotiate Donald Trump’s trade deal, viewed in Beijing as being “twisted” in Washington’s favour, according to advisers to the Chinese government.   The phase one trade deal was hammered out after months of painful negotiations and 18 months of trade war tariffs piling up on both sides. It saw China commit to buying US$200 billion in additional US goods on top of 2017 levels, but stopped short of forcing major structural changes to China’s economic model.   Even so, advisers see ...

After Losing First 3 Glyphosate-Cancer Cases, Here’s How Bayer Has Convinced Juries in 5 Recent Cases That The Weedkiller is Not Harmful to Humans

Bayer is on a winning streak as it battles the remaining cases targeting its Roundup weedkiller, a change after several juries had held it responsible for causing cancer and the company set aside about $16 billion for settlements.   A St. Louis jury in September ruled in Bayer’s favor in a trial involving several plaintiffs, delivering the company its fifth consecutive trial victory as it seeks to resolve tens of thousands of unsettled lawsuits alleging that Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide, caused cancer in homeowners, landscapers and farmers.   Click Here to read more

After Meeting Virtually for Weeks, Illinois Legislators are Back. What You Need to Know

State lawmakers are returning to meeting in-person this week. This comes after almost a full month of meeting virtually. In that time, they have introduced thousands of new bills.   In January, lawmakers met in-person twice: the House and Senate met once on Jan. 5 and the Senate met in person for about 20 minutes on Feb. 2. They've canceled in-person work because of COVID-19 and dangerous winter weather in central Illinois, continuing to meet in committees via Zoom.    Click Here to read more.  

After nearly two-year merger process, Bayer finally owns Monsanto

Nearly two years after Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto was first announced, the financial part of the $63 billion merger was finally completed Thursday.     “Today’s closing represents an important milestone toward the vision of creating a leading agricultural company, supporting growers in their efforts to be more productive and sustainable for the benefit of our planet and consumers,” said Hugh Grant, outgoing chairman and CEO of Monsanto.     But amid a still-ongoing marathon to secure regulatory approval of the deal, Thursday’s closing simply marks Bayer’s purchase of the Creve ...

After the Madigan Charges, Democrats Lack an Appetite for New Ethics Reform This Spring

The day a 22-count federal corruption indictment came down against former Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, those controlling Illinois’ state government quickly reacted to the horrors of the racketeering and bribery allegations.   Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker called the charges “deplorable and a stark violation of the public’s trust” and touted how state ethics laws had been “tightened” on his watch. Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, called the allegations “disturbing.”   Click Here to read more.

After Two Decades, Scientists Find GMOs in Corn Are Good for You. Seriously.

Genetically modified organisms have garnered an abundance of skepticism and misinformation in the public eye. One new analysis uses over two decades of research to put some rumors about GMOs to rest   Click Here to read more.

After years of pushback, Ohio will limit phosphorus into Lake Erie to reduce harmful algal blooms

After years of rebuffing pressure to limit fertilizer and manure flowing into Lake Erie, Ohio will develop a Total Maximum Daily Load for phosphorus, which causes harmful algal blooms in the western basin.   The Ohio EPA’s draft 2020 water quality report -- which every two years outlines the general condition of Ohio’s rivers and lakes -- says the state will spend two to three years to develop an enforceable limit on the amount of phosphorus that can be dumped into the water.   “I’ve been asking for a TMDL for the western Lake ...

After years of pushback, Ohio will limit phosphorus into Lake Erie to reduce harmful algal blooms

After years of rebuffing pressure to limit fertilizer and manure flowing into Lake Erie, Ohio will develop a Total Maximum Daily Load for phosphorus, which causes harmful algal blooms in the western basin.   The Ohio EPA’s draft 2020 water quality report -- which every two years outlines the general condition of Ohio’s rivers and lakes -- says the state will spend two to three years to develop an enforceable limit on the amount of phosphorus that can be dumped into the water.   “I’ve been asking for a TMDL for the western Lake ...

After years-long debate, water quality legislation is headed to the Iowa Governor

A bill committing $282 million to water quality initiatives will head to the governor's desk, the culmination of a debate that spanned three legislative sessions and two governors.   The Iowa House of Representatives, which had dug in its heels to oppose a Senate-backed water quality plan in favor of its own, surprised onlookers by bringing up the Senate's plan for a quick vote Tuesday morning. House lawmakers debated the issue for less than an hour, abruptly putting an end to legislative gridlock that has pitted the two chambers against each other.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Adviser to EPA Speaks on Dicamba, Enlist and Endangered Species

Since Rod Snyder started his job as agriculture adviser to the EPA in the fall of 2021, his phone has scarcely stopped ringing.   The bulk of the calls have been from farmers, industry and state agriculture officials, worried about access to Enlist herbicides and dicamba, as well as the impact of the Endangered Species Act on pesticides, said Snyder, who worked for Field to Market, CropLife America, and the National Corn Growers Association before joining EPA.   Click Here to read more.

Ag And Food Groups Unveil Climate Policy Platform

As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares to address climate change across every federal agency in a new administration, a coalition of ag, food and environment groups is laying out a framework for how agriculture can address climate and sustainability.   The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) Tuesday laid out 40 recommendations to guide federal climate policy.  The group is a consortium of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and The ...

Ag Bracing for Railroad Delays as Record Harvest Looms

At Dakota Mill & Grain, a grain and agriculture nutrient company based in Rapid City that depends heavily on trains to move crops and fertilizer, officials' had no reason to think the 2013 harvest would be different than any other.   But a few months after the fields were harvested, the Corn Belt was pummeled by brutal winter, and competing demands among coal, oil, grain and other commodities for space on the country's clogged rail network left railroads such as Canadian Pacific Railway and BNSF Railway struggling to ferry cars around the region.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Businesses Promote COVID-19 Vaccination, But Not OSHA Mandate

Organizations representing rural businesses say the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is not the tool needed to promote more vaccinations and could be damaging to the ag supply chain.   Both the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Agricultural Retailers Association have expressed concern with the OSHA-enforced mandate as a bad fit for their businesses.    “We're all in favor of vaccinations and co-ops have done a lot to promote vaccinations including providing vaccination sites there at the co-op, but having said that, the simple fact is a lot of agribusiness including co-ops operate ...

Ag Climate Agenda Likely Stalled Over Build Back Better Fight

The Biden administration's plan to use farmers as a strategy against climate change is now in peril with Sen. Joe Manchin's statements Sunday that he can't support the Build Back Better bill.   Since coming into office, the Biden administration has focused on reducing greenhouse gases across the economy, including plans for agriculture to have "zero emissions" by 2050. The conservation funding and provisions for biofuels in the bill were expected to jumpstart those efforts and provide a strategy that would also expand the number of farmers whose operations could qualify for the increasing number of ...

Ag Coalition Issues Reports Documenting the Benefits of Neonics

A series of reports released today by a coalition of agricultural companies shows, in part, that without the use of widely used and controversial insecticide, North American farmers would need to to resort to using more and older chemicals.   Bayer CropSciencs, Syngenta, and Valent U.S.A. Corporation formed the Growing Matters coalition and commissioned the study from AgInformatics to evaluate the economic and societal benefits of neonicotinoids, which are the largest selling insecticide class in the world.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Director John Sullivan says revised numbers not as bad as many expected

This year’s Illinois corn crop could be as much as 17 percent smaller than last year’s crop, while soybean production could fall as much as 21 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week.   Those numbers were part of a highly-anticipated report in which the USDA revised its most recent crop production estimates in light of this year’s unusually wet planting season that delayed or prevented many farmers from getting crops into the ground, followed by a severe heat wave in July that affected the development of those crops.   As a result, ...

Ag Economist Says Tesla is The Biggest Threat to Farming

The chief ag economist for Wells Fargo says Tesla is the biggest threat to farming, “No matter what you set for a blend rate in the United States you can’t force a Tesla owner to buy any ethanol,” says Dr. Michael Swanson who was on the Danforth Plant Science Center ‘Ag Tech Next’ series Tuesday. He was asked if electric vehicle production and increased fuel efficiency standards will impact supply and demand for U.S grains.   Swanson says battery technology improvements are being worked on in labs and that is expected to accelerate ...

AG ECONOMIST: COVID-19 Impacts On AG Aren't Going Away Soon

An ag economist says the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt in the ag industry for quite some time.   Purdue University’s Allan Gray says the pandemic will likely continue to impact demand as well as farm income.   “This sort of fits and starts that we’re seeing right now on how we’re trying to open our economy and then the virus flares back up again and now maybe we’re slowing it down those things are not going to go away and we’ll continue to see demand shocks,” ...

Ag Groups Ask Biden Administration for Supreme Court Glyphosate Intervention

Several years ago, when Bayer CropScience lost the first court case involving glyphosate and plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, the company promised to appeal the decision “all the way to the Supreme Court.” And it seemed as if this was exactly where the case would end up.   However, Bayer and many folks within the agricultural community were first waiting to see the written opinion of the nation’s Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, on the matter. This was published on May 10.   Click Here to read more.

AG Groups Formally Object to Chlorpyrifos Ban

More than 80 ag groups are formally objecting to the EPA’s ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos.    The group, which includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, specialty crop organizations, and others, is concerned with several areas of the EPA’s decision including the process that was used and the lack of scientific basis.   The group says EPA failed to conduct required reviews which could lead to well over $100 million in additional costs for the food and ag sector.   Click Here to read more.

Ag groups optimistic for Endangered Species Act reform despite election year politics(AUDIO)

Reform of the Endangered Species Act has long been a goal of many ag groups, and there’s hope something can happen this year.   Click Here to listen.

Ag Groups Take Action in WOTUS Case

While EPA continues to draft a new waters of the United States rule, the wheels of justice keep turning, as a coalition of agriculture groups took federal court action in North Dakota on Friday to try to stop the 2015 WOTUS rule from ever becoming law.   Though EPA took action in recent months to delay the implementation of the 2015 rule by two years to allow for a rewrite, a case filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota continues.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Groups Urge Withdrawal of Administration's SCOTUS Brief in Roundup Case

A “stunning” and “dangerous” shift in U.S. policy toward pesticide labeling “poses great risks to our science-based regulatory system and global food systems,” dozens of commodity and other ag groups assert in a letter asking the Biden administration to withdraw a recently filed brief in the Supreme Court.   Led by the American Soybean Association (ASA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the letter to President Joe Biden takes aim at the brief filed by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar in a case involving a verdict that found the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide ...

Ag Industry at Odds Over Pesticide Studied In Bee Deaths

A class of pesticide commonly used on Midwest farm fields that have been linked to destruction of bee colonies may not be as effective against corn and soybean pests as many once thought, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.   Initially, the pesticide, called neonicotinoids or "neonics" were developed in the early 1990's to fight wireworm and bean leaf beetles. Many corn and Soybean seeds are treated with the pesticides to keep these bugs away in the spring while the seed sprouts.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Industry Pleased with CHS Fertilizer Plant Approval

North Dakota farmer-leaders say they're happy CHS Inc. has decided to re-engage in a proposed $3 billion fertilizer project in Spiritwood, N.D. near Jamestown, N.D.   It is the single largest private investment project in North Dakota history, and the largest for CHS.   CHS, the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperative, announced September 5 that the board approved the plant, which will convert natural gas into nitrogen fertilizers.  In April, CHS had announced it was delaying what was then projected as a $2 billion plant because of increased construction costs.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Industry Thanks Trump Administration for WOTUS Replacement

The troubled 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 to define which waters are regulated by the Clean Water Act was officially replaced today by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Farmers, ranchers and other industry groups expressed their gratitude on Thursday.   “President Trump is restoring the rule of law and empowering Americans by removing undue burdens and strangling regulations from the backs of our productive farmers, ranchers, and rural land-owners. The days are gone when the Federal Government can claim a small farm pond on private land as navigable waters,” Agriculture ...

Ag Input Crunch Ahead

Agricultural chemicals are expected to see another year of rising prices and spotty shortages, industry stakeholders and farmers told DTN. At issue are continued soaring freight costs, labor shortages and tight inventory, which have left the supply chain vulnerable to sudden weather or logistical hiccups. The biggest takeaway? Start conversations with your retailers and suppliers early and read those prepay contracts carefully, with an eye toward force majeure clauses. Here's what to expect: SHORTAGES AND DELIVERY DELAYS WILL CONTINUE Click Here to read more.

AG LOOKS TO APPROPS TO HALT FERTILIZER STORAGE CRACKDOWN

Labor Secretary Tom Perez can expect to face some heat over the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to apply strict chemical management and storage rules to fertilizer retailers when he testifies this morning at a hearing of the House Appropriations labor subcommittee. Agricultural groups are pressing lawmakers to use OSHA’s budget to block the agency from enforcing the new standards, which they say are unnecessary and should be made through the proper rulemaking process.   Click Here to read more.  

Ag officials revise corn, soybean harvest outlook

Ag officials have lowered their estimates for this year’s corn crop.   In the U.S. Department of Agriculture Illinois Crop Report released Friday, officials said this year’s corn acreage is estimated at 10.9 million acres, up 4 percent from last year and the harvested area, forecast at 10.7 million acres, is up 5 percent from 2019.   Based on Sept. 1 conditions, however, the Illinois corn yield is forecast at 203 bushels per acre, down four bushels from last month but 22 bushels higher than in 2019.   Total production is forecast at 2.17 billion bushels, up 18 percent from last year’s production.   ...

Ag Retail Earns Policy Victories, Prepares for Next Challenges

The legislative, regulatory and judicial landscape is vastly different from what the agricultural retail industry experienced decades ago. In the past eight years, federal regulators completed hundreds of major rules that impacted many sectors, including agriculture. Each of these rules imposes new costs greater than $100 million.   In the past year, the worst offenders of excessive, unlawful regulations were the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Congressional partisan gridlock leads to more stalemates than accomplishments. This legislative dysfunction led to federal agencies like EPA and OSHA filling in the policy ...

Ag Retailer Navigates The Future With Technology

Driven by environmental responsibility, farmer efficiency and stewardship, and the possibilities of technology, in 2015 the team at Luckey Farmers Cooperative started its journey to digitize its business.   As chief technology officer Andrew Gladden recalls, the turning point came with the 2014 algal bloom in Lake Erie that limited drinking water to half a million people.   “So in 2015, we really focused on the four Rs, and joined the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program,” Gladden says. “We knew that our paper-driven processes that we had, weren't going to cut it for the certification. So we made a ...

Ag retailer Says Input Delivery Might be Around the Corner

An ag retailer says shipments of some inputs might be back on schedule.   Ward Bloodworth with Helena tells Brownfield fertilizer delivery is about two weeks behind because of shorter transportation routes. “I think these trucks are local, but we do have some benefits of how we can haul within in radiuses due to ag.  I think our local retail and our distributor will be able to manage those trucks versus having these long haul-type trucks.”   Click Here to read more.

Ag Retailer Shares Takeaways From Its Own Cyberattack

On July 15, 2021 at 4 p.m. the 85 computers of Augusta Cooperative Farm bureau, Inc, flashed, and then the screens went white.  The next morning, the cyber hackers (formally called threat actors) made their ransom known via a phone call. Then five minutes later, the hackers took down the ag retailer’s website.    It took nearly a month until the Stanton, VA, based cooperative was back to business in a new normal and no longer receiving communication from the threat actors.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Retailers Expect Flat Seed Sales in 2021, But Not From a Lack of Trait Choices

Abundant trait choices notwithstanding, the outlook for seed is somewhat muted going to 2021. The majority of respondents to the 2020 CropLife 100 survey believe seed demand this year will be flat for the three major crops — corn, soybeans, and cotton.   Based upon the annual USDA estimates, growers are expected to plant more than 90 million acres each of the two most popular row crops, corn and soybeans, during the 2021 growing season. For corn and soybeans, the views among CropLife 100 respondents are very even. According to the survey, 36% think corn acreage will grow in 2021, 44% think it will remain flat, and 20% believe it ...

Ag Retailers Report Progress on Products and Services that Improve Water Quality

Ag retail-serviced acres of variable rate technology (VRT), cover crops, rotational soil testing, and other phosphorus-saving strategies continue to grow in the Sandusky River Watershed and the Great Lakes Basin. Sixty-two Great Lakes Basin ag retailers participating in the Partnership for Ag Resource Management (PARM) reported 2016 sales of products and services that help keep phosphorus fertilizer on cropland, and out of waterways.   In the Sandusky River Watershed, where the project began, variable rate phosphorus application increased 19% last year, from 51% to 70% of acreage serviced by participating ag retailers. Based on published study results in scientific journals, the project partners estimate ...

Ag Retailers Watching COVID-19, Modify Work Schedules, Cancel Events

On Friday, two states cancelled in-person trainings offered through the state departments of agriculture.   The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association has announced postponed and cancelled events.   Provided by IFCA: “Due to the COVID-19 virus, the IL Dept of Ag and the University of Illinois have temporarily suspended all the commercial and private applicator training and testing clinics for the month of March. The option of taking the test at the IDA Springfield or DeKalb office is also closed for now. IFCA has communicated with both IDA and UI, and we can assure everyone that IDA will announce ...

Ag Secretary Perdue Comments on Dicamba Issue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated to reporters this week that he would like to see the industry work out a fix on dicamba issues.   “I would much prefer that method rather than a prescriptive, top-down regulation,” he said, adding that he is “hoping that the industry itself and the producers themselves are working toward a resolution.”   Click here to read more.

Ag Secretary: Smartphones Could Tell Buyers What's in Food(GMO)

In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers this idea: Use your smartphone. Vilsack told members of Congress on Wednesday that consumers could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store. All sorts of information could pop up, such as whether the food's ingredients include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. "Industry could solve that issue in a heartbeat," Vilsack said during a House hearing on agriculture spending. Click Here to read more.  

Ag sector encouraged by infrastructure breakthrough

After securing an agreement on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, Senate negotiators worked through the weekend to finalize the legislative text of over 2,700 pages. The bill could come up for a vote this week, but still needs to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.   The Senate on Wednesday voted 67 to 32 to invoke cloture and cut off debate on a motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure proposal. The procedural motion, which needed 60 votes, had support from 17 Republicans as well as all 50 Democrats. If CBO finds a shortfall between the revenue and spending provisions, senators will need to scramble ...

AGCO to Acquire Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation

AGCO and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.   “Precision Planting is a strong business that plays an essential role in the growth and adoption of innovative precision ag practices that help farmers enhance their productivity,” says Mike Stern, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. “As a leading global equipment manufacturer, AGCO is uniquely positioned to enable broader distribution of Precision Planting technology and will continue the development of innovative products that improve the efficiency ...

Agricultural Life After 2020

Guilty pleasure time — one of my favorite television shows from a few years back was called “Life After People.” For those unfamiliar, this program looked at what would happen if humanity suddenly disappeared, chronicling how things would be for the planet once we as a species were not around.   Not that it’s quite the same but given how much of an aberration 2020 is turning out to be, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on the fates for some items for those in agriculture once this year has faded into the history books. &...

Agriculture and Climate Change: Taking the Best of all Farming Systems Could Tip the Carbon Scale in the Right Direction

Agriculture contributes a significant portion of the world’s climate-changing greenhouse gases. In turn, changes in climate will reduce agricultural yields and make farming harder, just as increasing worldwide populations put pressure on the industry to produce more food.   There are basically two ways to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate: decrease the sources of carbon, or increase the sinking of carbon (plants sequestering key compounds). New varieties of plants and animals will have to tolerate abiotic stresses like drought, salt and temperature increases, while at the same time improving yields and nutrition.   Part one of ...

Agriculture department receives 369 hemp applications in two days

The Illinois Department of Agriculture received more than 360 applications to grow and process industrial hemp in the first two days applications were accepted.   Ag director John Sullivan said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that he was “pleased” with the outcome, but not surprised, since there had been an “incredible amount” of interest from potential hemp growers and processors during the last several months.   The department received 295 grower applications and 74 processor applications. Of the grower applications, 97 licenses and registrations have been issued, and 29 licenses to process hemp were given out.   The applications have ...

Agriculture Drone Market May Exceed $4 billion

According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone market may reach $3.6 billion by 2024. However, a new study forecasts an even larger bumper crop for just one of the many sub-sectors — agriculture.   The study, released this week by MarketInsightsReports, predicts the ag drone market will exceed the entire drone market value referenced in the Esticast report and do so two years earlier.   The report foresees a $4.2 billion value for the agricultural drone market by 2022 — representing a growth rate of 30 percent and beating Esticast’s overall prediction for the ...

Agriculture Faces Consequential Week as SCOTUS Considers Several Cases

Next week will be an important one for several agriculture interests as the Supreme Court is expected to consider whether to hear a number of high-stakes petitions that could affect farmers and ranchers.   In recent weeks the Supreme Court distributed three of four ag cases filed for a Jan. 7 conference. That includes challenges to Proposition 12 in California, an appeals court ruling throwing out EPA's year-round E15 rule, and a long-fought Clean Water Act case with implications for farmers and ranchers when it comes to EPA authority.   In addition, Bayer AG filed a petition on a multi-million-dollar Roundup ...

Agriculture groups want to tackle climate change, but won’t call it that

A coalition of 21 agriculture groups says the industry is doing its part to control greenhouse gas emissions and wants a seat at the federal policy table as Congress focuses on climate change, but largely avoided using that term at a Wednesday briefing.   Instead, members of the newly formed Farmers for a Sustainable Future used terms like "climate smart," sustainability, climate policy and climate issues. Farmers and ranchers, they said, can help the environment with tools such as efficient water use, improved manure management, use of cover crops that can capture and store carbon and nitrogen, and ethanol ...

Agriculture Industry Bets on Carbon as a New Cash Crop

U.S. farmers make their living raising crops from the soil each year. Now, some are getting paid for putting something back into their fields: carbon.   Big agriculture companies including Bayer AG , Nutrien Ltd. and Cargill Inc. are jockeying with startups to encourage crop producers to adopt climate-friendly practices and develop farming-driven carbon markets. Those efforts would let retailers, food makers and other companies offset their greenhouse gas emissions by paying farmers for their fields’ capacity to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trap it in the soil.   The concept envisions the U.S. Midwest’...

Agriculture Leaders Call on EPA to Cease Politicization of Crop Protection Tools

U.S. Representative Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Republican Leader of the House Committee on Agriculture, and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Republian Leader of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, are leading a bicameral effort calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind its decision to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos and ensure its future actions related to the registration or registration review of crop protection tools are consistent with the science-based, regulatory process required under EPA’s congressionally-mandated authorities.   In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the Republican Leaders ...

Agriculture Nominee Perdue Will Get Hearing Next Week

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next week to consider Sonny Perdue's nomination to be agriculture secretary.     President Donald Trump announced in January that he would nominate Perdue. After a seven-week delay, Perdue submitted the necessary ethics paperwork last week and said he would step down from several companies bearing his name.     Perdue, 70, is a farmer's son who would be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades.   Click Here to read more.

Agriculture secretary says he’s telling Trump to consider rejoining TPP

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told senators Tuesday that he’s encouraging President Trump to consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-nation trade deal the president pulled out of days after taking office.   Perdue’s comment is the latest mixed signal from the Trump administration over the TPP, which Trump recently told senators he’s open to rejoining, only to subsequently suggest over Twitter that he’s not.   The agriculture secretary’s statement came at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in response to a question from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).   Click Here to ...

Agriculture Today: Lawsuits and Lessons

Watching a lot of television during the recent coronavirus lockdown period, it’s pretty clear to me that the agricultural industry has become the new “favorite target” of the U.S. legal profession. Worse still, I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon, so the marketplace should be prepared to address this kind of intense scrutiny going forward.   Of course, most people probably don’t view this statement as all that surprising. Like me, many folks that make their living from agriculture have likely seen (or at least heard about) the numerous television commercials ...

AI Is Becoming a New Weapon in the Battle Against Crop Pests

Artificial intelligence already is making strides in the development of new drugs, and now the pesticide industry wants in on the action.   Switzerland’s Syngenta AG has teamed up with Insilico Medicine to use its deep-learning tools to produce sustainable weedkillers. As well as taking on some of the early-stage work traditionally conducted in a lab, AI could design molecules used in crop-protection tools that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly, the companies said Wednesday.   AI is among new methods emerging as environmental and health concerns spur a quest for sustainable alternatives to traditional pesticides used by ...

All of Mississippi's beaches have been closed for swimming due to toxic algae

Every beach along Mississippi's Gulf Coast is closed for swimming as the entire shoreline is now under the same water warning tied to a blue-green algae bloom. CBS Biloxi affiliate WLOX-TV reported that Pascagoula's two beach testing sites on the east and west stations joined a list of 19 other beaches Sunday morning.   The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued a statement saying the closures were mandated in Jackson County, which spans a sizable chunk of the Mississippi coastline, "due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into those areas."   According to the ...

Alliance Shows Fertilizer, Ag Retail Industries Are Serious About Safety

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President & CEO Chris Jahn and Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President & CEO Daren Coppock today highlighted ongoing efforts by the fertilizer and ag retail industries to enhance workplace and community safety while formalizing an alliance between TFI, ARA, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The alliance will build upon the stewardship efforts associated with the ResponsibleAg program, a voluntary initiative created in 2014 by TFI and ARA to enhance health, safety, and security performance at agricultural retail facilities.   “Safety is a key priority for the ...

Amazon Settles for Nearly $5 Million in California Pesticide Case

Announced in early November, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) reached a $4.97 million settlement with Amazon.com Services, LLC.    Violations included Amazon selling unregistered pesticides in California, failing to report and pay required mill assessment fees associated with the sale of registered pesticides in California, and failing to hold a valid pesticide broker’s license.   Click Here to read more.

Amid Legal Limbo, Dicamba Injury on the Rise Once Again

As July gets underway, state regulators, weed scientists, agronomists and farmers are reporting off-target dicamba injury to crops and plants for the fifth summer in a row.   This year, some of the most widespread symptomology and crop injury is being reported in Iowa, where scientists told DTN that weather conditions, court rulings and planting dates combined into a "perfect storm" to produce off-target movement from June dicamba applications.   "It's far worse than past years," said Meaghan Anderson, a field agronomist for Iowa State University, based in central Iowa. "You can tell pretty ...

Ammonia exports jumped from Russia

In January-July this year, the supply of nitrogen fertilizers from Russia to the world market increased by 5.8% to 7.882 million tons, according to the materials of the Federal Customs Service.   Sales of potash fertilizers grew by 1.4% to 4.751 million tons, while complex fertilizers decreased by 12% to 5.995 million tons. Exports of anhydrous ammonia increased by 9% to 2.704 million tons.   In monetary terms, shipments of nitrogen fertilizers abroad expanded by 14.8% to $1.641 billion, potash – by 21.8% to $1.231 billion, ammonia – by 7.7% to $701.9 million, while complex declined by 5.1% to $1.865 billion.   Click Here to read more.

Ammonia Technician & NTIP Summer Courses, Register Today

The one-day NTIP "CT" Course and two-day Ammonia Technician Course are led by IFCA’s John Rebholz, and both offer in-depth hands-on learning experiences.  Many folks who register for the NTIP Course are also interested in participating in the Ammonia Technician Course. To help make time and travel most efficient for those who need to attend both courses, we have scheduled the Ammonia Technician Course to coincide with the NTIP Course.   Registration is now open and classes are limited, so don't miss your opportunity to participate and register today.

An Email From A Powerful Former State Lobbyist Hints At A Rape Cover-Up

A powerful former Springfield lobbyist and close friend of House Speaker Michael Madigan once sought leniency for a state worker in a disciplinary case by arguing that the worker “kept his mouth shut” about an unspecified rape downstate.   In the previously undisclosed, 2012 email, ex-lobbyist Michael McClain urged two top aides to then-Gov. Pat Quinn to avoid firing the worker, also telling them the man was politically “loyal” to Quinn and stayed silent about “ghost workers.”   McClain and a former client, Commonwealth Edison, already are facing intense scrutiny from federal agents investigating the ...

Analysis Shows Illinois has Highest Taxes in Nation

Illinois now has the dubious honor of having the highest taxes in the United States.   The analysis by personal finance website WalletHub looked at state and local taxes, income taxes, real estate taxes, sales and excise taxes, and vehicle property taxes for the report.   The study shows the average Illinois household pays nearly $9,500 a year in state and local taxes, the highest in the nation.   WalletHub’s analysis showed Illinois with the highest overall effective state and local taxes, and the second-highest real estate taxes in the country. Analyst Jill Gonzalez said Illinois’ gas taxes ...

And this was surprising how?

The House Special Investigations Committee II had its first substantive hearing last week and frankly nothing happened (or didn’t happen) that should have come as a surprise to anyone.   This is the committee looking into whether House Speaker Michael Madigan has engaged in conduct unbecoming a la wmaker. (Spoiler alert: The Republicans say “yes,” the Democrats say “no.”)   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was finally allowed to deliver some opening remarks, but it took the better part of an hour of partisan arguing before that came to pass.   Republicans grilled a ...

Anhydrous Ammonia Certified Grower Training

Grower training will be offered in the afternoon after competent attendant ammonia training.  Growers and grower farm operators have until April 1, 2022, to be initially certified, and must participate in refresher training every three years.  The training sessions will follow IFCA's annual Spring Competent Ammonia Trainings.  Grower Training will begin at 1 p.m. and will have limited capacity.  Information on the dates, locations and registration can be found here.  Growers also have the option of taking online certified grower training through the Illinois Department of Agriculture website, access to the online ...

Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Reminders!!

As we prepare for the upcoming ammonia season, here are 10 key safety reminders to keep foremost in your mind when working with ammonia:   1.  Remember to always utilize your ammonia gloves and chemical splash goggles when working around ammonia.  Never wear contact lenses when working around anhydrous ammonia.   2.  Make sure each nurse tank has 5 gallons of fresh clean water.  Additionally put a gallon water jug in your truck and tractor.   3.  Slow down!  No more than 25 mph when pulling ammonia tanks.   4.  Avoid congested or high traffic areas when pulling nurse tanks ...

Annual Ag Lime Producer Information Booklet Now Available

The application of lime to Illinois cropland is a time tested method for controlling soil acidity.  It can help maintain optimum nutrient availability and consequently, crop production.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers work together to publish the Illinois Voluntary Limestone Program Producer Information booklet detailing the latest testing results for ag lime available from various sources in Illinois and surrounding states.  This year's ag lime info can be found here.   With this information at hand you can make the best possible decisions for proper use of ag lime ...

Annual Ag Lime Producer Information Booklet Now Available

The application of lime to Illinois cropland is a time-tested method for controlling soil acidity.  It can help maintain optimum nutrient availability and consequently, crop production.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers work together to publish the Illinois Voluntary Limestone Program Producer Information booklet detailing the latest testing results for ag lime available from various sources in Illinois and surrounding states.  This year's ag lime info can be found here.   With this information at hand you can make the best possible decisions for proper use of ag lime ...

Annual Ag Lime Producer Information Booklet Now Available

The application of lime to Illinois cropland is a time-tested method for controlling soil acidity.  It can help maintain optimum nutrient availability and consequently, crop production.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers work together to publish the Illinois Voluntary Limestone Program Producer Information booklet detailing the latest testing results for ag lime available from various sources in Illinois and surrounding states.  This year's ag lime info can be found here.   With this information at hand you can make the best possible decisions for proper use of ag lime when ...

Annual Dicamba Label Training

If you plan on applying dicamba over-the-top of soybean in 2022, you will once again need to complete the annual dicamba label training.  The trainings are free, and all three registrants have updated their online dicamba trainings for the 2022 season.  Below you will find links for the online trainings as well as information for live webinar trainings.  No matter which dicamba product you may be using this upcoming season for soybean, you can complete any of the trainings below to meet the requirement.   Engenia   Xtend   Tavium

Annual training required for dicamba use

Whether you’re a farmer, commercial operator or someone mixing or loading dicamba for soybean application, you are required to undergo certification once again this year.   “I’m running in to a lot of growers who think that because they went last year, they don’t have to go to training again, and that is not the case,” said Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president.   Pesticide applicators who desire to use dicamba herbicides that are labeled for use in soybeans must participate in special dicamba training prior to using these herbicides ...

Another 39K File Jobless Claims in Illinois

The state of Illinois saw slight decreases in the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims as well as the number of people receiving continuing benefits during the week that ended July 4.   But those gains were more than offset by increases in the number of people applying for and receiving benefits under another program designed for people who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits.   The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that it processed 39,015 initial unemployment claims during the week, which was shortened by the Independence Day holiday weekend. That was down from 43,934 initial claims ...

Another Black Swan Could Swoop into the Fertilizer Market

Last week, roughly 3,000 Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP Rail) workers voted 96.7% in favor of going on strike starting March 16 if a collective bargaining agreement is not penned, according to CP Teamsters.   CP Rail halts would mean trouble for agricultural stakeholders like Nutrien, who has spoken out against the planned strike.   Click Here to read more.

Another Dicamba Registered

Growers of dicamba-tolerant crops now have three registered dicamba herbicides for use in-crop over soybeans and cotton for the coming season. The latest in the lineup is DuPont's FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology.   FeXapan is a single active ingredient product that contains only dicamba as a diglycolamine (DGA) salt. VaporGrip is an additive designed to keep the dicamba in a less volatile state compared to older DGA formulations, such as Clarity.   Click Here to read more.

Anti-pesticide Campaigners Maintain That Insecticide Sulfoxaflor Violates the Endangered Species Act.

We may be our own worst critics, but America continues to lead the world in science, science literacy, and science policy. Anyone who has tried to navigate science policy in Europe knows how bad it can get when the discourse is hijacked by government-funded environmental groups who use taxpayer money to prevent sane efforts at progress for European taxpayers.   Compared to Europe, American scientists have it good.   Click Here to read more.

Appeals court smacks OSHA on anhydrous regulations

A Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. recently ruled the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violated federal law when it issued an enforcement memorandum last summer pushing more regulation on some ag retailers regarding handling and storage of anhydrous ammonia.   The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) said the court’s action saves anhydrous providers – and perhaps you, if you farm, since that’s where the costs will be likely be passed on – more than $100 million.   "This administration has broadly and unjustly avoided proper procedure to construct and ...

Appeals Court tells EPA to Ban Pesticide or Decide It's Safe

A federal appeals court on April 29 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly determine whether a pesticide linked to brain damage in children should be banned, saying the agency had delayed acting on the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos for nearly 14 years.   In a 2-1 decision, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to act on a possible ban within 60 days.   "The EPA has spent more than a decade assembling a record of chlorpyrifos's ill effects," U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote. "Yet, rather than ban the ...

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Precision application can make the difference between a profitable year and a break-even year and finding qualified professional applicators can be a problem.  The Applicator Training Course is a four-day course specifically designed for new applicators with less than three years of experience.  The course offers hands-on training where participants learn how to start and assess a field, develop a plan to manage drift, understand sprayer components and systems, reinforces the importance of professionalism, and so much more.   During the course, each participant will test their skills by taking part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, where they ...

Applicator Training Still Open For February 2019

For experienced applicators looking for a refresher course, AGCO Corporation and Asmark Institute have partnered to offer a training program. The next offering of this training is Feb. 12 to 13 at the Applicator Training Center in Bloomington, Ill., and registration is still open.   The comprehensive, two-day course will cover these eight topics: •reducing or eliminating off-target applications due to spray drift •the differences in tank additives •proper cleanout techniques •the importance of recordkeeping •reading and understanding product labels •self-protection in emergencies •how to safely travel on roads •how to assess and choose ...

ARA and IFCA Seeks Clarification On Dicamba Label

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) has been in support of extending the registration of dicamba and applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action to extend the registration through 2020. ARA supports the continued use of this new technology and supports label restrictions to ensure the best possible stewardship and use of the product. Following the announcement, ARA received several questions from members and is seeking clarification from EPA on two elements of the new registration guidelines.   The first question is on the scope of the term “certified applicator.” The ...

ARA Applauds Senate Passage of Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021

Today the U.S. Senate passed S.1251, the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021, in a vote of 92-8. The bill would help boost ag carbon markets by creating a certification process at USDA. Agricultural Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock issued the following statement in response:   "ARA is pleased that this important piece of legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, and we urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow suit.   "Agricultural practices will continue to play a key role in climate policy discussions, and it is essential that the ag retail industry ...

ARA Encouraged by Progress on Seasonal Ag CDL Reform

Today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a mark-up on S. 2016, the Surface Transportation Investment Act. The Agricultural Retailers Association has been working closely with Senator Moran, R-Kan., Senator Thune, R-S.D., and allies on Capitol Hill to encourage reform to the Farm-Related Restricted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program, more commonly referred to as the Seasonal Ag CDL program ahead of this mark-up. Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton issued the following statement:   "The Seasonal Ag CDL program is critical to ensure ag retailers are able to provide the ...

ARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmakers

More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a ARA news release.   Hosted by the Agricultural Retailers Association, the fly-in garnered participation from ARA members from across the country and several national and state agribusiness groups.   “Grassroots advocacy matters,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “This is an important opportunity for our members and stakeholders to put agricultural policy issues in front of their federal legislators.”   Delegations of retailers and suppliers visited with more than 160 members of Congress and/or ...

ARA Letter to WH and DOL on Employer-Enforced COVID Vaccine Mandate

Writing on behalf of rural businesses throughout North America, Agricultural Retailers Association CEO and President Daren Coppock sent a letter to President Biden and the Department of Labor regarding the planned COVID vaccine mandate to be enforced by employers.    In the letter Coppock said: “While we share your goal of putting COVID-19 behind us as soon as possible, we oppose the idea of compelling employers to enforce vaccine mandates. This opposition is not because we question the vaccines or the need to receive them – rather, our opposition comes from the likely impacts the sweeping mandate will ...

ARA: 2018 Farm Bill Represents ‘Missed Opportunity’

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement on the conference report on the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill):   “ARA is happy to see a Farm Bill move forward, however this bill represents a missed opportunity to correct some straightforward regulatory problems that would have had no budgetary impact.   “We are disappointed to see language to fix the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulatory overlap once again dropped from the conference report. The association strongly supported language to fix the long-standing duplicative permitting requirement for pesticide applications that are ...

Are Ag Retailers on the Road Back to Normalcy?

For the world-at-large, 2020 was definitely not the norm. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the globe kept things from operating as they normally would in virtually every sector of life. In general, the agricultural industry was able to continue its business activities without too much disruption. However, when all was said and done, the ag retailers that make up the CropLife 100 still did see their annual revenues for 2020 fall 1.9% to $31.7 billion, according to the 2020 CropLife 100 Survey.   In truth, there were hints that the ag retail marketplace would take some kind of financial hit earlier in the year, when CropLife® ...

Are Biden Tax Proposals Creating Panic on the Farm?

Are you in a panic about the tax law changes being debated in Washington? One proposal includes reducing the death tax exemption to $3.5 million. Illinois farmers have lived under a $4 million state exemption for many years, so if you are thinking of a threshold at which you need estate tax planning, I’ve got good news: It won’t change much.   Let’s look back at a few points you may remember reading:   November 2019. With the Illinois exemption of $4 million, a couple with a farm worth around $16 million would incur Illinois tax of around $1.2 million &...

Are GMO critics more open to gene editing that targets plant and human diseases?

The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments). But transgenics and other modifications in medicines (ranging from monoclonal antibodies against melanoma and lung cancer to gene therapies against inherited rare disorders and RNA interference in molecular diagnostics) have not seen the same kind of resistance.  Is it possible that transgenics (or even more modern techniques like CRISPR that don’t ...

Are We On The Edge Of An Agricultural Recession?

It’s no secret that farm country is suffering from retaliatory tariffs that are the result of President Donald Trump’s trade negotiating tactics, but could the trade war push U.S. agriculture into a recession? One Wall Street analyst thinks they could.   “From an investor's standpoint, what we're seeing on Wall Street is perhaps a little naivety and a little complacency around the impact of tariffs on the ag economy,” Ann Duignan of JP Morgan told Chip Flory on AgriTalk earlier this week. “I think from Wall Street's perspective, the ...

Are you anti-GMO? Then you’re anti-science, too.

In keeping with our era of ideological boycotts, I will no longer be purchasing Kind bars. Or Barilla pasta. Or Triscuit crackers. Or Del Monte diced tomatoes. Or Nutro dog food.   A one-person boycott, of course, is really just a change in your shopping list. But the companies that produce these brands are guilty of crimes against rationality. All advertise on their packaging, in one way or another, that they don’t contain GMOs — genetically modified organisms. Walking down the aisle of my supermarket, I could have picked many other examples. Some food companies seem to be ...

Are Your Nurse Tank Withdrawal Valves in Compliance?

We have received several inquiries from our members because of their most recent ammonia inspection by IDOA on what is the appropriately sized withdrawal valve that is required to meet the Illinois Department of Ag requirement that went into effect December 31, 2020:     Flow capacity of the excess flow valve shall not exceed 45 GPM for 1¼" tank connections and 60 GPM for 1½" tank connections.  When using an open yoke type excess flow withdrawal valve in a tank opening, the opening shall not be reduced with bushings to accommodate the withdrawal valve. Each valve shall be tested ...

Arkansas Farmers Sue Monsanto, BASF, DuPont Over Dicamba Damage

Monsanto Co., BASF Corp., and DuPont face a class-action lawsuit from farmers who claim their crops were damaged by the herbicide dicamba, a new legal front against producers of soybeans and cotton resistant to the weed killer.   The lawsuit stems from a wave of complaints from farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and elsewhere who say that their crops were damaged by dicamba being sprayed on nearby fields planted with dicamba-tolerant corn and soybeans that were developed primarily by Monsanto (  Smokey Alley Farm P’ship v. Monsanto Co. , E.D. Mo., No. 4:17-cv-02031, 7/19/17 ).   The Monsanto seeds—...

Arkansas Governor’s Task Force sets April 15 cut off for Dicamba.

A quick rundown: as of September 13, harvest season is underway in earnest, the Arkansas Governor’s Dicamba Task Force report has been released, a spraying cutoff date (proposed by the task force and approved by the Plant Board’s Pesticide Committee) of April 15 has been proposed for 2018, Monsanto has filed a petition with the Plant Board asking the task force’s recommendations be ignored and, most importantly, there are 966 dicamba drift complaints in the state.   On Tuesday (September 12), the Pesticide Committee unanimously agreed to accept the task force recommendation of an April 15 cutoff for spraying dicamba. ...

Arkansas House, Senate OK bills to stiffen fines for herbicide abuse

The House and Senate passed similar bills Monday that would allow the State Plant Board to levy greater civil penalties in egregious cases of herbicide misapplication.   The House voted 68-12 to pass House Bill 1692 by Rep. David Hillman, R-Almyra. The Senate voted 32-1 to approve Senate Bill 501 by Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning. Both bills would allow the plant board to assess a civil penalty greater than $1,000 but not more than $25,000, but only if the board finds the violation is egregious.   A violation would be egregious only if "significant off-target crop damage occurred as a result of the ...

Arkansas judge freezes herbicide ban for about 85 farmers

An Arkansas judge has issued a temporary restraining order on an herbicide ban.   The state Plant Board’s dicamba ban takes effect Monday and will run through October 31. The ban was issued after the board received nearly 1,000 complaints last summer that the herbicide drifted onto crops and caused damage.   The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Judge Tonya Alexander issued the ruling Thursday after a motion was filed on behalf of about 85 farmers. Alexander says the farmers faced harm to their crops without the order.   Click Here to read more.

Arkansas judge throws out Monsanto dicamba lawsuit

The Arkansas ban on dicamba continues after a judge threw out Monsanto’s lawsuit to stop the state from blocking sale of the product. On Friday the Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza cited a recent Arkansas Supreme Court decision that the state cannot be made a defendant in court.   In June, the Arkansas State Plant Board bowed to the pressure of more than 240 complaints connected to alleged drifting of the chemical dicamba and passed a vote 9-5 to ban the sale and use of the product.   Click Here to read more.

Arkansas lawmakers approve ban on disputed herbicide

Arkansas lawmakers on Friday approved banning an herbicide that farmers say has drifted onto crops where it wasn't applied and caused damage, but the prohibition still faces a legal challenge from a maker of the weed killer.   The Legislative Council, without discussion, approved the Plant Board's plan to ban dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. A subcommittee earlier this week recommended that the council — the Legislature's main governing body when lawmakers aren't in session — approve the proposal.   Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as ...

Arkansas lawmakers put efforts to ban herbicide on hold

Arkansas lawmakers have put on hold a plan to ban an herbicide that farmers in several states say has drifted on to their crops and caused damage, agreeing with a panel’s recommendation to call on regulators to revise restrictions proposed on the weed killer.   The Arkansas Legislative Council approved a recommendation Friday to delay considering the state Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba’s use from April 16 through October 31 next year. The council is the Legislature’s main governing body when lawmakers aren’t in session.   A subcommittee earlier this week ...

Arkansas panel backs ban of herbicide dicamba

An Arkansas regulatory panel voted Wednesday to ban the use of an herbicide for part of next year after the weed killer drew complaints from farmers across several states who say it has drifted onto their crops and caused widespread damage.   The Arkansas Plant Board on Wednesday approved prohibiting the use of dicamba in the state between April 16 and Oct. 31. The ban includes several exemptions, including for pastures and home use, and now heads to a legislative panel.   Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use ...

Arkansas Plant Board Backs Stiff Dicamba Fines

The state Plant Board on Wednesday approved the framework for allowing fines of up to $25,000 for the most serious cases of illegal spraying of dicamba and other herbicides.   State lawmakers approved the stiffer fines in March during their regular legislative session, but state law that governs boards and commissions requires the Plant Board, a part of the state Department of Agriculture, and its civil-penalties committee to revise a penalty matrix.   The Plant Board, with little discussion, unanimously approved the committee's work. The new penalty matrix now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson for review. If approved by the ...

Arkansas Plant Board Moves to Approve Dicamba Use in 2019

The Arkansas State Plant Board on Wednesday adopted a plan to allow restricted use of dicamba in 2019 through May 25.   The proposed new rule is applicable to all current (Engenia,  Fexapan, and Xtendimax) and future dicamba products registered for in-crop use in Arkansas.  According to a statement from the State Plant Board, changes regarding dicamba use in the proposed rule include: •Restrictions on in-crop applications of dicamba from May 26 to October 31. •A half-mile buffer zone required around all non-dicamba crops when dicamba is applied. •A one-mile buffer zone for university and USDA research stations, certified ...

Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now What?

The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, with an exemption for pastureland, and to expedite the rule increasing civil penalties for dicamba misuse.   The proposed rule is the first step in the process of establishing an emergency rule. The next step includes a review of the proposed rule by the governor before being submitted to the Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for approval.   “Governor (Asa) Hutchinson has followed this issue closely and previously tasked Secretary (Wes) Ward and ASPB Director (Terry) Walker ...

Arkansas Plant Board votes to curb weedkiller

The state Plant Board on Friday voted to restrict the use of certain herbicides in the state after some farmers this summer illegally sprayed the weedkiller dicamba and damaged their neighbors' crops.   The issue now goes up for a 30-day public comment period and then to a public hearing, which the board set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21. The governor and the state Legislature will have final say on whether the restrictions are put in place.   Except for one member who abstained because of a conflict of interest, the vote on each of the recommendations, listed below, was unanimous. &...

Arkansas Regulators Move Toward Enacting Later Dicamba Cutoff

The Arkansas State Plant Board voted Wednesday, March 4, in favor of a new rule to adopt the EPA's federal dicamba cutoff dates for over-the-top dicamba use in the state in 2021.   While procedural hurdles remain, the decision is a stark reversal from the board's previous vote in December 2020 to keep its May 25 dicamba cutoff date, which has been in place for three years. That cutoff date remains in place for now while the proposed new rule goes through the state's rulemaking requirements.   The surprising reversal hinged on a membership change that occurred on the plant board ...

Arkansas Supreme Court stays judges' orders on dicamba ban, again halting use of herbicide

The AP reports that the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed temporary restraining orders from two circuit court judges in East Arkansas that would have allowed a group of farmers to use the banned herbicide dicamba.    The orders — from Judge Tonya Alexander in Mississippi County and Judge Christopher Morledge in Phillips County — prevented the state from enforcing a ban on the controversial herbicide which was put in place by the State Plant Board, as we reported last week. With the Supreme Court's latest action, the ban remains firmly in effect.    The court's ...

As Agrochemical Prices Skyrocket, So Do Investments in Biological Alternatives

Startups developing biological inputs for crops raised just over $892 million worldwide last year, according to preliminary data from AgFunder.   That’s well over double their total funding haul for the previous year – indicating just how much interest in the space has grown.   Click Here to read more.

As deadline to pass constitutional amendment looms, Illinois lawmakers fear missed opportunity for redistricting reform

After years of unsuccessful legislative and citizen-led efforts to strip the General Assembly of the power to draw congressional and legislative district boundaries, the coronavirus shutdown appears to have doomed any chance of constitutional redistricting reform before the state’s maps are set for another decade.   Going into the spring legislative session, backers of change were hoping to make one more effort at getting something done before a looming deadline. In February, lawmakers filed identical state constitutional amendments in the Illinois House and Senate that would hand over the power to draw and approve district boundaries to an ...

As harvest season begins, farmers worry how dicamba herbicide could affect next year’s crop

In front of several greenhouse scaffolds, Steve Hamra gestured to a metal cart containing trays of seedlings for bell peppers, tomatoes and romaine lettuce. About 150 miles south of St. Louis on a 10-acre site, Hamra is growing produce hydroponically, or in water instead of soil, for about 400 schools, in Missouri and other states.   Hamra, president and founder of Amanzi Farms, hopes to expand its operations to Kansas City and Springfield. But he’s worried that his vegetables could be damaged by the herbicide dicamba, which some neighboring farms are using.   The chemical is sold under brand names, ...

As Illinois Lawmakers Start Redistricting After 2020 Census, BGA Pushes for Fair Maps

The once-a-decade process of redistricting Illinois is taking place now, after the census.   In Illinois, politicians decide Congressional and state districts, and it's typically extremely partisan. Advertisement   The watchdog group "Better Government Association" has been campaigning for years for fair maps.   Now that public hearings are underway statewide, there is a lot at stake besides the fact that state lawmakers have a June 30 deadline to finalize the remap or possibly face a bipartisan committee that would take over and make the decision, Greising said.   Click Here to read more.

As latest round of U.S.-China talks end, 'significant work' remains

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks on Friday and were scheduled to resume discussions next week to try to secure a pact that would end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that has roiled global markets.   The two sides offered few details of the progress as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He concluded three days of meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said a deal could be announced in the next four weeks.   Last year Washington and Beijing ...

As natural gas prices jump, shale oil firms get gassy

Natural gas a few years ago was so unwanted that U.S. shale oil producers sold it at cost just to pump more oil. Today, prices are near 14-year highs, and new export terminals are rising along with production forecasts.   The result is an earnings bonanza for companies that once shunned the fuel as an annoying by-product. U.S. benchmark natural gas prices in late August topped $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), a level not seen since 2008, and the boom-bust cycles from North American demand appear to have been broken amid surging exports.   Click Here to read ...

As Palmer spreads, researchers eye sources, genetic changes

The spread of Palmer amaranth in the Midwest may be partly the result of good intentions gone bad.   Escapes from seed bags used in conservation programs are one component in the increasing presence of the troublesome weed, Southern Illinois University weed scientist Karla Gage told growers at a field day here.   “It’s a seed contamination issue, and it is happening throughout the country,” Gage said. “Iowa is particularly hard hit. It is now in areas there that did not have Palmer amaranth.”   The weed seeds are included in collections of grass ...

As states legalize marijuana, pesticides may be a blind spot

People who consume marijuana medically or recreationally may be exposing themselves to unknown health risks from toxic pesticides.   The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety but has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. So, states with legalized marijuana industries have been tasking newly created cannabis regulators, health officials and others with setting testing standards for pesticide residues present on the plant.   Now, state pesticide officials, who normally assure that EPA guidance is followed, as well as former career EPA staff, academics and environmental groups, say that without the federal guidance, marijuana ...

As Syngenta deal closes, ChemChina and Sinochem press $120 billion deal: sources

Chinese state-owned Sinochem and ChemChina are in merger talks to create the world's biggest industrial chemicals firm, to be headed by Sinochem chief Ning Gaoning, four people with knowledge of the negotiations said.   A deal could be announced by the end of the year, the people said, potentially just months after ChemChina completes its own $43 billion purchase of Switzerland's Syngenta (SYNN.S), China's biggest overseas deal to date.   A consolidation of Sinochem and ChemChina would be worth around $120 billion, one of the people said, topping companies like industrial chemicals giant BASF (BASFn.DE).   Talks ...

As the seed treatment market grows, so do pesticide concerns

Many of the seeds being planted around Minnesota today are treated with chemicals to protect them as they grow.   Syngenta, one of the top pesticide companies in the world and the global leader in the treated seed market, has a seed research facility about an hour south of the Twin Cities near the tiny community of Stanton.   Ravi Ramachandran, who heads the Syngenta Seedcare Institute, says about 75 scientists work there developing and testing seeds and seed coatings.   "And in fact this institute is probably the most sophisticated research center for seed treatment technology in the industry ...

As we approach the middle of October, thoughts begin to turn to the yearly question "When Can I Start to Apply Fall Ammonia?"

The following best management practices reflect what we have learned in 10 years of NREC funded research, performed on actual farmer fields over tile drainage.  These BMPs are also part of both the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) and the University of Illinois recommendations.  The BMPs are as follows:   1.  Use the Right Nitrogen Rate and do not apply the full rate in the fall.  We recommend saving 30-40% of the rate to be applied pre-plant or side-dress.  This helps to manage both environmental and agronomic risk since we do not know what the ...

Asian Carp for Fertilizer

IFCA has receieved questions regarding turning fucking dead asian carp into fertilizer. We felt it was important we let our membership know that this is fucking stupid. If you have any questions on the matter, please call KJ Johnson.

Ask Your Farmer-Customers to Talk with Neighbors about Herbicide Drift

Retailers and farmers need to plan ahead and communicate to avoid damaging crops, especially when using dicamba herbicides. Before spraying know the area, communicate with neighbors and take advantage of online resources to ensure you’re taking appropriate precautions for downwind sensitive areas.   “If you damage your neighbor’s field, you can’t take it back, so it’s vital you understand the area where you are applying, identify the sensitive areas and sensitive crops and adhere to the downwind buffer as the label requires,” says Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer ...

Asked about gas tax, Chao says ‘nothing is off the table’

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Wednesday that the administration “has learned from the past” that it should consult with Congress before proposing an infrastructure plan, but stopped short of saying when consultations would start.   Appearing before the Senate’s Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee, Chao indicated there could be support from the White House for higher gas taxes and fees on airplane tickets, but she also renewed the administration’s call to cut red tape in project approvals and find ways to attract private-sector funding from pension funds and endowments.   Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware ...

Asmark Institute’s Agricenter Celebrates 10 Years

Opening on August 20, 2012, the Asmark Institute Agricenter has hosted hundreds of training events, and thousands of people have walked through the doors to learn, train, network, and collaborate.  From the Asmark Signature Training courses for Ammonia Technicians, Nurse Tank “CT” Inspectors and Grain Safety, to national events such as the annual National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School and the Stand Up for Grain Safety events.   The 20,000-square-foot building is comprised of classroom settings in conjunction with specialized training spaces.  Real-life equipment used for training scenarios includes grain bins, anhydrous ammonia equipment, grain elevator equipment, ...

Asmark, AGCO open facility for applicators

The nation’s first all-inclusive training facility for beginning crop protection applicators opened June 12.   The Applicator Training Center, created through a collaboration between the Asmark Institute and AGCO Corp., is the home of the new four-day course dedicated to educating individuals with little or no background in the application of crop protection products and plant nutrients.   The facility and training grounds are adjacent to the Asmark Institute Agricenter that was built in 2012 and houses the anhydrous ammonia safety training course and grain safety training courses.   Course curriculum was built with extensive input from ag retailers and ...

At Ag Retail stop, Perdue says priority is next Farm Bill

It was USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue who was asking the questions Monday afternoon, as he met several Central Illinois farmers on a five-state tour of the Midwest.   During a stop at the Evergreen FS Plant, Perdue was introduced to Stanley Weeks, a 90-year-old farmer from the Chenoa area.   “How long have you been digging in the dirt with your hands?” Perdue asked.   Weeks answered that he remembers farming back in the days where horses did most of the work and not tractors. Still, it was Weeks who walked away impressed.   Click here to ...

At EPA, a fight over numbers in water protection rule reveals a shift in ideology

A new paper by three economists, published Thursday in the journal Science, challenges how the Environmental Protection Agency has justified repealing a 2015 water protection rule and contends that the Trump administration ignored hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits the regulation would have produced each year.   But EPA officials, including a career official overseeing the agency’s National Center for Environmental Economics, counter that Obama administration officials ignored warnings that they had used unreliable and outdated studies when calculating the regulation.   The dueling analyses of the rule, known as Waters of the United States, underscore how fraught ...

At the Illinois State Fair, farmers celebrate ag but bemoan a ‘nightmare’ of a year

Cooper Garlisch, age 2 ½, was not about to lose the Cutest Little Farmer contest. Climbing atop his red toy tractor, he scooted himself across a stage at the Illinois State Fair with gusto, drawing cheers from an audience that seemed to appreciate the showmanship.   His dad, Scott Garlisch, watched with amusement, soaking in one of the sweeter events of the annual celebration of all things agriculture — and putting aside, for a moment, the stresses weighing on his farm as the industry faces what some say is the worst year in memory.   “I have two young boys, ...

Atrazine Availability, Infrastructure Funding, And Truck Driver Reform

Covering a full slate of round ups from DC, Richard Gupton, Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Counsel, joined The Scoop podcast to talk about everything from atrazine to infrastructure.   Regarding the just released new new EPA Risk Management Plan proposal, Gupton says the points outlined could directly effect ag retailers.   Click Here to read more.

Atrazine Registration Webinar Recording on IFCA Homepage

IFCA and members of the Triazine Network along with Syngenta recently hosted an informative online seminar addressing the announced revised registration for atrazine. This recorded webinar can be found on our homepage, and covers additional label mitigation measures, how IFCA plans to engage EPA on the issue, and how you can submit your own comments to EPA. The deadline to submit comments is October 7th. Click here to be redirected to the atrazine registration review webpage to post your comments.

August USDA Reports Confirm Too Much of Everything

There’s a saying that big crops get bigger. According to USDA’s August Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the 2018 corn and soybean crops continue to grow.   Here are the key numbers:   Corn: Production forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down less than 1% from last year. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, yields are expected to average 178.4 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from 2017. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, which is down 1% from 2017.   Soybeans: Production forecast at 4.59 billion bushels, up 4% ...

Axe falls on chlorpyrifos. What's next?

For more than a decade, chlorpyrifos has come under fire by activist groups which petitioned the EPA to revoke all tolerances of the organophosphate. The agency did not revoke the tolerances. Appeals followed, and litigation started against the agency for denying the groups' petition, which at the time the agency said failed to meet the legal burden under the law for EPA to revoke chlorpyrifos.   That was then. This is now. Chlorpyrifos has been in limbo for many years. The supply dwindling. The latest chapter of this tale, you could say, dropped mid-August, when the EPA, following the most-recent ...

Bailey, Pritzker Trade barbs Over Crime as Governor's Race Heats Up

Darren Bailey continues to be on the attack over rising crime rates, especially in Chicago, and whether Gov. J.B. Pritzker is responsible.   At a Springfield press conference yesterday, the GOP gubernatorial nominee dubbed Pritzker “the enabler in chief…(who) has curbed law enforcement and let criminals run free.” Added Bailey, “We won’t have peace in Illinois until we fire J.B. Pritzker.”   Click Here to read more.

Ban of Chlorpyrifos Products Continues to Expand

The effort to ban the use of chlorpyrifos products in agriculture continues to expand. Other states are following California’s example in prohibiting the use of Chlorpyrifos in agricultural production. The California Environmental Protection Agency announced back in October that the sale of chlorpyrifos will no longer be allowed beginning February 6th next year.   New York will now be the latest state to prohibit the use of the product. Beginning January 1, chlorpyrifos will no longer be allowed for aerial application, with the exception of apple tree trunks. A complete ban of the product will become effective in New ...

Barge Traffic Resumes Near Memphis, Despite I-40 Bridge Damage

Corn and soybeans are on barges headed down the Mississippi River once again, thanks to a decision by the U.S. Coast Guard to reopen the Hernando de Soto Bridge.   The bridge on Interstate 40, linking Arkansas and Tennessee near Memphis, was closed on Tuesday after a crack was discovered in a steel beam during a routine, federally mandated inspection that occurs about every two years.   After review on Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said river traffic was safe to resume and reopened the bridge, according to a press release.   As of Friday, there were 62 vessels and 1,058 ...

BASF Closes on Bayer Assets, Launches Agricultural Solutions Division

BASF hosted a conference call for global ag media this afternoon to announce the official close of its “acquisition of a range of businesses and assets” from fellow German multinational Bayer.   BASF signed agreements in October 2017 and April 2018 to acquire the businesses and assets Bayer offered to divest in the context of its acquisition of Monsanto, for an all-cash purchase price of €7.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing.   Click Here to read more.

BASF Scores New Trial Over $60 Million Dicamba Damages Award

Monsanto Co. and BASF Corp. are liable for the herbicide dicamba’s damage to a farmer’s peach orchards, the Eighth Circuit said Thursday, but it tossed a $60 million award and called for a new trial to separately assess what punitive damages each company owes.   The evidence “establishes different degrees of culpability between the co-conspirators,” according to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Therefore, the lower court should’ve told the jury to “separately assess punitive damages against Monsanto and BASF,” the appeals court said.   Click Here to ...

Basics in Applied Agronomy: Certified Crop Adviser Exam Prep

Are you or someone you know planning on taking one of the certified crop adviser exams next February?  If so, please check out an upcoming online course being offered through Parkland College titled “Basics in Applied Agronomy”.  The course will start this November and consist of 12 weekly sessions, every Wednesday.  The class also serves as a good review of basic agronomy ahead of the next cropping year and is offering 26 CEU credits for current CCA’s.   To be redirected to more information on the course or to register, please click here.

Bayer Abandons Work on Louisiana Dicamba Plant

Bayer AG said on Tuesday it will scrap a nearly $1 billion project to produce the chemical dicamba in the United States, but said the move is unrelated to a federal court decision that blocked sales of weedkillers based on the product.   The German-based company is moving to save cash as it wages an expensive legal battle to fight allegations that another product, its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup, causes cancer. Bayer denies the claims.   The company said it is halting work on a new dicamba plant in Luling, Louisiana, because global overcapacity for producing the chemical made the investment less ...

Bayer Advances Toward Resolving Roundup Litigation

A draft settlement of lawsuits alleging a connection between Roundup exposure and cancer has been agreed to by Bayer and lawyers representing “tens of thousands” of plaintiffs, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”   The newspaper reported the settlement “appears poised to end up” in the $10 billion range, but also that the deal has not been signed “and could yet fall apart.”   Bayer issued a brief statement, saying, “Mediation discussions continue in good faith under a court order requiring confidentiality, and the company cannot ...

Bayer AG Does Not Expect More Roundup Trials

Bayer AG says it does not expect any more Roundup trials to occur as it remains committed to settling the pending litigation.   The U.S. district judge who is overseeing all Roundup lawsuits filed in federal courts had set a deadline of November 2nd for all of the lawsuits to be settled.   Bayer says a very small number of cases that have not been settled in the multi-district litigation could be remanded to other courts.   But, with the ongoing settlement progress and the continuing COVID pandemic they do not expect trials to occur before the third quarter ...

Bayer asks California appeals court to throw out $78 million Roundup verdict

Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s weed killers gave him cancer.   In a filing in California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was “no evidence” that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.   “Bayer stands behind these products and will continue to vigorously defend them,” the company said in a news release.   ...

Bayer asks California appeals court to throw out $78 million Roundup verdict

Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s weed killers gave him cancer.   In a filing in California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was “no evidence” that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.   “Bayer stands behind these products and will continue to vigorously defend them,” the company said in a news release.   ...

Bayer Braces for Third Roundup Verdict

The jury in Bayer AG’s third Roundup weedkiller trial was urged by a plaintiffs’ lawyer to consider socking the company with $1 billion in damages as punishment for covering up the health risks of the herbicide for decades.   The aggressive demand on behalf an elderly couple who claim they got cancer from exposure to Roundup shows that plaintiffs are becoming bolder after winning the first two trials against Bayer, which together yielded $159 million in damages.   The couple’s attorney said the billion-dollar request is roughly based on the gross profit of $892 million recorded in 2017 by ...

Bayer expects significant surge in number of U.S. glyphosate cases

Bayer expects the number of claims in the United States related to Roundup herbicide to have surged in the third quarter, as the German drugs and pesticides maker tries to reach a settlement after earlier court rulings against it.   "With the substantial increase in plaintiff advertising this year, we expect to see a significant surge in the number of plaintiff filings over the third quarter," the company said in a written statement.   Bayer, which acquired Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers as part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto last year, faces potentially heavy litigation costs ...

Bayer faces billion-dollar losses related to legal claims of deadly Roundup herbicide

Pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer has shed some $20 billion in market value in the weeks since a California court ordered it to pay $289 million in damages to plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson, related to his use of the herbicide Roundup.   Jurors found that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer in a $66 billion merger, had acted with malice and negligence in failing to warn Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, about the cancer risks associated with Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate. Johnson is now suffering from late-stage non-Hodgkins lymphoma.   The German-based company Bayer merged with Monsanto in June 2018, just two months ...

Bayer Loses Third Appeal of Roundup Herbicide Cancer Verdict

Bayer AG’s Roundup woes deepened as it lost another appeal of a jury verdict finding its weed killer causes cancer, the company’s third consecutive appeals court loss of the cases that have gone to trial.   A California appeals court in San Francisco refused to overturn the 2019 verdict in which a jury awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed they fell ill after using the herbicide for more than three decades. It was the eighth-largest product-defect award in U.S. history. The appeals court left intact the trial judge’s decision to reduce ...

Bayer May Settle Roundup Lawsuit for $10 Billion

As Bayer continues its mitigation to reach a settlement, Dow Jones is reporting the company could settle its glyphosate (Roundup) legal cases for a sum around $10 billion. A settlement would mean the end of the company’s legal battles concerning glyphosate.   Bayer, who bought the inventor of glyphosate, Monsanto, is dealing with under 50,000 plaintiffs who claim the product has caused cancer. So far, the company has lost three glyphosate trials—with some pending appeal outcomes.   The company recently said it would consider a settlement that is “financially reasonable and represents finality [for future and current ...

Bayer Reaches $2 billion Deal over Future Roundup Cancer Claims

Bayer has been struggling to finalize the settlement of claims that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Bayer inherited the business and the litigation as part of a $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.   The company has said that decades of studies have shown Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human use.   Wednesday’s settlement would cover future claims brought by individuals who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and were exposed to Roundup before their diagnosis. The settlement also includes benefits for people who were exposed to ...

Bayer Reaches Settlement Agreement Over Roundup

Bayer has announced its latest settlement to resolve a collection of claims that Roundup causes cancer — avoiding a trial that was set to begin this week.   In a statement to Brownfield, Bayer says it’s pleased that the case was settled on reasonable terms.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer Says Judge’s Ruling Won’t Affect Roundup Availability for Farmers

In response to a U.S. judge’s rejection of Bayer’s $2 billion class-action proposal, the company announced a five-point plan late Wednesday to address future claims.   In addition, Bayer addressed concerns of row-crop farmers who use Roundup (glyphosate) for weed control. The company says the decision will have no impact on the agricultural marketplace or Bayer’s commitment to Roundup or Roundup Ready for its farmer and retailer customers.   “We stand behind the availability and safety of glyphosate for farmers, and this won’t affect their ability to purchase or use it,&...

Bayer Says More Americans Are Alleging Monsanto Weedkillers Cause Cancer

Bayer  AG  said the number of American plaintiffs alleging its recently acquired weedkillers cause cancer has risen sharply, adding to concerns about potentially lengthy and costly litigation stemming from its acquisition of Monsanto.   The German chemicals company on Wednesday also lowered its full-year earnings outlook because of delays in closing its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto, which included a portfolio of herbicides that contain glyphosate, notably flagship product Roundup.   Bayer said it faced some 8,700 plaintiffs across the U.S. as of late August—mainly cancer patients who claim to have fallen ill after being exposed to ...

Bayer Says New Roundup Cancer Settlements Become Less Likely

Bayer AG said it believes it has gained momentum in the Roundup legal battle, and it's becoming less likely the company will pursue new settlements with outstanding plaintiffs, the company told DTN.   For the second time in eight months, Bayer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a verdict in a Roundup product ability case. The new petition, filed in March, however, is the first Roundup challenge filed by Bayer alleging a California jury's awarding of $87 million in damages to cancer victims violated the Constitution.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer says Oct. U.S. glyphosate trial delayed until further notice

A pending U.S. lawsuit over claims related to Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup has been delayed, the company said on Sunday, with a court status conference in February, 2020.   “The Oct. 15, 2019 trial date for Winston v. Monsanto in St. Louis City has been postponed,” Bayer said in a statement.   The lawsuit is the latest of several to be delayed as mediator Ken Feinberg tries to negotiate a settlement between the company and U.S. plaintiffs after a California jury in August last year found that Monsanto should have warned of alleged cancer risks. &...

Bayer says to comply with court mediation order in glyphosate case

Bayer said on Friday it would comply with a U.S. federal judge's order to enter mediation with a plaintiff who claims the company failed to warn against an alleged cancer risk from its Roundup weedkiller.   Bayer has seen billions wiped off its market value since August, when a first U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto, acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year, had not warned of the alleged risk from Roundup, which is based on active ingredient glyphosate.   It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month and more than 10,000 cases are pending.   U....

Bayer says U.S. farmers unfazed by glyphosate litigation

Bayer, the world’s largest maker of seeds and pesticides, said U.S. farmers were unperturbed by lawsuits seeking damages from Bayer for an alleged cancer-causing effect of glyphosate-based herbicides.   “There is extremely strong support among farmers, who are imploring us to keep this crop chemical - which is systemically relevant for the preparation of fields - on the market,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told journalists in a conference call on Wednesday.   He added third-quarter herbicide sales were roughly on par with the year-earlier level.   Bayer, which relies for most of its Crop Science ...

Bayer Shares Fall After Judge Questions Part of Proposed Settlement

Bayer shares fell more 6% on Tuesday after a U.S. judge questioned part of the German company's proposed settlement to deal with future claims relating to allegations that its widely used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer.   Last month Bayer agreed to pay as much as $10.9 billion to settle close to 100,000 U.S. lawsuits related to Roundup.   That included $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation. That part of the settlement requires court approval.   "The Court is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to ...

Bayer Shares Up After First Trial Win Over Roundup

Shares in Bayer AG rose 2.5% in pre-market trade on Wednesday after the German agricultural and pharmaceuticals firm won its first trial over claims its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.   A California jury found that the herbicide was not a substantial cause of a child's rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the company said on Tuesday. The verdict is the fourth involving Roundup and the first in the company's favor. read more   Roundup-related lawsuits have dogged Bayer since it acquired the brand as part of its $63 billion purchase of agricultural seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto in 2018.   Click ...

Bayer takes $10 billion writedown, flags higher Roundup settlement bill

Bayer is facing a double hit from a higher legal bill for claims relating to weedkiller Roundup as well as 9.25 billion euros ($10.82 billion) in impairments on agriculture businesses, much of it related to its Monsanto deal.   The company said the write-downs, driven by weaker demand from farmers due to low biofuel prices, plus an increase of about $750 million in the costs of settlement terms with U.S. plaintiffs over Roundup, resulted in a loss before interest and tax of 9.4 billion euros in the third quarter.   Bayer was caught up in litigation over Roundup, based on the herbicide glyphosate, ...

Bayer takes legal battle over Roundup cancer claims to U.S. Supreme Court

Bayer trying to contain billions of dollars in legal costs, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court verdict that upheld damages to a customer blaming his cancer on the German group's glyphosate-based weedkillers.   Bayer last week lost a third appeal against verdicts that sided with users of glyphosate-based Roundup, awarding them tens of millions of dollars each, leaving the drugs and pesticides group to pin hopes for relief on the United States' top court.   Bayer on Monday asked the Supreme Court to review one such verdict by the federal 9th ...

Bayer Tells Investors It Sees No Financial Hit from Hurricane or Dicamba

From Bayer's glyphosate plant in Louisiana being idle for nearly six weeks to a possible change in planting plans due to input challenges and other market factors, Bayer told investors on Tuesday the company sees no impact on its full-year guidance.   Bayer's glyphosate plant was offline for more than five weeks after taking a hit from Hurricane Ida in late August. As growers across the U.S. are faced with higher prices and possible short supplies of products such as glyphosate and glufosinate, the production problems only fueled concerns. Bayer told Farm Journal just last week the ...

Bayer to appeal EU ruling on neonicotinoids

Bayer will appeal the ruling of the General Court of the European Union in Case T-429/13. The company is concerned that the verdict, announced in May, could have far-reaching consequences for the certainty and predictability of active substance approvals in the European Union. By appealing the verdict, Bayer aims to ensure that some general interpretations of the crop protection law established by the court are re-considered. These interpretations may have importance beyond this particular case, and Bayer believes they are not legally founded.   Bayer wishes to underline that it respects the European legislative process and accepts the recent decision ...

Bayer to fund projects to increase pollinator forage

Bayer and its partners in a new Feed a Bee steering committee are making available $500,000 over the next two years to fund projects that will increase forage and plantings for honey bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators in every state in the U.S.   The initiative aims to build on Bayer’s Feed a Bee program, now in its third year, which the company says has rallied more than 900,000 individuals and 117 organizations to plant more than 2 billion wildflowers across the U.S., creating and expanding forage areas for pollinators.   "We convened the (Feed a Bee) steering ...

Bayer to Offer Enlist E3 Seed in the Future

Bayer will begin to offer Enlist E3 soybean varieties starting in 2023, the company announced in a press release on Feb. 22.   "Bayer announced today a distribution agreement with M.S. Technologies, L.L.C. for soybeans containing the Enlist E3 trait," the release explained. "The objective of the agreement is to provide Bayer customers with more choice and additional tools for integrated weed management."   Click Here to read more.

Bayer to pull Glyphosate from U.S. Lawn and Garden Markets

Bayer officials announced on Thursday the company is removing glyphosate from the U.S. residential lawn and garden marketplace, effective as early as January 2023.   That is the earliest the decision could be implemented, according to Liam Condon, president of the Bayer Crop Science Division and a member of the Bayer AG board of management.   “This is from a regulatory and logistical point of view (of what’s) possible,” Condon said during a conference call with investors.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer to sell Liberty crop protection brands to get Monsanto merger nod

Bayer has agreed to sell its Liberty herbicide and LibertyLink-branded seeds businesses to win antitrust approval for its acquisition of Monsanto, it said on Monday.   The divestment of the two global brands, a requirement imposed by South Africa's Competition Commission on Sunday, will account for the bulk of asset sales worth about $2.5 billion which need to be made to satisfy competition regulators looking at the $66 million Monsanto deal, sources close to the matter have said.   "Bayer has agreed to these conditions and is evaluating how best to execute the imposed divestiture," the German group said ...

Bayer Warns Retailers of Glyphosate Production Disruption

Agrichemical giant Bayer is alerting retail partners the company may not be able to fill some glyphosate contracts this spring, due to a supplier's manufacturing problem.   According to letters sent from the company that DTN has obtained, Bayer is declaring this a "force majeure" event, a term used to describe an uncontrollable event that prevents a party from fulfilling a contract. The situation could leave some farmers who are awaiting glyphosate deliveries on shaky ground.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer Willl Not Take Glyphosate Out of Farmers’ Hands

 “We run, hands down, the best crop business in the world, which is all clouded by the fact that we have the litigation overhang,” Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG, told a group of investors this morning.   He was talking about the thousands of legal actions against the company from people claiming Roundup, which contains glyphosate, causes cancer. Baumann outlined how Bayer would mitigate the legal actions surrounding its glyphosate litigation and provide a path forward for investors, while safeguarding the product for farmers and ranchers.   In May, Bayer decided to discontinue the national claims ...

Bayer's Glyphosate Plant Back Online After Idled by Ida for Weeks, Widespread Glyphosate and Glufosinate Shortages Persist

The glyphosate shortage that started the spring of 2021 is only intensifying as farmers prepare for the 2022 growing season. However, as growers try to source enough of the widely used herbicide for the upcoming growing season, there is good news for one major U.S. plant.   Bayer says its glyphosate plant in Luling, La., is back online after being shuttered since August 28. The plant was idled after Hurricane Ida barreled into the Gulf Coast. Just last week, Bayer told Farm Journal the plant was still in the process of getting adequate and stable power distributed throughout the site. Bayer says ...

Bayer's Monsanto faces 8,000 lawsuits on glyphosate

The number of U.S. lawsuits brought against Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) newly acquired Monsanto has jumped to about 8,000, as the German drugmaker braces for years of legal wrangling over alleged cancer risks of glyphosate-based weedkillers.   Bayer had previously disclosed 5,200 such lawsuits against Monsanto, which it acquired in a $63 billion deal completed in June.   “The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” ...

Bayer, BASF Awarded New Trial to Settle Dicamba Damages

Bayer and BASF are being awarded a new trial to set punitive damages in the case against Missouri peach producer Bader Farms who claims dicamba drift damaged its orchard.   The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is vacating the $60 million of punitive damages awarded in the case because it was settled collectively. The court is now directing a new trial to award damages from Bayer and BASF separately. The court upheld the rest of the case.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer, BASF Fight to Keep Weedkiller on U.S. Farms

Chemical makers Bayer AG and BASF SE are pushing to keep a controversial weedkiller on the market after a federal court in June blocked its use in U.S. soybean and cotton fields.   The companies are seeking approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency that would allow farmers to continue spraying dicamba, a herbicide that can kill hardy weeds but has been blamed for drifting off fields and damaging millions of acres of neighboring crops. Bayer and BASF are proposing that farmers mix the weedkiller with new chemical agents that company officials said would help dicamba stay where it is ...

Bayer, Syngenta Clash With EU Over Bees Amid M&A Charm Offensive

Bayer AG and Syngenta AG, two of the agrichemical giants trying to win the European Commission’s blessing for deals reshaping the global industry, clashed with the EU over bans on insecticides that regulators blame for killing honeybees.   The EU action not only damages farmers, the agricultural industry and the environment, but throws companies into legal uncertainty, Bayer said on the first day of hearings at the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg. BASF SE is also lining up to attack 2013 bans of previously approved pesticides, based on new studies the EU said showed “unacceptable” ...

Bayer’s Glyphosate Lawsuit Headaches Promise to Linger

You’ll have to forgive the executives at Bayer if they have something of a headache these days. While the German-based company is well-known for its brand of pain reliver to the general public, in agriculture, the crop protection/seed giant is primarily known for the No. 1 selling herbicide in the world, glyphosate – thanks to its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto. This combination made the company the largest such business entity in the world, with annual sales in the $22 billion range.   But along with acquiring brand glyphosate, Bayer also acquired a host of lawsuits across America related to it, ...

Be proactive to prevent dicamba drift issues

Grapes, snap beans, tomatoes and watermelons are among some of the most sensitive crops to dicamba, warns University of Illinois Commercial Agriculture Educator Elizabeth Wahle.   But so are peppers, cantaloupes, cucumbers, peaches, apples, squash, broccoli, cut flowers, cabbage, kale, pecans and turnips.   In short, all specialty crops are susceptible to dicamba and other pesticide drift, Wahle recently explained to a group of apple and peach growers in Calhoun County, one of Illinois’ biggest fruit tree districts   Click Here to read more.

Bee Pesticide Ban Debate Could Arise in Next Farm Bill

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year’s farm bill, one of several initiatives he is pushing in the legislation to reauthorize agriculture and nutrition programs.   Thirty-one Democrats are backing a bill—the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017 ( H.R. 3040)—that would suspend the approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, common insect-killers that are said to harm honeybees, aquatic insects, birds, and other insects and animals. H.R. 3040 would ban imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and any other neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency can ...

Bee-Ware of Pollinators When Using Pesticides

Farmers aren’t the only ones anxious to work in fields. After a late, cold spring, pollinators are busy, or soon will be, foraging across the landscape.   Recently, the University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program focused on spring pollinator tips for applicators.   Click Here to read more.

BeeCheck maps hives and protects pollinators

Recent reports of mosquito spraying for Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in other states have led to many N.C. residents asking what can they do to protect commercial and hobby beehives across the state. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages bee owners to use the BeeCheck mapping software to alert farmers and pesticide applicators to the location of their hives.   “We have spent the past several months educating beekeepers and pesticide applicators about the program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Since the program launched five months ago, 533 producers and more ...

Beekeeper calls pollinator protection bill an overreaction

One of Washington state’s largest beekeepers says the reintroduction of a bill to ban certain pesticides to protect honeybees is an overreaction.   “Neonics are insecticides, and bees are insects, so sloppy or careless application kills bees. But the majority of applicators use caution and don’t cause major acute kills,” says Tim Hiatt, co-owner of Hiatt Honey Co., in Ephrata.   U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act in the House on Feb. 14. The bill would suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides ...

Beekeepers sue EPA over controversial pesticide authorization

An environmental group representing leaders in the beekeeping industry has filed a lawsuit contesting the Trump administration's rollback of pesticide restrictions, citing major risks to honeybee hives. The lawsuit, filed last week by Earthjustice, accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of reauthorizing the use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor against the concerns of beekeepers who warn that the chemical can seriously harm or even destroy entire beehives. “Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restrictions just to please the chemical industry,” Greg Loarie, an attorney for Earthjustice, ...

Beer Makers Target Precise Fertilizer Application

Sentera, a technology company that provides agronomic insights, is partnering with Anheuser-Busch to improve nitrogen usage among growers. The pair will focus on nitrogen demands in rice production, which is critical for beer.   “While currently there are ways to systematically manage nitrogen demand, this solution enables us to get a baseline for the field, recommend a rate and closely monitor plant health throughout the growing season to modify additional applications accordingly,” said Zach Marston, principle scientist at Sentera in a recent press release. “Ultimately, this empowers us to make adaptive decisions regarding nitrogen applications and management.&...

Behind The Label: An Inside Look At the EPA Approval Process

It takes 10 to 12 years and around $300 million to bring a new pesticide, including herbicides, fungicides or insecticides, to market. While much of that time and money is spent in a lab and on in-field testing, EPA and other governmental agency reviews have started to take a bigger piece of that pie.   In addition, products have to re-register every 15 or so years with updated data. Dicamba, for example, is undergoing the re-registration process as part of the earlier conditional registration.   Here’s a quick look at what EPA requires for registration review.   Click Here to read more.

Behind Walmart's push to eliminate 1 gigaton of greenhouse gases by 2030

As the climate crisis facing the planet becomes more immediate — fueled by powerful images that include devastating floods in Venice and uncontrollable wildfires in the Amazon — companies are waking up to the role they play in climate change and announcing plans for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.   But one company was very much ahead of the curve. Walmart has been focused on sustainability since 2005. Following Hurricane Katrina and the devastation left in its wake, then-CEO Lee Scott announced a change in the company's mindset, which included focusing on ways the retailer could become more environmentally ...

Believe it or not, the bees are doing just fine

You've probably heard the bad news by now that bees were recently added to the endangered species list for the first time. But if you're part of the 60 percent of people who share stories without actually reading them, you might have missed an important detail: namely, that the newly endangered bees are a handful of relatively obscure species who live only in Hawaii.   The bees you're more familiar with — the ones that buzz around your yard dipping into flowers, making honey, pollinating crops and generally keeping the world's food supply from collapsing? Those bees ...

Bernie Sanders rolls out "Roosevelt style trust-busting" agriculture plan

2020 Democrat Bernie Sanders unveiled a multifaceted, comprehensive plan to help revitalize rural farming communities and break up big agriculture corporations like Bayer-Monsanto and John Deere by enacting "Roosevelt style trust-busting laws."   "Agriculture today is not working for the majority of Americans. It is not working economically for farmers, it is not working for rural communities, and it is not working for the environment. But it is working for big agribusiness corporations that are extracting our rural resources for profit."   "For far too long, government farm policies have incentivized a 'get big or get ...

Biden Administration Invests $2.8 Billion in ‘Climate Smart’ Farming

As the climate crisis continues, the Biden administration is investing more than $2 billion to help the country’s agricultural sector become more sustainable.    The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that its $2.8 billion pilot program, Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, has selected its first pool of recipients — 70 agricultural projects that promote “climate smart” farming practices.    Click Here to read more.

Biden Administration Promises Focus on Environmental Justice

When President Joe Biden made environmental protection a key element of his campaign, he promised to overhaul the federal office that investigates complaints from people in minority communities who believe they have been unfairly harmed by industrial pollution or waste disposal.   Although the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that disadvantaged communities in America are disproportionately affected by pollution, hundreds of complaints sent to its civil rights office since the mid-1990s have only once resulted in a formal finding of discrimination.   The situation has provoked criticism from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the EPA’s own Office ...

Biden Administration Tells SCOTUS to Reject Landowners Clean Water Act Petition

EPA is asking the Supreme Court to reject a petition by Idaho property owners Michael and Chantell Sackett to determine the standard for which the agency can make waters of the U.S. determinations.   In a brief filed at the end of November, EPA told the Supreme Court that lower courts have affirmed the validity of the use of the so-called "significant-nexus" standard.   The agency also said the court should not take the case before EPA finishes its current rulemaking changes to redefine waters of the U.S.   Click Here to read more.

Biden Administration to Consider Carbon Border Tax as Part of Trade Agenda: USTR

The Biden administration said on Monday it would consider carbon border adjustment taxes to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in global trade and to combat China’s use of forced labor among Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang region.   Releasing a new administration trade agenda here, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the carbon border adjustment, which consists of import fees levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries, would be considered as part of an effort to explore and develop market and regulatory approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   The broad set ...

Biden Could Announce Cabinet Picks as Soon as This Week

President-elect Joe Biden is moving quickly to fill out his administration and could name top leaders for his Cabinet as early as this week.   Biden told reporters on Thursday that he's already decided on who will lead the Treasury Department. That pick, along with his nominee for secretary of state, may be announced before Thanksgiving, according to people close to the transition who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.   The Cabinet announcements could be released in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, ...

Biden Elevates White House Science Post to Cabinet Level

President-elect Joe Biden is elevating the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to a Cabinet-level position, a move that highlights the emphasis the incoming administration plans to put on science as it inherits a public health crisis.   Biden on Friday named Eric Lander, a principal leader of the Human Genome Project, to the post and announced several other key members of the White House science team.   "Science will always be at the forefront of my administration -- and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and ...

Biden Ends Direct Negotiations with GOP on Infrastructure

President Biden has ended infrastructure negotiations with the GOP. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says Republicans’ latest offer doesn’t “meet the essential needs” of the country to fix roads and bridges, position the country for a reliant clean energy future, and create jobs.   She says Biden had reduced his plant by more than a trillion dollars and Republicans had increased theirs by only $150 Billion.   A bipartisan group of senators led by Mitt Romney has been working on an alternative offer as a backup and will be in touch with the president about ...

Biden EPA Asks Court for a Chance to Reconsider Glyphosate Registration Decision

The Biden EPA has asked a federal court for a chance to review and possibly revise parts of the agency's 2020 interim decision to re-register glyphosate (Roundup) while leaving the herbicide on the market.   EPA's request was filed Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it is facing a combined lawsuit from a coalition of farmworker and environmental groups, who are asking the court to vacate the registration of glyphosate entirely.   Specifically, EPA wants to reconsider its analysis of glyphosate's ecological risks and other costs of the herbicide and re-weigh ...

Biden Mulls Giving Farmers Billions to Fight Climate Change.

The Biden administration's ambitious plan to create a multibillion-dollar bank to help pay farmers to capture carbon from the atmosphere is running into surprising skepticism, challenging Agriculture Department officials to persuade the industry to get behind the massive climate proposal.   "There's a balance between moving really quickly and also being deliberate enough that we can bring folks along with us,” said a senior USDA official, who believes the doubts can be addressed.   The plan is to roll out some type of action this year, the senior official said, who was granted anonymity in order ...

Biden Plans to Tap Top NC Environmental Regulator to Lead EPA

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Michael Regan, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to three sources with knowledge of the discussions.   If confirmed, Regan would be the first Black man to run the EPA and would become one of the key players in Biden's sweeping agenda to fight climate change by bringing the U.S. economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.   His nomination would end a competitive contest to be named the nation's top environmental regulator that included California's environmental chief Mary Nichols, who ...

Biden Pledges to Double U.S. Climate Change Aid

U.S. President Joe Biden told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday he would work with Congress to double funds by 2024 to $11.4 billion per year to help developing nations deal with climate change.   The funding would help achieve a global goal set more than a decade ago of $100 billion per year to support climate action in vulnerable countries by 2020.   "The best part is, making these ambitious investments isn't just good climate policy, it's a chance for each of our countries to invest in ourselves and our own future," Biden told the annual gathering ...

Biden Rolls Out Strategy to Reduce Supply Chain Disruptions

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the fragility of supply chains in the U.S. To build a more resilient supply chain, the White House just published a 250-page report with assessments and an expansive list of recommendations.   To discuss what these recommendations mean for agriculture, Jared Bernstein, White House Council of Economic Advisers, joined AgriTalk Host Chip Flory on Tuesday, June 8. Listen to their discussion:   “When you're thinking about supply chains, our goal is more resilient, less fragile,” Bernstein says. “We have seen the fragility of our supply chains exposed during the pandemic. We need ...

Biden Sets Goal to Cut GHG Emissions by at Least 50%

President Biden is setting a goal to reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas emissions by at least 50% over the next 10 years.     He unveiled the plan today, Earth Day, at his international climate summit with leaders from China, India and other countries.     The new U.S. target is almost double that of the nation’s earlier Paris Climate Agreement commitment.     The White House says there are multiple paths to reach the emissions goal by 2030 and that millions of jobs will be created as a result. It says agriculture and forests play a role by enhancing ...

Biden Signals Major Shift on Regulations With First-Day Orders

A series of orders by President Biden reimagining the regulatory process has thrilled progressives by stressing the need to craft policy that focuses on dignity, safety and equity as much as technical analysis.   The orders, signed the first day of the administration, have gotten less attention than those rejoining the Paris Climate Accord or ending the so-called Muslim ban, but could have a major impact, signaling an administration that plans to roll out more sweeping rules than its predecessors.   But the orders have also prompted concerns by some who fear the administration will move away from the lengthy, ...

Biden Stops Short of Declaring Climate Emergency, Takes Steps on Wind Power

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that climate change is an emergency but stopped short of a formal declaration, announcing a modest package of executive actions and promising more aggressive efforts.   Biden made the comments during a visit to Massachusetts and as a historic heat wave batters Europe and the United States. Some 100 million Americans from New York City to Las Vegas will be under heat warnings this week.   Click Here to read more.

Biden Team’s Proactive Outreach to Agriculture Has Farm Groups Optimistic

With only 12 days until the Biden presidential inauguration, agriculture is waiting to see what a shift in power will mean for agricultural policy. There is already optimism sprouting from some agricultural groups, with leaders saying the Biden Administration is taking an extremely proactive approach.     “I have been in Washington since Ronald Reagan was President, so I've seen administrations come and I’ve seen administrations go. I have never, ever seen the kind of outreach to agriculture that I’ve seen with the Biden folks,” says Jon Doggett, CEO of National Corn Growers ...

Biden to champion climate action in 2021

Climate change is poised to receive a much bigger spotlight in 2021 as President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration puts a renewed focus on tackling various environmental and energy issues.   Biden has made combating climate change one of his top priorities when he enters office and has set a goal to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050 while pushing different ways to reduce emissions.   While Biden's focus on climate change is set to mark a drastic shift in U.S. policy compared to the Trump administration, complexities in the rulemaking process and pushback from a likely divided ...

Biden to Move Fast to Strike Down Trump’s Environmental Agenda

The EPA and Interior Department under President-elect Joe Biden will have a range of tools at their disposal to start undoing President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda on the environment, according to former agency officials, lawyers, and environmentalists.   Many of the administration’s more ambitious environmental goals, such as reviving regulations on climate pollutants from power plants and automobiles, will take longer to change or put into place. But most observers expect Biden’s team to get working immediately after inauguration on smaller measures, such as the “secret science” rule that would block the ...

Biden uses executive orders to address COVID-19, other health care issues

President Joe Biden’s extensive use of executive orders Wednesday to jump-start his presidency and his plans to sign several more this month demonstrate his desire to act swiftly, without waiting for congressional approval, on issues such as COVID-19.   Experts expect him to continue to leverage executive powers to advance his health care agenda. The early wave of executive actions suggests he’ll try to quickly reverse current policies from the Trump administration and outline his own priorities as the United States approaches the grim milestone, projected as soon as next month, of half a million COVID-19 ...

Biden Weighs Pick for Agriculture Chief from Diverse Slate

One leading candidate for agriculture secretary hails from Cleveland, has the backing of progressives and has worked for years to boost food stamp programs. Another is a former senator from farm-state North Dakota who has championed production agriculture and boasts of a voting record squarely in the middle.   Three other possible selections have similarly varied backgrounds — one helped write and implement federal regulations for organic foods, another is California’s agriculture secretary and represented wine grape growers, and a third has spent his career ensuring protections for farm workers.   President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for ...

Biden's Climate Agenda Upended by SCOTUS's Ruling on the EPA

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has been busy this summer. On Thursday, the Court’s 6-3 ruling found the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was wrong when it decided the Clean Air Act gives the EPA power over carbon emissions.     Examples of the EPA’s climate authority that is now at a standstill: 1.    Re-engineering the nation’s electric grid 2.    Advising coal-producing states and facilities on how to run their operations   Click Here to read more.

Biden's EPA Pick to Review Options for Biofuel Blending Law Beyond 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency said he will confer with legal and policy teams to understand the options available for setting mandates to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel mix beyond 2022.   Michael Regan also said he has had conversations with other members of the Biden administration, including Biden’s pick for the Agriculture Department, to discuss the role biofuels can play in combating climate change, according to written responses from Regan to questions submitted to him by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.   Under the U....

Biden's Executive Order Takes Aim at Mergers as CN-KCS Seeks Regulatory OK

President Joe Biden's executive order on competition, which the president will sign Friday afternoon, takes aim at industries that have faced increased consolidation, which includes agriculture, health care, technology, financial services and transportation.   "That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers," a fact sheet released from the White House stated. "As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups (charges over costs) have tripled. Families are paying higher prices for necessities -- things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and internet service."   The order's drive is to "reduce the ...

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Will Make or Break His Climate Legacy

President Joe Biden is turning to his next legislative priority, a $3 trillion pair of infrastructure bills that put climate change front and center. As first reported in the New York Times on March 22, funding will be directed to the electric grid, energy-efficient affordable housing, electric vehicle charging stations, and other clean energy priorities. It follows a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package signed earlier this month.   The infrastructure package shows that Biden is taking a different approach to the climate crisis than Barack Obama. Rather than centering his climate policy agenda on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants (as Obama ...

Biden’s Proposed Ag Budget Focuses on Climate

Joe Biden released an agricultural budget topline at $31.3 billion, an estimated $2.6 billion increase in FY22 enacted funding levels as part of the budget proposal unveiled Monday. A USDA official outlined that the budget proposal balances a variety of needs including climate, nutrition, more and better markets, equity and reinforcing improved forest management.   During a media call Monday morning, the USDA budget official outlined that the budget proposal is in line with where the administration has been trying to go in terms of building a better America, reducing the deficit, reducing costs for families and growing the economy.   Click ...

Big Reach for Autonomous Farming

For anyone interested in autonomous farming, the next week or two will be an interesting time for the evolution of the science and the technology. This spring, Craig Rupp and Kyler Laird are beginning their audacious journey to plant 10,000 acres of soybeans with a single, autonomous tractor and 18-row planter.   Rupp is CEO of Sabanto Ag, the company formed in October 2018 to test the notions of new production efficiency through autonomous farming. Sabanto is a "Farming-as-a-Service company performing row-crop operations using advanced autonomous equipment," according to the company's website, www.sabantoag.com. Laird is the co-founder ...

Biggest Rail Union Rejects Contract, Raising Possibility of Nationwide Strike During Holidays

The nation's largest rail union on Monday voted down a tentative contract brokered by the White House, raising the possibility of a nationwide strike next month that could cripple the U.S. economy.   The SMART Transportation Division, or SMART-TD, which represents about 28,000 conductors, rejected the contract in a vote that garnered record turnout, the union said Monday. The contract was nixed by a slim margin, as just 50.8% of workers voted against it.   Click Here to read more.

Bill Aiming to Curb Toxic Algae in Lake Erie Passes Ohio Houe

The Ohio House unanimously passed a bill yesterday designed to help reduce farmland manure runoff into Lake Erie, while the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has responded to 10 reported manure spills discovered in the last nine days. House Bill 61 would prohibit farmers in northwestern Ohio from spreading manure and fertilizer on their fields if the ground is frozen or saturated with water, or if the forecast calls for a greater than 50 percent chance of precipitation exceeding 1 inch in a 12-hour period. Click Here to read more.

Bill Aiming to Curb Toxic Algae in Lake Erie Passes Ohio House

The Ohio House unanimously passed a bill yesterday designed to help reduce farmland manure runoff into Lake Erie, while the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has responded to 10 reported manure spills discovered in the last nine days. House Bill 61 would prohibit farmers in northwestern Ohio from spreading manure and fertilizer on their fields if the ground is frozen or saturated with water, or if the forecast calls for a greater than 50 percent chance of precipitation exceeding 1 inch in a 12-hour period. Click Here to read more.

Bill Banning EPA's Proposed Attack on Property Rights Expected to Be Considered By House

The House is expected to vote on legislation as soon as today that would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with their proposed "waters of the U.S." rule.   In April, the EPA and Corps proposed regulation that would define what waters that they can regulate under the Clean Water Act.  For decades, they have tried to expand their jurisdiction.  The proposed rule is no exception, acting as both a water and land power grab.  It has little to do with actually improving the environment.   Click Here to read ...

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill on Gov Quinn's desk would allow voters to register on Election Day

Illinois Democrats pushed election day voting registration bill last month on the second-to-last day of spring session with the idea that it would boost voter turnout.  Many Republicans claim it is part of a larger effort to increase Democrats' numbers at the polls in a competitve election, namley Gov Quinn's bid for a second full term againist Repulican businessman Bruce Rauner.   Click here to read more about the bill.

Bill would limit terms of Illinois legislative leaders

A bill has been proposed at the Illinois General Assembly that would put term limits on four legislative positions.   The State Journal-Register reports that Republican Rep. Thomas M. Bennett of Gibson City has proposed the bill. It would limit the House speaker, Senate president and the minority leader in each chamber to 10 consecutive years in their roles.   Bennett submitted a similar bill in March, but it never left the committee. But last year, the chamber approved a resolution that limits the tenure of the Senate president and the minority leader to 10 years.   Click Here to read more.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker announces run for Illinois governor

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that he is launching a campaign to try to unseat Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, setting the stage for what could be one of the most expensive races of the 2018 election cycle.   Pritzker, an heir to his family's Hyatt Hotel chain and investor who Forbes estimates is worth $3.4 billion, has the ability to self-finance a campaign that is expected to shatter the more than $100 million spent by the wealthy venture capitalist Rauner and former Democratic governor Pat Quinn in the 2014 race.   Pritzker, who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’...

Bills Would Allow Illinois Lawmakers to Meet, Vote Remotely

Two lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the General Assembly to meet and vote remotely during a pandemic or other emergency that makes in-person meetings dangerous.   Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Robert Martwick, both Chicago Democrats, filed the legislation Monday, saying the current inability to conduct business remotely has hindered lawmakers’ ability to respond to the health crisis.   “In March, we had no idea a pandemic would sweep the globe, bringing life as we know it to a halt,” Williams said in a news release. “While we were able to meet for a ...

Biologicals Gaining Some More Traction

There’s little denying the biologicals category has been some impressive strides into the agricultural world over the past few years. Yet, most users still view the category as “supplemental” to their traditional crop nutrient/crop protection methods, with few users utilizing biologicals as “stand-alone” products. In addition, most ag retailers still source the majority of the biological products they stock from major crop protection product suppliers rather than smaller players.   This was the overall finding of the 2022 Biologicals Survey, conducted by CropLife® magazine this past January. This built upon an earlier such ...

Biotech Crop Surge Reaches All-Time High

In the past 21 years, commercialized biotech crops have increased 110-fold to an estimated 185.1 million hectares (about 457 million acres) in 2016, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).   “Biotech crops have become a vital agricultural resource for farmers around the world because of the immense benefits for improved productivity and profitability,” according to ISAAA chair of the board, Paul S. Teng. “With the commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or ...

Bleak Outlook Sparks Frenzied Dealmaking in Nitrogen Fertilizer Market

Sinking crop prices and frenzied output growth by nitrogen fertilizer producers have sparked nearly $10 billion worth of deals in the fragmented sector and signal more consolidation may be ahead in the largest of three crop nutrient markets.   Illinois-based CF Industries Holdings Inc., the world's third-largest nitrogen fertilizer producer, was involved in three of four deals in the past month, taking out two potential competitors in its backyard and locking up sales volumes in the United States, the world's No. 1 corn-producing country.   "What CF is doing is classic corporate self-preservation in a world where there are well-financed ...

Bollero to Lead College of Aces as Interim Dean

The University of Illinois has announced Germán Bollero as the new interim dean designate of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.Bollero transitions to the role after more than a decade of administrative leadership in the college, serving as associate dean of research and department head for the Department of Crop Sciences.“The excellence of his scholarship, his commitment to the convergent research culture of Illinois, and the respect he has earned across our entire campus made [Bollero] a clear choice to serve in this critical role,” ...

Boston Globe---GMO Labeling Bill Lacks a Scientific Justification

Advances in crop biotechnology over the past 20 years have multiplied the range of so-called genetically engineered foods in the average citizen's diet.  Despite reassurances from the international and US scientific community about the safety of genetically modified organisms(GMO), the anti-GMO movement continues to gain ground, and has arrived at the state legislature in the form of a proposal that would create new food labeling regulations.  But until there is a solid scientific reason to believe that genetically modified crops are unhealthy, a labeling requirement would only serve to confuse consumers.   Click Here to read more.

Both local parties see state, national issues as leverage

As local parties gear up for the fall campaign season, Sangamon County Democrats are hoping to use state and national politics -- specifically, Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump -- to motivate their supporters in the coming months.   In Sangamon County, which has historically been a Republican stronghold, GOP leaders say those same forces work in their favor, because of support for both men. And when it comes to several measures, such as fundraising and office holders, the Republicans still hold the edge.   That played out recently, for instance, when Democrats were unable to find a candidate ...

Bottlenecks Loom for Critical Ag Supplies

Ag businesses are dealing daily with an inability to get necessary supplies for customers and for their own operations. A new report from CoBank, "Adapting to Persistent Supply Disruptions," indicates the U.S. economy is transitioning to a new phase, which will affect ag supplies for the rest of the year and into 2022.   Supply disruptions, along with labor shortages, are adding significant costs to businesses, writes CoBank Analyst and Vice President Dan Kowalski. He reports the U.S. economy is still in the grips of the pandemic, but that today, the influence is more on the supply ...

Brandt Expands Illinois Production Facility

A new 40,000 square foot expansion has begun at Brandt’s Pleasant Plains, Ill., manufacturing facility.   The company says the larger footprint will allow for expand storage capacity by more than 30%. The space will be used for more storage of its finished dry and liquid fertilizer blends in addition to larger supplies of raw materials.   The expansion is a $1.5 investment.   “In 2020, we saw unprecedented demand for Brandt specialty nutrition products,” Bill Engel, Brandt Executive Vice President said in a news release. “We continue to make significant investments in our business to ensure that we ...

Brandt Hosts Illinois' National AG Day Event

The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. An estimated 200 Ag professionals, FFA members and distinguished guests joined Governor Bruce Rauner and Director Philip Nelson in honoring the agriculture industry and celebrating the abundance provided by American farmers. "I want to thank BRANDT for hosting us today," said Governor Rauner. "And I want you to know that I'm all in for the agriculture industry." In addition to Governor Rauner and Director Nelson, speakers included David Erickson, VP of the Illinois Farm Bureau; Marty Marr, Board ...

Brazil court overturns ban on weed-killer glyphosate

A Brazilian court on Monday overturned an injunction banning products containing the popular weed-killer glyphosate, knocking down a previous ruling that had been set to disrupt the soy planting season set to begin this month.   A Brazilian judge ruled last month to halt the registration of new glyphosate-based products in the country and to suspend existing registrations after 30 days, until health agency Anvisa issues a pending ruling on its safety.   That 30-day deadline had been due to pass on Monday, just as the first month of soy planting gets under way. The injunction and the subsequent reversal also ...

Brazil Farmers Brace for Potential Fertilizer Pinch Due to Ukraine Crisis

Brazil relies on imports for about 85% of its fertilizer needs. Russia is its biggest supplier of the NPK mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.   Even before the Ukraine conflict, fertilizer prices were climbing due to global logistics issues, U.S. sanctions on Belarus and China’s absence from the market since October.   Click Here to read more.

Brazil regulator approves Mosaic purchase of Vale fertilizer unit

A Brazilian regulator has approved the acquisition of miner Vale's (VALE5.SA) fertilizer unit by U.S.-based Mosaic (MOS.N) without restrictions, according to a notice in the official government newspaper published Tuesday.   Mosaic agreed to buy Vale Fertilizantes in December for $2.5 billion in a deal that makes Vale the largest shareholder in the U.S. company while raising money to help the Brazilian miner to achieve its debt reduction goals.   "This acquisition gives Mosaic the opportunity to benefit from the growing Brazilian agriculture market. ... For Vale, the deal guarantees an important capital injection and ...

Brazil soy exporters to police Monsanto Biotech Seeds - for a Fee

At least one soybean exporter in Brazil has agreed with Monsanto to collect royalties, in exchange for a fee, from farmers who planted genetically engineered seeds marketed by the company, according to industry sources.   The landmark deal, already finalized by a firm that declined to be identified, highlights an increasingly complex relationship between global grain merchants and biotech firms.   Click Here to read more.

Bribery charge against ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo brings fresh scrutiny to sweepstakes machines, raises questions about potential for abuse as gambling expands

State lawmakers have worked over the past decade to bring various forms of gambling out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls, from legalizing video poker at bars and restaurants in 2009 to authorizing sports betting this spring.   But the latest turn in a sprawling federal probe into public corruption from Chicago to Springfield has shined a light on a type of gambling that has flourished in a gray area of the law.   Chicago Democrat Luis Arroyo, who resigned from the Illinois House on Friday after being charged with bribery Monday, is alleged to have offered kickbacks to ...

Bright green color, dead fish raise algae-bloom fears on Salt Fork

State agencies are investigating dead fish and an unusual green color in the Salt Fork River first noticed by residents last week.   The intense green color of the river, which is low after weeks with no significant rainfall and with hot summer temperatures, was first noticed Wednesday and Thursday by nearby residents who reported it to local agencies, including the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.   The intense green color of the river, which is low after weeks with no significant rainfall and hot summer temperatures, was first noticed on Wednesday and Thursday by local residents, who reported it to ...

Bringing economic development and water quality in Iowa. (Audio)

A new alliance is focusing on the dollars and cents of water quality for Iowa agriculture. Click Here to hear more.  

Bringing economic development and water quality in Iowa. (Audio)

A new alliance is focusing on the dollars and cents of water quality for Iowa agriculture. Click Here to hear more.  

Broad coalition in Iowa to push for sales tax hike targeted at water quality

Iowans would pay higher state sales taxes to finance improvements in water quality and other natural resources programs under a new lobbying initiative endorsed Monday by a group of Iowa business and conservation leaders.   Organizers said they are launching a larger and stronger Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition that will propose raising the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 cent in the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature, which convenes in January. The additional $180 million in state revenue would support initiatives that would include cleaning up the state's dirty rivers and streams, upgrading soil conservation, and ...

Broadband Infrastructure Investment a Must

A member of the Rural Broadband Association says Congress must make sure networks are built to last to meet the growing demand for broadband and that means using a variety of technologies.     “Putting resources towards infrastructure that must be substantially rebuilt in only a few years’ time will be a waste and risk leaving rural America behind,” Jennifer Prather with Totel Communications of Texas testified at a House Ag committee hearing about what is needed to reach the goal of providing ALL rural Americans reliable, high-speed internet.     “Any new broadband program must ...

Bruce Rauner, Rahm Emanuel and Michael Madigan butt heads over the Illinois budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner made some news the other day when he went on Dan Proft's WIND-AM/560 radio show and whacked Mayor Rahm Emanuel but good.   “It's so unfortunate the way the mayor is failing the people of Chicago and he's looking to blame other people for it,” Rauner told Proft. The mayor has done “virtually nothing” to reform the city's government and its schools, he added.   Rauner wasn't totally wrong on either point.   As a buddy of mine says, Emanuel is a better mayor than Richard M. Daley ...

Bt Trait Table for Corn Production Clarifies Insect Traits

The Handy Bt Trait table is a corn farmer's best friend.   The chart lists every commercially available Bt corn product, one by one, and untangles the traits within. Every year, it is used by farmers, scientists, industry and others to sort through the nine insecticidal corn traits on the market, cross-licensed in dozens of branded packages within various company trait platforms.   It started 15 years ago as a humble Microsoft Word table taped near Chris DiFonzo's desk phone. It was 2006, and the table had just five columns, one for each Bt trait found in corn hybrids at ...

Buda man killed in tractor, train crash

The 25-year-old man killed when an Amtrak train collided with his tractor Thursday morning southwest of Wyanet was identified Friday morning as Andrew "Drew" Frese, of Buda.   Frese, who was struck around 9:35 a.m. at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crossing, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 a.m. by Coroner Janice Wamhoff.   Frese was southbound, crossing from one field to another when he was struck by the westbound passenger train, Sheriff James Reed said in a news release. He was pulling an anhydrous ammonia applicator behind the John Deere tractor.   The locomotive ...

Budget Battle Agitating Ag

President Donald Trump has made waves with many groups when it comes to health care reform, immigration policy, and proposed tax cuts. However, when the administration announced its proposed federal budget, it displeased several members of the agricultural community.   At issue are the President’s call to make significant cuts to the 2018 Farm Bill and risk management programs many grower-customers have relied on to stay in business during the commodity price down cycle the marketplace currently finds itself in.   Click Here to read more.

Budget highlighted eventful, mostly peaceful session

For the first time in a while, Illinois lawmakers aren’t facing overtime duty in Springfield this summer.   With a budget passed and a commitment from Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign it, Illinois should peacefully start its new fiscal year July 1.   “I’d like to really thank the Republicans for their support and cooperation this year,” said Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, on the last day of the session. “I think a lot of that started last year when we started with our Grand Bargain and started working together. I think we carried ...

Budget includes $80M for Capitol fixes, $30M for fairgrounds

Repairing buildings at the state fairgrounds, replacing some plumbing in the Capitol and making long-awaited improvements to the Lincoln-Herndon law office are among the public works projects that will be financed under the budget signed into law Monday.   “The things moving to the head of the line in this budget would be (road projects), also several hundred million dollars for improvements and repairs at facilities like colleges, universities, prisons, the Capitol Complex,” said Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, the House Democrats’ point person on the budget. “The deferred maintenance kind of repairs that have built up ...

Budget mess implicates safety with armored-pickup halt

After four months hauling cash from Illinois driver's facilities without payment from the state, an armored-truck company walked last fall, leaving the job to police officers who work for the secretary of state.   Montreal-based GardaWorld's trucks started rolling again after the state paid the overdue $79,000 amid a record budget standoff. But that only covered work through last Friday, so almost as quickly as the mess was resolved, the state could find itself in the same predicament again.   While the state's 10-month deadlock has forced deep spending cuts on human services and education programs, the armored ...

Budget Resolutions Take Center Stage, Along with Cabinet Nominations

The House plans to take up a budget resolution this week for a coronavirus relief package, and the Senate may be close behind.   House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., plans to release a fiscal 2021 budget resolution Monday. It’s expected to go to the Rules Committee on Tuesday and to the floor Wednesday.   Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is expected to introduce an identical budget resolution early in the week in the Senate, with a goal of adopting the budget by Friday morning.   Click Here to read more.

Budget Roadshow: Senate Panel Talks Cuts in Southern Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner isn't the only state official hitting the road during the Legislature's spring recess. With the Republican chief executive making a 17-stop swing through western and central Illinois this week in support of a series of business reforms, members of a Senate budget panel are heading to Carbondale on Wednesday to discuss the governor's controversial spending proposal. The Democrat who heads the committee said the southern Illinois stop is just one in a series of local hearings designed to take testimony from organizations and individuals who will be affected by Rauner's plan to slash ...

Buffer Regulations, Benefits, and Challenges

Buffer is not a four-letter word, but in Minnesota, it might as well be one. Governor Mark Dayton’s campaign last winter and spring for mandatory 50-foot buffers along streams, lakes, and ditches brought a lot of heat to this northern state. Dayton even suggested that farm practices are turning the state’s 10,000 lakes into cesspools.   "There were a lot of lightning rods to this,” recalls Kevin Paap, who farms near Mankato and who is president of Minnesota Farm Bureau. “One week I had over 60 calls from people wondering what was going on.”   ...

Bush Attacks Regulations as He Seeks Iowa Breakout

Jeb Bush is attacking the Obama administration's regulatory agenda, including its new Clean Water Act rule, as he struggles to find a message to shore up his lagging race in Iowa.   The former Florida governor, who spent four hours at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, opened a speech by charging that the economy was being held back by the “most convoluted regulatory system.”   “I don't need to tell Iowans about the EPA rules as it relates to water and now the rules as it relates to air that will stifle the ability ...

Business Groups Voice Concerns on Biden Vaccine Mandate: Bad for Business

Industry groups are expressing concern about the federal vaccine mandate for private companies, claiming it will be "redundant and costly" for companies already supporting the vaccination among their current employees.   It could also be detrimental to those businesses with barely more than one hundred employees if they lose employees to competitors not covered by the mandate.   With these concerns in mind, trucking and agricultural groups are asking the Biden administration to consider exempting truckers from the vaccine mandate for private companies, arguing that drivers are comparable to remote workers as they do not interact ...

Bustos Highlights Federal Infrastructure Funds for Illinois

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois says the state’s farmers and rural residents will benefit greatly from the recently passed federal infrastructure bill.   Bustos says $10 billion is designated for highway repairs in Illinois.   “We’ve got about 6200 miles of highways that are considered in poor condition in our state. If you want to look back at 2011, commute times have increased by more than 7% in Illinois since then and now drivers are paying an average $600 more per year in costs because of driving on roads that need to be repaired.”   Click Here to read ...

Bustos secures agriculture wins for rural america in $152 billion appropriations bill

Thursday, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) helped pass a comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development funding bill out of the powerful House Appropriations Committee that would deliver more than $152 billion in agriculture and rural support.   “Democrats are building up our rural communities, and this package reflects the critical investments that rural America needs to recover from COVID-19 and build back stronger than ever,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “More than any other single issue, mayors across my district have called for increased investment in critical water and broadband infrastructure. From towns like Avon, ...

Buttigieg: A Mileage Tax 'Shows a Lot of Promise'

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Friday that a tax on how far travelers go looks like a promising way to fund President Biden’s infrastructure bill.   Biden said during his first solo press conference on Thursday that he will announce the $3 trillion proposal on Friday in Pittsburgh.   The next day, his Transportation head said a mileage tax could be one way to help pay for the plan.   “I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay ...

California Cracks Down on Neonicotinoid Pesticides

California plans to restrict certain agricultural uses of neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other pollinators, the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) announced Feb. 25. The proposed regulations come more than a decade after the department started reevaluating the risks of imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids. The restrictions would include prohibiting the use of the chemicals on certain flowering crops that attract bees when they are in bloom. They would also limit the use of multiple neonicotinoids and regulate how growers can apply the chemicals in the state. Click here to read more

California Environmental Protection Agency Acts to Ban Chlorpyrifos

In a move to protect workers, public health and the environment, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced today that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is acting to ban the use of the pesticide and toxic air contaminant chlorpyrifos in California by initiating cancellation of the pesticide.   CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that the Governor will propose $5.7 million in new funding in the May Revision budget proposal to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, and plans to convene a working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management ...

California Growers to Lose Controversial Pesticide

While California growers have been expecting this moment for a while, the California Environmental Protection Agency has officially (CalEPA) announced the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) the sunset of chlorpyrifos in the state.   This announcement follows restricted use by California Department of Pesticide Regulation last fall.   Chlorpyrifos is used on more than 800,000 acres and 60 crops including tree nuts, vegetables, grapes, citrus, cotton, and alfalfa in California alone. Collectively, these crops amount to $23 billion in value for the state. Chlorpyrifos has been a key tool in Asian citrus psyllid control in Florida.   Gov. Gavin Newson also will propose $5.7 ...

California May have to Restrict Common Pesticide

California farmers who spray a widely used insecticide on some of the state's most abundant crops may soon have to overcome the nation's steepest restrictions of find another pest killer, officials said Thursday.   Regulators are proposing heavy restrictions - but not an all out ban - on chlorpyrifos, used to treat crops like grapes and almonds.  The pesticide, in use since 1965, has sickened dozens of farmworks in recent years.  Traces have been found in waterways, threating fish, and regulators say overuse coud make targeted insects immune to the pesticide.   Click Here to read more.

Call to Action for PRIA Funding

As an ag input industry, our voices need to be heard.  On several occasions, IFCA has been to Washington DC for visits on capitol hill when a follow up call to action is needed.  Now is that time for that call to action!  One of the most critical issues affecting our members is adequate funding for EPA to ensure crop production products are timely registered to remain in the market.   IFCA has partnered with CropLife America in this effort and now is the opportunity for the IFCA members to communicate our concerns.  Take a ...

Callahan Highlights Relationship Between AG and Natural Resources

A leader in both agriculture and natural resources says there needs to be a continued relationship between the two sectors.   Colleen Callahan is the former director of Illinois Rural Development for the USDA and now serves as the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. She says the ag and natural resources departments work toward similar goals.   “Because when we talk about the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, when we talk about flooding, when we talk about levees, aren’t we talking about soil and water and aren’t those natural resources? The two departments ...

Calling GMO's "Unnatural" Suggests They are Unhealthy

The push to define natural food has involved lawsuits about many different aspects of what's in our food, including high-fructose corn, syrup, additives, chemicals and GMO's.  But these issues are not equal, and categorizing GMO's in particular as unnatural would wrongly suggest that they are unhealthy.   Nearly every respected scientific association - including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Medical Association, and American Society of Plant Biologist- has attested to the safety of GMO crops for one simple reason: scientific evidence indicates that the consumption of genetically modified crops is not ...

Campbell GMO labeling announcement could spur federal action

Campbell Soup Company's decision to support mandatory GMO labeling received plaudits from labeling advocates, jeers from an anti-labeling industry coalition, and a more subdued response from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.   It also may have greased the skids for federal legislation, a task that could be made easier if all sides in the debate could agree on what Congress should do.   Negotiations over a resolution to the issue could heat up next week. A source told Agri-Pulse that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is inviting representatives from both sides to a meeting Wednesday in an attempt to forge a ...

Can Agriculture Attract the Talent Necessary to Meet our Growing Population’s Needs?

Without question, agriculture has both an exciting and challenging job ahead if we are to feed everyone on our planet. We’ve all heard the numbers; they’re big and getting closer. The latest one, according to the United Nations, is that on November 15 the world population will reach the 8 billion mark. It was just a little over a decade ago – October 2011, to be exact – that world population topped 7 billion. That growth equates to a need in agriculture production like never before. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 60 percent more food will ...

Can EPA ‘restore science and common sense’ to neonicotinoid insecticide regulations?

A federal district court judge has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to consult with the FWS before approving 59 products containing neonicotinoid pesticides that are used primarily as seed coatings for corn, canola, cotton, potato, sugar beet and other crops.   Extensive studies have concluded that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” has been a toxic mix of tiny pests (parasitic Varroa destructor mites, phorid flies, Nosema ceranae gut fungus, tobacco ringspot virus and deformed wing virus) – as well as chemicals used by beekeepers trying to control these beehive infestations.   Field ...

Can legislation be passed in lame duck session, but held for the new governor?

The question of whether it's possible for one class of state lawmakers to pass a bill but hold it for a future governor could be tested when lawmakers come back for lame duck session, but the answer if it’s legal might have to wait on the courts.   What could happen when lawmakers return Monday for the final two days of the 100th General Assembly? That’s anyone’s guess. And there is lots of speculation.   State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, asked out loud an interesting procedural question.   Click Here to read more.

Can Rural Broadband Help Save Farm Country?

When Robert Blair first got an aerial glimpse of his 1,300-acre dryland operation, he knew images of his fields would be a game-changer. Like many in the rolling Palouse Hills, the Kendrick, Idaho-based farmer grows wheat, barley, lentils, chickpeas, and alfalfa, as well as cows. Unlike many, Blair prefers to be at the bleeding edge of technology. But it’s not easy. Thirteen years after he first started using drones, he still struggles to get good enough internet connectivity to take full advantage of the technology.   Right now, it typically takes four days, on average, to send data ...

Can the Illinois GOP still be effective as a superminority?

Illinois Republicans seem in an unenviable position today.   The party controls no constitutional offices in state government. Democrats have more members in the Legislature than at any time since it took on its modern size, with supermajorities in both chambers.   But that doesn’t mean local GOP lawmakers are disconsolate. They’re not thrilled at the position their party is in. But each says he sees opportunities to be effective even from a position in which Republicans alone can’t deliver the votes to pass a bill or override a gubernatorial veto.   Right now, ...

Canada approves North American trade deal

Canada on Friday formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), taking the last legislative step to implementation of the deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   The trade deal, ratified by the Mexican legislature last June and by Congress in January, was formally ratified by the Canadian Senate Friday, and shortly thereafter received royal assent, the Canadian governor general's approval.   The deal was passed through the legislature before Parliament shut down for five weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that his family would self-isolate ...

Canada’s suspect move to phase out neonicotinoids to ‘protect bees’ sets stage for US regulatory battle

Canada’s PMRA—its environmental regulatory agency, part of HealthCanada—rolled out for public comment its tentative decision to phase out almost all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid pesticides over the next 3-5 years. Neonicotiniods, or neonics, are crop protection products that have become the world’s most widely used pesticide class thanks to their ability to selectively control pests that destroy crops, while also being human- and animal-safe.   However, neonics have become embroiled in a multi-year controversy in Europe and North America over whether they hurt beneficial species, specifically honeybees and wild bees. For years, ...

Canadian Farmers Store Fertilizer to Fight Dealer' Pricing Power

Canadian farmers are plowing profits from bumper crops into fertilizer storage facilities to mitigate the pricing power held by major retailers and producers. Having their own storage lets farmers buy nutrients more cheaply during the off-season and creates fewer transport bottlenecks in the spring planting season. Over time, the practice might erode the steep premiums farmers pay in the spring to retail businesses owned by Agrium Inc, Richardson International and Cargill Ltd , while shifting distribution patterns of producers Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Mosaic Co and CF Industries. The trend is part of a wider shift by North American farmers to ...

Canadian Fertilizer Companies Brace for Fall in U.S. Crop Prices

Canadian fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium Inc are bracing for a pullback in demand from U.S. farmers due to sliding crop prices, but say any slump is unlikely to be severe.   The prospect for a record-large U.S. corn crop has dragged Chicago nearby corn futures to a four-year low.  Lower prices of corn, wheat and soybeans reduce farmers' margins, althought big crops offset some of the impact.   Corn is one of the biggest users of fertilizer - which boosts crop yields - and the United States pays a premium for potash over ...

Canadian Rail Strikes Ends Quickly; Brings Much-Needed Certainty to Fertilizer Supply

What a difference a few days makes. A few weeks ago, the agricultural community was bracing for what effect a lengthy Canadian rail strike might have on the grain and fertilizer supply situation for the U.S. On Sunday, March 20, the railway workers officially went on strike, with negotiations between the company and union reportedly “fall apart.”   However, the strike only ended up lasting two days. On Monday, March 21, Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway, Canada’s second largest rail carrier, and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced a new agreement had been reached. This effectively ended ...

Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence

When Aaron Blair sat down to chair a week-long meeting of 17 specialists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in March 2015, there was something he wasn’t telling them.   The epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute had seen important unpublished scientific data relating directly to a key question the IARC specialists were about to consider: Whether research shows that the weedkiller glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp brand, causes cancer.   Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that ...

Candidate guide for March 20 Primary Election

Political parties will be selecting their nominees for federal and state offices in Illinois during the March 20 primary. Here’s a look at the races important to Springfield-area residents. Scroll down for a list of candidates, links to profile articles about them, extended audio interviews with The State Journal-Register Editorial Board and unedited written questionnaires.   Click Here to read more.

Candidates begin filing petitions for 2018 Illinois primary

Hundreds of candidates were in line Monday enjoying moderate temperatures in the 40s and sunshine outside the State Board of Elections as an every-two-year event was repeated with the 8 a.m. start of filing for next year’s elections.   The filings mark a formal beginning to a 2018 election season in Illinois that could see record spending in the race for governor. Filing for offices -- including members of Congress, state constitutional officers and legislators, as well as judges -- runs through next Monday.   Leading the line Monday was a group from the Democratic Party of Illinois with ...

Candidates for governor offer different economic visions

In late 2017, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign debuted an ad featuring three Republican governors from surrounding states sarcastically saying “thank you” to House Speaker Michael Madigan for “raising Illinois taxes” and “helping create new jobs” in their states.   The ad was an opening salvo in a campaign that has seen Rauner and his Democratic critics blame one another over who is more responsible for economic growth that lags behind most other states.   The state added slightly more than 50,000 jobs between September 2017 and last month, representing a year-to-year increase of just 0.8 ...

Candidates for Illinois governor spend $65.7 million on TV ads –– just for the primaries

Like Chicago’s downtown on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, a river of green has flowed through TV sets ahead of Tuesday’s primary vote, as governor candidates have spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising during the long campaign.   The frenzied final weekend of in-person campaigning supplements the nearly $65.7 million spent by governor candidates and interest groups on TV commercials so far. The contest could become the most expensive race to be Illinois’ chief executive in state history.   That TV spending total -- in just the primary -- is more than the ...

Capital plan debate: Lots of money needed to build, fix things in Illinois

As about 20 senators from a couple of Senate committees looked on recently, Matt Magalis, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, tried to lay out some of the state’s backlogged transportation needs.   The state needs $13 billion to $15 billion over 10 years just for maintenance of existing roads. That doesn’t include additional roads or traffic lanes needed to move additional traffic, especially in the Chicago metropolitan area.   Nor did it include an estimated $250 million needed for airport improvements exclusive of O’Hare and Midway, $19.1 billion for mass transit, $800 million for passenger rail and $4 billion ...

Capitol Hill Slowly Focuses On Non-COVID, Non-Election Issues

It may seem the only news these days focuses on COVID 19 cases, the fight against inequality or President Trump’s reelection challenges, whether Joe Biden or Josh Bolton.  Truth be told, Washington, DC, is slowly trying to take care of other business.   There will be a “phase four” economic stimulus bill as talks accelerate, though no word on whether the price tag will be billions or trillions.  USDA said this week it’s mailed $2.9 billion in producer direct payments based on its $16 billion in CARES Act funding.  Lawmakers are trying to shoehorn ...

CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats Approve New Legislative Maps on Partisan Lines

Democrats in the General Assembly pushed through a new set of legislative maps during a one-day special session Tuesday, Aug. 31, although the process they used sparked the ire of Republicans and voting rights advocates alike.   If accepted by Gov. JB Pritzker, as they are expected to be, the new maps would replace those adopted in May, which were passed without the benefit of official 2020 U.S. Census data. But they will also have to pass muster with a federal court, where two lawsuits are pending, and possibly the Illinois Supreme Court.   The plan adopted Tuesday night was actually ...

Carbon Markets: A Low-Hanging Fruit or The Next Cash Crop?

Most voluntary carbon markets introduced to farmers so far have made their first tranche of payments.   Meanwhile, a handful of companies have used carbon markets to spin off new efforts for market opportunities with traceability, sustainability and the broader definition of regenerative agriculture (for example, Truterra’s approach and Bayer’s ForGround).   Click Here to read more.

Carbon Rates Likely Need to Be higher

A recent survey of ag retailers finds carbon market programs need to offer more incentives for farmers and retailers to participate.  Craig Dick with Axiom Marketing tells Brownfield about a third of participants in their survey are actively engaged in carbon credits.    “The majority of them are really wanting to figure out how to get involved in this, but the downside of that is that about 70 percent are really unsure how to go about doing that,” he explains.  Since ag retailers manage data for growers, Dick says current carbon rates of $10 to $15 per ...

Cash Strapped Illinois: Can't do the "Impossible" on Paying

The state of Illinois asked a federal judge Friday not to hold it in contempt for missing a recent court-ordered deadline to pay services providers for the disabled, saying compliance should “not mean doing the impossible” amid one of the nation’s worst budgetary crises.   That plea came in a U.S. court filing in Chicago days after Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman told officials to explain why they hadn’t met a deadline she set for last week for some payments. She could rule next week on holding Illinois in contempt based on the explanation. &...

Caution Lights Ahead For Dicamba Use

It’s early March, and Security Seed and Chemical applicators are busy prepping equipment for the upcoming spray season. In a few days, they’ll make burndown treatments in sun-warmed Tennessee river-bottom fields, where green weeds are just starting to poke through the ground.   The company annually custom sprays about 1 million acres of corn, soybean and wheat ground across parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and its home state of Tennessee. This year, many of those acres will be treated with one of the new dicamba formulations that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved for use in ...

Cautious optimism for 2020

The president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association senses optimism on the ag retail side of things.   “I think their pre-pay seasons for the 2020 crop year were good,” said Jean Payne. “We had a pretty decent fall fertilizer season for both dry fertilizer and ammonia.”    Payne believes the industry is in a good position from a supply standpoint. We have not seen much of an impact yet on the China situation curtailing imports of generic chemicals that are used in blending here in the U.S.   “The nice thing about ...

CCAs Help Reduce Nitrogen Losses in Illinois

Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) across the country routinely address pests, diseases, weeds and other agronomic issues with their farmer-customers. In Illinois, CCAs are also working closely with industry stakeholders to address and reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus the state contributes annually to the Gulf of Mexico.   “CCAs are instrumental in providing guidance to farmers on the 4R practices--right rate and right source of nutrients, at the right time and in the right place--that improve nutrient utilization and reduce nutrient losses,” says Lisa Martin, coordinator for the Illinois CCA program.   Click Here to read more.

CDC: Twice as many affected by Beach Park ammonia leak than initially thought; confusion about ‘smoke’ led to more injuries

A lack of communication led to healthcare providers and first-responders exposing themselves to a toxic gas after the release of an agricultural fertilizer that created a fog in April in Beach Park, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Thursday afternoon.   In addition, more than twice as many people — including homeowners, commuters, police and fire first-responders and hospital personnel — were exposed and treated during the hazardous material incident than initially reported, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.   Authorities reported in the past that the ...

Central Illinois farmers face tough decisions due to heavy rainfall

After last week's rains and a forecast showing more this week, farmers in parts of Illinois are being forced to make some tough decisions on the timing of their planting – or in some cases, replanting.   National Weather Service maps show most of central and southern Illinois have received more than 10 inches of rain in the past 30 days. Some counties are between 14 and 16 inches. This leaves some farmers with corn crops yet to be replanted and farmers with acreage to be replanted looking at the radar and wondering when to get back out there.   Click Here to ...

Central Illinois lawmakers express frustration, concern over COVID-19, budget

Central Illinois Republican lawmakers expressed frustration Thursday about what they see as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s failure to include the legislature in determining how to reopen Illinois amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   Speaking during a McLean County Chamber of Commerce “State of the State” webinar, lawmakers said the governor has not adequately recognized differences among regions when outlining when and how businesses could reopen. They also expressed concerns over the recently enacted state budget for fiscal year 2021 and the impact a graduated income tax could have on the business community and the middle class.   Senate ...

Central Illinois Nearing Break in Severe Rain, but Flood Risk Still High

Central Illinois residents spent Saturday cleaning up from flooding following hours being blasted by extreme precipitation. Fewer storms are expected Sunday, but the risk of high water remains.   Thunderstorms were expected to move through the region overnight into Sunday afternoon and evening, but with far less intensity than those that blasted the area Friday night and Saturday afternoon.   A Funks Grove firefighter uses an exposure suit to recover a guideline used in rescues from the swollen Timber Creek along Interstate 55 on Saturday. Firefighters said water had come up over 15 feet from the normal level of the creek as ...

Century-old locks and dams require urgent upgrades

When we talk about fixing the crumbling infrastructure in our country, many think about our roads and bridges, which absolutely need our attention and investment. But one of the lesser-known issues with our nation’s infrastructure involves our vast network of rivers and waterways used to transport commodities across the country.   Locks and dams on our inland waterways play an essential role in moving products produced in my district. The 13th Congressional District of Illinois is settled in the west, central part of the state, nestled up against where the Illinois River flows into the mighty Mississippi River. &...

CF Industries Warns of Fertilizer Shipping Issues

CF Industries is warning customers that fertilizer shipments might be delayed or may not reach farmers after Union Pacific (UP) railroad mandated certain shippers to reduce the volume of private cars on its railroad. CF ships fertilizer from its Donaldsonville Complex in Louisiana and its Port Neal Complex in Iowa via UP railroads. The railroad asked CF Industries to reduce its shipments by 20%. The company said it might not have available shipping capacity to take new rail orders involving UP rail lines to meet late-season demand for fertilizer. “The timing of this action by Union Pacific could not come ...

CFATS: What It and Its Renewal Means to Ag Retail

In 2006, the regulatory program Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) was established. CFATS is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aiming to prevent chemicals from being stolen, sabotaged or deliberately released by any bad actor, including terrorists.   CFATS is back in the news because the Congressional authorization for the program is set to expire in January 2019.   “We had annual reauthorization for CFATS until 2014, and then Congress passed a statute that granted a four-year authorization,” explains Amy Graydon, Acting Director of the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division which administers the CFATS program. Graydon says the four-year authorization ...

Challenges to Nutrient Loss Reduction In Illinois

Farmers have made conservation headway through the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy since 2011, but there are still big challenges hindering recent progress.    During a virtual Illinois Conservation Cropping Seminar Joel Gruver with Western Illinois University says the state has already reached 14% nitrogen loss reduction with the goal of 15% by 2025 and reached 22% phosphorus loss reduction with the goal of 25% by 2025. But he says there have been higher levels of loss in recent years, mainly from drivers farmers cannot control.    “One of the biggest drivers is probably not what is being done specifically in terms of farm ...

Changes are likely coming to the Illinois pot legalization bill.

Some provisions that advocates for recreational marijuana legalization have said are the most important facets of their bill faced the stiffest questions at a legislative hearing Wednesday.   “Throughout all of the work we’ve been doing, there’s been three real themes that have arisen on why we should be doing this,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, Senate Bill 7’s sponsor. “We want public safety, particularly for our kids; we want social justice; and we want, by getting our policy right, additional revenue for the state.”   But, at an Illinois Senate ...

Changes to Illinois pesticide trainings from COVID-19

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program have made changes to pesticide applicator requirements because of COVID-19.   All applicator trainings and testing clinics are cancelled through May 31st. Refunds will be issued for those who were registered, and new regulations have been set.   Licenses that expired at the end of 2019 are now extended through December 31, 2020.  Applicators can call or email the department to obtain an updated license showing the extension.   Non-certified applicators do not have a testing requirement for the remainder of 2020 but must continue to work under the ...

Check new nature preserve map before dicamba application

As farmers approach spring planting season, they have a new resource to help with compliance of dicamba label requirements that stipulate a downwind buffer adjacent to nature preserves.   The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has added a section to their Natural Resources Awareness Tool for Applicators map for nature preserves. Visit bit.ly/ChemicalDriftAwareness and click on “INPC Sites Illinois Nature Preserve Commission Sites.”   Click Here to read more.

ChemChina Gets EU Nod for Syngenta Deal One Day After U.S.

China National Chemical Corp. won European Union antitrust approval for its $43 billion takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG, a day after the U.S. gave its blessing, bringing China’s largest foreign acquisition closer to the finish line.   ChemChina’s offer to divest some pesticides and other agricultural products will remove "problematic overlaps" and allow the EU to clear the deal, the European Commission said in an emailed statement. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager praised the companies for being "prepared to address our concerns" with the concessions, she said at a news ...

Chemical and Fertilizer Crunch Overshadow an Above-Average Harvest for Farmers

It should be a celebratory fall for Justin Honebrink.   To his relief, the west-central Minnesota farmer is harvesting unexpectedly average crops, after August rains breathed life back into his drought-stressed corn and soybeans. But instead of riding that high, Honebrink -- like many farmers this fall -- is rushing to lock in fertilizer months ahead of usual and eyeing chemical shortages and costs with growing anxiety.   "Chemical costs are starting to scare me," he said. "I don't normally look into chemicals until closer to spring, so I am just not ready right now to ...

Chemical Giants Ask Appeals Court to Lower $75 Million Herbicide Award

Lawyers for Monsanto and BASF argued before the Eighth Circuit on Wednesday that a $75 million award to Missouri’s largest peach farm for damages related to their dicamba herbicide was unwarranted.   Monsanto attorney Jonathan Cohn said that the district court erred in adopting what the court itself called a novel theory which improperly inflated proximate causation.   Click Here to read more.

Chicago looks to Springfield for help in balancing 2020 budget

Illinois lawmakers must change state pension laws and allow for new taxes, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.   The freshman mayor unveiled her budget proposal Wednesday. In it, she specifically relies on $50 million in revenue from a new progressive real estate transfer tax, which would have to be approved by the Illinois General Assembly and governor. She also said the state must rethink its the tax structure proposed for Chicago casino and make changes to state pension laws.   “We will need cooperation from Springfield in order to get this done,” she said, adding that “… ...

China approves two new GMO crops for import

China has approved two more genetically modified (GMO) crops for import, the Ministry of Agriculture said, the second such move in the past month to expand access to biotech seeds as part of Beijing’s 100-day trade talks with Washington.   The two new crops, approved from July 16 for a period of three years, are Syngenta’s 5307 insect-resistant corn sold under the Agrisure Duracade brand and Monsanto’s 87427 glyphosate-resistant corn, sold under the Roundup Ready brand, the ministry said on its website Monday.   Click Here to read more.

China buys 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans - USDA

Private exporters reported the sale of 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2019/20 marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday, amid hopes for a partial trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.   That marked the first U.S. government confirmation of a soybean sale to the top buyer of the oilseed since President Donald Trump said on Oct. 11 that China would buy up to $50 billion in American farm products as part of a trade agreement.   An earlier USDA report showed total U.S. soybean export sales of 475,200 tonnes, ...

China buys U.S. soybeans a day after trade talks

Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 1 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Friday, a day after high-level bilateral talks yielded progress toward a trade deal and a Chinese commitment to buy more U.S. soybeans.   The purchases are slated for shipment between April and July, with a large share expected from U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals, three traders with knowledge of the deals said.   One trader with direct knowledge of the deals said total purchases were around 2.2 million tonnes. The other two traders said the sales were similar to three recent waves of buying in which ...

China buys U.S. soybeans after halt to U.S. purchases ordered

State-owned Chinese firms bought at least three cargoes of U.S. soybeans on Monday, even as sources in China said the government had told them to halt purchases after Washington said it would eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong to punish Beijing.   The purchases, totaling at least 180,000 tonnes of the oilseed, were for shipment in October or November, the peak U.S. soy export season when American soybeans are usually the cheapest in the world, three U.S. traders with knowledge of the deals said.   It was not immediately clear why buying continued after Beijing’s message ...

China buys U.S. soybeans for third day in a row

China agreed to buy 136,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning, the third straight day in a row an export deal with the world’s top soy importer has been announced.   Chinese buyers have booked 606,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans this week - all for delivery in the 2019/20 marketing year - as futures prices fell to an 11-month low due to fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.   China is preparing to buy more than 30 million tonnes of crops for state stockpiles to help protect itself from supply chain disruptions caused by ...

China gives long-awaited GM crop approvals amid U.S. Trade Talks

China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods. The United States is the world’s biggest producer of GM crops, while China is the top importer of GM soybeans and canola.   U.S. farmers and global seed companies have long complained about Beijing’s slow and unpredictable process for appro...ving GM crops for import, stoking trade tensions between the world’s two ...

China GMO crop panel meeting raises approval hopes: sources

An influential Chinese scientific advisory board on genetically modified crops met last week for the first time in a year, two sources said, in a sign that Beijing may be preparing to approve new biotech crops for import.   The meeting, which took place from June 20 to June 22, according to one of the sources, comes amid escalating trade tension with the United States, the world's top producer of GMO crops.   "The meeting happened last week," said a second source with a Chinese seed company, who closely follows Beijing's seed approval process.   Click Here to ...

China Halts U.S. Agricultural Purchases as Trade War Heats Up

China is stepping away from further U.S. farm imports after President Donald Trump ratcheted up tensions with its biggest agricultural trading partner last week   The Chinese government has asked its state-owned enterprises to suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural products, people familiar with the situation said. Also, privately run Chinese crushers that had received retaliatory-tariff waivers on American soybeans from Beijing have stopped buying the commodity due to uncertainty over trade relations, other people said.   President Trump on Thursday proposed adding 10% tariffs on another $300 billion in imports from Sept. 1, marking an abrupt escalation of the trade war ...

China Issues Phosphate Quotas to Rein in Fertilizer Exports

China is rolling out a quota system to limit exports of phosphates, a key fertilizer ingredient, in the second half of this year, analysts said, citing information from the country’s major phosphate producers.   The quotas, set well below year-ago export levels, would expand China’s intervention in the market to keep a lid on domestic prices and protect food security while global fertilizer prices are hovering near record highs.   Click Here to read more.

China Looking to Curb Fertilizer, Pesticide Use

China, the world's top producer of rice and wheat, is seeking to cap the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides that have helped to contaminate large swathes of its arable land and threaten its ability to keep up with domestic food demand.   More than 19 percent of soil samples taken from Chinese farmland have been found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals or chemicals waste.  In central Hunan province, more than three quarters of the rice fields have been contaminated, government research has shown.   Click Here to read more.

China makes first big U.S. soybean purchase since Trump-Xi truce

China on Wednesday made its first major purchases of U.S. soybeans since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce earlier this month, providing some relief to U.S. farmers who have struggled to find buyers for their record-large harvest.   Trump told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday the Chinese were already buying a "tremendous amount" of U.S. soybeans and would also soon cut tariffs on U.S. autos.   The purchase of over 1.5 million tonnes of beans is the most concrete evidence yet that China is making good ...

China may soon regret slapping tariffs on US soybeans

One of China's major moves in the trade war with the United States is in danger of backfiring on its own farmers.   They're facing a potential shortage of soybeans, one of China's biggest imports from the United States, after Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on them last month in retaliation for US tariffs on a swath of Chinese goods.   American farmers, who sold more than $12 billion worth of soybeans to China last year, have spoken out repeatedly about the threat to their livelihood. But the new tariff is causing problems in China, too.   The country ...

China needs 'explosive' buying to meet U.S. farm import target

By end-May, imports were running behind 2017 levels - rather than 50% ahead as needed - and while orders for China’s main farm import, soybeans, have started to pick up, scorching levels of buying would be needed to hit the mark.   Add in a rapid deterioration in U.S.-China relations, an upcoming U.S. election, a global pandemic and questions over just how much soybeans China actually needs, and farmers and analysts say it may be a stretch too far.   “It just doesn’t seem likely to me,” said John Payne, senior futures & ...

China Phosphate Fertilizer Export Freeze Adds to Global Supply Challenges

As the 2021 corn and soybean crops are coming out of the fields, the supply situation for fertilizer and other chemicals is shaping up to make 2022 an expensive year for inputs.   The move by China earlier this week to ban phosphate exports until at least June of next year puts even more pressure on global phosphate trade. The U.S. doesn't buy much phosphate from China, but the country represents about 30% of world trade. Now China's traditional buyers will be looking elsewhere.   "And it just continues around the world as everyone goes other places to buy, ...

China Price Index: China’s Persistent Energy Crisis to Disrupt Agrochemical Production Into 2022

On October 8, Premier Li Keqiang presided over an executive meeting of The State Council, making further plans to ensure the supply of electricity and coal in 2021 winter and 2022 spring to ensure the basic livelihood of the people and the smooth operation of the economy.   Winter arrives soon, and China normally starts the central heating system in the middle of November. People’s livelihoods will be the top priority, so the government will first direct the energy supply to the northeast region of China for heating during the winter. Moreover, the Chinese government will also release the capacity of ...

China Price Index: Downward Price Trends for Glyphosate, Glufosinate a Tipping Point for Key Herbicides

Chinese manufacturers often introduce their new capacity below market value. For example, the price for glufosinate AI dipped to EXW 37 USD/Kg, which is lower than the recent market price of EXW 41 USD/Kg when Lier Chemical and Yongnong Chem made new product available to buyers. And by the end of 2022, Veyong is expected to release additional glufosinate into China’s ag market. The increased inventory is accelerating the drop in cost for glufosinate AI, which was already experiencing a downward pricing trend.   Even with the price drops, there is still room for the herbicide’s key ...

China Price Index: How China’s Agrochemical Industry Can Tame the ‘Bullwhip Effect’

I worked for Bayer CropScience China in 2012. A decade ago, Bayer CropScience China was faced with huge channel inventory and sales pressure. This was mainly due to the loss of a key product in Bayer’s portfolio, fipronil (Regent). Beginning on 1 October 2009, the sale and use of fipronil-containing pesticide formulations was banned in China (with the exception of some sanitation and seed coatings for corn or other crop in dry land). The registration and/or production permit of approved fipronil-containing pesticide formulations for other uses was withdrawn.   The sudden absence of the core product forced Bayer’s ...

China Proposes New Rules to Ease GMO Approvals

China is planning changes to its seed regulations that will make it easier to approve genetically modified crops, a move seen as a critical step towards commercializing GM corn.   The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs published a draft document late on Friday proposing a series of amendments to several different regulations that cover GM crops.   The changes implement decisions by the Communist party's powerful Central Committee and the cabinet on safe management of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and development of a modern seed industry, according to the statement.   Click Here to read more.

China Publishes Draft Rules on Herbicides for GM Crops

China published draft rules on Friday outlining registration requirements for herbicides used on genetically modified crops, in another sign that Beijing is gearing up to allow greater use of GM technology in agriculture, reports Reuters. The rules include guidelines on efficacy trials for herbicides used on herbicide-tolerant corn and soybeans, according to the statement on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ website.   China currently does not permit planting of any GM varieties of major feed or food crops, though most of its cotton is genetically modified.   Last month it drafted new rules that lay out requirements ...

China Pushes Public to Accept GMO as Syngenta Takeover Nears

China will carry out a nationwide poll next month to test the public’s acceptance of genetically-modified food, a technology the government says would boost yields and sustainable agriculture in a country that’s seen consumption soar.   Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University and two other Chinese colleges will carry out the survey, said Jin Jianbin, a professor at Tsinghua’s School of Journalism and Communication. The poll, sponsored by the government, will be carried out in tandem with a campaign on social media to broadcast basic knowledge on GMO technology, which is widely misunderstood in ...

China says buying U.S. farm products will not affect imports from other countries

China’s purchases of U.S. agricultural products will not impact its imports from other countries, a commerce ministry official said on Tuesday.   China welcomes the entry of competitive U.S. products into its markets and hopes the United States could create conditions to facilitate exports to China, Li Xingqian told a news conference.   China will expand imports based on market conditions and in line with rules of the World Trade Organisation, Li added.   Beijing agreed to major purchases of U.S. farm products as part of an initial trade deal signed last week, but doubts ...

China shuns U.S. soybeans amid trade war, turns to Brazil

China’s soybean processors are snapping up record volumes of Brazilian cargoes for shipment in the fourth quarter, curbing purchases of U.S. crops in North America’s peak marketing season as the trade war between Washington and Beijing intensifies.   That shift away from U.S. beans by China, which takes more than 60 percent of the commodity traded worldwide, will pile further pressure on benchmark Chicago Board of Trade prices Sv1 after they plumbed 10-year lows last week.   China in July imposed a retaliatory 25-percent import duty on U.S. soybeans as part of the tit-for-tat ...

China Signals GM, Biotech Push in Key Policy Statement

China will industrialise biotech breeding as part of a campaign to improve food security, top leaders said in a policy statement late on Friday, signalling Beijing could soon take a further step towards commercialising genetically modified (GM) crops.   According to a statement issued after the annual Central Economic Work Conference held on Dec. 16-18, China needs to make better use of science and technology to achieve a “turnaround” in its seed industry.   “The key to ensuring food security lies in implementing the strategy of storing grain in the ground and storing grain in technology,” ...

China still considering curbs on U.S. soybean imports

China is still considering import curbs on U.S. soybeans in retaliation for moves by Washington to impose trade tariffs, U.S. Soybean Export Council Asia director Paul Burke said on Thursday, following a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture.   The ministry requested an informal meeting in Beijing with the council, Burke told Reuters by phone. The meeting, which took place on Monday, was attended by the U.S. trade group's China director, Xiaoping Zhang, along with officials from the ministry's department of international relations.   Click Here to read more.  

China threatens new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods

China threatened Friday to tax an additional $60 billion a year worth of U.S. imports if the Trump administration imposes its own new levies on Chinese goods.   The threat comes two days after President Donald Trump ordered his administration to consider increasing the rate of tariffs it has already proposed on $200 billion a year of Chinese goods — everything from chemicals to handbags — to 25 percent from 10 percent.   The United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, have for months been engaged in an escalating trade dispute. While they have targeted each other’...

China to Allow Gene-Edited crops in Push for Food Security

China has published trial rules for the approval of gene-edited plants, paving the way for faster improvements to crops as it seeks to bolster its food security.   Gene editing - or altering the genes of a plant to change or improve its performance - is viewed by some scientists as less risky than genetically-modifying them, which involves transferring a foreign gene.   Click Here to read more.

China to exempt U.S. pork and soybeans from additional trade war duties, in response to Trump’s tariff delay

China has announced that it will exclude imports of U.S. soybeans, pork and other farm goods from additional trade war tariffs, opening the door for significant purchases of agricultural products. The official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday that China's National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce made the exemption in response to the U.S.’ decision of postpone an increase in the tariff rate on $250 billion of Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15. It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on Thursday of the possibility of an “interim trade deal&...

China to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports as coronavirus risks grow

China on Thursday said it would halve additional tariffs levied against 1,717 U.S. goods last year, following the signing of a Phase 1 deal that defused a bruising trade war between the world’s two largest economies.   While the announcement reciprocates the U.S. commitment under the deal, it is also seen by analysts as a move by Beijing to boost confidence amid a virus outbreak that has disrupted businesses and hit investor sentiment.   Casting doubts over the immediate outlook, however, was the prospect raised in a local media report that Beijing could invoke a disaster-related clause in ...

China to impose tariffs on U.S. goods despite Trump warning

China said on Monday it would impose higher tariffs on a range of U.S. goods, striking back in its trade war with Washington shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump warned it not to retaliate.   China’s finance ministry said it plans to set import tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on 5,140 U.S. products on a target list worth about $60 billion. It said the tariffs will take effect on June 1.   The announcement came less than two hours after Trump warned Beijing not to retaliate after China said it “will never surrender to external pressure.&...

China ups 2019/20 corn import forecast on U.S. trade deal prospects

China on Thursday raised estimates for its corn imports in 2019/20, on prospects that shipments of the grain from the United States will increase under the Phase 1 trade deal.   China’s corn imports in 2019/20 were seen at 4 million tonnes, up 1 million from the forecast in the previous month, after Beijing exempted extra tariffs on a list of U.S. products, including corn and sorghum in March, the country’s agriculture ministry said.   The price difference between domestic corn and imports might expand further following the trade move, promoting more U.S. shipments, the Ministry of Agriculture and ...

China Urges Regions to Bolster Fertilizer Supply Amid Surging Prices

China’s central government urged its regions on Friday to “strengthen” supplies of fertilizer during the summer amid record prices and tight stocks of the chemicals.   The appeal comes as the government battles soaring prices of a host of raw materials, and after Premier Li Keqiang called for curbing prices of key farm inputs like fertilizer and diesel to guarantee stable grain prices.   The government has stepped up its focus on food security since the global coronavirus pandemic and is targeting a bigger corn crop this year after prices hit record levels in 2020, roiling global ...

China will cut, remove export tariffs on some steel, fertilizer

China will cut export taxes on some steel products and fertilisers and ditch those for sales abroad of steel wire, rod and bars from Jan. 1, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday, in a series of measures that could boost shipments.   The move is likely to stir concerns among foreign competitors in the United States and Europe that China, the world’s top steel producer, may be looking to sell its excess product abroad.   It follows a ministerial level G20 meeting in Berlin last month, where China and the United States remained at odds over how to ...

China's tepid trade-deal spending leaves US farmers in limbo

American farmers say China needs to do more to meet the commitments it made in a high-profile initial trade agreement with the U.S.   U.S. customs data shows Beijing purchased $3.1 billion of U.S. agriculture during the first three months of the year, well shy of the quarterly amount required to reach the $50 billion a year promised in the January agreement. China's data suggests the purchases, which were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, reached $5 billion.   “While things are moving in the right direction on the purchase side, they need to accelerate,” John Newton, chief ...

China's war on smog hits fertilizer, pesticide output in December

China’s fertilizer and pesticide output fell in December to their lowest on records going back to February 2015, data showed on Monday, as Beijing’s war on smog and efforts to ensure winter heating forced producers to suspend operations.   Fertilizer output dropped 7 percent from a year ago to 4.75 million tonnes, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday. The volume was also down 9.3 percent from the previous month’s 5.24 million tonnes, the data also showed.   The drop came after natural gas shortages this winter forced many gas-based fertilizer plants to shut, tightening supplies ...

China, Asia Trade Top Agriculture Industry List for Biden Pick

Improving U.S. trade with Asian nations, particularly China, is the top priority for American food exporters as President Joe Biden’s nominee for chief agricultural trade negotiator heads for Senate confirmation.   “We are being left behind while the rest of the world has negotiated new business deals,” said Peter Bachmann, vice president of international trade policy at USA Rice Federation.   The agriculture industry wants to build on the U.S.-China phase one trade deal the Trump administration negotiated. Pork producers and family farmers are also looking to Pacific Rim nations, aiming to join ...

China-Russia agricultural ties will emerge stronger than ever

Growing consumption rates and disruption of global supply chains have led China to eye a sustainably focused circular economy and to search for reliable agricultural imports. This give Russia a major chance to expand trade relations with China beyond oil and gas exports, and to assert itself as a reliable, even indispensable, partner for China’s food security.   During the past few decades China has demonstrated a spectacular shift in consumption habits. Grain consumption more than tripled from 125 million metric tons in 1975 to 420 million in 2018, while currently the average Chinese person eats 63 kilograms of meat a year, six ...

China-U.S. Trade Tariffs May Cut U.S. Farm Exports by 40%

Bilateral tariffs may reduce the value of U.S. farm exports to China by about 40 percent, according to a report published by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, a government think tank.   U.S. soybean, cotton, beef and cereal shipments to China may each drop by 50 percent in value, it said in a report published on its official WeChat account on Tuesday, citing results of a simulation. The price of imported soybeans may rise 5.9 percent and imported cotton prices may increase 7.5 percent, with minor impacts predicted for other farm goods, it said.   China could take measures including sourcing ...

China’s exports to the US are falling sharply as Trump escalates the trade war

China’s exports unexpectedly fell in August as shipments to the United States slowed sharply, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy and underlining a pressing need for more stimulus as the Sino-U.S. trade war escalates.   Beijing is widely expected to announce more support measures in coming weeks to avert the risk of a sharper economic slowdown as the United States ratchets up trade pressure, including the first cuts in some key lending rates in four years.   On Friday, the central bank cut banks’ reserve requirements for a seventh time since ...

China’s New Fertilizer Tariffs Are No Big Deal for U.S. Industry

China intends to slap duties on U.S. shipments of some fertilizers as part of a $60 billion ramp up in a trade war between the two nations. The good news for U.S. producers is the move is unlikely to have any significant impact on their business.   It’s “no concern,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Andrew Wong said in an email. “China mostly only imports potash for fertilizer use, and that comes from Canada.”   The U.S. is a very small fertilizer exporter and very few, if any, American shipments go to China, ...

Chinese Buyers Look to Cancel U.S. Soybean Orders as Processing Margins Shrink

Some Chinese soybean importers and processors are looking to cancel deals signed for U.S. cargoes for December and January shipment, after crushing margins collapsed following a steep rally in Chicago futures, three trade sources said.   This is a first sign of slowing Chinese demand after a five-month buying spree that combined with dryness in top producer Brazil to add more than quarter to benchmark Chicago futures since the crop year began on Sep. 1, and 13% this month.   China is the world's biggest soybean importer, accounting for more than 60% of shipments.   Click Here to read more.   &...

Chinese Harbor Logjam

If you are still waiting on crop production products, they may be scheduled for loading aboard one of these ships along the coastline of China, awaiting to dock at one of dozens of major ports. Each dot represents a ship, and the color represents how many days or weeks it has been waiting for a berth at its assigned dock. Triangles represent ships in transit. Dots represent ships at anchor. There may be more ships awaiting to be loaded in China.   Please reach out to IFCA if you have any supply questions.  

Chipotle Sued for Using GMO's After Declaring Its Food GMO Free

opular burrito chain Chipotle, which proudly declared it is completely GMO-free in April, is being sued over alleged use of GMOs. According to CBS, a class action lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco against the Colorado-based company claiming that Chipotle has been using GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — in its food "despite advertising that it is GMO-free." The lawsuit — which has been filed on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Chipotle after April 27, 2015 — further alleges that Chipotle's menu has never been completely GMO-free. The lawsuit says that the restaurants serve popular ...

Chlorpyrifos Ban

In response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s order for an analysis of the use of chlorpyrifos, the EPA has decided to ban use of the pesticide on food crops, including corn and soybeans.  EPA stated that within six months, farmers and retailers will no longer be allowed to use this product.   Click here to read more about the recent ruling.

Chlorpyrifos Frequently Asked Questions

IFCA has received questions from members regarding the EPA’s decision to revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos back in August. Some questions being asked include:  Can I still use my chlorpyrifos product?  Is it legal to use? When will I no longer be able to use it?   Chlorpyrifos products are still legal to use within the 6-month period between publication of the final rule and revocation of tolerances. Food use tolerances will be canceled at the end of the 6-month period and no chlorpyrifos residues would be allowed on ...

Chlorpyrifos Sunset in Sight

Is the end in sight for the agricultural insecticide chlorpyrifos? On April 29, 2021, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency within 60 days to either ban chlorpyrifos completely, or to fix safe tolerances for it in food residues. The 9th Circuit’s ruling came in response to a petition from environmental groups dating from 2007. One dissenting judge said the order amounted to a de facto ban, since the EPA has already found no safe levels within foods.   If this is indeed the end, it’s the end of an artificially extended ...

Chlorpyrifos Use to End in California

The use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos will end in California at the end of next year as a result of an agreement struck on Wednesday between the state and manufacturers.   Under the agreement with Corteva and other companies, all sales of chlorpyrifos products in California will end on Feb. 6, 2020. Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020.   The state said it is applying the settlement terms and deadlines to seven other companies not part of the agreement but are subject to the cancellation order.   In May, the state announced ...

Chlorpyrifos workshops reach beyond one pesticide

The discussion is too little too late for many in the ag community. They had the opportunity to share their disappointment recently that the California Environmental Protection Agency did not open up a broader conversation about alternatives to chlorpyrifos before it made the decision last year to cancel product registrations.   The agency’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, in partnership with CDFA, held three public workshops this month “to hear ideas about how farming communities can transition away from the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos,” according to a December press release.   The conversations, however, focused on ...

Chlorpyriphos Ban Sets New Precedent

DOT, EPA, and OSHA have made it clear that they intend to ramp up regulatory efforts moving forward. One issue particularly concerning to IFCA as well as other agricultural organizations is EPA’s decision to ban chlorpyrifos use on all food crops grown in the United States.   When banning chlorpyrifos, EPA did not follow the process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Science and data-based safety standards were not factors in making the decision. Instead, the court ruled EPA should revoke food tolerances for food crops versus following existing pesticide statues under FIFRA that outline ...

Chris Novak Named CEO/President of CropLife America

CropLife America (CLA), the leading association for the U.S. crop protection industry, has selected Chris Novak as its next president and CEO.     “I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Chris Novak has been selected by our Board’s search committee to become just the fifth staff leader of our association in its 85-year history. Chris brings a wealth of agriculture trade association and industry experience to CLA, in particular his recent roles as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board,” noted CLA Board Chairman and Bayer North America President ...

CHS Pulls Plug on Planned $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant

Minnesota-based CHS Inc. says it will not move forward with a planned $3 billion fertilizer plant in southeastern North Dakota.   The farmer-owned cooperative instead is buying a minority interest in CF Industries Nitrogen LLC for $2.8 billion. The deal includes a supply agreement under which CHS can buy up to 1.7 million tons of fertilizer annually.   Plans for the fertilizer plant near Spiritwood had been in the works more than three years. CHS Inc. announced about a year ago that it was moving forward with the factory, with plans to use natural gas from North Dakota's oil patch as a ...

CISA Launches ChemLock

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has launched a new chemical security program, ChemLock. ChemLock is a completely voluntary program that provides facilities that possess dangerous chemicals no-cost services and tools to help them better understand the risks they face and improve their chemical security posture in a way that works for their business model.  Based on expertise acquired from more than a decade of helping high-risk facilities enhance their chemical security, the ChemLock program is open to all facilities with chemicals, regardless of sector.   ChemLock’s current offerings include on-site chemical security assessments and assistance; ...

City of West receives $10.4 million in lawsuit settlement

The city of West will receive $10.44 million in its settlement with defendants in the massive litigation spawned by the April 2013 fire and explosion at West Fertilizer Co.   The West City Council approved the settlement amount this week, which includes funds for damages not covered by insurance or grants from state or federal agencies, said Waco attorney Steve Harrison, who was among a group of attorneys representing the city of West and chairman of the plaintiffs’ executive committee.   “The resolution brings to a conclusion more than 4 1/2 years of litigation by the city against the fertilizer manufacturers,” ...

City officials push for local control over pesticide use

City Council passed a resolution last week calling on state legislators to repeal or amend a state law that prevents municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides themselves.   The state statute, called the Illinois Pesticide Act, puts all control of pesticide regulation in the hand of the General Assembly. Leslie Shad, board member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, said Evanston’s resolution was put forward after the village of Oak Park passed a similar measure. Shad — who worked with Oak Park officials on the issue and pushed for the resolution in Evanston — said the use of ...

Clarification: Ban on Transporting Chlorpyrifos

To offer clarifying information on transporting chlorpyrifos, a representative with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated: "FIFRA prohibits distribution and sale of misbranded pesticides. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have not identified an exception for distribution of misbranded pesticides for the purposes of disposal. EPA’s regulations allow for distribution of pesticides that are unregistered, cancelled, or suspended, as long as certain conditions are met. For chlorpyrifos products that are cancelled, EPA expects to address the movement of products for disposal purposes in cancellation orders. For products that are not cancelled, a Stop Sale, ...

Clarification: Ban on Transporting Chlorpyrifos

To offer clarifying information on transporting chlorpyrifos, a representative with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated: "FIFRA prohibits distribution and sale of misbranded pesticides. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have not identified an exception for distribution of misbranded pesticides for the purposes of disposal. EPA’s regulations allow for distribution of pesticides that are unregistered, cancelled, or suspended, as long as certain conditions are met. For chlorpyrifos products that are cancelled, EPA expects to address the movement of products for disposal purposes in cancellation orders. For products that are not cancelled, a Stop Sale, ...

Clarity On Carbon’s Potential: Compare Nine of the Leading Markets

In launching the TruCarbon carbon program, Brett Bruggeman, president of WinField United, says the team is ready to learn a lot and perhaps stub its toes. This spring, the team will enroll growers via the company’s 24 retail partners, which are in the Truterra network. And by summer, the first transactions with Microsoft as the buyer will occur.   “We are on a fast pace,” says Jason Weller, vice president, Truterra. “We have a customer and a huge opportunity to do the initial sale, and it will be one of the largest soil carbon credit sales ...

Class Action Suit Alleges Companies Conspired Against Farmer Interests

On Friday, Jan. 8, a class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by a farmer’s widow on behalf of his estate.   In summary, the lawsuit alleges crop input manufacturers, large wholesalers and retailers have created an unfair market for farmers.   The plaintiff is Barbara Piper, the executor of the estate of her husband, Michael Piper, who died in 2017. Michael, who went by Mike, was a farmer in Mount Vernon, Ill. He grew row crops and was involved in competitive tractor pulling.   Claims include: “The existing ...

Clean Water, Healthy Soil

Carl Zimmerman in Earlville, Illinois, farms 1,600 acres of corn and soybeans on land that his father began farming in 1966.   Over time, the Zimmermans have increased their acres (his father started with 350), raised cattle and hogs, and built up the soil through cover crops and no-till management.   “What got us started with cover crops was growing sweet corn. Eight years ago, we decided to plant oats to help combat weed issues on about 120 to 160 of those acres,” Zimmerman explains. “Over the years, we gained more trust in cover crops and got by with less tillage.” &...

Cleaning Spray Equipment

With pesticide application season still underway in terms of herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide treatments, we would like to remind everyone that cleaning your spray equipment must be done over operational area containment, as it is a violation of the Part 255 containment rules to wash application equipment over gravel or any other area of your facility.  The rules state:   "Cleaning and washing of agrichemical residue from handling, processing and application equipment at an agrichemical facility or non-commercial agrichemical facility shall be done utilizing an operational containment system or structure.  Cleaning and washing containment may be accomplished at ...

Clearing up New GMO Labeling Confusion

We are learning more about new labeling laws that will be in effect this time next year regarding genetically modified foods.   It took Congress three years to set up the rules and regulations.   All foods with more than five percent GMOs will have to be labeled. Some companies are already putting that information in packaging.   A food scientist from Kansas State University describes what we can expect to see in the coming months. "You'll see a little green label, it's a circle that looks like a farm scene in the middle of it, and ...

Climate Change Is Fueling a 5,000-Square-Mile ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico

Global warming doesn’t just mean scorching temperatures and rising sea levels. It also means the death of oceans, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Dead zones—areas in the water that are low on oxygen—are on the rise around the world due to a double-whammy of hotter temperatures and increased pollution, leading to the death of marine life and turning once vibrant habitats into hypoxic deserts.   Scientists have been monitoring one such dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico—considered the largest in U.S. waters—for over three decades. On ...

Climate-friendly ag practices need $30 billion, Democrats told

More than 60 groups are urging Democratic congressional leaders to prioritize climate-friendly agriculture, food systems and equity in their $3.5 trillion domestic spending package.   About $89 billion in the budget reconciliation measure will be designated for agriculture and forestry in the package, and groups including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, American Sustainable Business Council, Earthjustice and the National Family Farm Coalition want to see $30 billion of that allocated to conservation programs. The 2018 farm bill provided about $60 billion for conservation programs over 10 years.   Those farm bill programs include the Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program.   Click ...

Clinton in Favor of WOTUS, Trump Against

CLINTON BACKS WOTUS: Hillary Clinton has made it crystal clear that she backs the EPA’s waters of the U.S. rule, which attempts to clarify the types of water the agency can regulate under the Clean Water Act. The Democratic presidential nominee made what appears to be her first public endorsement of the controversial rule in a written statement to Farm Futures published this week. Clinton said she supports the rule and would work with all affected parties to ensure “common sense implementation.” She also said she was pleased that EPA maintained in WOTUS the “...

Clock is ticking on GMO labeling (AUDIO)

With a Vermont GMO labeling bill set to go into effect at the beginning of July, negotiators in the Senate have yet to pass a bill that would create a national standard.    Click Here to read more.

Closer Look: Lawmaker Pay, A Firestorm for Years, Lit Again

Illinois government by the numbers: 27 days into a new fiscal year, the state has no budget, a deficit of up to $4 billion and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner insisting that Democrats in the Legislature embrace his five pro-business and anti-corruption initiatives.   And in the face of those recalcitrant lawmakers, Rauner has brought some new figures into the equation: A 2 percent automatic cost-of-living increase, set to take effect this month to boost the $68,000 base legislative salary by nearly $1,400. “They’ve taken a pay hike for themselves without any budget and without any real reforms,” Rauner said last week. &...

Closures to Illinois Waterway Locks remain set for July 1

Beginning July 1, the Rock Island Engineer District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October.   During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.   Repairs being made during the ...

CoBank: Change Is Coming for U.S. Food and Agricultural Businesses

The widely anticipated summer economic boom is well underway and U.S. consumers are spending on services again. Jobs are abundantly available, but workers are scarce as the labor market is healing more slowly than most economists expected. According to a new Quarterly report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, labor challenges felt during the pandemic and continuing today will incentivize businesses throughout the food supply chain to rapidly increase automation within their operations.   “The most significant and lasting impact from COVID will be an acceleration in automation,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s ...

Collection of gun control bills passes out of Illinois House

Invigorated by gun control advocates who flooded the Capitol Wednesday, the Illinois House passed a series of gun control measures that included a ban the sale of bump stocks and a requirement for gun dealers to be licensed.   The measures come just two weeks after tragedies involving firearms, including the death of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, caught the nation’s attention and sparked widespread outcry over the previous lack of action on the issue.   Adding to the pomp and circumstance were protesters from gun control advocacy group Moms Demand ...

Collin Peterson Elected House Ag Chairman in US House

House Democrats on Friday elected Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, a position Peterson held from 2007 to 2011 when his party last was in the majority in the House.   Since 2011 Peterson has been the committee’s ranking member. Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who served as chairman from 2015 through 2019, is now the ranking member.   “I am honored to receive the support of my colleagues to serve as chairman of the Agriculture Committee in the 116th Congress,” Peterson said in a statement.   “I look forward to continuing the important work of ...

Come ready to bid at AG-SOLVE PAC Live and Silent Auction next week.

  This year at the convention, we will have our first annual live and silent auction to support AG-SOLVE PAC, IFCA's political action fund.  The donation of items has been terrific!  To prepare for what you will want to bid on, see below the list of auction items and the companies who have contributed to the auction. We can’t thank them enough for the donations! The silent auction will start outside the CCA session on Jan 19, will move to the trade show floor on the 20th, and will conclude the morning of the 21st. The ...

Come Ready to Bid at the IFCA AG-SOLVE Auctoin on January 29th.

Once again IFCA and AG-SOLVE will be having an annual auction at the convention on January 29th at 3:30 pm on the trade show floor.  IFCA is very excited about the list of items that we will be auctioning.  To see the list of auction items click here. We want to thank all the companies who donated auction items. We couldn't do it without all their help. If you have any questions on any of the auction items please don't hesitate to call KJ at the office at 309-827-2774.   Also it'...

Coming Up In The Veto Session

When Illinois lawmakers return for their fall session next month, they, and by extension, taxpayers, will face tantalizing questions.   Should legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner craft a massive public works program to begin tackling a backlog of needed improvements to state roads, bridges and other capital projects?     If the answer is “yes,” how will the improvements be financed, or in simpler terms, what taxes and fees will need to be raised/imposed to pay for everything, or at least to underwrite the yearly costs of repaying billions of borrowed dollars?   Click Here to ...

Commerce Secretary to Farmers: Plant as Much as Possible

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sounded a little like now-deceased former Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz in a press call Friday about scrutinizing trade agreements.   A reporter asked Ross about the business uncertainty created due to so much conflict over the White House efforts to renegotiate nearly every U.S. trade agreement. The reporter's question itself was a little curious as he suggested farmers don't know how much crop to plant because of uncertainty over trade agreements.   Ross responded that American farmers should plant as much as possible. "If I were a farmer, I would plant as ...

Companies Ask Ninth Circuit Court to Re-Hear Dicamba Case

Bayer, BASF and Corteva Agriscience continue the fight to preserve postemergent dicamba use. The companies are contesting the results of a June 3 decision by three judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which vacated the registrations of their dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan.   On Monday evening, the three companies filed separate petitions asking for an "en banc" review of the case, which requests that all the judges of the Ninth Circuit re-hear the original case.   In the original decision, the three judges assigned to the case concluded that EPA ...

Compromise Near on Ohio Fertilizer Law

The chairman of a House committee said Wednesday that lawmakers are “virtually there” on a compromise on legislation to reduce agricultural fertilizer runoff into northern Ohio waters. But talks continue behind closed doors on how to enforce new restrictions on the application of manure and other fertilizers containing phosphorous and nitrogen and how quickly farmers must comply before facing fines. “We have to understand these things don’t happen overnight,” said Rep. Brian Hill (R., Zanesville), a farmer and chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. Click Here to read more.  

Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Governor Bruce Rauner continue battle over finances.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Governor Bruce Rauner continue their battle over finances   Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner are exchanging harsh words in their ongoing battle over the state's finances. Mendoza blasted Rauner in a speech to the City Club of Chicago Monday, claiming that the governor is "prepared for the state to collapse financially if he doesn't get his way on the budget and has begun squirreling away hundreds of millions of dollars in 'special funds' to protect his political back," according to Crain's Chicago Business. Rauner's office says ...

Confession of an Anti-GMO Activist

In a now-famous segment of his talk show, Jimmy Kimmel sent a reporter out to a West Coast farmers market in 2014 to ask food-conscious shoppers what they thought of GMOs. All the interviewees declared their horrified avoidance of GMOs—and then, predictably, failed to come up with an explanation for what the letters “G.M.O.” stand for.   The answer, of course, is “genetically modified organism.” First launched commercially on a wide scale in U.S. agriculture in 1996, GMOs are typically plants or animals whose genomes have been modified by the addition of one ...

Conflict Over Soil and Water Quality Puts "Iowa Nice" to a Test

The flat, endless acres of black dirt here in northern Iowa will soon be filled with corn and soybean seeds. But as farmers tuned up their tractors and waited for the perfect moment to plant, another topic weighed on their minds: a lawsuit filed in federal court by the state’s largest water utility. After years of mounting frustration, the utility, Des Moines Water Works, sued the leaders of three rural Iowa counties last month. Too little has been done, the lawsuit says, to prevent nitrates from flowing out of farm fields into the Raccoon River and, eventually, into ...

Cong Mike Conaway helps friends in chase for AG Committee Chair.

Cong Mike Conaway has quietly emerged as a Republican rainmaker, building some major political capitol in advance of his likely run for chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.   The Texas Republican helped bring in more than $800,000 for other House GOP lawmakers in the second quarter of 2014 alone, according to a preview for fundraising numbers shared with POLITICO and confirmed by sources in the Republican fundraising world.   Click Here to read more.

Cong Mike Conaway Named House Ag Committee Chair

An anticipated, Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas has been selected Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.    Conaway issued the following statement after the House Republican Steering Committee selected him as the 50th chairman of the House Committee of Agriculture.   Click Here to read more.

Cong. Conaway bill would streamline endangered species review process for pesticides

Federal wildlife agencies would consult with the Environmental Protection Agency on the effect of pesticides on endangered species in a much different way, if the farm bill introduced by House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, becomes law.   The language had been sought by the crop protection industry, which applauded its inclusion.   CropLife America said the new provision is much needed. Beau Greenwood, the group’s executive vice president, said the language fixes what he called a “regulatory glitch” that has extended the registration review process by years.   Greenwood also said that the bill’...

Cong. Davis Calls for National Standard of GMO Labeling

Differences of opinion continue on whether or not food with genetically-modified organisms despite Congressional approval of a voluntary national labeling standard.   Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) said he doesn’t get why GMOs are such a major issue because they can cover a lot of agricultural ground.   “Science shows that genetically-modified feeds are completely safe,” said Davis.  “Three trillion meals have been served with absolutely no evidence of any impact on anyone.  The fact that GMO labels are such a major issues, I don’t know.”   But, Davis said because ...

Cong. Shimkus vows to use subcommittee chairmanship to work for WOTUS repeal (AUDIO)

Illinois Republican John Shimkus will once again chair the House Environment Subcommittee, and he says he'll use all options to kill the Waters of the U.S. rule. Click Here to listen

Congress allows farm bill to lapse before reauthorization deadline

Congress quietly allowed the farm bill to expire over the weekend despite House Republicans’ hopes they would come to a consensus and pass a reauthorization ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.   The expiration was blamed on discrepancies between the House and the Senate, as well as the parties, over key provisions, including most prominently over a House provision to attach work requirements to the food stamp benefits in the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).   Democrats blasted the welfare reform language, arguing the Senate-passed version did not include the changes, while saying the requirements could be detrimental to ...

Congress Looks at Fertilizer Legislation

IFCA and our national association has been engaged with members of Congress from Illinois regarding ongoing market disruptions caused by lingering COVID pandemic effects, political instability, severe weather events, volatile energy markets, and trade disruptions. Recent conversations with lawmakers resulted in specific policy solutions to bolster US fertilizer supply.   Congressman GT Thompson from (R-PA) introduced H.R. 8069, the Reducing Farm Input Costs and Barriers to Domestic Production, introduced last week. This legislation relies heavily on input from the fertilizer industry and IFCA.   Highlights of the bill include Directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to reconsider potash ...

Congress Looks at Fertilizer Legislation

IFCA and our national association has been engaged with members of Congress from Illinois regarding ongoing market disruptions caused by lingering COVID pandemic effects, political instability, severe weather events, volatile energy markets, and trade disruptions. Recent conversations with lawmakers resulted in specific policy solutions to bolster US fertilizer supply.   Congressman GT Thompson from (R-PA) introduced H.R. 8069, the Reducing Farm Input Costs and Barriers to Domestic Production, introduced last week. This legislation relies heavily on input from the fertilizer industry and IFCA.   Highlights of the bill include Directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to reconsider potash ...

Congress Members Pushing Back on New Atrazine Requirements

The Biden Administration is trying to restrict the use of a key herbicide to farmers, and some members of Congress are not on board.   Congressman Mike Flood is one of 95 Congress members pushing back on new Atrazine requirements from the EPA.  He says farmers have been using Atrazine for nearly 60 years and believes the regulations contradict previous studies.  "There's been more then 7,000 studies on Atrazine, and its one of the most studied and thoroughly tested chemicals in the world.  This is yet another attack on crop production tools needed to feed the world." &...

Congress Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Bill, Sends to Trump

The U.S. Congress on Monday approved legislation providing $19.1 billion in emergency funding for disaster recovery efforts throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, sending it to President Donald Trump to sign into law.   Final passage came as the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 354-58 for the measure, which lawmakers and Trump had haggled over for months. It was approved by the Republican-led Senate late last month, and Trump has said he supports it.   The president, who is on a visit to London, tweeted that the bill’s passage was “great,” but appeared to think ...

Congress Rodney Davis Limits Local Governments from Banning Pesticides

Local governments would be barred from implementing regulations on pesticides that are more stringent than state and federal rules under legislation introduced Thursday by Congressman Rodney Davis from Taylorville. The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to clarify that only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and lead state regulatory agencies can jointly issue policies around pesticide sales, distribution, labeling and application.  Currently Illinois has this authority through Illinois Pesticide Act but many states across the nation do not.  IFCA supports this legislation. If you would like to read more about this legislation, ...

Congress to consider GMO labeling, TPP approval in new year

Lawmakers are back in Washington, D.C. after the holiday break.   According to POLITICO, GMO labeling, child nutrition authorization, approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other pending legislation is expected to be tackled in the new year.   Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks concluded in late October. The deal between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries is said to be the largest free trade agreement involving the U.S.   If approved by Congress, TPP will eliminate more than 18,000 taxes other countries place on U.S. goods in the form of tariffs.   Click Here to read more. &...

Congressman Davis Bill Would Prohibit Local Governments from Limiting Pesticide Use

Local governments would be barred from implementing regulations on pesticides that are more stringent than state and federal rules under legislation introduced Thursday by 11 U.S. House Republicans, including one from Illinois.   The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to clarify that only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and lead state regulatory agencies can jointly issue policies around pesticide sales, distribution, labeling and application.    Click Here to read more.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos talks Farm Bill and Trade Tariffs. (AUDIO)

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. The Illinois Democrat will serve on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee and discusses the many challenges of resolving differences in the respective proposals including SNAP work requirements, conservation programs and farm support payment limits. Bustos agrees the U.S. should work toward free and fair trade, but disagrees with the Trump administration’s tariff policy. Bustos supports comprehensive immigration reform and is counting on a leadership change in the mid-term elections to bring better policy and a different result.   Click Here to Listen.

Conservation Winner in State Budget

The recently-passed fiscal year 2022 budget featured new and increased support for conservation programs and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   The Illinois House approved the budget 72-44-1 with only Democrats voting in favor. The Senate voted 37-21 in favor of the fiscal year blueprint with all Republicans and three Democrats opposing. It now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.   Highlights - Funding was more than doubled for the cover crop insurance premium discount program from $300,000 to $660,000. The move increases from 50,000 acres the first two years of the program to 100,000 acres. IDOA’s Fall Covers ...

Conservative GOP support for pot legalization could tip scale

The legalization of marijuana in Illinois has begun to take on an air of inevitability — this week’s decision by the Cook County Board to hold a non-binding referendum in March providing just the latest evidence.   But it wasn’t the high-profile decision by our left-leaning county commissioners that convinced me nearly as much as a relatively obscure pronouncement a week earlier by a downstate Republican legislator.   Sen. Jason Barickman, a decidedly conservative lawmaker from Bloomington, announced on Facebook he is willing to support legalized cannabis “if it is done correctly.”   Doing ...

Considerations for Dicamba Application Restrictions

On March 1, 2019 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced it will require Special Local Needs labels (referred to as 24(c) labels) during the 2019 growing season for the four commercial dicamba-containing products labeled for use in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties.  The Special Local Needs labels include five elements, one of which is a June 30 application deadline.  IDOA recognizes the importance of this technology to Illinois soybean growers and is taking this proactive step to reduce the instances of damage to dicot plant species (including sensitive soybean, many specialty crops and native plants such as trees) in order to preserve the ...

Considerations for Dicamba Application Restrictions

On March 1, 2019 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced it will require Special Local Needs labels (referred to as 24(c) labels) during the 2019 growing season for the four commercial dicamba-containing products labeled for use in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties.  The Special Local Needs labels include five elements, one of which is a June 30 application deadline.  IDOA recognizes the importance of this technology to Illinois soybean growers and is taking this proactive step to reduce the instances of damage to dicot plant species (including sensitive soybean, many specialty crops and native plants such as trees) in order to preserve the ...

Consumers Defy Inflation to Support Economy. For How Long?

With prices across the economy — from food, gas and rent to cars, airfares and hotel rooms — soaring at their fastest pace in decades, you might think Americans would tap the brakes on spending.   Not so far. Consumers as a whole are showing surprising resilience, not only sustaining their spending but increasing it even after adjusting for inflation. In April, the government said, retail sales outpaced inflation for a fourth straight month. It was a reassuring sign that consumers — the primary drivers of America’s economy — are still providing vital support and helping allay concerns ...

Continued Consolidation Expected Within China Agchem Industry’s New Structure

Based on China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, optimizing the structure of mergers and acquisitions was the key goal to aggregate industry resources into the top manufacturers, so that the number of manufacturers would be reduced 20% before 2021. In the 14th Five-Year Plan, M&A will contribute to developing an efficient process for the top manufacturers with the lowest waste output. It will also support China’s clear goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.   Syngenta and Adama, On June 18, 2020, Syngenta Group Co. Ltd. announced the official launch of Syngenta Group, a new global leader in agricultural science and ...

Controlled Release Fertilizers: Fertilizer Placement Optimize Nutrient Leaching

Controlled-release fertilizers are a widely used method of delivering nutrients to nursery container crops.  Controlled release is just like it sounds, the fertilizers contain encapsulated solid mineral nutrients that dissolve slowly in water which are released over an extended period of time.   Controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are quite popular, but growers and researchers want ways to decrease fertilizer and irrigation expenses and reduce the impact of nutrient leaching into the environment, so a new study compares CRF placement strategies.   Click Here to read more.  

Convention

Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked.

Last week Popular Science Magazine put out a story about the 10 most commonly asked questions regarding GMO crops.  Popular Science does a great job of debunking many falsehoods about GMO crops.   Click Here to read more.

Corn and Nitrogen As Rains Continue

Some rain has fallen somewhere in Illinois nearly every day for the past 3 weeks, and rainfall totals for this period exceed 7 inches – two to three times normal – over more than half of the state (Figure 1). This has a lot of people wondering if enough nitrogen remains in the soil to supply the corn crops   Daily high temperatures have averaged close to normal over the past three weeks, while night temperatures have been 3 to 4 degrees above normal, so growing degree accumulation rates remain high. Sunshine amounts have been marginal, but growing conditions have been good enough to keep ...

Corn and Soybean Condition Ratings Drift Lower

Hot and dry weather continue to weigh on the U.S. corn and soybean crops.   As of July 3, 7% of the U.S. corn crop is silking, which is slightly below the five-year average of 11%, according to USDA. The crop conditions include.   Click Here to read more.

Corn and soybean crops at mid-season, 2019

The 2019 Illinois corn crop reached 50% planted during the first week of June, more than a month later than the average of the past five years. The soybean crop reached 50% planted a few days later than corn, and more than three weeks later than the average of the past five years. May rainfall was above normal over most of Illinois, and June brought near-normal rainfall over much of the state. Still, the late planting coupled with too much or too little rainfall after planting produced July crop condition ratings of only about 40% good + excellent for both crops, compared to an average ...

Corn and soybean crops at mid-season, 2019

The 2019 Illinois corn crop reached 50% planted during the first week of June, more than a month later than the average of the past five years. The soybean crop reached 50% planted a few days later than corn, and more than three weeks later than the average of the past five years. May rainfall was above normal over most of Illinois, and June brought near-normal rainfall over much of the state. Still, the late planting coupled with too much or too little rainfall after planting produced July crop condition ratings of only about 40% good + excellent for both crops, compared to an average ...

Corn and soybean crops limp towards the finish line

After the worst start to a cropping season in decades, mid-season lack of rain in parts of Illinois, and season-long low crop ratings, it’s time to take a look at what comes next as the 2019 cropping season moves into its final stages.   Corn   To no one’s surprise, various crop tours in recent weeks have confirmed that corn yields in parts of Illinois are likely to be disappointing. If there is a positive, it’s that the crop may look a little better than we thought it would by now after more than half ...

Corn and Soybean Harvest One-Quarter Complete in Illinois

Illinois farmers entered the first week of October with one-quarter of both corn and soybean harvest complete.   The USDA reports as of Sunday 26% of corn is harvested, doubling progress from the previous week, but still behind the five-year average of 39%. 89% of the crop is considered mature with 73% rated good to excellent.   Soybean harvest reached 25%, up from 11% the previous but also behind the average of 33%. 81% of the crop is dropping leaves with 75% rated good to excellent.   Winter wheat planting is also well underway with 29% in the ground ahead of the 16% average with 9% of the crop emerged.   Click ...

Corn and Soybean Planting Progress Hit Average Pace

After a historically slow start, corn and soybean planting progress have both reached average paces.  As of May 29, U.S. corn planting sits at 86% complete, according to USDA. That’s up from 72% planted a week ago and in line with the five-year average of 87% planted by late May.  Corn Planting Progress Now only four states are behind average in terms of corn planting pace.   “Weekend rains hit North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and some of northern Nebraska,” says Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain. “I would venture to say at this point corn ...

Corn Harvest Steps Up in Illinois

Illinois corn harvest was at 6 percent as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 16 percent at this point in the season according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Illinois Crop Progress and Condition Report.   Corn dough reached 96 percent, compared to the five-year average of 99 percent. Corn dented reached 81 percent, compared to the five-year average of 94 percent. Corn mature reached 47 percent, compared to the five-year average of 66 percent.   Click Here to read more.

Corn may become Illinois’ official state grain as bill passes House

A bill that recognizes corn as the official state grain passed the Illinois House Friday.   Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, is sponsoring the bill that he said was inspired by the Pittsfield High School agriculture development class.   “They did a lot of research on the impact that corn has on the state of Illinois,” Davidsmeyer said. “They didn’t want to necessarily compete with soybeans, which are another huge product for the state of Illinois, so they wanted to make corn the state grain.”   Additionally, Davidsmeyer said this was a great opportunity ...

Corn Planting Progress the Slowest Since 2013

As of May 1, USDA estimates 14% of the U.S. corn crop has been planted. That compares to a five-year average of 33% planted. Last year, 42% was planted by May 1.   This year’s planting pace is the slowest since 2013.  Roll over the grey buttons below to get a closer look at each state.   Click Here to read more.

Corn rated 61%, soybeans 63% good to excellent in Illinois

USDA’s crop condition ratings for Illinois corn and soybeans dropped a bit during the first week of July.   After a week of temperatures nearly four degrees above normal and average rainfall for the state, USDA rated corn 61% and soybeans 63% good to excellent, both down from the high sixties the week before.   As of Sunday, 10% of the corn crop is silking, compared to 1% the week before and the five-year average of 28%.   Soybeans blooming reached 22% compared to the average 24% and 1% of the crop has started setting pods.    Click Here to read more.

Corn Rootworms Poised to Stage a Comeback as Bt Resistance Spreads

After several years of low corn rootworm populations, the "billion-dollar bug" is catching eyes again in the Corn Belt.   Populations of both western and northern corn rootworm are rebounding after a mild winter and favorable egg hatch conditions this year, and they're bringing some bad habits along: growing Bt resistance.   Corteva Agriscience recently confirmed their second report of western corn rootworm resistance to Cry34/35Ab1, the Herculex RW trait that is the underpinning of most pyramided rootworm hybrids, this summer. The trait is usually offered in pyramids that cross many brand platforms, with names such ...

Coronavirus afflicts ethics reform

There was some tangible legislative fallout from the coronavirus outbreak last week.   The task force charged with making recommendations for beefing up state ethics laws missed its end of March deadline for delivering its recommendations.   The task force was formed after the spate of federal raids and wire taps of state and local officials last fall. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it was a pressing issue back then and will be again. Does anyone believe the feds are dropping their investigations because people are consumed with the coronavirus now?   Anyway, there are pledges from ...

Corteva Will Stop Making Chlorpyrifos

After this year, Corteva Agriscience will no longer manufacture or sell the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The company says this is in response to demand decline–not public or regulatory concern. Corteva is not the only manufacturer of the insecticide.    Corteva said it secured enough supply to meet current demand through the end of this year, and farmers who bought chlorpyrifos from Corteva in 2020 will receive their orders.    “Demand for one of our long-standing products, chlorpyrifos, has declined significantly over the last two decades, particularly in the U.S.  Due to this reduced demand, Corteva ...

Corteva’s New CEO: Chuck Magro

Earlier in 2021, Jim Collins announced he was going to retire from Corteva at the end of the year, and today, the company announced his successor. Chuck Magro (most recently CEO at Nutrien) will be Corteva’s CEO effective Nov. 1, 2021.   The company says Collins will work with Magro to assure a smooth transition.   In Corteva’s announcement, Greg Page, Independent Chairman of Corteva, said, “Chuck has an extensive, proven track record driving profitable growth through innovation and execution in the agriculture industry. During nearly a decade of strong leadership at Nutrien and its predecessor Agrium, Chuck ...

Costs and benefits need to be assessed in weighing bans on glyphosate and neonicotinoids

The continuing debates over whether the herbicide glyphosate or the insecticide class of neonicotinoids (neonics) could—or should—remain available for farmers and other users has been met with simplistic arguments both pro and con:   Pro ban: These chemicals are dangerous, they may kill bees and other life and shouldn’t be allowed near our food. Anti ban: These chemicals have been widely tested and proved safe, they are absolutely necessary and if removed from the market will force farmers to use more ineffective and dangerous chemicals.   Which answer is more accurate? Neither, because farmers ...

Cotton, soy plantings to rise; corn, wheat to fall, USDA forecasts

U.S. cotton farmers are planning to sow 12.2 million acres this year, up 21 percent from last year, driven by expectations of higher prices in 2017, USDA said today in a report based on a survey of growers. The estimate is also up from the 11.5 million planted acres the department predicted at its annual Outlook Forum in late February.   Projections for most other major crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat, hewed closely to the February estimates.   The estimate for corn plantings, for example, is 90 million acres, the same as predicted in February. That would be down 4 percent, or about 4 million ...

Could CRISPR-Engineered Crops help Solve the World’s Food Crisis?

With the United Nations (UN) projecting that the world population will reach 8.5 billion by the year 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050, an increasingly pressing question is how will we provide enough food for this many people without putting more pressure on our already strained resources and planet? One potential solution being investigated is that of crop plants, which can now be precisely enhanced using advanced technologies like CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) engineering, to be more resilient to pests and climatic stresses, as well produce higher yields.   As early as 2007, Dr Feng Zhang, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the ...

Countdown Begins for Compliance With GMO Food-Labeling Rule

Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.   Under the rule, food makers have four options for indicating GMO ingredients, ranging from saying so on the package to a fingernail-size QR code, so consumers may find it difficult to identify a GMO food. The labels will say bioengineered, rather than the more commonly used GMO, which also might dilute their impact. And disclosure ...

Countdown to Atrazine Decision by EPA Underway

The countdown to a final decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underway that could impact the future use and efficacy of atrazine on corn, grain sorghum and sugarcane acres. The 60-plus year-old product is used on more than 70% of U.S. corn acres to control grass and broadleaf weeds.   EPA is weighing whether to implement its recent decision, announced June 30, to change the current level of concern (LOC) standard for atrazine from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to an LOC of 3.4 parts per billion.   Click Here to read more.

Court Accuses EPA of "Filibustering" on Pesticide Safety

A federal court scolded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for continually delaying a formal response to a request that it restrict a pesticide’s use.   The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA late Monday to either issue a new regulation concerning the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos or issue some other complete, formal response to the request by the end of October, more than eight years after conservation groups first filed the petition.   “Although filibustering may be a venerable tradition in the United States Senate, it is frowned upon in administrative agencies tasked with ...

Court Action Ahead of New WOTUS Rule

Though EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may soon release a new proposed clean water rule, two separate lawsuits in New York are seeking to derail the agencies' move.   Last week EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a House committee the agency is nearing completion of a new rule to replace the 2015 waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.   Attorneys general in 10 states and the District of Columbia are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to issue a summary judgement in a lawsuit they filed on Feb. 6 of this ...

Court Allows EPA Existing Stock Provisions to Remain

On Friday, judges in California with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a petition to halt all use of Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax dicamba herbicides. Instead, it will allow farmers to use existing stocks of the dicamba products under specific rules of EPA’s cancellation order.   EPA’s final cancellation order on the three dicamba formulations provided the following guidance: •Distribution or sale is prohibited unless it’s for product disposal or returns to the registrant (BASF, Corteva or Bayer).   Farmers and commercial applicators can use the existing stocks in their possession ...

Court Approves Decree on Treated Seed

The EPA has until the end of September to decide whether to grant or deny a petition calling for the regulation of pesticide-treated seeds, after a federal court last week approved a consent decree between the agency and the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The consent decree comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by the groups last December.   For years treated seeds were exempted from regulation as a pesticide as part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA. The environmental groups sued because the agency has not ...

Court Asked to Kickstart Lawsuit to Vacate Dicamba Registrations

A group of environmental organizations is asking a federal court to lift a stay and expedite their lawsuit demanding EPA vacate its 2020 dicamba registrations of Engenia, Tavium and XtendiMax.   The group, led by the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity, filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, armed with a new EPA report detailing continued widespread alleged dicamba damage in 2021.   See more on that EPA report, wherein the agency concluded it could not act fast enough to alter 2022 dicamba labels.   Click Here to read more.

Court Asks EPA for Agency's Long-Term Dicamba Plan

Confused about EPA's intentions toward over-the-top dicamba use?   So is the federal judge tasked with deciding its future in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where environmental groups led by the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity have asked the court to vacate the registration of three dicamba herbicides: XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta).   Click Here to read more.

Court Blocks EPA Water Rule. (Video)

A federal court blocked an Environmental Protection Agency rule on Thursday that would give the federal government jurisdiction over ditches, tributaries and other waterways normally under the control of states.   U.S. District Court of North Dakota Chief Judge Ralph Erickson placed a temporary injunction against the agency, which would delay the regulation from taking effect Friday.   "The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely," Erickson said in his decision favoring the 13 states that sued the EPA over its Clean Water Rule, formerly the Waters of the U.S. rule. The rule has ...

Court Blocks Overtime Rule

In a stunning blow to the Obama administration's economic legacy, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday delaying implementation of a regulation that would extend overtime eligibility to an estimated 4.2 million workers.   The ruling puts in serious jeopardy the most significant wage intervention by President Barack Obama, who has been unable to persuade Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour. The Labor Department regulation, previously set to take effect Dec. 1, effectively restored overtime pay to the middle class after decades of erosion had reduced it to a benefit available only to low-wage workers. &...

Court gives EPA firm deadline on chlorpyrifos

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has given the Environmental Protection Agency an additional three months to decide whether to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos.   In a decision issued Friday, Aug. 12, a three-judge panel ordered EPA to make a final decision by March 31, 2017. The court added that it “will not grant any further extensions.” EPA had asked for six more months, and pesticide manufacturers and commodity groups had sought an extra year. Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council said EPA should comply with the Dec. 30 deadline imposed by the court last year. &...

Court Halts Pesticide Ag Worker Rule

A federal court issued a temporary restraining order on Monday barring the EPA from implementing a new rule on pesticide application exclusion zones.   A number of farm worker groups sued EPA on Dec. 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging the new rule, which was finalized in October, weakened protections for farm workers.   Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, told DTN the court granted the restraining order. Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice are co-counsels in the case.   EPA finalized several changes to application exclusion zones when it comes to applying pesticides, ...

Court Orders Chlorpyrifos Use Canceled

EPA has been ordered to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations within 60 days, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled on Thursday the agency was not justified in maintaining the insecticide's registration "in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children."   The EPA denied a petition filed by environmental groups on March 30, 2017, to ban the pesticide outright. The agency said in a statement at the time that farmers need chlorpyrifos and an agency that relies on "sound science" when making decisions.   ...

Court rejects greens’ appeal of EPA decision not to ban pesticide

A federal appeals court rejected a request from environmental groups to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to restrict the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos.   The San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit made its decision on procedural grounds, writing Tuesday that the green groups, led by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), need to first file a challenge with the EPA before they can go to court.   “PANNA’s complaints arrive at our doorstep too soon,” the three-judge panel of the appeals court wrote.   Click Here to read ...

Court rules OSHA must go through rulemaking on PSM change

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration acted illegally when it imposed new safety requirements on fertilizer dealers without giving them a chance to comment, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.   In its decision, the court ruled that OSHA acted outside the bounds of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it redefined “retail facility” exemptions to the Process Safety Management Standard.   OSHA tightened the standard following the West Fertilizer facility explosion in 2013, caused by a fire that detonated between 40 and 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate. The explosion at the plant in West, ...

Court To Decide Who Should Pay For Nitrate Cleanup In Iowa

A water provider escalated its fight against farmers last week, taking the battle over who should shoulder the costs of pollution before the highest court in Iowa, where nitrates from crop fertilizers have pitted the agriculture industry against water suppliers in a protracted water-quality battle.   The case brought by Des Moines Water Works asked the Iowa Supreme Court to decide ”whether agriculture drainage districts have immunity from lawsuits and whether the water utility can seek monetary damages,” the Associated Press reported. “Water Works says it spent $1.5 million last year alone to remove nitrate from water to ...

Court Tosses Trump Rule Limiting Emissions Regulations

A panel of federal appeals judges Washington, D.C., on Monday nixed a Trump administration rule that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries.   The rule, finalized just before President Trump left office, only allows greenhouse gas limits on power plants, exempting activities like such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing.   The regulation says that only sectors whose pollution makes up more than 3 percent of the country’s  greenhouse gas emissions are “considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution.” &...

Court Upholds Trump Water Rule

The U.S. District Court of South Carolina last week dismissed a challenge to the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which in 2020 replaced the Obama administration’s controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule known by the acronym WOTUS.   The Biden administration announced its intentions to revise the definition of waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act on June 9, with the Department of Justice filing a motion requesting remand of the Trump rule.   Led by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the environmental groups asked the court to vacate the Navigable ...

Cover Crops, Conservation Continue to Gain Steam

Warmer weather is finally here and many farmers begin to get their planter ready to kick off another growing season. While there may be a visible flurry of activity on the farm, our waterways and streams are silently busy accommodating extra rainfall that typically falls during the season. The additional waterflow is carrying soil nutrients.   Dr. Laura Gentry, Director of Water Quality Research, Clay Bess, Precision Conservation Management (PCM) Operation Manager, and Brent Weathers, Farmer in Vermillion County recently led a panelist discussion about their experience growing cover crops and managing other conservation practices.   The panelists answered questions ...

Covid Aid Bill Provides Ag Funding for Sectors Left Out of CFAP

The coronavirus aid package approved by Congress overnight Monday provides $13 billion in ag funding, much of it destined for sectors left out of previous aid packages.   The bill gives the USDA Secretary the authority to make payments to livestock producers who had to depopulate their herds due to limited processing plant capacity because of COVID-19 outbreaks. It also provides for assistance long sought by biofuel producers.   “Today’s passage of this landmark legislation is great news for America’s ethanol producers, who have struggled through the most difficult and trying year in the industry’...

COVID Vaccine Mandate Reinstated By 6th Circuit Court

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned a stay on the Biden administration’s OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) which mandates employers enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.   The court’s action (a 2 to 1 judges panel decision) allows the mandate to continue.   OSHA released this statement: “OSHA is gratified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating ...

COVID-19 is killing ethanol

At planting time, most farmers would have all their ducks in a row, so to speak.   The right amount of seed corn and seed beans; the right type of fertilizer on the right fields; and the right crop protection chemicals in the right place at the right time.   But this year may be different for some.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture surveyed farmers March 1 and found there were plans for almost 97 million acres of corn. The ratio of profitability between corn and soybeans was about even, which gave the nod to corn.   That was March 1. ...

COVID-19: How Ag Retailers Are Stepping Up to Help Customers, Employees Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Unprecedented. Unpredictable. Uncharted territory. Fluid situation. Those are just some of the terms being used to describe the coronavirus and its impact on the current state of the world. Closer to home, U.S. ag retailers are trying to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, while simultaneously ramping up operations ahead of #plant20.   “Unlike many businesses, it’s simply not an option to shutdown agriculture,” said Tennessee Farmers Cooperative CEO Bart Krisle in a message to customers on March 19. “Farmers have animals to feed and crops to plant, and these activities require a reliable source of ...

COVID-19’s Lasting Effect on Ag Retail: Online Ordering

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way ag retailers are doing business in 2020. But what will be the lasting effects of virtual sales, no on-farm visits and less face-to-face interaction?   If you look to the consumer market, you may say there will be an uptick in e-commerce, as many more Americans are ordering necessities online.   So, is ag retail different? Yes and no.   Yes, ag retail has seen an increase in farmers buying inputs online. In 2018, Farm Journal conducted its first Crop Input Purchase Behavior Study, which found 8% of respondents currently bought some of their crop inputs ...

Crime and Budget are Top of Mind for Illinois Lawmakers as Session Wraps Up Friday

With their condensed election-year session set to wrap up Friday, Illinois lawmakers are eager to leave Springfield for the campaign trail. But they’ll first have to address concerns about crime and agree on a budget that boasts a rare projected surplus, both issues expected to play a significant role at the polls in November.   Democrats looking to maintain control of state government in November had hoped for a quick and uneventful spring session. They saw an abundance of revenue as a way to ease the usual budget crunch and help prevent any drama in a year when ...

Crispr Can Speed Up Nature—and Change How We Grow Food

Like any self-respecting farmer, Zachary Lippman was grumbling about the weather. Stout, with close-cropped hair and beard, Lippman was standing in a greenhouse in the middle of Long Island, surrounded by a profusion of rambunctiously bushy plants. “Don’t get me started,” he said, referring to the late and inclement spring. It was a Tuesday in mid-April, but a chance of snow had been in the forecast, and a chilly wind blew across the island. Not the sort of weather that conjures thoughts of summer tomatoes. But Lippman was thinking ahead to sometime around Memorial Day, when ...

CRISPR Enables One-Step Hybrid Seed Production in Crops

Crop hybrid technologies have contributed to the significant yield improvement worldwide in the past decades. However, designing and maintaining a hybrid production line has always been complex and laborious. Now, researchers in China have developed a new system combining CRISPR-mediated genome editing with other approaches that could produce better seeds compared with conventional hybrid methods and shorten the production timeline by 5 to 10 years. The study appears July 8 in the journal Molecular Plant.   Hybrids are preferred over purebreds in crop production. Crossing two genetically distant plant varieties often gives rise to progeny with superior traits compared with the parents. The ...

CRISPR Gene Edited Foods Are Being Embraced Globally.

With the dual challenges of climate change and a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, it can be argued that an honest, science-based presentation of the pros and cons of biotechnology as a key tool in protecting food security is not just advisable but essential. But given the sound and fury of ethically charged debate surrounding the subject, is it possible?   Enter, stage left, gene editing – the genomic technique that has recharged the debate for a new generation.   Click Here to read more.

CRISPR gene editing could boost crop yields and nutrition, but public acceptance remains wild card

The process of producing better food, protecting the environment and improving animal health is advancing at a seemingly breakneck pace.   These advancements are driven in part by new scientific discoveries, genetic research, data science, enhanced computational power and the availability of new systems for precision breeding like CRISPR....   The science is moving so rapidly that some are wondering if producers, consumers and regulators will ultimately be able to understand and embrace the changes.   Click Here to read more.

CRISPR is Coming to Our Plates

A new technique is sneaking in our lives, potentially changing the foods we eat every day. From growing resilient crops, to boosting flavor to tackling allergens like gluten, gene-edited food brings to the table a new opportunity to improve health and pleasure, as well as fight climate change. And, most importantly, many scientists say they’re working only with nature’s own tools. Given the impressive change this could potentially bring to our farms, supermarkets and tables, let’s explore how gene-editing could change the world, and the challenging questions we should be asking.    On ...

CRISPR Targets Sustainable Agriculture

Although CRISPR has been slower to realize agricultural applications than biotechnology and biomedical applications, it is ready to help us cope with an array of agricultural challenges that includes an expanding population, a rapidly warming climate, and a shrinking supply of arable land.   CRISPR-Cas9 technologies can help product developers accomplish tasks that would severely test or simply exceed the capabilities of traditional plant breeding technologies. For example, CRISPR-Cas9 technologies excel when product developers need to enhance genetic variability.   “It’s all about genetic variability,” affirms Sam Eathington, PhD, the chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, ...

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Broad access to these technologies is changing the world of research in ways that we can’t even begin to grasp.   Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The average consumer is overwhelmed by all the words and symbols.   It’s about to get worse, because the National Organic Standards Board, the group responsible for the ...

CRISPR's Future In Food Depends On Consumers

“This is a critical year for CRISPR,” says Rodolphe Barrangou, a “CRISPR pioneer” and one of the scientists who first identified the bacteria in yogurt as a researcher for Danisco in 2007. He now leads the CRISPR lab at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “We know it works. We know it’s real.” Now, says Barrangou, the technology’s success depends on whether consumers will accept it.   CRISPR stands for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat,” a set of repeating DNA segments found in bacteria. These bacteria contain a ...

Cronus Exec: Commitment to Build Tuscola Plant 'Has Never Been Stronger'

Cronus Chemicals President and CEO Erzin Atac has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to build a long-awaited nitrogen fertilizer plant just west of Tuscola.   “Our commitment and conviction to build this plant has never been stronger, and we expect to bring this project across the finish line within the next 12 months,” Atac said in a May 22 letter to Urbana and Champaign Sanitary District Executive Director Rick Manner.   Click Here to read more.

Cronus Fertilizers Announces New Shareholder to Advance Tuscola, Illinois Project

Cronus Fertilizers announced today that Titan Chemicals Holding, an entity controlled by Keyman-Avunduk Investment Company AG (KAIC) has become the majority shareholder for its Tuscola, Illinois Ammonia project.   KAIC brings additional financial backing and industry experience to advance the planned facility. Upon completion, the Tuscola facility will be one of the largest of its kind in the United States.   Melih Keyman is the president, CEO and founder of KEYTRADE AG, founder of KAIC and a veteran of the fertilizer industry. Keyman also serves on the board of The Fertilizer Institute, is an Ambassador of the International Fertilizer Association ...

Cronus Fertilizers Expands Partnership and Extends EPC Contract with Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions for Tuscola, Illinois, Ammonia Project

Cronus Fertilizers announced important changes to its partnership with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) that will enhance the success of Cronus’ proposed Tuscola, Illinois, fertilizer plant. Cronus has extended its fixed price, lump-sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) through June 30, 2021, and is finalizing an additional operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement with tkIS. Under the terms of the O&M agreement, tkIS will be involved in operating and maintaining the plant once it begins production. Furthermore, tkIS will become a minority shareholder in Cronus Fertilizers LLC.   These agreements strengthen the ...

Cronus Fertilizers Sign EPC Contract with Maire Tecnimont for Illinois Fertilizer Plant

Cronus Fertilizers announced today that it has executed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Tecnimont - Illinois, a subsidiary of Tecnimont S.p.A., for the Cronus Fertilizers plant in Tuscola, Illinois. The Lump Sum Turnkey (LSTK) EPC contract is valued at approximately $1.5 billion and is pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Cronus and Tecnimont S.p.A. (Italy) in Nomember 2014. Tecnimont S.p.A is the main subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2015 following financial closing and will be completed in approximately three years.  ...

Crop Bulletin Update

Dr. Emerson Nafziger recently posted a new Bulletin titled "Fertilizer Decisions, Fall 2021”.  This written article details the current state of fertilizer prices, the effect this has on the MRTN rate, as well as soil temperatures ahead of the fall anhydrous ammonia season.  The UI Bulletin can be viewed by clicking here or downloaded from the IFCA homepage at www.ifca.com.    Also mark down on your calendar October 26th, 8:00 am, where Dr. Nafziger will be presenting a webinar on everything nitrogen, including an explanation of the new protocol for implementing nitrogen rate trials.  ...

Crop Bulletins

The unforgiving rain events Illinois has experienced this spring has made for a stressful and uncertain season.  Dr. Nafziger recently produced two Crop Central Bulletin articles that address the different variables affecting farmers and retailers who are managing the current crop.  Some of the topics covered include current crop conditions, root growth, nitrogen, other nutrients, and fungicides.  Please click the links below to read the articles:   Wet Soils and Corn   Managing Crops after a Lot of Mid-Season Rain

Crop Central: Residual Soybean Herbicides Applied Postemergence

Click here to read a quick update from Dr. Hager on management of soil-residual herbicides when applied with postemergence herbicides.

Crop Protection Products: Living in the Era of Review Review

The longstanding process seems straightforward – experts look at the available evidence, make their rulings, and certify that things can proceed forward in a orderly fashion. For several years, this has been the way crop protection review processes have tended to work.   But this is no longer the case.   Recently, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, CA, ruled the EPA lacked the evidence in its 2020 review to conclude that glyphosate does not cause cancer. The court ordered the agency to take a new look at the risks to humans. The three-judge panel also ...

Crop Report: Conditions Good, Profits in Question

This summer’s warm and wet weather has been good for crops and bad for crop prices.   “Things are about as bleak as they’ve been in terms of any kind of profitability in several years,” said Gary Luth, who farms near Allerton. “The crop looks good, but there’s not going to be much money in it.”   Soybean prices are below $9 a bushel and corn is in the low $3 range, down from more than $13 and more than $7 in the early 2010s, respectively.   “The higher the (harvest) prediction, the ...

Crop Tour: Inconsistency Plagues Illinois Crops

Scouts on the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour made their way through Illinois today. Brian Grete, leader of the eastern leg and Pro Farmer editor, says the crops he sampled were “definitely subpar.”   “Normally you roll through there and you see consistency and 200+ bu. yields,” he told U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan. “There’s some out there but not enough to tip the scale.”   Grete says variability will be to blame for Illinois yield woes.   “There’s too much variability in the ...

CropLife America Applauds EPA's Glyphosate Findings

In a memorandum released in June, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) found that the herbicide glyphosate, found in Roundup, posed no risk to the human endocrine system.    Glyphosate was developed to target broadleaf annual weeds that compete with commercial crops. It is also commonly used by home gardeners and in industrial areas or along railway lines as a form of weed control.   “The EPA’s rigorous testing and science-based regulations ensure that growers have access to increasingly precise crop protection products, including glyphosate-based herbicides,” said Janet E. Collins, ...

CropLife America Strongly Opposing Booker Pesticide Bill

The CEO of CropLife America says a recent bill introduced by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey regarding pesticide regulation is a blow to the ag industry.   The “Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act” would make changes to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) including a ban on pesticides deemed unsafe in the EU and Canada like organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife Magazine Talks with Allen Summers about NAEHSS Saftery School and 2018 MAGIE Show

CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj and special guest Allen Summers discuss The Asmark Institute and the upcoming Safety School at 2018 MAGIE Show.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife Magazine Unveils 2021 Ranking of Top 100 U.S. Ag Retailers

Companies included in the 2021 ranking were limited to independent dealerships and cooperatives offering four main product categories: fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, and custom application services. Figures do not include a host of services, such as data management, consulting/scouting, or grain elevator revenue.   Now in its 38th year, the CropLife 100 helps provide some insights into how those retailers with annual sales ranging from “several million dollars to multiple billion dollars” have done over the past growing season. Overall, CropLife 100 dealerships and cooperatives recorded just over $35 billion in revenue during the year, up more than $3 billion from ...

CropLife Magazine Unveils Annual Ranking of Top 100 U.S. Ag Retailers

CropLife magazine has published its annual CropLife 100, a listing of the largest U.S. ag retailers ranked.   Companies included in the 2019 ranking were limited to independent dealerships and cooperatives offering fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, and custom application services.   Overall, the nation’s top ag retailers saw their revenues in 2019 increase an impressive 6%, increasing from $30.5 billion in 2018 to $32.3 billion. “Considering the kind of year 2019 turned out to be for all of agriculture — and the fact that the revenues for CropLife 100 ag retailers have averaged around 2% annual growth the past few years — this was indeed ...

CropLife Recaps the 2021 MAGIE Show

CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj provides an on-the-scene recap of from the 2021 MAGIE Show in Bloomington, IL.    Click Here to read more.

CropLife Retail Week: Reports from Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Convention and Trade Show

Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj give a shout-out to birthday boy Dick Meister and review their times at the North Dakota Precision Ag Summit and the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association annual meeting.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife Retail Week: Special Guest KJ Johnson from IFCA

Eric Sfiligoj talks with the IFCA President about the upcoming MAGIE show, a new award program, and Fun with Numbers!   Click Here to watch the video.

CropLife.com: Top 10 Stories from the First Half of 2022

Many of the top stories in 2021 were still tied to the pandemic in some form or another. And while experts are now saying coronavirus will “probably” be more like the seasonal flu going forward, it fortunately has had minimal impact on U.S. agriculture so far in 2022. The COVID hangover seems to be subsiding, thankfully.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife.com: Top 20 Stories from 2020

When it comes to 2020’s top stories in U.S. ag retail (and in any industry, for that matter), it’s hard to imagine the pandemic not dominating the headlines. In fact, it’s difficult to even recall what was happening in agriculture before mid-March, when the coronavirus changed how we live our daily lives and began consuming us to no end.   For most of us in agriculture (and the rest of the world), 2020 didn’t end soon enough. If the pandemic wasn’t enough, our industry also faced the usual suspects this year, ...

Crops are in – but they need some heat

An agronomist says planting progress in the western part of Illinois is the opposite of what it usually is this time of year.   Brent Titus is with UPL.  “Northwestern Illinois is nearly 100 percent planted,” he says.  “We get around the Quad Cities and their halo almost everything is in.  But as we move south, the weather has caused guys to not be able to go as much.  We think about starting (to plant) and we think about starting in southwest Illinois and moving north and this year is just the opposite of ...

Cullerton to Rauner: Take the deal, save the state before it’s too late

As you read this, it’s May 15, which leaves 16 days until the General Assembly’s constitutional deadline for action.   Illinois hasn’t had a comprehensive budget in two years. It hasn’t spent or invested a penny in higher education since Dec. 31. It no longer funds Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and other charitable organizations that, on behalf of the state, assist the disabled, elderly and downtrodden.   This has gone on too long. It’s time for action.   The calendar continues to count down, even though people routinely are told the governor ...

Cupped Soybeans and Dicamba: Scientists Dispel Common Myths

Cupped soybean fields are surfacing across the South and Midwest again this summer, and with them, a new crop of rumored causes.   Once again, however, the simplest explanation for those puckered up soybeans remains off-target dicamba applications, agronomists and weed scientists told DTN. Tens of millions of acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans are currently growing alongside non-dicamba-tolerant beans, and dicamba use in corn is on the rise in the fight against herbicide-tolerant weeds.   "I've heard about every possible alternative answer for cupped soybeans besides dicamba," said Iowa State University field agronomist Meaghan Anderson, with a touch ...

Curbing Fertilizer Runoff a Challenge

While many farmers employ what are thought to be best practices keep fertilizers from running off their fields and feeding huge algae blooms in lakes including Erie, scientists are working on novel ways to curb the problem.   New ideas include spreading gypsum to better hold phosphorus in fields and creating farm-area flood plains with plants that gobble up the fertilizer before they reach waterways.   Click Here to read more.

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP Minority

Senate Minority Leader-elect John Curran will take over a caucus that’s more than doubled in size by the majority-party Democrats.   His goal: “Bring balance to state government.”  “Because we're going to produce better results with that balance for working families throughout all Illinois communities,” Curran said in an interview with Capitol News Illinois on Wednesday, one day after being chosen as the GOP’s next minority leader.   Click Here to read more.

Cutting Through the Bee Buzz: Pollinator Numbers are Up. / Commentary

Last week Cong. Tom Rooney of Florida and Cong. David Valadao from California wrote a commentary article in Roll Call Newspaper on pollinator numbers in the U.S. and what activists groups are trying to do about it in Washington DC. They go on and talk about the pollinator numbers across the U.S. and why activists want to ban some pesticides first and ask questions later.   Click Here to read more.

CVR Parters to Buy Rentech Nitrogen for $533 Million

Nitrogen fertilizer producer CVR Partners LP said it would buy Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP for about $533 million, excluding debt, as global fertilizer makers aim to scale up at a time when increased supplies weigh on nitrogen prices.   The deal comes less than a week after CF Industries Holdings Inc said it would buy OCI NV's North American and European plants for $6 billion, making CF the world's largest publicly traded nitrogen company.   Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world's second-largest potash miner, has been proposing to acquire German salt and fertilizer company K+S AG.   Click ...

Cybersecurity Awareness

As you’re aware, cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important issue, including within the agriculture sector.  Below are two resources from our friends at American Seed Trade Association to help in your cybersecurity planning: On April 26, InfraGard is hosting an online course that will outline the threat actors, their tactics, exfiltration methods, and best practices on how to protect against IP theft. Also covered will be espionage 101, the human intelligence (HUMINT) cycle as well as best practices while travelling for business. For more information and to register, visit: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/449014582098793227 Additionally, in this time of ...

D.C. Decisions Effecting Ag Retailers In A Big Way

Richard Gupton, senior vice president of public policy and counsel at the Agricultural Retailers Association, says there are a lot of irons in the fire when it comes to monitoring federal regulations and federal court action on products ag retailers and farmers rely on.   “The NGOs know their best friend is the federal courts, depending on where they're located in the country. That strategy will not dissipate. The industry needs to be prepared,” Gupton shares on the latest The Scoop podcast.   Click Here to read more.

Damages Not Allowed in Iowa Runoff Case

Des Moines Water Works will not be allowed to collect damages in a lawsuit aimed at forcing the state to regulate nutrients runoff in Iowa, according to a 104-page ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court on Friday.   DMWW filed a federal lawsuit in January 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Sioux City against drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties. The counties northwest of Des Moines are part of the Raccoon River watershed. The lawsuit also names county supervisors.   One of the legal questions raised was whether DMWW could ...

Darren Soto, Mike Bost Team Up on Soil Quality Bill

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to allow more experts, including Certified Crop Advisors and Certified Agronomists, to act as Technical Service Providers for nutrient management.   Bost and Soto introduced the “Nutrient Management Technical Service Provider Certification Act” which gives more options for agriculture producers to access nutrient management technical assistance on Thursday.   “Our bipartisan bill cuts red tape and gives our farmers more resources to improve soil quality,” Bost said. “The Department of Agriculture has said that it lacks the manpower to ...

Davis, Londrigan spar on agriculture, trade at Decatur debate

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and his Democratic challenger, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, trod new turf in their third debate Monday night at Millikin University, setting themselves apart not only on health care and tax reform but also on trade issues.   It was only appropriate that trade and soybean tariffs would be a major topic since Decatur once called itself "The Soybean Capital of the World" and is the home of Archer Daniels Midland Co., an international food-processing company.   About 250 people attended the debate, which had to be closed after the venue reached capacity.   Davis, ...

Dead zone in Chesapeake Bay is the smallest in years

There’s another sign that the health of the Chesapeake Bay is improving.   This year’s dead zone in the Maryland portion of the Bay was the second smallest since the state began monitoring it in 1985, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.   The only time it was smaller was in 2012.   And on Virginia side, The Virginia Institute of Marine Science said the dead zone was the smallest it has been in five years.   Click Here to read more.

Dead Zones Spread Along Oregon Coast and Gulf of Mexico, Study Shows

Scientists recently surveyed the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico around Louisiana and Texas and what they discovered was a larger-than-average area of oxygen-depleted water – a “dead zone” where nothing can live.   National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists announced their findings this week: about 4m acres of habitat in the Gulf are unusable for fish and bottom-dwelling species. The researchers had estimated a smaller dead zone this year, predicting an average-sized area.   “The distribution of the low dissolved oxygen was unusual this summer,” Nancy Rabalais, the professor at Louisiana State University who ...

Death Tax Repeal Bills Introduced in Congress

On Tuesday, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021 was reintroduced (S. 617 & H.R. 1712) by Congressmen Smith (R-MO) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) in the House and Senate Minority Whip Thune in the Senate.   While it’s not expected that a repeal will pass under the Biden administration, opponents of the “Death Tax” will be fighting against Democrats’ increased efforts to reform the tax.  Last Congress, Senate Democrats proposed rolling back the doubled exemption to partly pay for their infrastructure package. With another reconciliation bill likely this year, opponents are on high alert for any ...

December 7th 4R Meeting

On December 7th, IFCA is co-hosting a 4R meeting focused on the lake Springfield watershed.  The meeting, Water Quality and Economics of Conservation Practices, will cover the status of the lake and as well as economics involved when implementing different conservation practices. Thanks to our sponsors, there is no charge to attend this event at the Prairie View Reception Center in Chatham, IL beginning at 6:00 pm. We are offering 1.5 CEUs with dinner included as well. To see the agenda, click here. To register for this event just send an email to michelle.seman@il.nacdnet.net or jason@ifca....

December 8th 4R Meeting

Next Wednesday, December 8th, IFCA is co-hosting a 4R meeting focused on the lake Springfield watershed.  The meeting, Water Quality and Economics of Conservation Practices, will cover the status of the lake, some of the latest agronomy research affecting phosphorus levels, as well as economics involved when implementing different conservation practices. Thanks to our sponsors, there is no charge to attend this event at the Prairie View Reception Center in Chatham, IL beginning at 4:00 pm. We are offering 2.5 CEUs and dinner is included.  To see the agenda click here.  Lunch is included.  To register for ...

Decision Time for Dicamba

There is no easy button for dicamba applications.   Not only was training made mandatory for use of new dicamba formulations in 2018, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also severely tightened spray requirements in an attempt to avoid the off-target movement experienced last spray season.   While controversy has swirled around whether these label requirements are adequate, or even logistically possible, some fundamental facts exist:   Farmers will have access to in-season use of dicamba in soybeans and cotton. Some states have set specific calendar and/or temperature cutoffs.   Click here to read more.

Deere, UAW Agree on New 6-Year Contract Subject to Union Vote

U.S. tractor maker Deere & Co agreed on a new six-year contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union that would be subject to a vote by the company's striking workers, the company said in a statement on Saturday.   The new deal on wages and employee benefits covers about 10,100 employees across 12 facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.   "The negotiators focused on improving the areas of concern identified by our members during our last ratification process," said Chuck Browning, UAW Vice President and Director of the Agricultural Implement Department.   Click Here to read more.

Delays at proposed Tuscola fertilizer plant put tax breaks at risk

Cronus Chemicals will start losing part of its nearly $40 million in state tax incentives if its proposed $1.9 billion ammonia fertilizer plant in Tuscola is not operating by July 2, according to tax credit agreements.   A review of company filings with the state of Illinois shows the project must be “in service” within 24 months of July 2, 2015.  According to the documents, “in service” means “the state or condition of readiness and availability for specifically assigned functions.”   And if the plant is not complete and operating within five years of July 2, 2015, the company will lose ...

Dem lawmakers: Graduated income tax needed to avoid big cuts

Democratic lawmakers said Thursday the only alternatives to a graduated income tax the state has are to make cuts across the board, including to schools and social services, or raise the income tax by 20 percent on everyone.   Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said over the next several weeks, lawmakers will begin moving a resolution through the House and Senate to put a referendum on the ballot in 2020 so voters can choose whether to change the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax.   “I am confident as I was two years ago and four ...

Democratic AGs push back on EPA plan to limit review of pesticide impacts on endangered species

Eleven state attorneys general are pushing back against an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal they say would weaken the process for determining whether pesticides are harmful to endangered species.   The comments submitted by the Democratic attorneys general come the same week as a new rule from the Department of the Interior that would dramatically roll back the Endangered Species Act (ESA).    In their comments submitted Thursday, the attorneys general warn that the EPA’s proposal runs counter to the agency’s policy of “institutionalized caution" and circumvents consultation with other agencies charged with ...

Democratic Lawmakers Call On Biden Administration to Halt Plan to Cut Biofuel Blending Volumes

As the ethanol industry awaits the release of renewable volume obligations for 2021 and 2022 and a possible change to 2020 volumes, a Democratic group of lawmakers is pressing on the Biden administration to not make cuts to the RFS.   Since July reports surfaced the Biden administration was first delaying the release of already-late volumes, followed by news there may be cuts to the RFS for 2021 and 2022 and retroactive drawbacks on 2020 volumes.   On Tuesday, Democratic members of Congress called on the Biden administration to increase RFS volumes, in a letter Biden and Gina McCarthy, White House national climate advisor.   Click ...

Democratic plan could block Trump’s tariff-aid payments to farmers

House Democrats are weighing a short-term spending plan that could temporarily freeze the Trump administration’s trade relief payments to farmers. The House Appropriations Committee is circulating among members a draft continuing resolution that leaves out language requested by the White House to ensure that the Agriculture Department can continue distributing checks to farmers and ranchers burned by President Donald Trump’s trade war. “The American people deserve a robust debate on the costs of the Trump trade war,” committee spokesperson Evan Hollander confirmed in an email. “The clean CR that House Democrats have circulated ...

Democrats Propose New Maps for Illinois House, Senate as GOP Blasts Data, Lack of Details

Democrats who control the Illinois House and Senate posted maps online Friday night showing proposed boundaries for new state legislative districts as part of a process required by the state constitution at least every 10 years.   The proposed maps “comply with federal and state law and ensure the broad racial and geographic diversity of Illinois is reflected in the General Assembly,”  Democrats said in a news release emailed at about 7:30 p.m.   "Redistricting is about making sure all voices are heard, and that’s exactly what this map accomplishes," State Sen. Omar Aquino, ...

Democrats Reintroduce Measure to Address Racial Disparities in Environmental Impacts

Senate Democrats and their counterparts in the House on Thursday reintroduced legislation that aims to address the disparate impact environmental harm and pollution has on people of color and low-income Americans.   The Environmental Justice for All Act would authorize regulatory agencies to consider cumulative impacts in Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act decisions.   The measure would also require increased community input in agencies’ environmental decisionmaking and amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act, allowing private citizens and organizations to sue over alleged discrimination in environmental programs.   Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the Senate version of the bill, ...

Democrats Release $3.5 Trillion Budget Blueprint as Senate Prepares to Finish Infrastructure Debate

Senate Democrats released a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget blueprint on Monday that proposes to expand Medicare, boost federal child care and education programs, and invest new sums to combat climate change, as party lawmakers prepare to take the next step toward advancing central elements of President Biden’s economic agenda.   Democrats view the wide array of proposed spending as historic, and they hope to rely on their narrow but potent majorities in Congress to grow government to a level not seen in decades. The measure also proposes universal pre-kindergarten, reform of federal immigration laws and fresh efforts to lower ...

Democrats start moving stopgap state budget despite clear hurdles

Illinois House Democrats on Wednesday advanced a plan to rush more than $815 million to state universities and social service providers, but that money might not arrive anytime soon because Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized the proposal and Senate Democrats still are working on their own plan.   Despite the political hurdles, supporters said they wanted to press ahead, contending that colleges and groups who care for the state's most vulnerable people are in desperate need of a "lifeline." A previous stopgap state budget expired at the beginning of the year as Illinois gets closer to going two years ...

Democrats Talk Climate, Ag

In an evening-long event on climate policies, Democratic candidates said farmers and agriculture can be a solution to climate change, but criticized large scale agriculture and food production at the same time.   On Wednesday, CNN hosted a marathon town hall with pre-selected questioners asking 10 Democratic presidential candidates about climate change. Hurricane Dorian provided a backdrop for the town hall with updates on the storm hitting Florida.   Until the event, climate had only been a small slice of questions at Democratic debates. The Democratic National Committee rejected requests for a debate centered around the topic, so CNN gave each ...

Democrats to duke it out for top climate candidate title

Ten Democratic presidential contenders will make the case for their respective climate agendas Wednesday when they compete for the title of top environmental candidate.   The seven-hour forum on CNN, with each participant speaking separately, will offer White House hopefuls the chance to emerge as the leading supporter of environmental defense and climate action in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s withdrawal from the 2020 race. The Democratic governor’s platform was almost exclusively centered on combating climate change.   “There is definitely now an opening with Inslee not in the race anymore for someone to ...

Democrats weigh 2018 challenge to Rauner; GOP on the attack

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner sent two clear signals when he dumped $50 million into his campaign fund: The 2018 race for Illinois governor will be a rough one, and the contest starts now.   What's still unknown is which Democrats will try to unseat the multimillionaire former businessman. Among those contemplating a bid are U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, businessman Chris Kennedy, state Sen. Andy Manar and billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker, according to potential candidates and aides.   In a glimpse of what's to come, the Democratic Governors Association said Rauner is "more focused on getting elected than passing ...

Dems block committee vote on EPA nominee Pruitt

Democrats slowed down the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator by boycotting a scheduled vote by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   Committee Democrats said Pruitt had not fully answered their questions about potential conflicts of interest and his plans to recuse himself from participation in lawsuits he brought against EPA while Oklahoma attorney general.   Committee rules require a quorum of seven members, including two members of the minority, to be present in order to hold a vote. But they also include an exception allowing measures to be reported to the Senate if  “...

Dems Give Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill a Second Try

Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut along with Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., held a press conference today to reintroduce a mandatory GMO labeling bill that will face stiff opposition in a Congress controlled by Republicans. Boxer said the more than 30 other Democrats in the House and Senate who are sponsoring the legislation are up to the challenge. “A lot of things don't have a chance around this joint, but that doesn't mean we're not going to push it,” Boxer said. “Ninety percent of the people want this ...

Denied access to neonicotinoid insecticides, UK farmers scramble to control deadly plant virus

Controlling the spread of plant viruses has just got harder with the demise of neonicotinoid seed treatments putting the emphasis back on pyrethroids for vector control. Oilseed rape growers have been denied neonics for a while, but until this season sugar beet and cereal growers have been able to benefit from the protection they offered.   [In fall 2019] the importance of [Barley yellow dwarf virus] BYDV rises up the agenda and researchers have been looking at ways to mitigate the risk the disease poses to cereal crops.   Prof John Holland, head of farmland ecology at the Game and Wildlife ...

Des Moine Water Works shifts how it disposes of excess nitrates

Darrell Shook is not the first to ask what Des Moines Water Works does with the nitrates it filters from drinking water.   “I've heard that they put the nitrates back in the river at the allowable rate. If this is true, are they not causing a problem for water users downstream?” the retired farmer writes. “If this is not true, I think your readers would be interested in knowing what is done with the removed nitrates.”   When it comes to water quality, answers can get muddy fast. So let’s review some ...

Des Moines council supports bill dismantling water utilities

The Des Moines City Council voted to continue its support of controversial legislation that would dismantle Des Moines Water Works Monday night despite a room full of angry citizens who spoke against it.   The vote was four against, two in favor and one abstaining on Councilman Skip Moore's motion that the city oppose bills in the Statehouse that would place water utilities and its assets under the control of local city councils. Both bills have passed Iowa House and Senate committees and are eligible for floor debate.   The City of Des Moines directed its lobbyists to register ...

Des Moines Faces Extreme Measures to Find Clean Water

In the dim light just after dawn, Bill Blubaugh parks his Des Moines Water Works pickup truck, grabs a dipper and a couple plastic bottles and walks down a boat ramp to the Raccoon River, where he scoops up samples from a waterway that cuts through some of the nation’s most intensely farmed land.   Each day the utility analyzes what’s in those samples and others from the nearby Des Moines River as it works to deliver drinking water to more than 500,000 people in Iowa’s capital city and its suburbs.   “Some mornings ...

Des Moines Water Works plans $15 million for expanded nitrate facility

Des Moines Water Works expects to spend $15 million to double the size of its nitrate removal facility to handle growing levels of the compound from the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers.   Utility officials say the new equipment and the cost to operate it will mean bigger rate increases for customers in coming years.   The Water Works board this week approved an $800,000 contract with CH2M, an engineering consultant based in West Des Moines, to design the facility expansion.   The utility's growth plan follow its failed lawsuit against three northern Iowa counties. Water Works sued 10 northern Iowa ...

Despite federal, state efforts, dicamba complaints continue

For the third straight year, a volatile pesticide is damaging crops across the Midwest and South, despite federal and state efforts to lessen the drift.   Since 2017, farmers have sprayed an increasing amount of the weedkiller, called dicamba, on soybean and cotton crops genetically engineered by agribusiness company Monsanto to withstand being sprayed by the herbicide.   But each year, dicamba has drifted off-target and damaged millions of acres of nonresistant soybeans and other plants.   In fact, farmers in Illinois, the nation’s leading soybean-producing state, have reported record levels of crop damage caused by pesticide drift in 2019, ...

Despite less farming this season, bad algae blooms expected on Lake Erie

Researchers who monitor algae blooms on Lake Erie face an interesting scenario this year.   Normally, farmers in the western basin have thousands of acres of corn and soybeans planted by now. Because of excessive rains from last fall through early summer, that’s not the case this year, so the farmers likely didn’t fertilize their fields as much.   Some fertilizer, which contains phosphorus, eventually runs off into tributaries that feed the lake, sometimes causing harmful algae blooms. On a scale of 1 to 10, the bloom severity is expected to hit 7.5 this year. As of last week, ...

Despite the US-China trade agreement, key details are unclear

After the U.S. and China announced the “phase-one” trade agreement, a critical point remains in question: agricultural purchases.   Bilateral trade is a significant part of the dispute between the world’s two largest economies, especially after both sides decided to break the negotiations into phases, rather than tackling a slew of American concerns, which range from the trade deficit in goods to state control in the economy.   On Friday, both countries held separate press conferences to announce that they reached the phase-one agreement.   President Donald Trump said the Chinese would buy $50 billion in ...

DETERMINING ‘OFF-TARGET DICAMBA’ YIELD LOSS IS A CHALLENGE

In addition to the normal challenges associated with harvest, some Midwestern growers are also trying to evaluate yield loss in soybeans due to off-target movement of dicamba.   Stephanie Porter, a sales agronomist with Burrus Seed, says she’s seen and heard reports of yield losses ranging from zero to 40 bushels per acre. But Porter says linking those losses directly to dicamba damage could prove difficult.   “I don’t think there is a good way to evaluate it,” Porter says. “It’s really hard to do comparisons ...

DHS Approved to Expand CFATS Personnel Surety Program to Tiers 3 and 4

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been given the green light from the White House Office and Management and Budget (OMB) on a proposal to expand the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program’s Personnel Surety Program (PSP) . DHS received the authorization in late May to expand the program to cover CFATS facilities in risk Tiers 3 and 4, which consists of more than 3,000 CFATS facilities in Tiers 3 and 4. Most agricultural retailers that are subject to CFATS are considered tiers 3 or 4.   DHS plans to rollout this expansion to the PSP over the course of the next three years and ...

Dicabma Settlement Claims Period Starts

Farmers who believe they had crops damaged from off-target dicamba from 2015 to 2020 can now submit claims at dicambasoybeansettlement.com/ or call 855-914-4672. The deadline to submit claims is May 28, 2021. The claims period began on December 29, 2020.   It’s part of a $400 million settlement announced last June that’s designed to compensate farmers for yield losses resulting from off-target dicamba crop damage.   “We are pleased that relief will soon be available to the thousands of farmers across America who have suffered yield losses due to off-target movement of dicamba,” said attorney Don Downing, chair of ...

Dicamba Back in the Line of Fire

Since its launch as part of a cropping system, the popular herbicide dicamba has had plenty of regulatory hoops to jump through. In fact, not too many years after it was originally approved for use, the product’s label was cancelled mid-season due to a legal ruling.   However, it seemed as if all these issues had gone away once October 2020 rolled around. At the end of that month, the EPA reaffirmed dicamba’s product label. The note I received following this announcement from Daren Coppock, President and CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association, said it all: “...

Dicamba brings in record number of complaints

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has recorded over 100 more dicamba-related complaints than in 2018, and it’s not done counting.   With 455 dicamba-related pesticide complaints submitted to the Illinois Department of Agriculture as of Aug. 16, the 2019 growing season has leaped ahead of 2018’s total of 336 dicamba complaints.   Aaron Hager, University of Illinois weed scientist, says label revisions have clearly not helped in Illinois, where an estimated 6 million acres of soybeans were treated with a dicamba herbicide product this year.    “We’re going to increase our complaints in the largest soybean-growing state again this year ...

Dicamba Buffers, Training and Licensing: What to Know for 2019

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) renewed the labels of three dicamba-containing products used in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties on October 31, 2018.  These renewed labels also contain new restrictions and requirements that did not appear on the original labels.  Each application must completely satisfy all label requirements and restrictions, but the following three new requirements might necessitate additional forethought and planning.   Additional in-field buffers   Fields that exist in counties that might harbor endangered terrestrial dicot plant species must have an in-field, 57-foot omnidirectional buffer. The new 57-foot buffer will occur on three sides of the field and ...

Dicamba Complaints Have Long-Tailed Implications

Farmers have been using dicamba over-the-top of soybeans and cotton since 2017. The herbicide is approved through 2020, and this year and next year will weigh heavily on the herbicide’s future.   “The first year with dicamba, 2017, we had 246 dicamba-related complaints,” says Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. “In 2018 we had 330 and in 2019 we’ve had 728 as of now. The big difference now is that we are using it on far more acres and later in the season; very rarely was it used in June and July.”   Illinois is showing ...

Dicamba damage complaints spike early

The 2018 growing season feels like déjà vu, says Jean Payne, Illinois Chemical and Fertilizer Association president, as farmers and applicators watch soybeans cup and pesticide misuse claims multiply from off-target dicamba movement.   University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager says he walked an off-target dicamba soybean field on June 6, about two weeks earlier than in 2017, and estimates 150,000 impacted acres as of the third week in June.   According to Payne, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 66 formal complaints related to dicamba. “Most are generated from central Illinois at this time,” she says, adding ...

Dicamba Damaged Peach Grower Awarded $265 Mil, Bayer/BASF will Appeal

In the first case involving dicamba, a jury sided with the plaintiff and found Bayer and BASF responsible for $15 million in actual damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The case was tried in Cape Girardeau, Mo. and involved damages to a peach orchard.   Bader Farms, the plaintiff, sued in civil court for damages that occurred to peach trees starting in 2015 when Xtend cotton seed was launched. Bader says his peach orchards are dying as a direct result of dicamba damage from drift or volatilization.   Bayer (Monsanto in court documents) and BASF say the peach yield losses and tree ...

Dicamba debate spreading

A time-worn and dependable weed killer used by millions of farmers for over 40 years has become the bane of rural America that threatens to tear apart family friendships and the social order of a struggling, but peaceful, Corn Belt at light speed.   Dicamba has not only become the story of the year in just a few months, but has the potential to rearrange long-term trends in farm management and even ownership.   For the agriculturally unwashed, dicamba for years has been used as an early season broadleaf herbicide designed to clear a field and then be retired for the ...

Dicamba decision looms for governor; limit herbicide’s use, Arkansas panel urges

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will soon have to choose between the recommendations of his own Plant Board or the wishes of Monsanto, the St. Louis-based seed giant.   The issue is dicamba -- or, rather, the misuse of it.   Some farmers illegally sprayed the herbicide this summer, damaging thousands of acres of cotton, soybeans, fruits and vegetables in Arkansas and neighboring states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency served search warrants in Missouri. That state's largest peach farm has sued Monsanto. The mess hit rock bottom Oct. 27 with the fatal shooting of an Arkansas farmer.   Monsanto has a new ...

Dicamba Decision Time for EPA: What's on the Table?

As the fall seed-buying season advances, EPA is facing a major time crunch on its dicamba herbicide decisions.   The agency had originally vowed to have a re-registration decision for four dicamba herbicides -- Tavium (Syngenta), Engenia (BASF), XtendiMax (Bayer) and FeXapan (Corteva) -- settled by early fall so farmers could buy their corresponding dicamba-tolerant seed with the certainty of in-season weed control options.   All four herbicides were set to expire in December 2020, but when a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling vacated all but one of those herbicides, EPA's timeline was thrown into disarray. (See more here: ) &...

Dicamba Discussion Dominates IFCA

As one of the first state association meetings held each year, the annual Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) event in Peoria, IL, is a good gauge as to what ag retailers will spend their upcoming growing season focusing on (view slideshow above). Not surprisingly, this year looks to be a follow-up of sorts to one of the major issues of 2017 – dicamba and off-target movement. During the three-day IFCA meeting, no less than half-a-dozen speakers looked at the dicamba question in one fashion or another.   “I hope, as an industry, we are not taking our eye off ...

Dicamba Drift Injury 2020 Report

Growers and retailers in Illinois, the largest U.S. soybean growing state, breathed a sigh of relief as reports of drift injury dropped sharply from last year’s record 700-plus dicamba-related complaints.   “Given that our cut-off was June 25 and it’s nearly one month later, we are optimistic that dicamba complaints may end up below 100 in 2020 which is a significant improvement,” Jean Payne, President of Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, told CropLife®. “It appears that in 2020, Illinois has finally broken the cycle of having an increase in complaints each year dicamba was labeled ...

Dicamba drift problems not an aberration

Dicamba drift across the landscape was the dominant call again this June and July.   Once again, Palmer amaranth control with dicamba was very good in many fields. This is the third year where there have been major issues keeping dicamba in the field, but Palmer amaranth control was good in fields where it was applied. It really dawned on me that this is not so much new, but after three consecutive years is, in fact, the “new normal.”   For three decades, I have had the privilege to make thousands of field visits to help growers troubleshoot ...

Dicamba Faces Legal Battlefield

EPA is facing a tangle of lawsuits over its 2020 registration of three over-the-top dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and Tavium.   Given the many legal steps ahead for them, these lawsuits are unlikely to immediately affect the legal availability of dicamba in 2021, but they could threaten the chemical's use in spray seasons to come.   The lawsuits have been brought by two different groups of plaintiffs with two very different complaints. On one side, agricultural commodity groups are arguing the new dicamba labels are too restrictive; on the other, environmental groups argue they are too permissive.   Click Here to ...

Dicamba in 2018: What’s at Stake?

Manufacturers have weighed in. Farmers and retailers have stated their cases and shared their experiences. Labels have been tweaked. University extension specialists and county educators have taught until there is no more to teach. State agriculture officials and pesticide regulators have inspected, pored over data, and made decisions about the regulations and restrictions to impose for this season. Now, as is so often the case, it’s incumbent on the agricultural retailers to execute the application, and advise farmers on how to properly follow all the requirements for implementing a dicamba-tolerant cropping system.   Click Here to read more.

Dicamba injury complaints originating far from Missouri Bootheel

A Missouri Department of Agriculture official says dicamba injury complaints have spread from the state’s Bootheel region and now total about 120.  Plant Industries Division Director Judy Grundler says reports of crops injured by the herbicide now originate from parts of the state hundreds of miles to the northwest.   DSCN4816“Complaints are primarily coming from a four country area in the Bootheel region,” Grundler told the Missouri House Committee on Appropriations – Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Thursday.  “We now have had a complaint that has come in from Butler County and a ...

Dicamba Injury Is Back in 2018

Dicamba is once again injuring non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2018. As of June 15, university weed scientists estimate that approximately 383,000 acres of soybeans have been injured by dicamba so far, according to Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weeds specialist.   That’s out of an estimated 89 million acres of soybeans planted, according to USDA. Last year, dicamba damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres out of 89.5 million acres. That concerns Bradley, particularly if Xtend technology adoption increases in 2018 and beyond. Monsanto estimated 2018 Xtend acres to double from 2017 to 50 million acres in 2018.   Of the 15 state departments of agriculture that responded to this request ...

Dicamba Label Training for 2022 Season

Annual dicamba label training is once again required for those using dicamba over-the-top of soybean this year. The options for training include online as well as live webinars. Click here to be redirected to IFCA’s dicamba training webpage, where you will find three separate training links from the three registrants. Completing any of the three trainings will meet the requirement for dicamba training, no matter which specific dicamba product you plan on using.

Dicamba Label Update

As focus remains on the fall fertilizer season, IFCA continues to receive inquiries regarding the 2022 dicamba label.  As many of you know, USEPA still has not indicated what changes they might make to the label.  IFCA expects that a decision should be released any day now.       IFCA reached out to our contacts at USEPA and requested that they release the label as soon as possible, allowing ag retailers time to prepare and visit with their growers as they make important seed decisions for ...

Dicamba Lawsuit Setback

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against dicamba last week, but left open a door for the plaintiffs to expedite a new lawsuit in 2019.   The original lawsuit, which was filed by four farm and environmental groups in 2017, argued that the EPA's 2016 registration of XtendiMax for over-the-top use on soybean and cotton fields was unlawful. When that registration ended and EPA renewed the dicamba registration in 2018, Monsanto (now Bayer) and EPA argued that the court should dismiss the lawsuit as moot.   The court agreed, but the panel of judges also ruled that the ...

Dicamba Rules Proposed in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s proposed administrative rules for the use of Dicamba on soybeans were published in the Secretary of State’s Illinois Register. The proposed restrictions for dicamba use on soybeans are the same restrictions that were required in 2021.   In October 2020, USEPA announced that it had renewed the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act registrations for three dicamba pesticides for growing seasons 2021-2025. Contrary to prior practice, USEPA declared that the only way for states to add safety restrictions to these products is through Section 24(a) of FIFRA, which allows a state to add ...

Dicamba Rules Vary by State. Another Patchwork of State Dicamba Rules Emerging for 2019

Pick a state, any state, and chances are the rules for dicamba use there could differ from its neighbors next year.   EPA released federal labels for XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan on October 31, and already, a patchwork of additional state restrictions is developing.   Arkansas is weighing a May 20 cutoff date, with large protective buffers for certain sensitive crops. Indiana and Minnesota have both submitted 24(c) special local needs labels to EPA with proposed June 20 cutoff dates. South Dakota has submitted a 24(c) for a June 30 cutoff date, which North Dakota is also considering, and a handful of other states ...

Dicamba So Far in 2018: Tough to Tell

It’s still too early tell exactly how dicamba injury-related issues on U.S. cropland will compare to last year, but as of late July, a major improvement is not in the cards. It’s disappointing, given the unprecedented training that went on in the off-season.   In his closely watched dicamba report, Dr. Kevin Bradley, Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri, recalled that last year on July 25, there were 1,411 dicamba-related injury investigations being conducted by the various state Departments of Agriculture while university weed scientists estimated approximately 2.5 million acres of soybean ...

Dicamba training became monumental task in Illinois

Arkansas, Missouri and West Tennessee attracted most of the media coverage on off-target applications of dicamba last year. But the misapplications were also a problem in Midwest soybean states like Illinois. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association’s Jean Payne discussed Illinois’ efforts to address the issue in a presentation at The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year.   Click Here to read more.

Dicamba training emphasizes how to 'use it the right way'

Pittsfield farmer John Thomas didn't think he had a weed resistance problem -- until last year.   When several applications of Roundup didn't touch the waterhemp growing in a field, Thomas tried dicamba to control the pesky weed.   Dicamba "worked just like it was supposed to" and cleaned up the field, Thomas said, so making sure the product remains available is a top priority for him and other farmers.   "We're just going to have to follow the rules and use it the right way so we don't run into any of ...

Dicamba training to be required before 2018 use

Illinois Dicamba Training will roll out this winter, with sessions beginning Nov. 27 and continuing until April 1, just prior to spring planting.   Illinois is following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) parameters as it relates to dicamba use in 2018.   “We are now moving forward with one of the new requirements on this label for 2018, which is that this is a restricted-use pesticide,” Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) President Jean Payne recently told the RFD Radio Network.  “So you already have to be a certified applicator to apply it.”   Click Here to ...

Dicamba-Resistant Waterhemp Identified in Illinois, Tennessee

Scientists from both Tennessee and Illinois have confirmed dicamba-resistant waterhemp in their respective states this week.   The Illinois weed population, collected from Champaign County, shows 5- to 10-fold levels of resistance to dicamba compared to susceptible populations, said University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager. Overall, it is a 6-way resistant weed population, with resistance to Group 4 (auxins, including dicamba and 2,4-D), Group 2 (ALS-inhibitors), Group 5 (triazines), Group 14 (PPO-inhibitors), Group 27 (HPPD-inhibitors) and Group 15 (VLCFA- synthesis inhibitors, such as S-metolachlor).   In Montgomery County, Tennessee, waterhemp collected from fields in the Cumberland River bottoms are showing roughly 4.5-fold levels of resistance ...

Dicamba: What does success look like in 2020?

Here’s what we know in Illinois in September 2019: The Illinois Department of Agriculture had received 937 total herbicide complaints as of Sept. 13. Of those, 708 were related to dicamba.   In 2018: 330 dicamba-related complaints. In 2017: 246 dicamba-related complaints. Before in-season dicamba, from 1989 to 2016, total ag and non-ag complaints averaged about a hundred a year.   Clearly, those numbers are going the wrong way. And 937 complaints is more than any other state, which is a problem for the leading soybean-producing state in the nation — enough so that IDOA convened a group of stakeholders for a series of meetings this month, which began ...

Dicamba: What is Success or Failure in 2018?

It’s difficult to recall the debut of a weed management technology that generated more divisiveness than the 2017 introduction of dicamba-resistant soybean varieties and the accompanying use of dicamba.  Damage to off-target vegetation from myriad sources of exposure resulted in not only monetary losses, but also untold costs to professional and personal relationships.  Trust that took years to build was damaged or lost in the span of one growing season.  This includes the public trust in pesticide use.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to the unprecedented number of complaints, issued several ...

Dicamba: Who's Liable?

There was no question what was to blame for the curled soybeans on the central Illinois farm in late June. The farmer, the neighbor who made the application, even the investigator from the neighbor's insurance company, all agreed. Off-target dicamba movement was the culprit.   Yet the letter the injured farmer received months later from the insurance company was quite clear: "We do not find any negligence on the part of our insured and are respectfully denying your claim." The company concluded that the dicamba damage had occurred from volatility -- a factor beyond the applicator's ...

Dicamba’s Future Under New Pressure

Over-the-top dicamba products, Engenia, FeXapan and XtendMax spent time under the court’s microscope, resulting in EPA issuing a final cancellation order for these products. The same plaintiffs sought vacatur for Enlist Duo herbicide this year.   Since 2017, the National Family Farm Coalition and the Natural Resources Defense Council have argued in court that allowing over-the-top dicamba application on soybeans and cotton violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and should be vacated.   On June 3, 2020, three California judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed ...

Dick Durbin: Time to Raise Gas Tax

As Congress stares down another looming highway cliff and old idea is getting some new attention: Raising the gas tax.   Congress has avoided confronting the politically nettlesome issue for more than 20 years; the federal taxes last increased in 1993.  In the meantime cars have become more fuel efficient, the 18.4 cents per-gallon tax has lost buying power and Congress has repeatedly kicked the can, choosing tens billions in general fund bailouts over raising a tax that would hit the vast majority of Americans right in the pocket.   Click Here to read more.

Did Bill Gates Just Change the GMO Debate

I'm always amazed at the new research that floats across my desk on nearly a daily basis. This week, a new international study revealed scientists have found a way to make crops use 25% less water without compromising yield.   The key is altering the expression of one gene-- the gene that controls the protein responsible for opening and closing the microscopic pores on the plants leaves that let water escape. The scientists say that gene is found in all plants.   This study was funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  During an "...

Did you get a drone for Christmas? Know the law before you take to the skies

Whether a beginner, a serious aviation enthusiast, or just a fan of gadgets, many of you will have received drones as Christmas gifts.   Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have surged in popularity and affordability in recent years, and there's no doubt that recreational drone use is on the rise as a result.   But not all recreational drone users know the law — or if they do, they don't appear to be following it.   There has been a string of near misses between drones and other aircraft, and other cases of irresponsible use.   Only last month, ...

Diesel Fuel Prices Surge Following Drone Attack on Saudi Arabian Oil Facilities

Diesel fuel prices surged Monday as oil markets reacted to weekend news of a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that took an estimated 50% of the country's production offline.   "Before the Sept. 14 drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the outlook for diesel prices was looking favorable for harvest needs," DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman said on Monday.   "Diesel was priced at $2.86 a gallon in the Midwest, down 10% from this time a year ago. On Monday after the attacks, however, diesel futures are up nearly 10%, unfortunate timing for grain producers getting ready to begin ...

Diesel Prices Hit Another Record, Supplies Vulnerable

Record high diesel prices are having rippling effects throughout the ag industry.   “We are back to setting new records for the price of diesel on a near daily basis,” said GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan.  De Haan tells Brownfield the national average hit $5.63 per gallon on Monday, and that a diesel shortage could be looming.   Click Here to read more.

Diesel Prices Smash Another Record — And the U.S. is Now One Hurricane Away from Running Out of Diesel

Diesel prices smashed another record Friday, with prices hitting $5.58 a gallon. With NOAA predicting an above-normal hurricane season, it’s not good news for crop production close to the Gulf Coast or for already short diesel supplies.   The start to the hurricane season is underway. As of Friday, more than 10 million people in southern Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas were under a tropical storm warning for the weekend.   Click Here to read more.

Diesel Stocks Were Tight Before Hurricane Ida Temporarily Shut Down Refinery Production

Farmers far outside the direct path of Hurricane Ida could face higher diesel prices as they move into harvest, as well as early shipping challenges, depending on the extent of time oil production and Gulf Coast ports are down.   The eye of Ida hit Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Sunday where a large part of the Gulf of Mexico oil production is based. Ida took offline nearly all of 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of Gulf of Mexico oil production, shuttering at least half of the 4.4 million bpd in refining capacity in the region.   The storm also hit LaPlace, ...

Differentiating 2,4-D and Dicamba Injury on Soybeans

Here at the IFCA, we are receiving more and more calls and questions from ag retailers and farmers on how to tell the difference between dicamba and 2,4-D injury to soybeans. IFCA is directing our members to a publication that Purdue University put together on this very topic. We hope all ag retailers and farmers look at this information to properly identify damage that they might have. You can find that article here.

Digging into a gene-editing deal

The tools of biotechnology have been used in crop development for more than three decades. And while transgenic crops may have gotten the public's attention in the beginning, plant breeders saw other benefits — including marker-assisted breeding. But the latest tool that will allow plant breeders to reach new crop production is gene editing, and Syngenta is incorporating that new tech into its development programs.   Recently, the company announced it has signed a nonexclusive intellectual property license with the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to use a key tool for gene editing &...

Digital Engagement for Ag Retailers Focuses on the Basics

In agriculture, the struggle for dominance over the customer experience across the upstream value chain has waxed and waned for decades. Manufacturers, always hungry for more direct interaction with farmer customers, have often dipped their toes into programs designed to gain greater influence and access, with mixed results.   In the 1980s, crop protection manufacturer American Cyanamid even took the ultimate leap, creating its own dealer network of “Agri-Centers” to get its products out directly to farmer-customers. The effort was ultimately shuttered, but put retailers on notice that their place in the distribution network depended entirely on their ...

Disaster Aid Bill On Hold Again for Now

A House Republican has temporarily blocked the $19 billion dollar disaster aid bill.  Texas Republican Chip Roy objected to speeding the measure through a nearly-empty chamber on Friday. He also complained the bill does not contain any of President Trump's request for dealing with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.   The House will return to the bill possibly as early as next week.   The disaster aid would deliver help for southern states suffering from last fall's hurricanes, Midwestern states hit by flooding, and fire-ravaged rural California.   The Senate voted in support of the ...

DNR Dicamba Sensitive Areas

Part of the labels for the use of dicamba on soybeans in 2022 is “maintaining the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site”. To help clarify where these nature preserves are located, we’ve created a resource page within the IFCA website.   If you have questions regarding any of the information provided above, please contact IFCA at 309-827-2774.  

Do you understand the new overtime rules?

Farming is the kind of job that happens 24 hours a day and seven days a week, year-round. Time on the clock adds up quickly, which is why producers need to educate themselves on the new final rule on overtime pay within the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.   Agriculture workers are exempt, but some people on your payroll might be subject to the rules that go into effect Dec. 1—particularly if you operate a seed business, a custom farming enterprise, a creamery or a farm stand.   Who Qualifies? Across all industries, 4.2 million workers will be affected by the ...

Don't Hold Your Breath, Springfield Stoppage Could Last Until 2016

The Illinois General Assembly is moving into its eighth week without a budget. And Illinoisans are left wondering how much longer lawmakers can keep up the staring contest. But with nothing in Illinois law requiring lawmakers to settle on a budget within a specific period of time – and a lack of political pressure points to spur action – the will to come to a compromise is waning.   In fact, the budget impasse could technically last until January 2016, when a new legislative session begins.   Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Democrats’ budget proposal on account ...

Don't have breakfast plans on Wednesday morning.........Come to AG-SOLVE Policy Outlook Breakfast.

If you don't have breakfast plans already on Wednesday morning, please join us at the Policy Outlook breakfast.  AG-SOLVE will be giving it's  "Friend of AG" award to two retiring state representative, Rep Don Moffitt and Rep Pat Verschoore. They've been great friends to IFCA and to the industry. CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Todd Masisch will be giving us a outlook on the business climate in Springfield and Washington DC. The cost of the breakfast is $25 and you can pay at the door.&...

Don't Rush the Anhydrous Season

This fall, I saw the first evidence of fall anhydrous applications long before the soil temperatures dipped into the safety zone -- again.   The reasons for rushing the season are as volatile as the product itself. There are thoughts that the price of anhydrous ammonia, which was running about $1400 per ton recently, might be cheap come spring if natural gas prices move higher. Fears of supply shortages and deals that require fall delivery add to the hurry. Good conditions for application make exercising patience difficult.   Click Here to read more.

Don't Rush the Anhydrous Season

This fall, I saw the first evidence of fall anhydrous applications long before the soil temperatures dipped into the safety zone -- again.   The reasons for rushing the season are as volatile as the product itself. There are thoughts that the price of anhydrous ammonia, which was running about $1400 per ton recently, might be cheap come spring if natural gas prices move higher. Fears of supply shortages and deals that require fall delivery add to the hurry. Good conditions for application make exercising patience difficult.   Click Here to read more.

Donald Trump asks China to lift all US agricultural tariffs

US President Donald Trump has asked China to "immediately" lift all tariffs on US agricultural products.   In a tweet, the president said he made the request because "we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions".   Mr Trump has delayed tariffs scheduled for 1 March on Chinese goods due to progress in talks.   He has long complained about the country's trading practices, and has imposed tariffs totalling more than $250bn (£189bn) on Chinese goods.   China has responded in kind, placing tariffs on $110bn of US products and accusing the US of starting &...

Donald Trump asks China to lift all US agricultural tariffs

US President Donald Trump has asked China to "immediately" lift all tariffs on US agricultural products.   In a tweet, the president said he made the request because "we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions".   Mr Trump has delayed tariffs scheduled for 1 March on Chinese goods due to progress in talks.   He has long complained about the country's trading practices, and has imposed tariffs totalling more than $250bn on Chinese goods.   Click Here to read more.

Don’t Bank on Dicamba Extension

The June 30 cutoff date for applying in-season dicamba to soybeans in Illinois remains in place, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   Doug Owens, head of IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs, says they’ll continue to review the situation but are sticking with June 30 for now.   “The weather’s not cooperating with anybody right now,” Owens says. “We’ll review as we go along, but as of this date, there is no proposed revision to that time.”   The June 30 cutoff was one of five additional state-specific restrictions IDOA ...

DOT Finalizes New Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule on Thursday updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for truck drivers.      “America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a U.S. Department of Transportation release.   In August 2019, the Agency published a ...

DOT Proposal on Addition of Oral Fluid Testing for Drugs

DOT is proposing to amend drug testing regulations to allow oral fluid testing.  This would give employers a choice to help combat cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving their safety goals.  The proposal also updates other provisions and is intended to harmonize mandatory oral fluid testing guidelines established in 2020 by the US Department of Health and Human Services.  You can read the new proposal here.   One advantage of oral fluid collection is that it will be directly observed, as opposed to most urine collections, which are unobserved.&...

Dow, DuPont merger wins U.S. antitrust approval with conditions

DuPont (DD.N) and Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge on condition that the companies sell certain crop protection products and other assets, according to a court filing on Thursday.   The asset sales required by U.S. antitrust enforcers were similar to what the companies had agreed to give up in a deal they struck with European regulators in March. The deal is one of several big mergers by farm suppliers, and the antitrust approval was quickly denounced by the head of the National Farmers Union, saying that farmers would face higher ...

Dr. Nafziger Fall Nitrogen Webinar Tomorrow

As rain continues to fall throughout the state and fields remain wet, don’t miss the opportunity to listen in on Dr. Nafizger’s informative nitrogen webinar tomorrow, October 26, at 8:00am.  The webinar will cover several topics surrounding nitrogen that can aid in a successful NH3 season as well as help with the extremely important decisions retailers and farmers need to make when planning their nitrogen program.   One CEU credit in nutrient management (NM) will be available for participating.  Please click here to register ahead of time.

Drainage districts could be part of Iowa's nitrate solution, report says

Drainage districts, once the target of a Des Moines Water Works lawsuit, could be part of the solution to cut high nitrate levels in Iowa's lakes, rivers and streams, according to a new report.   Iowa's 3,700 drainage districts already have power under state law to "mitigate pollution discharge" since they're "presumed to be a public benefit" that contribute to "public health, convenience and welfare," according to the Iowa Policy Project, an Iowa City research group.   “Public health and welfare can and should be interpreted to mean keeping ...

Drift complaints storm ag department

Since joining the Illinois Department of Agriculture in 1989, Deputy Director Warren Goetsch watched the number of annual pesticide drift complaints jump from an average 125 to 430 in 2017.   The cause? Dicamba.   “The addition of dicamba for use on soybeans and cotton has provided for some major challenges. I think Illinois was either third or fourth in the number of complaints from the previous year,” Goetsch said.   Click Here to read more.

Drift driving you nuts or just the clamor surrounding it?

Some Illinois farmers participating on social media have been active over the last week with reports of alleged herbicide drift damage to crops – specifically, damage from dicamba.   First, if you think you might be the victim of spray drift and you have crop insurance, take some action.   “On the federal crop program through the Risk Management Agency, that is not a covered loss,” said Brad Clow, COUNTRY Financial crops claims manager. “How that can impact our customers is on the APH (Actual Production History).”   Click Here to read more.

Drifting pesticides put neighboring farms at risk

Iowa’s organic farms, vineyards, apiaries and other non-conventional farms surrounded by row crops treated with pesticides are at risk of being hit with drifting spray that can hurt their farms.   The drift comes from misuse on neighboring farms, mostly the result of someone not following the label instructions on a pesticide, including requirements that a product not be used if wind speeds are too high.   Gretchen Paluch, bureau chief of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s pesticide bureau, said the state averages a little more than 100 incidents of pesticides misuse a year, ...

Drone Advisory Committee Legislation Moves Forward

Last week, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) to ensure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s chief drone policy committee includes representation for agriculture, forestry, local governments and rural America.   Since it was first announced in 2016, the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) has never included a representative from the agriculture or forestry sector and no representatives from county or tribal governments have been selected to the policy board.   The House passed the bill during votes late Thursday evening, sending the bill to the President’s ...

Drone operators seek permission to fly out of direct sight

As thousands of commercial drones take to the skies under new Federal Aviation Administration rules, some small operators are pursuing a coveted exemption that would allow them to fly their drones where they can't be seen by the pilot.   The companies who want them say the so-called line-of-sight exemptions are essential to someday use drones for such tasks as cleanup and repair after storm damage and monitoring widespread crop conditions.   But thus far, the FAA has only given exemptions to three companies that participated in a year-long FAA pilot program: CNN, BNSF Railway and the drone data ...

Drones in Agriculture: How UAVs Make Farming More Efficient

Dronefly just released a new infographic consolidating the most interesting contemporary uses of unmanned aerial vehicles in the field of agriculture.   If you’re not familiar with these, have a look at one or two of the previous pieces we reported on. Drones are a tool like any other. They can be dismissed or misappropriated or used to one’s advantage. These days, people are finding all sorts of ingenious methods to increase efficiency and maximize profits using modern drone tech. Today, the subject of discussion is agriculture: How, when and where are drones used in this ...

Drought Levels Enter 2012 Territory

As of Oct. 25, nearly 63% of the U.S. is experiencing drought conditions. That’s more than a 3% increase from just last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s also the highest it's been since 2012.  At peak drought in 2021, around 65% of the country was in drought conditions.   While many areas of the western and central U.S. received some rains, “antecedent dryness led to another week of degradations for many not receiving rainfall, even in areas where temperatures were cooler than normal this week. Warm conditions and high winds further exacerbated conditions ...

Duckworth says She's Considering Senate Bid Against Kirk

Rep. Tammy Duckworth ended a political guessing game Monday by making it official that she is exploring a challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk in 2016.   Duckworth, a Democrat from Hoffman Estates, told the Tribune she is considering a bid against the Highland Park, Republican, raising the potential of a high-dollar campaign between two military veterans known for their comebacks.   Click Here to read more.

Dueling Biotech Labeling Efforts in Congress

Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, lashed out Thursday at three Democrats in Congress for introducing a bill that would require labeling foods that have ingredients from biotech crops. The congressmen said lawmakers should "stop listening to celebrity chefs and well-heeled 'activists,' and start really caring about those less fortunate." Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut introduced a bill in the Senate and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon introduce a bill in the House. The bills are called the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. The bills would require labeling for foods that contained ingredients from ...

Durbin: USMCA will grow economy, support jobs in Illinois

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has thrown his support behind the United State Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which he deemed “a new NAFTA,” the agreement that went into effect between the three countries in 1994.   Flanked by the presidents of the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois AFL-CIO at a press conference at Brandt Consolidated in Springfield Sunday, Durbin said that Mexico and Canada — the top trading partners of Illinois — will have “a new lease on a relationship that can improve as we increase trade among our nations.”   Durbin, the Senate’...

During a rushed harvest, don’t skip these nitrogen steps

Harvest will likely be rushed this year as a result of the planting delays this spring. This means a shorter window in which to gather crops and prepare fields for next year. With this time crunch, your customers may overlook or forget some basic best practices for fall operations. In the case of nitrogen application, these best practices can make the difference between a boosted 2020 yield and loss of this valuable input.   With that in mind, if time, soil conditions and weather allow for fall applications on your customers’ fields, now is a good time to review best ...

Durkin appoints people to work with Democrats on non-budget issues

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Thursday that he is appointing GOP members to work with Democrats on non-budget legislation being sought by Gov. Bruce Rauner.   The move comes four days after House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, appointed four of his top lieutenants to negotiate with the Republican governor over issues like workers’ compensation changes and a property tax freeze that Rauner insists must be part of a budget solution.   At the time, Durkin, of Western Springs, said Madigan’s move should be viewed with caution because the Democrats “have a history of creating ...

Durkin Calls for 4% Cuts to Illinois Budget After Tax Amendment Fails

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Thursday that the Pritzker administration should start with 4% across the board cuts to the state budget following the failure of the graduated income tax amendment.   After that, Durkin said Republican lawmakers are willing to negotiate with the administration to identify further cuts that can be made.   Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that he plans to meet with legislative leaders to plan a way forward with the budget following the defeat of the amendment. He warned that “deep and painful cuts” are in the offing because the amendment failed.   If ...

E.P.A. to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

The Trump administration is expected in the coming days to lift Obama-era controls on the release of methane, a powerful climate-warming gas that is emitted from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.   The new rule on methane pollution, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, has been expected for months, and will be made public before Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke anonymously to avoid publicly pre-empting the official announcement.   The rollback of the methane rule is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental standards, ...

E15 Summer Ban Suspended, USDA Commits $700M To Biofuels Producers

On Tuesday, President Biden visited Menlo, Iowa, home to a POET ethanol production facility that produces 150 million gallons of ethanol annually. During his visit to the corn-rich state, Biden announced the suspension of a federal rule that prohibits the sale of E15 blended biofuels between June 1 and Sept. 25.   Numerous government officials and ag stakeholders have pushed the year-round sale of “homegrown” E15 — a blend common in the Midwest — to decrease soaring prices at the gas pump.   Click Here to read more.

Economists Discuss What Post- COVID-19 Could Look Like In Ag Sector

The coronavirus pandemic sent shockwaves through the ag industry and two economists are sharing what they think could happen as the sector recovers.   Purdue University Ag Economist Jayson Lusk projects that retail food prices will continue to fall.   “Mainly because we’ve seen meet prices already start to fall,” he says.   But, he says there will also be scrutiny over anti-competitive behavior.   “There already is a lot of increasing scrutiny over what happened to these price changes—was somebody to blame other than the coronavirus. There are court cases already out ...

Effects of Senate 50-50 Split

While Congress recovers from the storming of the U.S. Capitol, policy options for the incoming Biden administration opened up Wednesday when Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated GOP Sen. David Perdue in the second Georgia Senate runoff.   The Georgia victories by Ossoff and Raphael Warnock pushed the U.S. Senate into a 50-50 party split with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tie breaker. Democrats will hold the majority in both chambers of Congress and the presidency.   The shift turns around committee chairs in the Senate. Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will reclaim the gavel. Sen. ...

ELD Extension Not Applied to Farm Supply Retailers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration new Electronic Logging Device requirements go into effect December 18. However, the agency provided a 90-day waiver for agricultural commodity and livestock transporters. But that 90-day waiver will not include transporters of farm supplies.   ELD systems synchronize with a vehicle's engine to more easily and accurately record driving time for hours of service requirements. The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). To ease the transition to ELDs, FMCSA has announced that any violations cited during the time ...

ELD mandate hard enforcement is here

For many truck drivers in the United States, the world changed on April 1.   “After April Fools Day, our world does really change when it comes to ELDs,” said Matt Wells, associate director of the Midwest Truckers Association.   On April 1, truck enforcement officers began placing truck drivers out of service for failure to comply with the federal mandate to use electronic logging devices, unless they have an exemption.   Click Here to read more.

ELDT Requirement Begins February 7th

IFCA has been in communication with both FMCSA and IL SOS regarding the current state of the new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements.  All indications are that the February 7th effective date will stand, meaning that the new requirements will go into effect this upcoming Monday.    For more information on the requirements for ELDT, please click here.   Click here to view a webinar recording covering all aspects of the new ELDT requirements.   If you have any other questions, please contact KJ Johnson (kj@ifca.com) at the IFCA office, 309-827-2774.

ELDT Resources and Class B Clarification

This past Tuesday, IFCA hosted a webinar with Dan Meyer of FMCSA and Kevin Duesterhaus of IL SOS, covering Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT).  If you were unable to listen in, don't worry, as you can find the recorded webinar on our homepage at www.ifca.com.  There you will also find the powerpoint slides used in the webinar.  For a PDF version of the slides, please click HERE.   One important question IFCA repeatedly received from our members was how ELDT would impact Class B Drivers within our ...

Election Failures Could Push Michael Madigan Closer to an Exit. Here's Why.

Arguably the most prevalent image in the just-concluded election was a photograph of House Speaker Michael Madigan.   From the statewide debate over the graduated income tax to local legislative races, Madigan's image once again was used to unite opposition to an issue or a candidate. To be associated with Madigan was reason to be rejected by voters.   It's a tactic that's been used for years by Republicans with limited success. Two years ago, the state Republican Party chair suggested that Madigan as a campaign issue may have run its course.   However, with Tuesday's ...

Elections for IFCA Board of Directors Close November 28th

Check your inbox for an email that IFCA sent November 10th regarding nominations for our board of directors. We are now utilizing an online nomination and election system for board seats. You should receive an email from "noreply@electionrunner.com" that has a link to the online platform. With several board seats up for election this year, make sure to check your email and participate in the nomination and election process that will occur later in December.  Nominations will close on November 28th. If you have any questions, please reach out to Leslie Forrest at leslief@ifca....

Elections for IFCA Board of Directors Now Online

Check your inbox later today for an email from IFCA regarding nominations for our board of directors. We are now utilizing an online nomination and election system for board seats. You should receive an email from "noreply@electionrunner.com" that has a link to the online platform. With several board seats up for election this year, make sure to check your email and participate in the nomination and election process that will occur later in December.   If you have any questions, please reach out to Leslie Forrest at leslief@ifca.com.

Electric cars, better fuel efficiency spell doom for Illinois gas tax

As roads and bridges in Illinois crumble, so too does the primary source of revenue the state relies on to fix them — the gas tax.   Illinois adds 19 cents to the pump price of each gallon of gas to underwrite road work, a fee that hasn’t changed in 27 years even though inflation has cut the purchasing power by half. And with cars getting ever better gas mileage, the so-called Motor Fuel Tax reaps less today to fund repairs than it did a decade ago: $1.38 billion in 2007, $1.28 billion last year, state data show.   Experts warn that the ...

Eleventh Hour District Court Ruling Delays Waters of the U.S. Rule in 13 States

On Thursday, Judge Ralph Erickson of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota granted a motion by 13 states(Illinois was not part of the lawsuit) to prevent the EPA and Army Corps "Clean Water Rule" to take effect August 28. Two other District Courts had earlier dismissed similar cases due to lack of jurisdiction, however Judge Erickson found that not only did the District Court have jurisdiction, but also that the rule would cause "irreparable harm" if it took effect. EPA and Army Corps have said that the injunction will only apply to the 13 states who brought ...

Embattled EPA head Pruitt resigns

Scott Pruitt will resign from his position leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday, following months of high-profile controversies regarding his spending, ethics and management at the agency.   In a tweet Thursday, President Trump confirmed Pruitt's departure, saying he's accepted the administrator's resignation.   “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” Trump tweeted.   Trump said Pruitt will be replaced on Monday by EPA Deputy ...

Embattled State Senator Martin Sandoval resigns Wednesday

A state lawmaker who appears to be in the crosshairs of federal investigators will resign Jan. 1.   Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, hasn’t made a public appearance – including skipping all of the Illinois General Assembly’s veto session this fall – since the FBI raided his home and Springfield and legislative offices on Sept. 24.   Sandoval’s resignation letter: “It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve the State of Illinois and fight on behalf of the good people of the Southwest-Side of Chicago/Suburban West Cook,” Sandoval wrote in a resignation ...

Embattled Waters of the U.S. to be Redefined for Agriculture – Again

In April, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan told Congress he did not intend to return to the Obama administration’s definition of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).   On Wednesday, he made good on that declaration, announcing via a press release that EPA and the Department of the Army plan to revise the definition of WOTUS to “better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth.”   The announcement means the agencies are also setting aside the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (...

Endangered Species Act needs fixing, not scrapping

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard from a variety of witnesses on Wednesday that the Endangered Species Act, now more than 40 years old, still provides an important function, but agreed it needs to be modernized.   The initial witness, David Freudenthal, governor of Wyoming from 2003-2011 and a U.S. attorney under President Bill Clinton, told lawmakers that the “original groundbreaking legislation” signed into law by Richard Nixon, granted broad authority to the executive branch. But over time, he said in prepared testimony, “the mix of regulations, court decisions, policy guidance and individual agency actions ...

Enlist Duo OK'd for use on three crops in 34 states

Corn, soybean and cotton growers in 34 states will be allowed to use Enlist Duo under a new decision issued by EPA.   The agency had to reconsider its 2014 decision to approve use of the herbicide because of questions about the synergistic effects of 2,4-D and glyphosate, the two active ingredients in the product.   EPA initially allowed use of Enlist Duo on corn and soybeans in six states and then expanded that number to 15. Now, based on new data submitted by manufacturer Dow AgroSciences, EPA has reaffirmed its original decision on the safety of the product and added approval for ...

Enlist Duo Ruling: Ninth Circuit Court Ruling Upholds Enlist Duo Registration

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today denied a petition to vacate the registration of Corteva Agriscience's Enlist Duo herbicide, a 2,4-D-choline and glyphosate premix designed for use over 2,4-D-tolerant Enlist crops.   The court ruled that EPA only needed to fix one oversight with the Enlist Duo registration regarding the herbicide's risk to monarch butterflies. The herbicide's registration will remain intact in the meantime.   The decision in Enlist's favor will come as a relief to many in the agrichemical industry, which is still reeling from a recent Ninth Circuit court ...

Enlist Herbicides: Hazmat Transportation Guidance

Corteva Agriscience developed a DOT compliance guide that explains the regulations that govern the transportation of Enlist One and Enlist Duo herbicides. These herbicides are DOT regulated as an "Environmentally Hazardous Substance" and in certain quantities there are marking, placarding, shipping paper and load securement requirements.   The DOT guidance document is here. When transporting Enlist containers on your ag retail vehicles, or when offering the containers to farmers, many of the requirements outlined in the guidance document will apply. IFCA thanks Corteva for their outreach and education to help everyone achieve compliance.

Enrollment picks up in mandatory dicamba classes in Illinois

About one-third of the 18,000 licensed private and commercial applicators have completed the mandatory annual dicamba training so far.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved late last year the continued use of dicamba on soybeans for 2019 and 2020 with the annual applicators’ training requirement in place. Applicators using dicamba were also required to enroll in the training last year.   Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president, said at the organization’s annual conference Jan. 29 that enrollment has picked up from about 30 enrolled in classes in December to 100 to 150 in January, and more classes are being added. &...

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Webinar

IFCA has partnered with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide an educational, informative, and interactive webinar that will cover what you need to know in order to be prepared for the February 7, 2022, implementation of the Federal Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT).     The webinar will be Tuesday, July 13th, at 9 a.m. The presenters will be Kevin Dousterhaus with the Illinois Secretary of State and Dan Meyers with FMCSA.  Please click here to register for this webinar.    What is ELDT? FMCSA's Entry-Level Driver Training (...

Entry-Level Driver Training - IFCA Webinar

There is still time to register for the free webinar covering information relating to the federally mandated Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) that begins February 7, 2022.  Please click here to register for this webinar, which will host both representatives of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Illinois Secretary of State.

Entry-Level Driver Training Webinar

IFCA has partnered with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide an educational, informative, and interactive webinar that will cover what you need to know to be prepared for the February 7, 2022 implementation of the Federal Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT).     The webinar will take place Tuesday, July 13, at 9 a.m. The presenters will be Kevin Dousterhaus with the Illinois Secretary of State and Dan Meyers with FMCSA.  Please click here to register for this webinar.    What is ELDT? FMCSA's Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) ...

Enviro Groups Sue EPA Over New Dicamba Registrations

In what is becoming a familiar cycle, a group of environmental and farm groups have filed a lawsuit challenging EPA's latest round of dicamba herbicide registrations.   The lawsuit was filed by the same groups whose lawsuit against the 2018 dicamba registrations ended in a federal court vacating three dicamba registrations on June 3 of this year. See more here: .   The plaintiffs in that lawsuit -- National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network -- had vowed to challenge the EPA's new 2020 registrations of XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta) ...

Environment Expected to get Bigger Stage at Iowa Caucuses

Hot-button issues such as clean power, water quality regulations and renewable fuels are expected to get a bigger stage in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, as environmental activists put more pressure on presidential contenders to address controversial issues such as climate change. But experts still expect that concerns about saving the planet likely will play second, third and possibly even fourth fiddle to issues such as jobs and the economy, heath care and national security. The key, they say, may be to link the environment to popular measures such as wind and solar energy that can create jobs while also reducing America'...

Environment takes center stage in House infrastructure plan

Environmental provisions are a major focus of House Democrats’ new infrastructure plan, which includes proposals relating to water, electric vehicles and rail investments.   House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said at a Wednesday press conference that the plan “has major initiatives that will really encourage clean energy and address climate change.”   The 5-year, $760 billion framework includes plans to spend $50.5 billion on clean water and wastewater infrastructure, $25.4 billion on drinking water and $34.3 billion on clean energy.   It also aims to develop an electric vehicle charging network with the goal of ...

Environmental Group Sues Over Protections for 20 Species

An environmental group filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the federal government has failed to act on petitions to protect nine species under the Endangered Species Act and hasn’t designated critical habitat for 11 other species that are already protected.     The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Biological Diversity lists a variety of plants, bees and animals from Oregon to Florida to Delaware and joins a previous lawsuit filed last year that listed 200 different species that were awaiting protection decisions.     The average waiting period for an imperiled ...

Environmental groups launch EU campaign to ban all pesticides by 2035

A new campaign has been launched by EU environmental groups to ban all pesticides by 2035.   Civil society organisations from across the EU have submitted a proposal to the European Commission for a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) calling for new legislation to phase out pesticides.   The campaign has been started by a cross-sector alliance of civil society organisations covering the environment, health, farming and beekeeping. Amongst others, the organisers include the European networks Friends of the Earth Europe and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) as well as the Munich Environmental Institute, the Aurelia foundation (Germany), Géné...

Environmental groups sue EPA over Clean Water Act rollback

A recent flurry of litigation from around the state and across the country could have huge ramifications in California on the protection and distribution of scarce water resources.   Two separate coalitions of environmental advocacy groups filed litigation on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Trump Administration's rollback of the Clean Water Act.   At the core of the litigation is the definition of federally protected waterways, as recent changes in regulatory language have reduced legal protections for huge numbers of streams, especially around the arid West.   The ...

Environmental Groups Urge Congressional Leaders to Leave Climate Provisions in Infrastructure Package

A coalition of environmental groups in a letter Thursday warned congressional leaders not to decouple climate provisions from any infrastructure package they take up.   In the letter, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), climate groups comprised of more than 15 million members said climate provisions must remain in the American Jobs Plan.   “Our groups cannot support policies that continue to allow increases in the pollution that drives climate change or increases economic and environmental inequity for communities ...

Environmental Protection Agency Denies Center for Food Safety Petition to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition [September 28] that asked the federal agency to more closely regulate a group of chemicals used in pesticide-coated seeds, which are linked to killing pollinators such as hummingbirds and bumblebees.   The petition, filed in 2017 by nonprofits Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network of North America, and Pollinator Stewardship Council, among other groups, claimed that the EPA’s lack of regulation on the seeds “could precipitate an economic and ecological disaster.”   Click Here to read more.

Environmentalists say they'll try to sue German, EU authorities over glyphosate

Environmentalist groups said on Monday that Germany and the European Union had broken the rules when assessing the safety of the weed-killer glyphosate and that they would try to bring legal actions against the institutes involved.   Global 2000 and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) said they had registered legal complaints with prosecutors in Vienna and Berlin, with lawsuits in France and Italy to follow. It was not clear how long it would take for the complaints to proceed, particularly as one body is pan-European and the other domestic, meaning they would potentially go through different courts.   The European Food ...

Environmentalists seek to force endangered species listings

An environmental group is seeking to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to act on petitions to protect 417 animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.   “These 417 species and hundreds of others are being dangerously neglected for no other reasons than bureaucratic inefficiency and lack of political will,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has filed notice to sue the agency.   According to the notice, the petitions have been filed over the last eight years. The agency has issued initial findings determining that ESA listings may be warranted for ...

Enzymes influence bee sensitivity to neonicotinoids

A new study finds that enzymes in honey bees and bumble bees determine how sensitive they are to different neonicotinoid insecticides.   The joint study by Exeter University, Rothamsted Research and Bayer found that certain neonicotinoids are more toxic to bees than others.   As in other organisms, toxins in bees can be broken down by enzymes called cytochrome P450s. The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analysis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever conducted. The study identified one subfamily of these enzymes in bees - CYP9Q - and found it was responsible for the rapid breakdown of ...

EPA Administrator on WOTUS, Dicamba, Plans to Appoint Ag Advisor

U.S. EPA administrator Michael Regan spoke Monday to state agricultural regulators at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual meeting.   Regan pledged to work with the agricultural community to rewrite the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule with continued exemptions for farming and ranching. Regan also said EPA is considering regulatory action on the herbicide dicamba and will soon appoint an ag adviser at EPA.   Click Here to read more.  

EPA Administrator Thinks Dicamba Will Remain in Farmers’ Toolbox

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency says he is hopeful new oversight put in place regarding dicamba herbicides will keep dicamba in the farmer’s tool box.   Last October, as several states were investigating spray drift complaints, the EPA decided to classify dicamba as a “restricted use” pesticide, among other new oversight requirements for record keeping, and application weather conditions.   EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says the future of dicamba looks encouraging.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Administrator: WOTUS Rule May Be Completed in 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to look at whether it can approve the use of E15 year-round, EPA's Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Tuesday during his first appearance before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   As members of Congress continue to explore possible reform to the Renewable Fuel Standard and amid pressure from petroleum refiners to waive RFS requirements, the expansion of the E15 market continues to be a top priority for the ethanol industry.   Allowing year-round E15 sales would bolster demand for corn, and as a result, would boost markets for ...

EPA announces $113 million for Illinois water infrastructure

Using City Water, Light and Power’s lead service pipe replacement project as a backdrop, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced more than $113 million to modernize water infrastructure in Illinois.   “With these funds, Illinois will provide low-interest financing to communities across the state for costs associated with planning, design, and construction of eligible wastewater and drinking water infrastructure for projects and activities to protect human health,” said EPA Region 5 Adminstrator Kurt Thiede.   Thiede added that the program, Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, is “one of the many tools ...

EPA Announces Changes to Dicamba Registration

On October 31, the EPA announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for over-the-top use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba.   This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders, according to an EPA news release.    “EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest-control tool for America’s farmers,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in an EPA news release. “By extending the ...

EPA Announces Comprehensive PFAS Pollution Confrontation Strategy

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced last week the agency’s comprehensive strategic plan to confront PFAS contamination nationwide.  The Biden administration plans to require chemical manufacturers to conduct aggressive health and environmental testing of these chemicals. More importantly, the approach to testing would group more than 2,000 individual PFAS into roughly 20 different categories of similar substances, allowing the agency to draw safety conclusions more swiftly about more chemicals.  IFCA is currently in discussions with USEPA on this issue and will continue to keep our members informed.   Links available below for more information USEPA has provided regarding PFAS: &...

EPA Announces New Pesticides for Hemp and Proposes New Rules for Atrazine

The EPA made a combined announcement today on two topics: the management of hemp production and the future of atrazine use.   The agency recently registered 10 pesticides for use on hemp, to help alleviate the current dearth of products that are legal and safe to use in the fast-growing industry of commercial hemp production.   The agency also laid out a proposed interim registration decision on atrazine, including lower use rates and new label requirements, as part of the agency's re-registration review of the chemical. The decision will be posted for public comment for 60 days in the Federal Register, ...

EPA Announces Plan to Address PFAS Contamination

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released a strategy for reducing contamination from PFAS, a group of more than 9,000 compounds that have been dubbed “forever chemicals” for their ability to persist in water, soil and tissue without breaking down.   PFAS is shorthand for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been used in a wide variety of manufacturing processes and which have been found in drinking water and groundwater throughout the United States. Exposure to PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals, EPA says.   The Defense Department recently released ...

EPA Announces Plans to Revert Back to Pre-Obama WOTUS Rule, Public Input Meetings Set for August

EPA announced the Biden administration is proceeding in its effort to craft a “durable definition” of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on Friday, and EPA wants farmers and ranchers to provide input as the agency works to create the rule.   EPA says the agency is reverting to the WOTUS rule dating back to before the Obama administration changed the definition, which caused an uproar for agricultural groups who said the rule had expanded to create too loose of a definition. The pre-Obama era rule, which EPA says had been in place for decades, will be the ...

EPA Announces Plans to Revert Back to Pre-Obama WOTUS Rule, Public Input Meetings Set for August

EPA announced the Biden administration is proceeding in its effort to craft a “durable definition” of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on Friday, and EPA wants farmers and ranchers to provide input as the agency works to create the rule.   EPA says the agency is reverting to the WOTUS rule dating back to before the Obama administration changed the definition, which caused an uproar for agricultural groups who said the rule had expanded to create too loose of a definition. The pre-Obama era rule, which EPA says had been in place for decades, will be the ...

EPA Announces Voluntary Program Aimed at Curbing Pesticide Drift

The EPA today announced a voluntary program aimed at showing applicators which products should be used to promote drift reduction during pesticide application.   The Drift Reduction Technology(DRT) program will recognize products that can reduce drift by at least 25 percent.  An EPA assigned star-rating system will recognize the degree to which these products can reduce pesticide drift, up to four stars.    Click Here to read more.

EPA appeals board upholds cancellation of Bayer's Belt

EPA's Environmental Appeals Board has upheld the cancellation of flubendiamide, a Bayer CropScience insecticide sold under the trade name Belt, but will allow existing stocks to be sold by retailers.   The EAB decision, issued late this afternoon, upheld an earlier ruling by an administrative law judge who said Bayer and fellow registrant Nichino America willingly agreed with the terms of conditional registrations they received in 2008: that if EPA determined flubendiamide caused “unreasonable adverse effects” on the environment, then the companies would have to voluntarily cancel their registrations. When EPA made the “unreasonable adverse effects” ...

EPA Approves 134 More Counties for Enlist Use In 2022

On March 29, EPA announced its approval for the use of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in 134 additional counties for the 2022 growing season. The agency said it conducted a thorough review of a proposed label amendment.   “Today’s action is an example of EPA’s commitment to working with stakeholders when new information becomes available to make regulatory decisions that reflect the best available science and protect human health and the environment,” the agency said in its announcement.   Click Here to read more.

EPA approves new soybean weed tool

The EPA has approved a herbicide for use with soybeans, giving farmers another tool as they fight herbicide resistant weeds.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the registration of the use of isoxaflutole on genetically engineered soybeans.   "We’ve heard from farmers across the country about the importance of having new means available to combat economically-damaging weeds,” said EPA's Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “We listened and believe this action balances the need to provide growers with the products necessary to continue to provide Americans with a safe and abundant food supply while ...

EPA asks Court to Toss Trump Rule That Could Prevent Emissions Limits on Polluting Industries

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday asked a court to throw out a Trump administration rule that could prevent setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries.   The agency said in a court filing that under the previous administration, it “failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful.”   It also said that it did not undertake significant analyses that are relevant to the rule’s “underlying legal and factual questions.”   The rule, finalized just before President Trump ...

EPA Awards Over $1.8 Million for Innovative, Market-Based Nutrient Reduction Projects in Great Lakes Basin

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $1.8 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to five organizations that will use market-based approaches, including water quality trading, to enhance nonpoint source excess nutrient reduction efforts in the Great Lakes basin. This action supports EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration and its February theme of protecting America’s waters.   “Addressing emerging challenges, like excess nutrients in our waters, requires creative solutions,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This EPA funding will help build on existing state, local and tribal efforts and support innovative ...

EPA Blasts "Myths" on Water Jurisdictions Rule

The EPA hit back Thursday after a top Republican accused it of trying to take over large pieces of private land and water.   Tom Reynolds, the agency's top spokesman, wrote a blog post to respond to what he said were "myths and misunderstandings" about the Waters of the United States rule.   Click Here to read more.

EPA broadens exclusion zone exemptions in new proposal

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the Application Exclusion Zone language in federal pesticide law that would expand exemptions and lessen regulatory requirements for ag operations.   The changes, announced Thursday in an EPA press release, would expand AEZ exemptions under the existing Worker Protection Standard to a producer’s immediate family, limit AEZ applicability to a farm owner’s property, and clarify language on pesticide applications being suspended when other individuals enter the AEZ.   EPA said limiting the AEZ to a farm owner’s property was necessary because “the off-farm aspect of ...

EPA Calls for Reducing Ag Nutrient Pollution Through Regulation

The EPA is pressing state environmental regulators to expand the number of so-called pollution diets to reduce nutrient runoff in rivers and other water bodies and to expand the adoption of numeric nutrient standards, according to an agency memorandum sent to state officials this week.   The EPA is also calling for more collaboration with agriculture and other stakeholders at the state level to "re-energize" reduction efforts.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Chief Discusses Clean Water Rule

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has discussed a federal water rule with Indiana officials, but environmental groups say they weren't included in the conversation.     Scott Pruitt met with Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and other state officials this week to discuss the federal Clean Water Rule, The Indianapolis Star reported . Pruitt also met with agriculture and business leaders at Mike Starkey Farms and Liberty Mine in Boonville.     Officials from the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Nature Conservancy's Indiana Chapter, the Sierra Club's Hoosier Chapter, Citizens Action Coalition, Conservation Law Center ...

EPA Chief Promises Clarifications in Waters of the U.S. Rule

Obama administration officials rejected Republican claims that they're seeking free rein to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, but admitted a proposed rule had led to widespread confusion about what streams, ditches and other features could be regulated.   During the three and half hours of testimony Wednesday before a joint House-Senate hearing, the officials described aspects of the rule that they'll clarify before making it final but didn't specify the changes that will be made.   Click Here to read more.

EPA chief Pruitt pushing end to clean air and water rules

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in Little Rock today and touted his effort to loosen clean air and water rules at a meeting at the Don and Randal Tyson Conference Center at the Arkansas Poultry Federation.   Click Here to read more.    

EPA Chief Won't Ditch the Waters Rule, But She is Digging for Answers

Is it worth the effort for an Environmental Protection Agency administrator in a Democratic administration to meet with her farm, ranch, and Republican critics?  Or should she stay safely among her environmental and conservation supporters in Washington and the coastal cities and just push ahead?   Click Here to read more.

EPA Considering Limits for Widely used Insecticide

Pressure is mounting on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban or further curb the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide widely used to protect crops such as soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, citrus and peanuts.   EPA is reviewing a court order requiring the agency to decide whether it will suggest a ban on the commonly used insecticide known as chlorpyrifos by Oct. 31.   Chlorpyrifos-used in commercial products for 40 years-already has limits set on its use by the EPA, but the agency has now recognized concerns about its presence in drinking water. For example, the chemical has been detected with increasing frequency in ...

EPA Considers Placing Limits on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it’s considering drinking water limits for the entire class of PFAS compounds, which public health advocates say are categorically toxic.   The chemicals are used to make products resistant to water, stain and heat, and are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t fully break down or degrade. They are linked to a range of serious health problems such as cancer, liver disease, kidney problems, heart disease, decreased immunity and more.   Though the EPA announcement marks only the beginning of a years-long process, the move ...

EPA Decision on Dicamba Expected Late in 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency set a goal of issuing a decision on Monsanto’s new dicamba products by the end of this year. The products are designed to be used with the Roundup Ready Xtend crops. However, the approval process has been bogged down by reports of farmers using an older version of the herbicide and have done some damage in nearby crops that aren’t resistant to the weed killer. In April, the EPA proposed allowing the use of the herbicide designed to be used with the Monsanto Xtend crops, but it hasn’t actually approved ...

EPA declines to revoke Iowa water quality enforcement powers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a petition filed by environmental groups that asked the agency to withdraw the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' authority to manage a program designed to limit water pollution.   Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project filed a petition in 2007 asking for tougher fines, penalties and inspections and Clean Water Act permits for large animal confinement operations.   The EPA found some of the complaints valid and in 2013 entered into a five-year work plan with the Iowa DNR to bring its oversight ...

EPA Declines to Study Restricting Roundup Pesticide's Use

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to study restricting the use of a pesticide believed to harm the monarch butterfly’s habitat.   The EPA told the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) it rejected the green group’s petition regarding glyphosate, a pesticide marketed by Monsanto Co. as Roundup.   “The agency at this time has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly,” the EPA told the green group.   The NRDC and other green groups have long argued that Roundup is responsible for killing large swathes of milkweed, a plant that ...

EPA Declines to Study Restricting Roundup Pesticide's Use

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to study restricting the use of a pesticide believed to harm the monarch butterfly’s habitat.   The EPA told the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) it rejected the green group’s petition regarding glyphosate, a pesticide marketed by Monsanto Co. as Roundup.   “The agency at this time has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly,” the EPA told the green group.   The NRDC and other green groups have long argued that Roundup is responsible for killing large swathes of milkweed, a plant that ...

EPA Denies Texas Emergency Weedkiller Request

Federal regulators denied Texas farmers' push to use a powerful herbicide against an invasive "super weed" threating to strangle cotton crops.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited risks to drinking water and other hazards in its refusal of state officials' emergency request to allow the farmers to use Milo-Pro.  The herbicide includes the propazine, a restricted product that requires a license to purchase and use.   Click Here to read more.

EPA doesn’t have to set water limits for 2 fertilizers

A federal judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency more time to work with states on limiting their runoff of chemicals blamed for oxygen-depleted “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.   Scientists say nitrogen and phosphorus carried down the Mississippi River stimulate plankton blooms that decompose on the sea floor each summer, using up so much oxygen that life cannot be supported in vast stretches of the Gulf of Mexico.   Farm runoff is the biggest source of these chemicals in the Mississippi watershed, according to the EPA. Other sources include storm runoff from cities ...

EPA Ends 2015 WOTUS Rule

Farm groups declared victory Thursday after the Trump administration formally ended the 2015 waters of the U.S. rule. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, announced Thursday the agencies would eliminate the controversial 2015 Clean Water Act rule drafted by the Obama administration. The 2015 rule greatly expanded EPA and Army Corps of Engineers regulatory oversight of streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. "Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration's overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that ...

EPA evaluates pesticides for use on hemp

The EPA received 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.   “EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on 10 existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp.” &...

EPA Expands Use of Enlist Products

This week EPA expanded the counties in which Enlist One and Enlist Duo herbicides can be used in 2022. EPA had previously banned the product due to risks to endangered species.   "Enlist One and Enlist Duo ... can now be used in all counties of Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota," the EPA announced in a news release on Tuesday. "In Texas, Enlist products can now be used in handful of counties."  EPA never banned Enlist One and Enlist Duo in any Illinois counties.     Most counties that are on ...

EPA eyes limits for agricultural chemical linked to crop damage

The U.S. environmental agency is considering banning sprayings of the agricultural herbicide dicamba after a set deadline next year, according to state officials advising the agency on its response to crop damage linked to the weed killer.   Setting a cut-off date, possibly sometime in the first half of 2018, would aim to protect plants vulnerable to dicamba, after growers across the U.S. farm belt reported the chemical drifted from where it was sprayed this summer, damaging millions of acres of soybeans and other crops.   A ban could hurt sales by Monsanto Co (MON.N) and DuPont which ...

EPA Eyes Spring for Clean Water Rule,

Despite stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, EPA is moving ahead with plans to finalize its proposed Clean Water Act rule by this spring, Administator Gina McCarthy said today.   "We want to be informed by what said to us during the comment process as well as what we heard in our 100-plus meetings with different stakeholders," she told reporters.  "So, we have a lot of work to do, but we're certain that we can get that done in a timely way."   Click Here to read more.

EPA Faces Multiple Dicamba Lawsuits in 2021

EPA is facing a tangle of lawsuits over its 2020 registration of three over-the-top dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and Tavium.   Given the many legal steps ahead for them, these lawsuits are unlikely to immediately affect the legal availability of dicamba in 2021, but they could threaten the chemical's use in spray seasons to come.   The lawsuits have been brought by two different groups of plaintiffs with two very different complaints. On one side, agricultural commodity groups are arguing the new dicamba labels are too restrictive; on the other, environmental groups argue they are too permissive.   Click Here to ...

EPA finalizes Trump administration rollbacks on stream and wetland protections

The Trump administration published a final rule Tuesday rolling back Obama-era environmental protections.   The final rule, written by the Engineers Corps and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), redefines the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act, passed under President Obama in 2015. The changes effectively remove limits on the amount of pollution that can be dumped into small streams and wetlands. The L.A. Times reports 81 percent of streams in the Southwest would lose protections.   Environmental groups criticized the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was proposed in December 2018, after it was finalized at the ...

EPA Finalizes Update to Pesticide Application Exclusion Zones

On Thursday, October 29, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a finalized update to requirements for the pesticide application exclusion zone (AEZ.) An AEZ is the area surrounding pesticide application equipment that exists only during outdoor production pesticide applications.   EPA has clarified and simplified the AEZ requirements based in part on input from state pesticide regulatory agencies and agricultural stakeholders after the adoption of the 2015 Worker Protection Standard (WPS) rule. Consistent with the 2018 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), EPA is only implementing changes related to the AEZ requirements in the WPS.   Click Here to read more.

EPA forms posse to fix 'broken' endangered species regulations to speed up pesticide approval

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to fix what it calls the "broken" process of balancing pesticide approvals with endangered species protections, which conservationists have warned could be the start of eroding key protections under the Endangered Species Act.   “The current Endangered Species Act pesticide consultation process is broken,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in announcing a new interagency working group with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Their goal is to fix the system which ensures endangered species aren't harmed when approving the use of new pesticides.   Click Here ...

EPA Full Stream with "Waters" Protection Rule, but Trouble Ahead.

The Obama administration on Wednesday launched a sweeping measure to protect the nation’s waterways and wetlands — an initiative that faces a fierce counterattack from powerhouse industries like agriculture, oil and home-building.   On its face, the final “Waters of the United States” rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. But the industries and their allies in Congress condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in ...

EPA Gets Vote of Confidence as Pesticide Fee Bill Approved

The House’s swift approval of a bill to allow the EPA to levy fees to support its pesticide licensing work is a rare vote of confidence in the often-maligned agency from the GOP-controlled Congress.   Backers of the measure are now hoping congressional appropriators will provide the agency with enough in the next fiscal year to properly operate the Office of Pesticide Programs—funding which is linked to the fee program.   The House on March 20 passed the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act (PREA) of 2017 (H.R. 1029) by voice vote after 10 minutes of debate.   The bill is ...

EPA Glyphosate Decision Challenged

EPA's interim registration approval of glyphosate in January now faces its first court challenge, as a number of food safety, farm worker and environmental groups have asked a federal appeals court to review the decision.   The Rural Coalition, Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Farmworker Association of Florida, Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.   The groups allege EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and violated the agency's duties in the Endangered Species ...

EPA has 90 days to decide on chlorpyrifos ban

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to decide by mid-July whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide for corn, soybeans, fruit and nut trees, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, broccoli and cauliflower as well as other row crops.   In March 2017, EPA denied a petition that asked it to revoke all pesticide tolerances (maximum residue levels in food) for chlorpyrifos and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations. The agency concluded that, despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved and that further evaluation of the science during the remaining time for completion ...

EPA has Plan to Reduce Nutrients in Waterways

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency plans to release a "document of strategic actions" in November designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous in the state's rivers and lakes.   The document is the result of months of talks between environmentalists, agriculture interests, municipal wastewater agencies, academics and others to develop the plan.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Ignored Science in Past Dicamba Decision, New EPA Official Says

EPA's past 2018 dicamba registration decision was tainted by political interference and ignored important science on the herbicide's risks, according to an internal EPA email DTN has obtained and verified with the agency.   "Over the past few years, I am aware that political interference sometimes compromised the integrity of our science," Michal Freedhoff, the new acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in an email sent to all OCSPP employees on March 10, 2021.   The email highlights the agency's 2018 dicamba registrations of Bayer's XtendiMax herbicide, BASF's Engenia ...

EPA Imposes New Requirements for Dicamba

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement with dicamba manufacturers to minimize the potential for drift damage from use in soybeans and cotton.   “Today's actions are the result of intensive, collaborative efforts, working side by side with the states and university scientists from across the nation who have first-hand knowledge of the problem and workable solutions," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Our collective efforts with our state partners ensure we are relying on the best, on-the-ground, information."   Click Here to read more.

EPA Increases Enforcement at Chemical Warehouses

After visiting numerous chemical warehouses and distribution facilities, EPA discovered many facilities are not developing safety precautions, instituting maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures and preparing risk management plans. EPA has taken enforcement actions and assessed penalties against several chemical warehouses and distribution facilities across the country, sometimes pursuing criminal enforcement actions.   Chemical warehouse and distribution facilities must ensure that their chemicals are managed safely, securely and in compliance with the federal laws enforced by EPA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See this enforcement alert that shows case studies from across ...

EPA keeps chlorpyrifos on fields, for now

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not ban the use of chlorpyrifos, rejecting a request from environmental groups to prohibit the pesticide.   The action came in response to an appellate court decision earlier this year ordering the agency to respond to a petition from environmental groups that sought to ban the widely used pesticide. Research has shown that chlorpyrifos, which is commonly applied on fruit and vegetable crops, has the potential to damage brain development in children. Today was the final day EPA could respond under the court’s timeline. . The EPA, in a notice ...

EPA keeps chlorpyrifos on fields, for now

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not ban the use of chlorpyrifos, rejecting a request from environmental groups to prohibit the pesticide.   The action came in response to an appellate court decision earlier this year ordering the agency to respond to a petition from environmental groups that sought to ban the widely used pesticide. Research has shown that chlorpyrifos, which is commonly applied on fruit and vegetable crops, has the potential to damage brain development in children. Today was the final day EPA could respond under the court’s timeline. . The EPA, in a notice ...

EPA Marks Three Herbicide Active Ingredients Safe, Including Atrazine

After 7 years, the US Environmental Protection Agency says the widely used herbicide can stay on the market with some new restrictions. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced this final decision on Sept. 18, during an event in Missouri attended by farm-group leaders and local lawmakers.   Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the US. Farmers spray it on crops such as corn, sorghum, and sugarcane to control grasses and broadleaf weeds. Consumers apply it to residential lawns to kill weeds. Atrazine persists in the environment and is a widespread drinking water contaminant. The herbicide and its breakdown products ...

EPA May Limit State Restrictions on Pesticide Use, Such as Dicamba

After months of denials and vague language, EPA has confirmed it is considering limiting the ability of states to restrict pesticide use beyond the federal label.   State regulators are expressing alarm at this development, particularly those dealing with widespread dicamba injury, which appears to be the catalyst for EPA's announcement.   At issue is Section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which allows states to grant "special local needs" (SLN) labels that supplement federal pesticide labels. Several states in the Midwest and South have used 24(c) labels to limit use of new ...

EPA mulls delay of risk management program changes

Planned changes to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program would not prevent tragic incidents such as the West, Texas, fertilizer disaster, which was ultimately ruled an act of arson, according to supporters of a proposed implementation delay.   “The current risk management program regulations are working well,” said Richard Gupton, vice president for public policy and counsel with the Agricultural Retailers Association in Washington. “The new regulations will impose additional compliance costs on industry, potentially make sensitive security information available to the public and not provide, in our opinion, any significant safety ...

EPA Names 40 Chemicals to be Evaluated for Risk

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is publishing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process - the initial step in reviewing chemicals in commerce under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act.   "EPA continues to demonstrate its commitment to the successful and timely implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We are delivering on the promise of Lautenberg to better assess and manage existing chemicals in commerce and provide greater certainty and transparency to the American public."    "Initiating a chemical ...

EPA narrows protections from pesticide spraying

The Environmental Protection Agency has narrowed a rule to protect individuals from pesticide spraying by establishing one 25-foot “Application Exclusion Zone” for all ground spray applications and limiting AEZ’s to the boundaries of the agricultural establishment.   The agency also will exempt farm owners and family members from requirements to stay out of the spray area so long as they shelter in place during pesticide applications. An AEZ is an area where workers and other individuals cannot be when outdoor pesticide spraying is taking place.   The agency said it was making the changes, which had ...

EPA neonic reviews find endangered species threat, draw ire of grower groups

The overwhelming majority of federally threatened and endangered species are likely to be “adversely affected” by three commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides, the Environmental Protection Agency said in draft assessments that were met with immediate criticism from grower groups Thursday.   The draft biological evaluations are the first step in the interagency consultation process with federal wildlife agencies required by the Endangered Species Act, which is likely to result in newly proposed mitigation measures when the final evaluations are released.   EPA issued proposed interim registration decisions last year that contained some mitigation measures for five neonics, including the ...

EPA official’s comments stir fear, confusion over future of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts

Environmentalists and politicians worry Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts could be weakened, if not doomed, days after the federal official overseeing that work called an agreement to reduce water pollution an “aspirational” goal and not rules to be enforced.   They say the federal Environmental Protection Agency, through its Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bay Program office, plays a central role in guiding water quality improvements across the big estuary’s watershed. Under the EPA’s supervision, six states and the District of Columbia in 2010 agreed to significantly reduce pollution by 2025; the EPA pledged it would step in if they ...

EPA on Dicamba: ‘We Need to Have Certainty for Our Growers’

The EPA wants to work with state pesticide regulators on its review of dicamba herbicides as the registration deadline approaches this December, according to an article from Agri-Pulse on Wednesday.   “We need to have certainty for our growers,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, at the Association of American Pesticide Officials’ annual meeting in Alexandria, VA, according to the article. She called dicamba-tolerant seed and accompanying herbicides “a valuable tool for America’s farmers.”   But in a nod to the continuing ...

EPA Paraquat Requirements Place Spotlight on Closed Transfer Systems

The liquid herbicide paraquat is widely used throughout North America as an effective herbicide and pre-harvest crop defoliant, but can be fatal if accidentally ingested in small quantities as well as cause eye damage and irritation to skin.   So, in response to the serious risks associated with paraquat, the EPA has already pursued significant manufacturer labeling and training changes. Now, for growers, the next step in the process is to address changes required to safely dispense the restricted-use pesticide. Consequently, it is urgent that growers quickly get up to speed on what the EPA has mandated in terms of ...

EPA Pesticide Rules Delayed Amid Farm Bill Wrangling

The Trump administration is postponing the release of two farmworker protection proposals that would roll back changes made under former President Barack Obama.   The Environmental Protection Agency will propose changes to the Worker Protection Standard (RIN:2070-AK43) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule (RIN:2070-AK37) in January, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s regulatory agenda released Oct. 17. The regulatory agenda previously set the changes for September.   They would include lowering the minimum age for pesticide applicators and farmworkers from the current 18 and revising a provision that allowed farmworkers to pick a “...

EPA plan seeks cuts in phosphorus pollution that causes algae masses in Lake Erie

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to algae blooms in Lake Erie but recommended no new federal regulations to accomplish the task.   A plan released by EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office sets targets for reducing phosphorus that feeds giant algae masses that in the past decade have caused fish kills and beach closures on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, harming tourism and threatening drinking water. A 2014 bloom settled over the drinking water intake pipe for Toledo, Ohio, contaminating the municipal supply for more than 400,000 people.   But ...

EPA plan seeks cuts in pollution that causes Lake Erie algae

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to algae blooms in Lake Erie but recommended no new federal regulations to accomplish the task.   A plan released by EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office sets targets for reducing phosphorus that feeds giant algae masses that in the past decade have caused fish kills and beach closures on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, harming tourism and threatening drinking water. A 2014 bloom settled over the drinking water intake pipe for Toledo, Ohio, contaminating the municipal supply for more than 400,000 people.   But ...

EPA Plans Temporary Pesticide Restrictions While Bees Feed

If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S. The pesticide halt would only happen during the time the flower is in bloom and the bees are there, and only on the property where the bees are working, not neighboring land Click Here to read ...

EPA plans to buy out more than 1,200 employees this summer

The Environmental Protection Agency plans on shedding more than 1,200 employees by early September through buyouts and early retirements, as part of a broader push by the Trump administration to shrink a government entity the president once promised to eliminate “in almost every form.”   The departures would amount to about 8 percent of the current 15,000-person workforce of the EPA, where a hiring freeze also remains in effect. The Trump administration has proposed a 31 percent cut to its budget, the largest percentage reduction of any agency and one that could mean several thousand job losses.   Click Here to ...

EPA Proposes Changes in Chlorpyrifos Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the use of the pesticide Chlorpyrifos for some purposes in a proposed interim decision and associated risk assessments, which are open to public comment for 60 days.   Specifically, EPA is proposing: label amendments limiting application to address potential drinking water risks of concern; additional personal protection equipment and application restrictions to address potential occupational handler risks of concern; and spray drift mitigation, in combination with the use limitations and application restrictions identified to address drinking water and occupational risks, to reduce exposure to non-target organisms.   EPA will also consider the input and ...

EPA Proposes Changes To Gypsum Source

Richard Gupton Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Counsel at Ag Retailers Association explains the EPA-proposed revisions to regulations of coal ash that could impact ag retailers, their farmer customers and the availability of gypsum in the latest AgPro Podcast.   ARA is encouraging retailers to submit comments by the Oct. 15 deadline.   The proposed changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) are related to the disposal of coal combustion residuals (also referred to as coal ash.)   Coal ash is a source of Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) gypsum. This gypsum is used as a fertilizer and a ...

EPA Proposes Dicamba for GE Cotton, Soybeans

Cotton and soybean growers will have a new herbicide at their disposal if an EPA proposal to approve dicamba on the genetically engineered versions of those crops is approved.   With weeds “becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides,” the availability of dicamba “will provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds,” EPA said. Better Food Better World The comment period on the proposal ends April 30.   CropLife America called the proposed decision “another critical milestone toward farmers gaining access to new dicamba weed-management tools.”   Click Here to read more.  

EPA Proposes New Bt Crop Regulation to Slow Insect Resistance

Big changes could be coming to Bt corn and cotton management in the years ahead, according to a newly released draft of proposed Bt regulations from EPA.   The agency released a document this week outlining steps it is considering taking to help the agricultural industry slow the spread of Bt resistance in lepidopteran pests such as corn earworm, fall armyworm and western bean cutworm.   The plan proposes phasing out certain Bt corn and cotton products and making changes to seed blends, or refuge-in-a-bag, corn products. It would also change how companies define resistance and respond to unexpected injury ...

EPA Proposes New Corn Rootworm Management Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new measures to delay the corn rootworm pest becoming resistant to corn genetically engineered to produce certain pesticides.     The EPA Federal Register Notice published January 28, 2015, "EPA Proposal To Improve Corn Rootworm Resistance Management; Notice of Availability," proposes some requirements for the manufacturers of Bt corn, which is engineered to include a gene from Bacillus thuringeiensis, a bacterium that lives in the soil and naturally produces a toxin that functions as a pesticide.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Proposes Reapproving Chlorpyrifos

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to continue to allow uses of a pesticide that’s been linked to brain damage in children.   In a proposed interim decision dated Thursday, the EPA continued to allow uses of the chemical chlorpyrifos, which agricultural workers can be exposed to through their jobs and that the general public can be exposed to through food.   However, the public has 60 days to comment on the proposal, meaning that it will likely be up to President-elect Joe Biden's administration to make the final decision on whether to approve the continued uses ...

EPA Publishes Chlorpyrifos Final Rule FAQ

In August 2021, EPA released a final rule revoking all “tolerances” for chlorpyrifos, which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food.  Since EPA’s ruling, IFCA has heard from many ag retailers that have had additional questions.  The agency recently put out a FAQ to answer some of these common questions.  Click here to find the FAQ from EPA on Chlorpyrifos.  Any additional information IFCA receives on this topic will be passed along to membership.

EPA Publishes Dicamba Damage Report, But Says Label Changes Unlikely in 2022 Season

EPA released a report on Dec. 21 detailing widespread alleged dicamba damage from the 2021 season but said the agency cannot move fast enough to make regulatory changes to dicamba use by the 2022 spray season.   "The regulatory tools that the Agency could use to address the extent and severity of the alleged dicamba related incidents are unlikely to be fully implemented by the 2022 growing season due to the statutory processes the Agency is required to follow," the EPA's summary of its report stated.   But in the report, EPA promised to help states "restrict or narrow the ...

EPA Pulls 12 Neonicotinoid-Containing Pesticides

In response to legal action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cancelling registrations for 12 pesticides containing neonicotinoid. Cancellations are part of a legal settlement brought forward by environmentalists and bee keepers.   Product cancellations include: •Meridian 0.20G •Meridian 0.14F •Avicta Complete Corn 500 •THX_MXM_FDL_TBZ FS •Adage Deluxe •Adage Premier •Emesto Quantum •V-10170 0.25 G GL Insecticide •Inovate Seed Protectant •Inovate Neutral Seed Protectant •Aloft GC G Insecticide •Flower, Rose & Shrub Care III   Syngenta, Bayer and Valent each had to cancel products as a result of ...

EPA Pulls Glyphosate Report Back, House Committee Ask "Why?"

EPA posted the final report of the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee at the end of last week but pulled it from the agency’s website May 2, saying a full review would not be completed until the end of the year.     That report, dated October 2015, concludes glyphosate likely is not carcinogenic to humans. It was signed by 13 scientists and titled “Final Report.”   In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday, committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, announced his committee is launching an investigation into the matter.   “…EPA&...

EPA Quietly Extends WOTUS Comment Period Past Election Day

Landowners will have more time to comment on the proposed "Waters of the US" federal rule.  The proposed rule was an attempted by EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to provide more clarity over the term navigable waters.  On Monday the EPA extended the comment period from October 20th to November 14, 2014.   Click Here to read more.

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-approved a chemical used in Bayer's Roundup weed killer despite concerns over its health risks.   The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.   “The EPA found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate plays a role in any human diseases,” said an agency interim registration review decision.   The agency did find that glyphosate presented “low or limited potential risks” in birds and mammals.   ...

EPA Recommends Keeping Current Air Standards

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency is proposing to retain current ozone requirements that were set in 2015.   “Current scientific information continues to support the conclusion that the primary standard established in 2015 protects public health with an adequate margin of safety.”   He says from 2017 to 2019, ozone concentrations across the country fell four percent.   Wheeler says a recent Harvard study, which suggests breathing more polluted air after many years could worsen the effects of COVID-19, has not been peer-reviewed and is withholding judgment until then.   Click Here to read more

EPA Rejects Petition on Treated Seeds

On Wednesday, EPA rejected a 2017 petition to regulate treated seed, telling environmental groups the agency already "fully assesses" pesticides registered for treating seed, including effects on human health and the environment. In September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California in San Francisco approved a consent decree between the EPA and the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The court gave the agency until the end of the month to act on the petition. Though the EPA rejected the petition, the agency also announced on Wednesday plans to ...

EPA rejects petition to revoke chlorpyrifos tolerances

The agency announced the decision late today, two days ahead of a court-ordered deadline. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network had petitioned the agency 10 years ago to ban Dow AgroSciences’ organophosphate insecticide (tradename: Lorsban), which is used to control a variety of crop pests, including corn rootworm and soybean aphid.   The groups have argued that food residue levels are high enough to pose a risk to the developing brain and nervous system   But EPA said in its news release that its October 2015 proposal to revoke food tolerances “largely relied on certain epidemiological study ...

EPA rejects request to delay pesticide safety rule

EPA's farmworker protection rule will go into effect Jan. 2 as scheduled, the agency said today.   The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) petitioned EPA last week to delay implementation by a year. EPA said it would respond officially to the petition in the new year.   The groups said EPA had failed to provide state lead agencies, or SLA's, with needed training materials and guidance, and had not properly alerted Congress to the presence of the “designated representative” provision in the rule.   That provision allows farmworkers ...

EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluations for Atrazine, Simazine and Propazine

EPA is taking the next step in its regulatory review of atrazine, simazine, and propazine, three widely-used herbicides used to control a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. Atrazine is used on about 75 million acres of agricultural crop land every year and is especially effective, affordable, and well-studied.   In September 2020, EPA announced its interim registration review decisions for atrazine, simazine, and propazine (collectively known as the triazines), finalizing measures to protect human health, mitigate potential ecological risks while providing America’s farmers with valuable tools they have come to rely upon.   On November 5, EPA released its draft ...

EPA Releases Improved Version of Bulletins Live

EPA recently released an improved version of Bulletins Live! Two (BLT), the web-based application to access Endangered Species Protection Bulletins. The updated BLT offers new capabilities that enable users to more easily find the information they need to help protect threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitat. The updates to BLT include faster load and search times by connecting directly to EPA’s Pesticide Product Label System; a modernized user interface with higher resolution basemaps; increased compatibility with more web browsers; and a simplified search function with clarified instructions for searching products by registration number.   As ...

EPA Releases RFS Proposals for 2014-2016

The EPA on Friday released proposed Renewable Volume Obligations(RVOs) for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that show an increase in required blending, but still below statutory levels sought by the renewable fuels industry.   EPA's proposal reflects actual usage for 2014, but calls for increase in subsequent years.  Janet McCabe, EPA's acting assistant administrator of the Office of Air, said the proposed volume requirements "will provide a strong incentive for continued investment and growth in biofuels".   Click Here to read more.

EPA Releases Updated Nutrient Management Framework

This week EPA Office of Water released an updated nutrient management framework for helping states develop strategies for reducing nutrient loadings to the nation’s waterways. Click here for more information. The guidance provides the necessary flexibility for states to adopt 4R nutrient stewardship practices and other innovative approaches as opposed to adopting strict numeric nutrient criteria. The memorandum builds on a bi-partisan guidance that has been updated by several EPA administrations and focus on three major areas: Stregthen USDA/EPA collaborative partnerships and expand engagement with agriculture and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Increase support for states to ...

EPA remains top target with Trump administration proposing 31 percent budget cut

Candidate Donald Trump vowed to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits” intact. President Trump is making good on his promise to take a sledgehammer to the agency.   Under the White House’s latest budget proposal, released Tuesday, the EPA would fare worse than any other federal agency. The proposal would reduce the agency’s current funding by more than 31 percent, to $5.65 billion.   Click Here to read more.

EPA rethinks pesticide 'exclusion zones'

Pesticides could be sprayed within 100 feet of passersby under a proposed federal rule that responds to complaints by farm groups but would conflict with Washington and Oregon's current regulations.   The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to redefine "application exclusion zone" — the area off-limits to anyone not spraying the pesticides. The EPA planned to publish the rule Nov. 1 in the Federal Register, triggering a 90-day comment period.   The current rule requires aerial or air-blast spraying to stop if someone comes within 100 feet of the equipment, even if they're not on the property.   ...

EPA Revamping Pesticide Review Process

The Environmental protection has released a plan to revamp its pesticide review process to better protect endangered species from pesticides.  The EPA says it’s falling behind on the review of pesticides and struggling to meet Endangered Species Act obligations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act because of the length of the process and high volume of reviews.   The agency’s news plan aims to better meet ESA obligations under FIFRA, better identify protection actions to be taken, shorten the length of the process, and streamline communication between EPA and pesticide users.   Click ...

EPA reviews its directions on dicamba after widespread damage reports

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing its directions on how to use the latest versions of the weed killer dicamba, following hundreds of reports about crop damage when traces of it drift away from application sites, an agency spokeswoman said on Tuesday.   "We are reviewing the current use restrictions on the labels for these dicamba formulations in light of the incidents that have been reported this year," EPA spokeswoman Amy Graham said in an email to Reuters.   The EPA approved new formulations of the pesticide, a weed killer sold by Monsanto Co., BASF and ...

EPA Reviews Proposed Dicamba Label Changes From Bayer for 2023

EPA referenced potential label changes coming to over-the-top dicamba herbicides for the 2023 growing season, in a court document filed by the agency on May 16.   According to the agency, Bayer submitted a proposed amendment to the 2020 registration of its XtendiMax herbicide to EPA on March 18. It involves "additional use restrictions" for counties where certain federally listed threatened or endangered species are present.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Reviews Proposed Dicamba Label Changes from Bayer for 2023

In the past week new reports that EPA referenced potential label changes coming to over-the-top dicamba herbicides for the 2023 growing season, in a court document filed by the agency on May 16th. According to the agency, Bayer submitted a proposed amendment to the 2020 registration of its XtendiMax herbicide to EPA on March 18, 2022.   Bayer informed news outlets that: "Our proposed amendments are meant to address the EPA's stated concerns about protecting endangered species in certain counties in the U.S. We are examining all actions we can to ensure that this important tool remains available for our customers.&...

EPA Reviews Put Popular Pesticides Under The Magnifying Glass

Every year, dozens of active ingredients in fungicides, herbicides and insecticides undergo regulatory review and are at risk of being pulled off the market. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews each registered pesticide at least every 15 years to ensure it still meets the most up-to-date science available. Three common active ingredients planted on millions of acres—pyrethroids, chlorpyrifos and atrazine—are currently under, have recently emerged from review or will be entering the process soon.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Revises List of Lists

EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated List of Lists dated April 2022 on their website. This is the consolidated list of chemicals subject to reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and section 112 (r) of the Clean Air Act.  The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting.  This revised version replaces the previous version dated September 2021.  Access the List of Lists by clicking here. 

EPA Says Glyphosate, Atrazine Likely to Adversely Affect Endangered Species

EPA finalized its biological evaluations on glyphosate, atrazine and simazine, finding all three herbicides are "likely to adversely affect" certain species listed under the Endangered Species Act and their "designated critical habitats."   The agency released the biological evaluations after its regular business hours on Friday, stating in a news release, "These evaluations encompass all registered uses and approved product labels for pesticide products containing these three herbicides."   EPA said the "likely to adversely affect" determination means the agency "reasonably expects" that "at least one individual animal or ...

EPA Says Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments on Soybeans are of Little Benefit

EPA finds that neonicotinoid seed treatments provide no increase in yeild on soybeans when compared to no pest control.   An EPA analysis of neonicotinoid seed treatments has conclued that there is "little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatment when compared to using no pest control at all," that agency said Thursday.   Click Here to read more.

EPA says no health risk from trace amounts of herbicide in breakfast cereals

An environmental advocacy group reports it has found small amounts of a herbicide in consumer foods including breakfast cereals, saying there is cause for concern even though the amount is within limits allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.   Just how much, if any, of the herbicide can be considered safe is a matter of long-running scientific and legal debate. The Environmental Working Group's standard for what's acceptable is, by far, the most conservative, beyond even that of California, which has the tightest regulation in the country.   The Environmental Working Group commissioned tests of popular breakfast products, ...

EPA says Reregistration Review for Dicamba Products is Ongoing

Three formulations of dicamba were abruptly taken off the market this year, but there is a chance they could come back for use in 2021.   The Administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, says that the reregistration review of three dicamba products that were part of a California court case earlier this summer is ongoing. "The companies that manufacture dicamba have already applied for a new license," he states. "We're reviewing that now. We hope to have a decision later this fall in time for people to make plans for the growing season."   In early ...

EPA Says Updated ESA Pesticide Policy Will Protect Tools

The head of the EPA’s pesticide program says the agency’s updated policy on pesticide analysis will help protect tools for farmers.   Ed Messina tells Brownfield, until now, EPA had not been analyzing the effects of pesticides on non-target plants and animals, including endangered species, which led to litigation from non-governmental organizations.   Click Here to read more.  

EPA Science Panel Considering Guidelines That Upend Basic Air Pollution Science

Several members of a powerful science panel for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed doubt at a hearing Thursday about the long-established scientific consensus that air pollution can cause premature death.   The panel was meeting to consider recommendations that would fundamentally change how the agency analyzes the public health dangers posed by air pollution and could lead to weaker regulation of soot.   The recommendations concern how the EPA regulates microscopic soot known as particulate matter, which causes and exacerbates respiratory diseases such as asthma. Determining exactly how much particulate matter is safe to breathe requires complex analysis of an ...

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp

The U.S. EPA has announced the receipt of 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.   “EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on ten existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp. We hope this transparent and public process ...

EPA Sends 2014 Biofuel Targets to White House

The U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency on Friday sent its final targets for 2014 biofuel use to the White House as the long delayed rule enters its last round of review before public release.   The Obama administration will now face a last-ditch round of lobbying from biofuel producers seeking changes to the rule and opponents of the renewable fuels mandate who hope regulators will stand firm on proposed cuts to the targets.   Click Here to read more.

EPA should revoke Monsanto weed killer approval, Enviromental groups tell U.S. court

Environmental groups argued in federal appeals court on Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to analyze the risks Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) Monsanto’s dicamba-based weed killer posed to nearby crops before approving it in 2016.   The groups, which filed a lawsuit in February, want the court to force the EPA to vacate its approval of XtendiMax, arguing it not only harms nearby crops and plants but wildlife as well. It is not clear whether the court has the authority to revoke an EPA approval.   The United States has faced a weed-killer crisis caused by the ...

EPA Study Finds That Neonics NOT Causing Colony Collapse Disorder in Bees

A few years ago, bees suddenly had a sharp decline in numbers. This "Colony Collapse Disorder" as it is called, is a disorder in the sense that it is a recurring phenomenon, detailed for the last 1,000 years even when record-keeping just consisted of sporadic anecdotes. It was noted more frequently as record-keeping became more thorough. so it appeared far more often by the 1800s. By the 1900s, record-keeping had improved enough that there were seven recorded instances of this CCD phenomenon just in the United States. But the cultural landscape was much different by the end of the 20th century, ...

EPA Sued Over Chlorpyrifos Ban

A group of 21 agricultural trade groups have filed a lawsuit against the EPA, demanding that the agency's pending chlorpyrifos ban be halted and ultimately revoked.   The lawsuit comes just weeks before the EPA is set to finalize its rule on Feb. 28 revoking the food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an act which will effectively ban legal use of the insecticide among U.S. farmers. That rule was issued by the Biden EPA in August 2021, in response to an order from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Takes Aim at Atrazine Again

Late last month, the Environmental Protection Agency reopened the finalized reregistration of atrazine. The EPA proposes an extremely low ecological level of concern value for atrazine of just 3.4 parts per billion, down from the scientifically proven 15 parts per billion, according to Gary Marshall, Triazine Network Co-Chair and retired Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO.   “In 2019, the EPA agreed to re-register the product. And now the new administration came in two years after the fact because of a lawsuit generated by some of the anti-agricultural organizations around the country, sued the EPA over the reregistration, and the EPA did something ...

EPA Takes Steps to Protect Endangered and Threatened Species from Insecticide

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take action to protect endangered and threatened species in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) nationwide final biological opinion (BiOp) for the insecticide malathion. This insecticide is commonly used for wide-area mosquito control and to control insects that attack crops and ornamental plants.   Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), EPA ensures that certain actions, including many pesticide registration actions, do not jeopardize federally threatened and endangered (i.e., listed) species or adversely modify their designated critical habitats. In January 2017, EPA released the biological evaluation for ...

EPA Taking Public Comments on Planned Phase-Out of BT Corn Traits

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments on a plan that would phase out many of the existing Bt corn and cotton plant protection traits.   The agency wants to implement many recommendations from a scientific advisory panel that are designed to delay insect resistance to the plant protection traits and prolong the effectiveness of plant protection products.   The EPA says Bt resistance has been reported for corn earworm, fall armyworm, western bean cutworm, and the southwestern corn borer.  The agency reports insect resistance risk factors including a lack of high-dose toxin in pests, cross-pollination with non-Bt plants, ...

EPA Throws Up Roadblock to State Restrictions on Dicamba, Other Pesticides

State regulators are reeling from a sudden apparent policy change by EPA that will make restricting pesticides -- such as dicamba -- beyond the federal label much harder for states to accomplish in the years ahead.   The policy change was announced in a single footnote, buried amid dozens of pages of regulatory documents accompanying EPA's three new dicamba registrations released on Oct. 30. The footnote is only three sentences long, but it packs a punch, regulators and legal experts said. It will require states to go through state law or rulemaking processes if they want to further restrict a ...

EPA to Ban Use of Pesticide Chlorpyrifos on Food Crops Over Health Concerns

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday said it will ban the use on food crops of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to health problems in children. Corteva Inc, the world's largest manufacturer of the chemical, in 2020 said it would stop producing chlorpyrifos because of declining sales.   The decision is a victory for environmental activists who have fought to stop the use of the chemical that is applied to crops ranging from corn and soybeans to Brussels sprouts and broccoli.   "EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health," said EPA ...

EPA to Conduct Endangered Species Assessment on Fungicide

The Environmental Protection Agency will have to complete assessments of the impacts of a fungicide on endangered species following an order from a federal appeals court.   The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted EPA’s request for a voluntary remand to examine inpyrfluxam’s effects and begin Endangered Species Act consultation with federal wildlife agencies by June 22, 2023. Inpyrfluxam is approved for use on apples, peanuts, corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, among other crops.   EPA has represented to the court that it is on track to have a draft effects determination by fall 2022 ...

EPA to Convene FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel on Atrazine

The Environmental Protection Agency will convene a formal Scientific Advisory Panel on risks posed by atrazine to aquatic plants. The agency had said there would be an “external peer review” of its proposed risk management strategy for the herbicide but had not said what form that would take. EPA has proposed growers reduce the amount of the herbicide applied and employ a mix of conservation practices, depending on the level of atrazine already in their watersheds.   The Triazine Network, a coalition of ag groups, said it had been told “several times” by EPA that the ...

EPA to Environmental Groups: Agency Already 'Fully Assesses' Pesticide-Treated Seed Risks

The EPA on Wednesday rejected a 2017 petition to regulate treated seed, telling environmental groups the agency already "fully assesses" pesticides registered for treating seed, including effects on human health and the environment.   At the beginning of September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California in San Francisco approved a consent decree between the EPA and the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network North America.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Urged to Delay Herbicide Registration Changes

As news circulates that the Environmental Protection Agency could be making changes to dicamba registrations as well as other crucial herbicides used by farmers, a bipartisan group of congressional members are asking EPA to delay any changes. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., led 12 of her colleagues in the U.S. House calling on the agency to delay the implementation of any upcoming herbicide registration revisions at this time.   Citing nationwide supply chain backlogs and heightened consumer demand, the bipartisan group of lawmakers made clear that such a delay would reduce burdensome ...

EPA Vacates Interim Registration for Glyphosate

The court battles over glyphosate continue, and the latest move by EPA shows the agency believes more work needs to be done. In response to a June decision by the Ninth Circuit Court, the agency has withdrawn its interim decision for registration review of glyphosate.   That doesn’t take the product off the market but means the agency is going back to the drawing board to work on a final registration covering more off-target drift, cancer risk and Endangered Species Act issues, a move that won’t be completed until 2026.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Wants to Remove 72 Approved Pesticide List

The EPA Thursday requested public comment on the agency's proposal to remove 72 chemicals from the Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredient List.  Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Jim Jones, stated "This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients."  The action is in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others.  There groups asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products.   ...

EPA watchdog questions safety of sewage used as fertilizer

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't know if the treated sewage sludge that farmers use as fertilizer is safe, according to a report from its internal watchdog. The treated sewage known as biosolids is chock full of nutrients, which is what makes it so good at enriching soil. But it also can be chock full of pollutants, from heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic to pharmaceutical compounds, flame retardants and disease-carrying organisms. And the EPA doesn't know enough about hundreds of pollutants found in the material, the agency's inspector general said in a report Thursday. The EPA'...

EPA Water Chief on Clean Water Protections

To finally determine a lasting definition of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water director says everyone with a stake in the issue will need to be engaged.   Radhika Fox recently spoke to The Associated Press about the Biden administration's plan to rewrite the regulation, also called Waters of the United States. The contentious rule was scaled back by the Trump administration after being expanded under President Barack Obama.   Fox joins the EPA as water issues have become a priority under President Joe Biden. She ...

EPA Water Proposal Rattles Ag Industry.

For years, farmers and ranchers have cast a wary eye toward new laws and regulations from Washington that they fear will be costly burdensome.   Agricultural producers argue they know the best way to take care of their land, not only to maximize production but to preserve the acreage they depend upon to survive.   Now, a rule being proposed by the EPA outlining which bodies of waters the agency would oversee under the Clean Water Act has again rattled the agriculture industry.  The EPA says it is necessary after recent court rulings to clarify the 1972 law.  Many ...

EPA Water Rule Starts in the Ephemeral Streams

EPA finds itself fighting a losing public-relations war against not just farm groups but also vocal Republican officials.   Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman on Monday called EPA "the enemy of agriculture."   At issue remains the proposed rule by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine what "waters of the United States" mean in the Clean Water Act.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Weighs Changes to Dicamba Use, But Offers No Timeline for a Decision

EPA is concerned about continued reports of off-target dicamba injury in the 2021 season and is considering changes to the most recent 2020 registrations of the dicamba herbicides XtendiMax, Engenia and Tavium.   But don't ask the agency when that decision might come.   "EPA has not yet made any decision regarding altering the 2020 dicamba registrations," said Meg Hathaway, a senior regulatory specialist within EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).   Click Here to read more.

EPA Weighs In On Glyphosate, Says It Likely Doesn't Cause Cancer

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup. That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds. (Easy, at least, until weeds evolved to become immune to glyphosate, but that's a different story.)   Glyphosate had been considered among the safest of herbicides. So it was a shock to many, last year, when the International Agency for ...

EPA Will Address Challenges to New Dicamba Label

A regional EPA administrator says concerns brought forth by the American Soybean Association and Plains Cotton Council over new dicamba label restrictions WILL be addressed by the EPA.   The groups are suing, not to vacate the label, but to challenge the new buffer requirements and cut-off dates for over-the-top application.   EPA Region Seven Administrator Jim Gulliford tells Brownfield Ag News,   “I think the challenge from the commodity organizations is, well, we can’t be certain about when we get our crop planted so how can we be certain about these cut-off dates. So, I think ...

EPA Will Continue Revamping WOTUS

In an appearance before House appropriators on last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan told members of congress that EPA would continue its work on finalizing a pre-2015 definition for “waters of the U.S.”   Despite a pending Supreme Court case on federal wetlands jurisdiction, Reagan said the case “will address some aspects of WOTUS,” but not all of them, Regan said, which will allow EPA to quickly adapt its rule to the Supreme Court’s opinion.   Administrator Regan also repeatedly mentioned the need to coordinate with cabinet secretaries, in particular ...

EPA Will Decide by Sep 30 on Regulations Over Pesticide-Treated Seeds

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will decide by the end of September on its regulatory oversight of pesticide-treated seeds.   Kyle Kunkler is the director of government affairs with the American Soybean Association. “It would be very unfortunate and a travesty both for agriculture and the environment if EPA decides to grant the petition.  We think it wouldn’t be consistent with the law either.”   Click Here to read more.

EPA wins new chance to argue against pesticide ban

The Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers.   In an order on Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will again review former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 refusal to ban chlorpyrifos for use on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.   Pruitt’s ruling reversed a 2015 Obama administration plan to extend a 2000 ban on the pesticide that had covered most household settings.   ...

EPA Workplan to Protect Endangered Species

IFCA learned this week that EPA is working on a plan to address pesticide bottlenecks over endangered species (ESA).  This is a high priority for the agency to meet court-ordered deadlines to evaluate the impacts of crop protection chemicals such as neonicotinoids and sulfoxaflor on federally listed species. EPA identified more than 50 pesticide active ingredients “covering over 1,000 pesticide products, with court-enforceable deadlines to comply with the ESA or in pending litigation alleging ESA violations,”. Next in line are new registrations for conventional pesticide active ingredients. The agency announced earlier this year it would not register ...

EPA's first neonicotinoid assessment finds risk to honey bees

A widely used neonicotinoid insecticide poses a risk to honey bees, EPA said in an analysis released today that drew criticism from a leading manufacturer of the product as well as environmental groups.   The neonic is imidacloprid, and EPA said that it “potentially poses risk to hives” when used on crops that attract pollinators. Citrus and cotton, in particular, appear to present a risk to honey bee hives and other pollinators, the agency said.   “Other crops such as corn and leafy vegetables either do not produce nectar or have residues below the EPA identified level&...

EPA's New Clean Water Rule Will Make WOTUS A Rallying Cry Againist POTUS

On Friday, barring a last-minute judicial intervention, hundreds of millions of acres of land across the country will fall under Obama administration’s broad new Clean Water Rule, which defines “waters of the U.S.” to include virtually any wet area — even a rain-fed temporary pool — that is close to any other body of water with a physical connection to a navigable waterway. Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, is likely to become a rallying cry for landowners who resent the administration’s attempts to steadily expand the limits of federal jurisdiction.   ...

EPA's Chlorpyrifos Ban Is in Effect. Now What?

On Monday, Feb. 28, EPA's de facto ban on chlorpyrifos use in food or feed crops formally went into effect. The agency's newly finalized rule revokes food residue tolerances for the insecticide, meaning there is now no amount of chlorpyrifos residue on food or feed that would be considered safe. As a result, it's now illegal to spray any chlorpyrifos product on a crop intended for food or feed. Click here to read more.

EPA's National Compliance Initiative to Apply to Ag Retailers

The EPA National Compliance Initiative (NCI) prioritizes the enforcement of the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations on specific chemical facilities, including ag retailers handling anhydrous ammonia.   Ag retailers that store and/or handle anhydrous ammonia are required to comply with the RMP regardless of the NCI.   The purpose of the NCI is to reduce accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.   Click Here to read more.

EPA, Army propose two-year delay of WOTUS

The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army are proposing to delay the effective date of the Waters of the U.S. rule by two years.   “Today’s proposal shows our commitment to our state and tribal partners and to providing regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and businesses,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This step will allow us to minimize confusion as we continue to receive input from across the country on how we should revise the definition of the ‘waters of the United States.’&...

EPA, Fish and Wildlife to Review Pesticide Use

The EPA is requesting the voluntary cancelation or amendment to several pesticides including atrazine for certain uses. EPA’s request attempts to stop the pesticide use in areas like roadsides and Conservation Reserve Program land.   Triazine Network Chairman Gary Marshall says the EPA’s request comes after a court order required both EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if pesticides are allowed to be approved through the Endangered Species Act.   Marshall tells Brownfield the move puts critical farming tools at risk.   “[With] a lot of the endangered species, EPA ...

EPA, Spingfield's CWLP encouraging farmers to keep soil out of lake

At the edge of corn and soybean fields that Lee Curby farms in Glenarm, a pipe empties water into a creek that cuts between some trees.   When Curby’s grandfather farmed the land in the 1960s, there was a pond where the trees and plants grow now, he said. A couple feet of red clay that used to form the bottom of the pond rise up from the creek bed, and another few feet of rich, black dirt sit on top.   Heavy spring rain and farming techniques such as tilling over the last few decades have washed ...

Estate tax repeal bills introduced.(AUDIO)

A pair of South Dakota Republicans and a Georgia Democrat are giving new life to a longstanding effort to reshape the tax code. Click Here to read more.

EU approves three biotech soybean traits

After a long delay, the European Union has approved three biotech soybean traits for import and processing, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.   The stacked even ts are:   • Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (MON87708 x MON89788, with dicamba and glyphosate tolerance. It is approved in China and is being planted by U.S. farmers.)  • Monsanto's Vistive Gold (MON87705 x MON89788, the product is high-oleic with glyphosate tolerance and is being grown by U.S. farmers to provide trans-fat free soybean oil for the food industry. • Bayer CropScience's Balance GT (FG72, ...

EU Banned Pesticides to Help Bees. Now Other Bugs Are Invading

The European Union has a bug problem.   After regulators in late 2013 banned pesticide called neonicotinoids, link in some studies to the unintended deaths of bees, farmers across the continent applied older chemicals to which many pests had developed a resistance, allowing them to survive.  Now, infestations may lead to a 15 percent drop in year's European harvest of rapeseed, the region's primary source of vegetable oil used to make food ingredients and biodiesel, according to researcher Oil World.   Click Here to read more.

EU Calls for Rethink of GMO Rules for Gene-Edited Crops

The European Commission launched a review of EU rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Thursday, opening the door to a possible loosening of restrictions for plants resulting from gene-editing technology.   Prompted by a 2018 ruling from the European Union's top court that techniques to alter the genome of an organism should be governed by existing EU rules on GMOs, the Commission concluded that its 2001 legislation was "not fit for purpose".   Gene-editing technology targets specific genes within an organism to promote certain characteristics or curb others, while genetic modification involves transferring a gene from one kind ...

EU Court rejects industry evidence on neonicotinoids

The European General Court has rejected industry evidence that the European Commission decision to restrict certain uses of three neonicotinoid insecticides – clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid in 2013 did not have a legal basis.   The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) expressed disappointment at the ruling. AIC said it supported the action brought by Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta as it ‘firmly believes in an approval system that is based on scientific evidence, independent review and an assessment of impacts, rather than politics’.   Hazel Doonan, head of AIC’s crop protection sector said: “Effective modern crop protection ...

EU delays decision on herbicide glyphosate

EU countries failed on Wednesday to vote on a license extension for weedkiller glyphosate, delaying again a decision on the widely used herbicide that critics say could cause cancer.   The European Commission said in a statement the relevant committee did not hold a vote at a meeting and that it would announce the date of the next meeting shortly.   Click Here to read more.

EU fires warning shot over agrichemical mega-mergers

Brussels has issued a stark warning to the world’s leading agrichemical companies that they will need to make significant concessions in the coming months if they want to complete a wave of mega-mergers.   Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, on Thursday opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed $130 billion tie-up between Dow and DuPont. The deal between the two U.S. chemical giants would create the world’s largest crop protection and seed company.   The unusual breadth of Vestager’s probe into Dow/DuPont is a signal that the Commission is also ...

EU Issues Near-Complete Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Neonicotinoid pesticides—these include imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, and are sold under various brand names—have long been pegged, albeit not without controversy, as dangerous to long-term bee health. In 2013, the EU issued a set of restrictions on their use, but last week, after a vote, the Union enacted a broad ban on all outdoor use of the three major varieties.   This category of pesticides is one of the suspected culprits of colony collapse disorder, and research has indicated that it reduces the bee’s ability to lay eggs and is also harmful to non-bee beneficial ...

EU Nations Could Get Power to Block GMO Crops

European lawmakers have voted to give EU member states the power to ban cultivation of genetically modified crops on their territory even if they have been approved by the 28-nation bloc.   Tuesday's vote on genetically modified organisms, or GMO, must still be converted into EU-wide law by the bloc's executive, the European Commission and national governments.   Click Here to read more.

EuroChem takes on US fertilizer assets from Trammo

EuroChem Group AG, a leading global fertilizer company, announces the expansion of its North American distribution network via the assumption of dry and liquid fertilizer transport and storage assets from international merchandising and trading firm Trammo, Inc.   The move substantially expands EuroChem’s fertilizer storage capacity in the US, and will enable the Group to strengthen its presence into Western Canada as well as on the East Coast. EuroChem now operates 25 warehouses in the US, with a current storage capacity of about 500 000 t.   The US market accounted for about 11% of Group sales in 2017. EuroChem expanded its presence ...

Europe still can’t decide whether to approve glyphosate

The European Union has once again declined to renew its authorization of glyphosate, which likely will leave the decision in the hands of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.   On Thursday, ministers representing the EU member states voted 14-9, with five abstentions, in favor of extending the authorization to use glyphosate for five years. But under EU rules, a “qualified majority” representing 55 percent of the member states and 65 percent of the EU’s population is needed for approval.   Click Here to read more.

European farm groups defend neonicotinoids as environmental NGOs calls for total ban to protect bees

EU farming lobby Copa-Cogeca said [the European Food Safety Authority's] report confirmed there was no justification for a total ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments on all crops.   The [UK's National Farmers' Union] said Efsa’s assessment “failed to take proper account of what is happening to bees in real field situations”.   “The reality is that there is a balance between environmental protection and food production that has to be considered and the impacts of a ‘no neonicotinoid’ scenario on pollinators also need to be ...

Europe’s Energy Crunch Is Forcing U.K. Factories to Shut Down

Europe’s energy crunch has forced a major fertilizer maker to shut down two U.K. plants, the first sign that a record rally in gas and power prices is threatening to slow the region’s economic recovery.   CF Industries Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it’s halting operations at its Billingham and Ince manufacturing complexes due to high natural gas prices, with no estimate for when production will resume. European gas and power futures tumbled Thursday on signs energy-intensive industries are curbing consumption.    The move comes as Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for ...

Evaluating Impact of House Ways & Means Proposal for Tax Changes

New details for a potential $3.5 trillion spending and tax package were released by the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday September 13, 2021, including a proposal for funding new policies advanced by Democrats. This package includes proposals for several changes to the tax code intended to generate additional tax revenues. Several of these provisions could impact farmers; however, two tax changes proposed earlier in the year were not included: a new tax on property transfer to attain a step-up in basis and limitations on like-kind exchanges. It is important to note that this proposal is not the final version that will ...

Even Republicans and GMO Friendly Executives are Caving to Insane Anti-GMO Demands

Instead of fretting over Sony's sheepish release of a movie depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-un consider how your grocery bill will look in 2015 if we accede to the anti-scientific demands of Europe, China, Russia and Japan.   Long before every American household had a car, most American farmers owned tractors.  The radio, GPS, and handheld computers: farmers embrace new technology because they work harder and possess a profound appreciation for risk.  This is why American, Canadian, Australian and Indian farmers have all embraced genetically-modified organisms(GMOs), crops that address these risks, while using less fossil fuel. &...

Even with a budget, eliminating bill backlog will take time

Along with the state’s first full budget in three years, Illinois lawmakers this month approved plans to pay down the enormous bill backlog that was a byproduct of the financial stalemate.   But the person who will ultimately write the checks to pay down that backlog is warning that the end of the stalemate – and the higher taxes that were approved as part of that deal – aren’t a quick fix for eliminating the stack of bills that total nearly $14.5 billion.   “I need to do a good job of tempering people’s ...

Everybody wants fair maps. Right?

The people of Illinois want fair legislative maps.   They want maps that are drawn by an independent body working on behalf of voters, not by politicians looking after themselves. They want maps that promote competitive elections instead of protecting incumbents.   They’ve said so, over and over again, in polls going back decades. They’ve collected hundreds of thousands of signatures — three times — and raised millions of dollars, trying to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot.   Click Here to read more.

Evidence or ‘Junk Science’—Will the Biden Administration Ban Essential Pesticides Experts say are Safe?

Within days of being sworn in, President Joe Biden elevated the science adviser to the president to Cabinet rank, with a seat beside the secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury. This bold move signaled the administration’s commitment to an evidence-based approach to policymaking.   Yet some are already hoping to undermine this forward-thinking policy.   Activist groups are demanding the administration replace evidence-based research with activist-backed junk science. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), among others, is demanding a ban on 11 critical pesticides that farmers have relied on to feed the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.   These are ...

Evidence too thin to support chlorpyrifos regulation, panel concludes

A Scientific Advisory Panel convened by EPA said the agency should not rely on a Columbia University epidemiological study to determine safe levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide.   The SAP's concerns, expressed in a report submitted to EPA, echoed those expressed by pesticide manufacturers and commodity groups who said there were too many unanswered questions about the study, which used umbilical cord blood data from pregnant women to extrapolate exposure levels for children.   They also said using the epidemiological study would upend decades of regulatory practice that relied on animal studies to set safe ...

Ex-Gov. Quinn unveils redistricting reform plan

Former Gov. Pat Quinn is pitching a legislative redistricting plan he says will meet constitutional muster because it's simpler than previous plans.     The Democrat said at a press conference Tuesday that an 11-member commission appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court should draw political boundaries. He said there should be no more than six members from any one political party on the commission, and that at least seven must sign off on any new map.   He presented the plan days after the high court rejected a petition-driven ballot measure that would've also allowed a commission to ...

Ex-Rep. Don Moffitt appointed to state Agriculture Department post

Don Moffitt didn't stay retired for long.   The longtime legislator, who stepped down from his post Wednesday as the second-longest-serving Republican in the state House, was tapped by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday as the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   Moffitt, of Gilson, is a lifelong farmer and served in the House starting in 1993 with a stint as the top GOP member of the body's agriculture committee. Early in his career he also served as a high school agriculture teacher.   The appointment had long been rumored. Moffitt declined to answer a question ...

Ex-Sen. Martin Sandoval Charged With Bribery, Filing False Tax Return

Former Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval has been charged with bribery and filing a false tax return, according to an indictment filed in federal court Monday.   Sandoval stepped down from his officer earlier this month, announcing his resignation in November, more than two months after federal agents raided his offices in suburban Cicero and at the Illinois State Capitol.   In 2018, Sandoval - who was chair of the Senate Transportation Committee at the time - "corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept, and accepted" money in exchange for his support of the operation of red-light cameras in Illinois, prosecutors ...

Executive Order Encourages Federal Agencies to Relax Regulations

In an Executive Order signed Tuesday by President Trump, federal agencies are encouraged to make attempts at “rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.” The President announced the executive order at a cabinet meeting at the White House, telling Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao the order “gives you tremendous power to cut regulation.” Some agencies have already loosened requirements amid the pandemic. A March memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alerted industry it would suspend enforcement of environmental laws that require companies to monitor their pollution. The ...

Expect WOTUS proposal by end of month

The head of the EPA tells Brownfield they intend to have their Waters of the U.S. proposed regulation by the end of November, “And I think that’s going to be good news for farmers across the country. Our goal is to allow the property owner to be able to stand on his or her property and determine for themselves whether or not their property falls under the federal definition,” Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tells Brownfield Ag New it’s another example of the Trump administration providing certainty to American farmers, “They should ...

Experts Doubt Arson Finding in Deadly TX Fertilizer Blast

The fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 160 in the town of West may not have been sparked by a deliberately set fire as federal investigators claimed, according to attorneys, arson experts and a former top workplace safety official under President Barack Obama.   The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been largely silent on the 2013 West Fertilizer explosion since it announced last year that an arsonist was responsible for the initial blaze and offered a $50,000 reward for information. No arrests have been made, and the ATF won't discuss the case beyond repeating a ...

Experts Estimate 1.1 Million Acres of Dicamba Damage

As of July 15, farmers, homeowners and others filed 605 official complaints of suspected dicamba damage with state departments of agriculture across soybean growing states. That number reflects soybeans and all other specialty crops including vegetable plants, fruit trees, ornamentals, trees, etc.   However, university Extension experts estimate that not all cases of off-target movement have been reported. They estimate 1.1 million total acres of soybeans alone have received damage this season. This includes Arkansas, which has an in-season dicamba ban, at 400,000 estimated acres of damage with 155 official complaints.   “I can’t really say this year is an improvement over ...

Experts Say Changing Attitudes Key to Reducing Soil Runoff

Illinois has, for decades, laid out a nutrient reduction strategy aimed at reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients that run off into its waterways.   The nutrient loss reduction effort is outlined in the regular Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Implementation Biennial Report, which showed this year that Illinois is far from living up to its goals, especially when it comes to runoff from agricultural fields.   Click Here to read more.

Export Bans Abroad Threaten to Push Sky-High Food Prices Even Higher

Soaring food prices both in the U.S. and abroad have prompted countries to ban exports of core agricultural commodities, pushing up domestic food prices and leading agronomists to wonder what additional crops could face supply constraints on their way to grocery stores.   Food inflation in the U.S. is already at a 40-year high, with the annual index for consumer food prices up 9.4 percent in April — the largest 12-month increase since 1981 — according to the Department of Labor.    Click Here to read more.

FAA Issues Permits for Agriculture, Real Estate Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday issued permits to use drones to monitor crops and photograph properties for sale, marking the first time permission has been granted to companies involved in agriculture and real estate.   The exemptions to the current ban on commercial drone flights were granted to Advanced Aviation Solutions in State, Idaho, for "crop scouting" and to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona.   Click Here to read more.

FAA Struggling to Deal with Drones

The FAA issued guidelines last week, saying the use of model aircraft (drones) by farmers is unlawful.  If a farmer flies a model aircraft over his cornfield doing rolls and loops, that's legal.  But if he uses the same model airplane to determine how to conserve water or use less fertilizer that's illegal.   The FAA says their decision is all about safety.   Click Here to read more.

Fall 2022 Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools

Each spring and fall, IFCA partners with the IL Dept. of Ag to offer ammonia safety courses throughout the state.  Those who attend the training program and pass the exam receive a 3 year certificate from IDA as a “Competent Attendant” to handle anhydrous ammonia.  We have set the dates for the Fall 2022 ammonia courses; you can register for any of these upcoming classes by visiting our website at https://ifca.com/IFCA_Training.  All courses will begin at 9:00 am and conclude at noon. Sept. 12th-Asmark Agricenter-Bloomington Sept. 13th-Deer Valley Banquets-Deer Grove* Sept. 14th-Knox Agicenter-Galesburg Sept. 15...

Fall 2022 Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools

Each spring and fall, IFCA partners with the IL Dept. of Ag to offer ammonia safety courses throughout the state.  Those who attend the training program and pass the exam receive a 3 year certificate from IDA as a “Competent Attendant” to handle anhydrous ammonia.   We have set the dates for the Fall 2022 ammonia courses; you can register for any of these upcoming classes by visiting our website at https://ifca.com/IFCA_Training.  All courses will begin at 9:00 am and conclude at noon.  

Fall Ammonia

As we approach the middle of October, thoughts begin to turn to the yearly question "When Can I Start to Apply Fall Ammonia?"   The following best management practices reflect what we have learned in 9 years of NREC funded research, performed on actual farmer fields over tile drainage.  These BMPs are also part of both the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) and the University of Illinois recommendations.  The BMPs are as follows:   1.  Use the Right Nitrogen Rate and do not apply the full rate in the fall.  We recommend saving 30-40% of ...

Fall Ammonia Safety Reminders

As we prepare for the upcoming ammonia season, here are 12 key safety reminders to keep foremost in your mind when working with ammonia:   1.  Remember to always utilize your ammonia gloves and chemical splash goggles when working around ammonia.  Never wear contact lenses when working around anhydrous ammonia.   2.  Always assume ammonia is present in all equipment or hoses and thoroughly purge the ammonia prior to inspection or maintenance.    3.  Inspect those ammonia hoses for any nicks, cuts, soft spots, and coupler slippage.   4.  Follow the replace by date indicated by the hose manufacturer ...

Fall Ammonia Training

This fall, IFCA and IDA will be hosting six competent ammonia trainings.  These trainings will cover all important aspects regarding safety and regulatory information with anhydrous ammonia for ag retailers.  Upon completion of the training, the attendee will achieve a "competent attendant" certificate that is required by IDA regulations to handle anhydrous ammonia at the retail level.  For more information on the training, locations and to register, please click here.

Fall Ammonia Training Starts September 7th

Anyone at your facility that works with ammonia or ammonia equipment must be certified at least once every 3 years as a competent attendant.  This course provides important safety and ammonia facility regulatory information and enables the attendee to achieve a 3-year certificate as a "competent attendant" in order to handle ammonia and comply with IDA regulations.    There are six upcoming classes available throughout the state.  Dates and locations are listed below:   September 07 - Rock Falls                   &...

Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Application Practices and Profitability on Fields Enrolled in Precision Conservation Management

As fall nitrogen application season approaches, we summarize the fall application practices on farms enrolled in Precision Conservation Management (PCM). Overall, 36% of fields in PCM receive at least 40% of their nitrogen as fall applications. We find that profitability is maximized at application rates at university-recommendations. Applying nitrogen after planting did not increase profitability, perhaps because rates exceeded university recommendations.   Nitrogen Applications on Midwest Farms.  Farmers usually make field passes devoted to nitrogen fertilizer applications during at least one of three periods.   Click Here to read more.

Fall fertilizer application season compressed again

Harvest delays and a warm start to October didn’t give farmers many opportunities to apply fall fertilizer.   But it appears applicators still have time to catch up this month, weather permitting, to hopefully avoid a repeat of a shortened fertilizer season last fall, according to Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.   “We really had one to two days our members started to roll on fall-applied anhydrous ammonia after we had such an immediate drop of temperatures at the end of October,” Payne told the RFD Radio Network. “Unfortunately, we&...

Fall Fertilizer Looking ‘More Positive’

According to most market watchers, the Great Recession ended for much of the world approximately five years ago. For the fertilizer marketplace, however, the Great Recession is still ongoing, at least in financial terms.   During 2017 economists estimate that U.S. grower income dropped to $58 billion. Not too many years ago, this figure topped $100 billion. Likewise, commodity prices have remained very low vs. where they stood at the beginning of the 2010s. Not surprisingly, this income pressure has directly impacted ag retailers and their fertilizer sales the past few years.   According to data collected in the 2017 CropLife 100 survey of ...

Fall looking quiet for ag on Capitol Hill. (Audio)

Congress returns to Washington this week after seven weeks back home. Avoiding a government shutdown is sure to take up a good deal of time before the fiscal year comes to a close at the end of the month.    Click Here to hear more.

Fall NH3 Schools

This fall, IFCA and IDA will be hosting six competent ammonia trainings in five counties.  These trainings will cover all important aspects regarding safety and regulatory information with anhydrous ammonia for ag retailers.  Upon completion of the training, the attendee will achieve a "competent attendant" certificate that is required by IDA regulations to handle anhydrous ammonia at the retail level.  For more information on the trainings and to register, please click here.

Fall Nitrogen - BMPs and Water Quality

With temperatures falling to the 30's at night for much of central and northern Illinois, thoughts begin to turn to the yearly question "When Can I Start to Apply Ammonia?"   The following best management practices reflect what we've learned in 8 years of NREC funded research, performed on actual farmer fields over tile drainage.  These BMPs are also part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) recommendations and the University of Illinois recommendations.  The BMPs are as follows:   Use the Right Nitrogen Rate and do not apply the full rate in the fall.&...

Fall Nitrogen Webinar Recording and New UI Bulletin: Resources on Fall Management Decisions

If you happened to miss Dr. Nafziger’s recent webinar, Getting Fall Fertilizer Right, don’t worry, as you can now view the recorded video on the IFCA homepage.  Some of the topics covered include: Important factors affecting P and K decisions this year What we learned about N rate responses from this past growing season Fall NH3 applications How we can improve N rate predictions Also, click here to read a recent FarmDoc Bulletin, Fall Field Work Following a Wet October.  Within the article, Dr. Nafziger describes how harvest, fertilizer applications and tillage are all ...

Fall Weed Control. What's Your Plan for Weed Seeds Lurking in Harvested Fields?

This time of year, Illinois farmer Nathan Wentworth is on the phone to his chemical retailer as soon as the dust from the combine settles.   "If we're in the middle of October or later, as soon as a bean field is harvested, we're having it sprayed with herbicides," he said. "It's a core component of our weed control program, because we're minimum-till."   Fall burndown applications may be more important than usual this fall, after the challenging spring many growers experienced, noted Ohio State University Extension weed scientist Mark Loux.   &...

Fallout of Illinois budget feud grows

The consequences of Illinois lawmakers' epic failure to approve a state budget continue to pile up, with new warnings about unfunded 911 call centers and schools, thousands of road construction jobs in jeopardy and the long-term cost to taxpayers growing by the billions.     Yet, the political sniping between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who run the Legislature hasn't changed: Each side blames the other, and neither appears willing to budge. The only state without a budget for the fiscal year that ends this month, Illinois is on the brink of entering a record second year without a ...

FAPRI Baseline Update- Higher Prices for Some Commodities and Inputs- August 2022

Earlier this week, the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri released its latest baseline update for U.S. agricultural markets.  In part, the baseline update stated that, “The war in Ukraine and weather‐reduced crop supplies have contributed to higher prices for many agricultural commodities, while higher prices for fertilizer, fuel and other inputs have increased farm production expenses. Projected prices for a range of farm commodities and farm inputs are expected to decline in the years ahead but nominal prices remain high by historical standards.   “This report, based on ...

Farm and Bee Groups Send Letter Supporting Increase in Pollinator Research Levels

A group of more than 40 farm groups and companies sent a letter to House and Senate agricultural appropriations leaders supporting increase in the President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget for honey bee research activities.  The House will begin consideration of appropriations bills next week.   Click Here to read more.

Farm Bill Passage, “About to Get Much Harder”

Kristina Peterson reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “House Republicans had a tough time passing the last farm bill, when they had a sizable majority in 2018. It’s about to get much harder.   “The bill, always a big lift for any Congress, is typically reauthorized every five years. The current version expires at the end of September next year, setting up a looming legislative headache for GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who will have a slim majority if he is elected speaker in January.   Click Here to read more.

Farm Bill Reduces Endangered Species Protections

Well, it seems the current House farm bill draft is getting more controversial day by day. For example, in addition to proposed changes to the nutrition programs, the draft bill includes a provision that would allow EPA to approve pesticides without undertaking reviews now required to protect endangered species.   As expected, environmental groups are up in arms and argue that the provision is an “unprecedented” attack that could have lasting ramifications for ecosystems across the nation   Click Here to read more.

Farm Exemptions Apply to Most DOT Rules for Hauling Enlist

In most cases, Illinois farmers who transport Enlist for their own use are exempt from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous material regulations, according to Rodney Knittel, Illinois Farm Bureau assistant director of transportation and infrastructure.   “As the popularity of Enlist is increasing, you’re (farmers) going to be given documents from ag retailers. IFB wants farmers to know the reason behind this and what applies to farmers by law,” Knittel told FarmWeek.   Knittel explained hazardous materials (HazMat) have long been in place for Class 9 hazardous materials, which are miscellaneous hazardous materials that include ...

Farm Groups Want New Immigration Laws, Not an Executive Order

President Barack Obama's executive order regarding undocumented immigrants does little for the agricultural industry, according to several farm group representatives, who say legislative reform through Congress is the way to solve farm labor problems.   Obama's executive action, which he announced Thursday night in a televised address from the White House, will protect up to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.  Obama said the directive was a "commonsense" plan consistent with what previous presidents of both parties had done for the past 50 years.   Click Here to read more.

Farm States Brace for Loss of Clout as House Redistricting Nears

Major farm states are likely to lose more influence in the U.S. House because of population shifts that are expected to result in lost seats across the Midwest as well as in Pennsylvania and New York.   The results of the 2020 Census are not expected to be released before March, but analysts expect the states losing seats to include Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. California also could lose at least one House seat.   "As we continue to lose members of Congress from rural America, I worry about the long-term effect it will have on agriculture,” Rep. ...

Farmer Sees Both Sides Of The Dicamba Story

A central Illinois farmer says he understands both sides of issues surrounding dicamba use.   Alex Head who farms near Decatur tells Brownfield he has seen yield loss from dicamba drift on his non-GMO soybean crop.    “It is a great tool to have and it kills weeds, but the fact that it doesn’t stay on target is a little bit frustrating.”   On the other hand, Head also grows soybean seed and has seen the benefits of dicamba products.   “I am not going to sit here and just run it under the ...

Farmer, trucker groups take aim at length limit

Current truck regulation makes it difficult to haul agricultural and other products on local roads without breaking the law.   Trucks up to 65 feet long can use interstate and state highways, but the limit drops to 55 feet on county and township roads. The shorter limit makes it virtually impossible to use the longest available trailers to transport grain, oilseeds, livestock or other agricultural products from a farm to market without violating the law.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers Are Concerned about Pesticide Resistance

Many Iowa farmers believe they have identified pesticide resistance on the land they farm, and most are concerned that herbicide-resistant weeds and pesticide resistant insects will become a problem, according to a new report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers Are Planning For Illinois River Shutdown Next Year

It’s not uncommon for many Illinois farmers to ship much, or even all, of their commodities along the Illinois River.  So a plan to close the river in 2020 for lock and dam repairs could have a huge impact.   “They’re going to need to re-route, predetermine and plan to not be able to use the river for up to 4 months,” said Kirby Wagner, Assistant Director of Transportation and Infrastructure for the Illinois Farm Bureau.  The organization has been reaching out to farmers in advance with a series of meetings.   “It&...

Farmers are striving for cleaner water with a new water system

People gathered around to watch the first woodchip bioreactor become installed in Henry County.   “It’s definitely been a learning process it’s kind of exciting. It was something I figured would be good for the environment,” according to farmer Todd VerHeecke.   VerHeecke said he hopes that by keeping the soil clean, it will help future generations of farmers.   “It’s something we're trying to be more cognizant of with our Illinois nutrient loss reduction strategy, to try to help produce that so that we don't have as many ...

Farmers are working to reduce nitrate levels, but some factors are out of their control

Five years ago, our Department of Agriculture partnered with Iowa State University, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and others to develop the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a science-based model to guide our water quality efforts. Since that time, we have regularly reviewed the progress we’re making and identified ways to do even more to protect our natural resources.   Accurately measuring what’s happening in Iowa’s watersheds is complicated. We know – and numerous studies have shown – that many factors, such as soil type, landscape and weather can have a significant impact ...

Farmers Around the World Should be Watching the Roundup Cancer Case

The San Fransisco Superior Court will soon hear testimony from a man dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who claims Roundup (glyphosate) caused his cancer. This trial is the first of many against Monsanto under claims its widely-used herbicide lead to cancer.   Dewayne Johnson worked for a public-school system in California for two years when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During his tenure with the school he used Roundup and other herbicides extensively for landscaping.   Right now, plaintiff and defense attorneys are covering legal requirements are in jury selection and will begin opening statements as ...

Farmers Ask for ‘Right to Repair’

Legislation backed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group would require farming equipment manufacturers to make software required for repairs available to consumers for purchase.   House Bill 3061, introduced as the “Digital Right to Repair Act” in February by Democratic Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, would mandate that manufacturers, by 2022, provide farmers with the same diagnostic materials available to official repair providers. It would also require the manufacturers to make parts necessary for repair, including software, available for purchase.   The legislation comes after the release of a report by the U.S. PIRG that alleges farmers ...

Farmers Do Their Part to Keep Toxic Algae Out

Lake Erie should be a source of pride for all Ohio residents. It hosts one of the world’s largest freshwater commercial industries. It is a tourist hot spot. The lake generates billions of dollars in revenue for our region.   But Lake Erie is afflicted each year by harmful algae blooms caused by an abundance of phosphorus in rivers, tributaries, and groundwater. Phosphorus occurs naturally and is essential for all life. But as is often the case, too much of a good thing is not good.   Causes of excess phosphorus include wastewater treatment, animal manure, and industrial ...

Farmers Eye High Weed, Pest Pressure as Crops Near the Finish Line

2021 is shaping up to be a year of pestilence. Even setting COVID-19 aside, farmers have seen an active year of insects, disease and herbicide-resistant weeds, on top of the usual seasonal challenges of farming.   In this month's installment of Field Roundup, DTN Farm Advisers -- a group of farmers and ranchers from around the country -- reported via email on the season's most challenging pests. In central Kansas, Kyle Krier is wearily watching armyworms demolish his drought-stressed alfalfa. Northeastern Colorado farmer Marc Arnusch is running out of ways to kill kochia, while farmers reported stubborn waterhemp infestations ...

Farmers Feel Fertilizer, Chemical Supply Squeeze as Spring Planting Nears

As planting season nears, the ag input crisis is coming to a head. After a long fall and winter of struggling to find affordable and available fertilizer and pesticides, farmers must head to the field in the weeks to come, with or without the ingredients they need to grow their best possible crop.   "What a mess," lamented Dan Lakey, of southeast Idaho, who worked all fall to prepare for the forecast shortages, laying down fall fertilizer for the first time ever, and chasing down glyphosate supplies nearly a year in advance. But he still wishes he had ...

Farmers Hopes Illinois River Repairs Stay on Schedule

A northwest Illinois farmer says staying on schedule with the lock and dam repairs on the Illinois River is key this year.   Corn and soybean farmer David Erickson tells Brownfield while there was concern if repairs would be done in a timely manner, the closures on the Illinois River are scheduled to be lifted at the end of the month.   “It looks like that schedule is holding pretty true which will be very important as we move what I think will be a pretty good size crop this late fall and early winter.”   He says ...

Farmers Keeping Nutrients on the Field, Out of Streams

Clean water is a priority for all of us. When farmers manage nutrients, they are also helping to minimize the runoff of nutrients into local streams and rivers.   Farmers rely on two major nutrients in fertilizer — nitrogen and phosphorus — to help crops grow. When excess fertilizer leaves the field and enters local waterways in surface water runoff, those nutrients cause algae in the water to bloom much faster than it would under normal conditions. The algae eventually breaks down, and the bacteria involved in decomposition deplete oxygen in the water to unhealthily low levels. Ultimately, fish and ...

Farmers Make Progress in Keeping Fertilizers Out of Ohio Waterways, but Much Work Remains

Fred Yoder found that applying nitrogen-infused fertilizer to his fields three times in a growing season instead of all at once helped his crops use the nutrient more efficiently, and less nitrogen ended up in rivers and streams.   The move also saves the Plain City farmer money. If fertilizer stays in the soil, he doesn't have to buy as much of it.   Research backs Yoder’s strategic application of nitrogen.   “Timing is one of our best assets in managing nitrogen and keeping it out of the watershed,” said Nate Douridas, farm manager for ...

Farmers Move Away from Fall-Applied Anhydrous

Farmers’ shift away from fall application of nitrogen for crops such as corn and sorghum is being reflected in changing retail practices, says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “In my area of central Illinois, I know two fertilizer plants that have completely dropped anhydrous ammonia,” he says. “Their sales had shifted to spring application of nitrogen solution. While ammonia can be applied in the spring, farmers found it took up too much of their time when they needed to concentrate on planting, compared to nitrogen solution that can be applied as they plant or with ...

Farmers Offer Strategy to Lessen Herbicide Damage Issues

As Arkansas pesticide regulators debated the fate of dicamba herbicides, farmer Perry Galloway sat quietly in the audience gallery through most of the day-long board meeting.   It wasn't his plan to be so quiet. Galloway, of Gregory, Arkansas, and attorney Grant Ballard had prepared earlier in the week to present the Arkansas State Plant Board with a grass-roots plan to allow farmers access to postemergence dicamba applications.   The plant board's agenda did not include time for public comments. While several board members referred to the farmers' effort during breaks from the meeting, there was no official ...

Farmers Proactive in Cutting Nitrate Losses

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy will be finalized this summer, but farmers already have got a jump on it with changes in their fertilizer management efforts.   The strategy will direct efforts to reduce nutrients from point and non-point sources in a coordinated, primarily voluntary and cost-effective manner with a goal to reduce the state’s phosphorus load by 25 percent and its nitrate-nitrogen load by 15 percent by 2025. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients to the Mississippi River.   There has been a large increase in spring nitrogen sales in the state ...

Farmers Saving Nutrients to Help Mother Nature.

A couple of rural Chapin farmers are doing their part to reduce nutrient loss from their fields and help the environment.   John Werries and his son, Dean, started planting cover crops in the fall of 2012 as a way to stop soil erosion.   “The more we learned about it, the more benefits we realized,” John Werries said.   Cover crops’ benefits include sequestering nutrients, helping break up soil compaction and adding organic matter to the soil.   “We were urged to start experimenting on a small scale for several years before adopting it on a ...

Farmers Say Broadband Access in Rural Areas Remains Problematic

Broadband access in rural areas remains problematic, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.   Purdue’s Jim Mintert says producers were asked to describe the quality of their farm’s internet access.     Click here to read more.

Farmers suing Monsanto, BASF over dicamba urge judge to keep litigation alive

Farmers suing over crop damage allegedly caused by Bayer AG unit Monsanto Co and BASF Corp’s dicamba-based seeds and weedkillers urged a federal judge on Monday to reject the companies’ motions to dismiss the cases.   In filings opposing the requests for dismissal, lawyers representing the roughly 20 farms told U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, that the companies had ignored facts in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the alleged “ecological disaster” they created.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers to Trump: No trade war, please

President Donald Trump has promised to shield farmers from the sting of China’s trade retaliation, but that embattled portion of Trump’s rural base says they just want to sell on the open market, without tariffs slapped on their products amid escalating tensions.   In interviews with POLITICO this week, several farmers across the country said they don’t want a trade war and they want to avoid having their income tied to government support to make up for losses created by one.   “We want our living to come from the marketplace,” said ...

Farmers turn to crop dusters as Southern Rust impacts corn

The fungus known as Southern Corn Rust is becoming an annual problem for farmers in southern Illinois.   Farmers like Randy Anderson have begun taking steps to protect their crops.   Southern Corn Rust has made its way to seven southern Illinois counties so far this year.   "With some of your later planted corn. When I say that, we're talking about corn planted in late May and early June. It really shows a devastating effect on that plant itself," explained Anderson.   The fungus originates in the southern United States and Mexico. In the last few ...

Farmers Warn Mexico’s GM Corn Ban Will Raise Food Prices

Mexico’s farmer associations are teaming up and pushing back through legal battles in opposition to a presidential decree to ban genetically modified (GM) maize and glyphosate in Mexico by 2024.   The Mexican government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has carried out a battle against scientific innovation in the country’s farm fields over the three years of his administration, attacking biotechnological crops and agricultural supplies. Earlier this year, AMLO enacted a decree to phase out the use of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of GM corn, as well as GM corn imports, by 2024, arguing ...

Farmers, anti-glyphosate activists lobby EPA as agency mulls herbicide’s future in US

Pro- and anti-glyphosate companies and organizations lined up to praise — or bash — the active ingredient in the most widely applied herbicide in the world, in comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency [the first week of September.]   The subject was a Proposed Interim Decision (PID) issued by EPA in May, a critical step in the multiyear process to re-register the herbicide.   In general, defenders of the product, used in Roundup, Ranger Pro and other formulations, stressed the chemical’s value to growers and findings by regulatory bodies around the world that “continue to support ...

Farmers, Arkansas battle over dicamba ban

Farmers in Arkansas are fighting the state for the right to use dicamba this growing season, challenging a seasonal ban that began April 16 and runs through Oct. 31.   So far the results have been mixed, with about 200 farmers authorized to use the herbicide. But whether that permission will last until planting of soybeans and cotton begins in earnest is an open question. The issues raised, such as whether the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) can claim sovereign immunity from lawsuits, will ultimately have to be resolved by the state Supreme Court. But in the meantime, the publicity has spawned more ...

Farmers, Ranchers Dispute Legal Limits of Revamped Water Rule

Cattlemen in the West are gearing up for a legal battle over the Trump administration’s revamped water jurisdiction rule, even as a national trade association of farmers that touts itself as the “unified voice of agriculture” supports the change.   Ranchers in New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington state want no federal control of any body of water that crosses their lands. They’ve asked the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative nonprofit legal firm, to sue on their behalf to fix what they see as lingering “federal overreach” problems with the most recent definition ...

Farmers, Retailers Face Tight Chemical Supply, Shipping Delays

Some agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and fungicides are in tight supply this spring as shipping backlogs and pandemic-related delays have run headlong into higher demand from increased row-crop acres this year.     Farmers from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma told DTN in emails they are hearing of higher prices, delays and shortages for herbicides, particularly glyphosate (Roundup) and glufosinate (Liberty), as well as some fungicides.     "We secured most of our needs in advance, but I have had some calls from suppliers the past several weeks basically saying that we should ...

FBI Puts Ag on Alert: Ransomware Attack Potentially Timed to Critical Seasons

Farmers and ag cooperative employees need to be on high alert this spring. That’s according to the FBI, which is predicting cyber criminals might attack the industry during planting and harvesting seasons.   Why? Cyber criminals believe their prey could be more vulnerable and willing to pay off the extortion.   Click Here to read more.

FCC Report Shows Importance of Rural Broadband.

A new report by the Federal Communications Commission acknowledges the impact of rural broadband service on-farm productivity.   The FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics released the new paper called “Impact of Broadband Penetration on U.S. Farm Productivity.”   In a statement Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says this paper underscores the importance of the Commission’s top priority of expanding broadband access in rural and underserved areas.  Pai says the availability of broadband has significant positive impacts on crop yields and other farm production metrics by lowering fertilizer and seed costs.   ...

FDA launches ‘Feed Your Mind’ to increase understanding of GMOs

he U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, launched a new initiative, “Feed Your Mind,” to help consumers better understand foods created through genetic engineering, commonly called GMOs or genetically modified organisms. “Feed Your Mind,” aims to answer the most common questions that consumers have about GMOs, including what GMOs are, how and why they are made, how they are regulated, and to address health and safety questions that consumers may have about these products.   “While foods from genetically ...

FDA Official: GMO Foods "As Safe As" Other Foods

A top official at the Food and Drug Administration assured lawmakers Wednesday the agency has no safety concerns about the increasingly controversial production of genetically engineered foods.   Genetically modified organisms, better known as GMO, are used by farmers to increase their crop yields.  But many concerns have been raised by food safety groups about the dangers of eating foods that were scientifically altered.   Michael Landa, director of the Center for Foods Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, dismissed those claims Wednesday.   Click Here to read more.

February Edition of IFCA's News Under The Dome

Click Here to read February edition of IFCA's "News Under the Dome".  In this month's edition, IFCA gives an update on winter fly-in to DC, Gov. Pritzer signs $15 minimum wage increase,  

Federal Lawmakers Call for Tariff Cuts on Fertilizer

More than 80 federal lawmakers, including some members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, are calling on the U.S. International Trade Commission to help reduce costs for farmers by cutting some tariffs on fertilizer.  Farmers across America have been dealing with rising expenses during the pandemic.   “Our nitrogen products have gone up almost 300% from a year ago,” said Philip Ramsey, director of the American Soybean Alliance Board and a corn and soybean farmer in Shelby County.   Click Here to read more.

Federal Reserve: Observations on the Ag Economy- May 2021

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its May 2021 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.   Seventh District- Chicago– “Expectations for farm income in 2021 strengthened across sectors in April and early May. Drought and dry weather conditions were an issue across a substantial portion of the District, though timely rains could still erase most of the impact. Frosts damaged some plants and trees, with potentially heavy losses for fruit producers. Corn and soybean planting proceeded ahead of ...

Feds considering repeal of EPA emissions rule for trucks

The Trump administration is considering repealing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting emissions from truck components.   According to an Office of Management and Budget notice, the EPA is formally proposing to repeal the rule, something EPA Administrator Scott Pruittsaid in August he would do.   The regulation, an Obama administration effort to cut climate change-causing emissions from the transportation sector, aims to limit pollution from trucks.   The rule applies to gliders, which are medium- and heavy-duty trucks assembled using refurbished powertrains and new truck parts called “glider kits,” which are also subject to the regulation. ...

Feds Tell Farmers to Buzz Off on Pesticide When Bees are Busy on Big Croplands

 If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule to be proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S. The pesticide halt would only happen during the time the flower is in bloom and the bees are there, and only on the property where the bees are working, not neighboring land. The ...

Feds Unveil Commercial Drone Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration is moving to allow commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds to be flown in the U.S. under new regulations that were released on Sunday morning. The proposal, which has been highly anticipated, would greatly increase the domestic use of drones in a long-sought victory for advocates of the technology.   Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the FAA’s rules will strike a balance the desire for increased drone use and concerns that have arisen about potential privacy violations from the unmanned flights.   Click Here to read more.

Feds’ ComEd Bribery Case Implicates Mike Madigan; Speaker’s Office Subpoenaed; Governor Says Madigan ‘Must Resign’ If Allegations Are True

Following months of speculation about a wide-ranging investigation, federal prosecutors have charged ComEd with a years-long bribery scheme involving the company’s arrangement for jobs, contracts, and payments to allies and associates of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.   ComEd will pay a $200 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to end the federal probe, admitting it sought to influence “Public Official A” — identified as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives without using Madigan’s name — by arranging for his allies and people who performed political work for him to ...

Fertilizer Application Regulations Aimed to Stem Runoff. (Video)

Senate Bill 1 was signed by Governor John Kasich on April 2, 2015, designed to protect Lake Erie from toxic algal blooms and improve overall water quality around the state.  The new rules will take effect on July 3.   New regulations will require northwestern Ohio farmers to limit spreading fertilizer and manure on flooded or sodden fields. based on specific precipitation criteria.  The new law prohibits application of nutrients following 1 inch of rain or more falling in 24 hours, or for manure, 0.5 inch of precipitation in the previous 12 hours.   Last August harmful algal blooms contaminated the water supply for more than 400,000 ...

Fertilizer company moves forward with $2.8B project in Indiana

A fertilizer company in southwest Indiana is moving forward with a $2.8 billion project with the help of state incentives.   Midwest Fertilizer Co. will begin construction on its Posey County manufacturing facility next year, the Evansville Courier & Press reported. Construction is projected to support more than 2,500 jobs.   The state Economic Development Corp. has offered the company up to $2.9 million in conditional tax credits, up to $400,000 in training grants and up to $300,000 in conditional incentives. The performance-based incentives require the company to create jobs and invest in the state.   Pakistan-based Fatima Group is one of the company's ...

Fertilizer Concerns Regarding Infrastructure Plan

IFCA has been in discussions with our national association, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), regarding legislative language that has been put into the major infrastructure bill being discussed in our nation's capitol.  IFCA's concern is the reinstatement of the Superfund Tax on chemicals/fertilizers, which would serve as additional revenue to help pay for the bill.  While the details are still vague and the legislation is still being drafted, IFCA believes the proposal mirrors one that was included in the President’s FY22 Budget which would reinstate, and double, the Superfund ...

Fertilizer decisions: targeted nutrient applications find popularity

Fertilizer applicators are becoming a more common sight in Illinois in growing cornfields.   That is one trend in nutrient delivery on farms Dan Schaefer has seen. It follows decreasing frozen-ground fall applications.   “I don’t have any real hard figures, but less and less of replacement P and K is put on when it’s frozen or snow covered,” said Schaefer, director of nutrient stewardship with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.   “Guys are starting to understand that application on top of snow — especially phosphorus — is not the best time.&...

Fertilizer Demand Remains Strong

With corn prices almost $2 higher and soybean prices almost $5 higher than a year ago, fertilizer prices have increased.   Starting last fall, strong farm economics created high demand for fertilizer that lasted through the spring season and left fertilizer supplies depleted.   Farm economics remain solid and fall fertilizer demand is again expected to be strong. COVID-19 has also been a major market disruptor causing increased market volatility, and fertilizer prices are no exception. Between production plant shutdowns and logistical delays, the fertilizer supply chain has been negatively impacted.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer for Food and Fuel

The agricultural industry not only provides the nutrients and food needed to feed the populations of the United States but also provides tens of thousands of American jobs. From rural Iowa to the orange groves in Florida, America’s economic livelihood depends in part upon the determination and technological advancements of an ever-changing agriculture industry.  National Agriculture Week serves as a reminder of the tremendous impact agriculture makes on our lives and the environment in which we live, work, and raise a family. This industry continues to see dramatic advances in technology, genetics, crop protection, and the application ...

Fertilizer Industry and Farmer Advocates at Odds about Solutions to Fertilizer Crisis

The fertilizer industry is scrambling to find solutions to fertilizer prices that have been on the rise since last fall, but some farmer advocacy groups worry the efforts being made don’t address the control big fertilizer companies wield over the market and the effects of synthetic fertilizer on the environment.   A document published earlier this spring by the Fertilizer Institute, an organization that represents and advocates for the fertilizer industry, highlights several action items for lawmakers and farmers to strengthen the domestic fertilizer supply and maximize usage. The goal is to get these action items in front ...

Fertilizer Industry Continues to Positively Impact The US Economy

The Fertilizer Industry contributed more than $130 billion and nearly 500,000 jobs to the US economy in 2019, according to a new study.   Corey Rosenbusch is the president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute.   “A lot of people probably recognize how important fertilizer is to putting food on their tables but the impact on jobs and the economy was really amazing to see,” he says.   He tells Brownfield it’s no surprise the fertilizer industry was deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to have a positive impact on communities across the country.   “50% of ...

Fertilizer Industry Data Shows Sustainability Improvements

The annual sustainability report from The Fertilizer Institute highlights improvements in safety, energy reduction, and carbon capture.   CEO Corey Rosenbusch tells Brownfield the fertilizer industry’s safety rating is the highest it has been since data collection began in 2013 and 41% of all energy consumed is generated using waste heat rather than pulling from the electrical grid.   “29% of all the CO2 that was generated per ton of nutrient produced was recaptured and utilized for other products and we saw 53% less water was used to produce one ton of fertilizer compared to 2013.”   He says the data ...

Fertilizer Logistics: Insight Into Getting It Right This Planting Season

Spring is upon us and farmers, suppliers, and transporters are all busy preparing for the planting season, which includes lining up fertilizer supplies and accurately estimating inventory needs. Due to the hustle to get ready and some global inventory imports coming into the Gulf Coast slightly behind schedule, the 4Rs (right place, right time, right product, and right rate) are a high priority for our industry right now.     Right Place: Prepping fertilizer for the North American spring season requires planning, contracting, staging, and execution to have the right product in the right place for end-users. Most of the ...

Fertilizer Makers Yara and CF Industries Discussing "Merger of Equals:

Two of the biggest fertilizer producers in the world are in talks about what could be the next inversion deal to be announced.   CF Industries, based in Deerfield, Illinois, near Chicago and Yara International of Norway both confirmed on Tuesday that they were in discussions about a deal that would essentially be a merger of equals.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer Price Index Falls, At Least for Now

Bloomberg writer Elizabeth Elkin reported on Friday that, “Soaring fertilizer prices that have helped drive up food inflation finally tumbled this week, but the reprieve may be short-lived.   The Green Markets North American Fertilizer Price Index fell 12% on Friday, the most since 2009.   “Prices for urea, a type of nitrogen fertilizer, swung wildly. They rose and fell by more than $100 per short ton every day this week as the market tried to assess prospects for spring demand and natural gas came off highs in Europe, said Alexis Maxwell, an analyst at Green Markets.”   Click Here ...

Fertilizer Prices and Nitrogen Rates

On the heels of a recent webinar conducted by Dr. Nafziger highlighting nitrogen rates, a new FarmDoc Bulletin, Management Decisions Relative to High Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices, discusses further the use of the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) tool .  Click here to be redirected to the article, where you can read more about the variables affecting nitrogen prices and the impact this has on nitrogen management for the upcoming 2022 corn crop.

Fertilizer Prices Finally Cooling Down

For the first time since November 2020, most retail fertilizer prices have moved lower. After soaring to record levels, product values are finally cooling down.   The biggest drop has been in urea down nearly 50-percent since late March, with New Orleans prices dropping from a high of $935 per ton last year to $470 earlier this week.  One fertilizer expert tells me it’s tied to one of the latest planting seasons in several years.    Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer Prices Soar Near 2008 Highs on Supply Shocks, Concerns Sprout Over Sourcing Enough for 2022 U.S. Corn Acres

The fertilizer industry is swarmed with Black Swan events. From the impacts of Hurricane Ida to political and climate issues entangled in a cobweb of production slowdowns in Europe and China, the Black Swan events continue to stack up.   According to Josh Linville of StoneX Group, on Monday, the Chinese government effectively banned phosphate exports through June 2022. The news comes as China's production was already throttled by climate emission concerns from production plants. The impact is already being seen with prices, as China accounts for almost one-third of the world phosphate trade.   The phosphate ban is just ...

Fertilizer Prices Spike Again As Russia Cuts Natural Gas Supply

Fertilizer values remain highly volatile as markets digest ongoing disruptions to Russian natural gas entering Europe.  According to the Green Markets North American Fertilizer Price Index, prices of the product in North America rose 11% week-on-week as of Friday, 2 September. It ended the week at $982.63.   Fertilizer prices remain off the highs of $1,270.40 hit in late March. But they’re back on the charge following Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer Prices Spike Again As Russia Cuts Natural Gas Supply

Fertilizer values remain highly volatile as markets digest ongoing disruptions to Russian natural gas entering Europe.  According to the Green Markets North American Fertilizer Price Index, prices of the product in North America rose 11% week-on-week as of Friday, 2 September. It ended the week at $982.63.   Fertilizer prices remain off the highs of $1,270.40 hit in late March. But they’re back on the charge following Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer Revenues Decline 7% for Top 100 Ag Retailers in 2020

Back during the 1970s, a singer in one classic song said he “could see clearly now the rain is gone.” But for the fertilizer category among CropLife 100 ag retailers, the vision of 2020 following the end of the 2019 rains still left an incredibly blurry image, marked by losses in multiple areas.   In many ways, market watchers probably shouldn’t be that surprised by this performance when eye-balling the fertilizer category. Indeed, following some very good growth years during the early years of the 2010s, the fertilizer category began to see some significant pullback from grower-customers towards the ...

Fertilizer Safety Bill Prompted by West Blast Advances in Texas

Two years after 15 people died in the West fertilizer plant explosion, the full House on Friday gave tentative approval to a bill that would tighten the state’s regulation of ammonium nitrate storage and add safeguards for dealing with the dangerous chemical. But the measure, which is the first West-related bill since the blast to advance out of committee, wouldn’t require sprinkler systems or other chemical safety measures that could help prevent future explosions. And a number of other bills aimed at addressing some of the problems uncovered in the aftermath of the explosion have gained little ...

Fertilizer Season in Flux; Will Some Farmers Cut Rates?

November appears to be a crucial month for fall fertilizer applications for the 2022 season.   A combination of weather conditions, including unseasonable warmth and excessive moisture, delayed fieldwork through much of October.   Now, as it appears farmers could see more of a window to apply fertilizer in November, many are wondering if they should cut rates due to a combination of high prices and tight supplies in some areas.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer SUSTAIN Act Introduced in Congress

Last week, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall  (R-KS)  announced introduction of the Fertilizer Stewardship, Utilization, Sustainability, Technology, Access, Innovation, and Nourishment (Fertilizer SUSTAIN) Act.  The bill specifically targets revisions to The National Environmental Policy Act modifying the permitting process for phosphate and potash mining, as well as designation as critical minerals.  The legislation also makes it easier for farmers to access funds from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service by exempting certified crop advisors from the technical service provider provisions.  Of particular interest to the Biostimulant industry, the bill requires USDA to review nutrient ...

Fertilizer Trade Spikes Overnight as Russia Invades Ukraine

The global fertilizer market is reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a big way.  “It has been intense.”   Josh Linville, Director of Fertilizer for StoneX tells Brownfield Russia is a major exporter of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizers and because of that, “Out of the chutes we have seen global urea prices up over $200 a ton overnight. NOLA US prices are up $150-$200 per ton. The price of urea has jumped 32%-33% in less than 12 hours.”   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer use accounts for soils, farm’s strengths

Targeting fertilizer applications to optimize rates can pay off with higher yields and efficient use of inputs.   Joe Sperfslage, who farms near Coggon, Iowa, has taken his fertilizer program to the next level — combining grid-based soil sampling with variable rate planting and a split-season nitrogen (N) fertilizer program.   “We’re really happy with it,” Sperfslage said.   He uses River Valley Cooperative's YieldVantage precision ag system to calculate prescription fertilizer rates based on a number of factors, including soil test results and weather.   “We put on 15 gallons of 32 percent (urea-ammonium nitrate) ...

Fertilizer Use to Surpass 200 Million Tonnes in 2018

Global fertilizer use is likely to rise above 200.5 million tonnes in 2018, 25 percent higher than recorded in 2008. World fertilizer consumption will grow by 1.8 percent a year through 2018, according to FAO's new report "World fertilizer trends and outlook to 2018." At the same time "the global capacity of fertilizer products, intermediates and raw materials will increase further," the report said. Click Here to read more  

Fertilizer Washes off Midwest Farm Fields and Taints Communities’ Drinking Water, Poisons Gulf of Mexico

Located in the heart of America’s breadbasket, Champaign County, Illinois, helps feed the nation’s demand for corn and soybeans while fueling one of the more insidious impacts of climate change – fertilizer runoff.   Every year, farmers apply tons of nitrogen fertilizer to the vast swaths of crops that blanket Champaign’s flat landscape.   As rain carries unused fertilizer into the nearby Spoon River, it spurs toxic algae growth downstream.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer-Maker Yara Warns of Nitrogen-Based Fertilizer Shortages Due to High Gas Prices

Norwegian fertilizer-maker Yara posted slightly higher than expected second-quarter profits on Tuesday and warned there could be shortages of nitrogen-based fertilizers amid high gas prices.   April-June earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, excluding one-off items, rose to $1.48 billion from $775 million a year ago, while analysts in a company-provided poll had expected profits of $1.39 billion.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer: How Has the Ukraine Conflict Impacted Exports to Brazil and the U.S.?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine substantially elevates the risk of disruptions in the global fertilizer trade. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers, accounting for 23% of ammonia exports, 14% of urea exports, 10% of processed phosphate exports, and 21% of potash exports, according to data from The Fertilizer Institute. The primary destinations of fertilizers from Russia are Brazil (21%), China (10%), the US (9%), and India (4%).   Compared to the US, Brazil will be affected more directly as Brazil imports 85% of its fertilizers. Supply in the US should be less of an issue as the US has robust domestic production.   Click Here ...

Field trials look for nitrogen answers

Nitrogen rates, forms and application timings are the focus of multi-year trials funded by the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.   Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Crop Sciences professor emeritus and primary investigator of the on-farm trials, provided his observations from the research findings in an Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association-hosted webinar Oct. 19.   A primary objective of the work is to gather data on the response of corn grain to nitrogen fertilizer rates with replicated, field-scale trials at numerous on-farm locations.   Trails include comparing fall- and spring-applied or early spring and sidedressed nitrogen rates. The trials also ...

FieldWatch Launches Two Apps, Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

In April 2018, FieldWatch launched two free mobile apps (both Android and iOS), one to complement each of its sites, with the goal of making access and input easier. ( FieldWatch )   In its 10th year since being started at Purdue University, FieldWatch has grown to be in 19 states and one Canadian province with more than 17,000 users. The non-profit has created two mapping tools—DriftWatch and BeeCheck. Both are voluntary and free, and the sites are built with a Google Maps interactive interface to show pesticide applicators the locations of registered sites—sensitive crops or beehives. More than 20,000 sites representing ...

FieldWatch Looks to Expand its Mapping Efforts as Herbicide Use Grows

Checking for sensitive crops before spraying a herbicide is always a good bet, but for some applicators, it's also the law.   Anyone spraying over-the-top dicamba herbicides is legally required to document that they checked a sensitive crop registry for the area surrounding the field and keep that documentation for two years. While some state- and crop-specific registries exist, for most applicators, this requirement will be met by one company: FieldWatch.   FieldWatch, a nonprofit formed nearly a decade ago to alert applicators to specialty crops, organic crops and eventually beehives, is eager to expand to help row-crop farmers ...

FieldWatch Names New CEO

FieldWatch, Inc., a non-profit company that promotes improved communication and stewardship among crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators, announced that effective Oct. 1, 2020, Bob Walters has accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer.   Walters has been FieldWatch’s Director of Business Development since joining the company in 2016. He replaces Stephanie Regagnon who has taken a leadership role at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.   “Bob has been instrumental in the growth and development of FieldWatch as we have expanded to 22 states and one Canadian Province,” said Patrick Jones, Board of Directors Chairman at FieldWatch. “Bob&...

FieldWatch – Before You Spray

Before making pesticide applications this year check the FieldWatch online registry so you are aware of sensitive crops and beehives in the area. In 2017 the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau received a record number of complaints regarding pesticide applications. Taking the time to review what is near a field prior to applications can help mitigate future problems.   FieldWatch features a voluntary mapping tool through Google Maps™ that shows pesticide applicators the locations of registered sensitive crops and beehives so they can make informed decisions regarding potential pesticide applications. FieldWatch replaced the Iowa Department of ...

FIFRA science panel divided on EPA glyphosate cancer study

EPA’s conclusion that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans has received a mixed review from a scientific review panel.   The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) “was split,” according to the report issued today. Some panelists agreed with the EPA issue paper, prepared by the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and released last year. Other members felt the “not likely” characterization should be replaced by “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential.” And still other members were not comfortable with either description, preferring instead &...

Filibuster Face-Off: Schumer, McConnell at Loggerheads Over U.S. Senate Power Sharing

A standoff between new U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and the man he replaced, Republican Mitch McConnell, over a core rule of Senate operations has kept the two from reaching a deal on how to manage the 50-50 chamber.   Schumer is resisting McConnell’s demand for a promise to protect the long-standing Senate rule requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to advance most legislation, known as the legislative filibuster.   Their argument is holding up the basic organization and work of the Senate as it begins the new year with 50 senators from each party. Committees ...

Filling Your Tank Won't Break the Bank in 2021, and Pandemic's not the Sole Reason

One crumb of comfort amid the pandemic has been the drop in gas prices. A gallon of regular could be bought for less than $2 Friday, compared to the regional average of $2.82 a year ago, according to AAA.   On the other hand, isn't cheap fuel a bittersweet benefit, given it's directly related to COVID-19 requiring millions to work from home and cut back on travel?                                  &...

Final tally: 591 bills signed, 8 vetoed by governor

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed the final three bills of the 599 sent to him by the Illinois General Assembly during the spring legislative session.   Per the final tally, Pritzker signed 591 of the bills into law, while vetoing seven and sending one back to the General Assembly with an amendatory veto. The General Assembly will return in late October and early November to discuss new legislation and consider overriding any of the vetoes.   Among the final measures signed by the governor this week was the Home Energy Affordability and Transparency Act, which aims to provide greater ...

Finish line near for corn and soybeans planting

Corn planting nears the finish line and farmers are not far behind in soybean planting.   The June 5 USDA Crop Progress shows farmers have planted 96% of the corn acres, down a mere 1% from the four year average of 97%.   All but one state (Pennsylvania at 82%) has planted more than 90% of their acres. Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin came in at 91% -- lagging behind the majority of states in the 95-99% completion range.   Click Here to read more.

First U.S. bumble bee added to endangered species list

The rusty patched bumble bee became the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain federal protection on Tuesday when it was added to the government's list of endangered and threatened species.   The bee, once widely found in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States, was listed after U.S. President Donald Trump's administration lifted a hold it had placed on a plan for federal protections proposed last fall by the administration of former President Barack Obama.   Click Here to read more.  

Five Facts About the Ag Labor Shortage

Farm labor continues to be an issue, as trends like a generational shift translated into different job expectations and more global competition. Consider these five issues affecting your ability to find qualified workers:   1. Labor shortages are hitting ag hard Concerns about labor shortages in the U.S. continue to grow in 2021. The June Ag Barometer from Purdue University found nearly two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they either had “some” or “a lot of difficulty” hiring adequate labor, compared to 30% in 2020. Farm Journal reported on the shortage, showing restaurants and food retail, lumber and rural non-farm employment ...

Five Lock and Dam Closures on Illinois River Looming

The Illinois Waterway, which provides a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, includes eight lock and dam sites that are long overdue for significant repairs. In order to facilitate repairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (USACE/Corps) Rock Island District developed a consolidated repair schedule that included a short closure to locks in 2019, followed by two extended closures in 2020 and 2023. The closures are scheduled to take place simultaneously to lessen the impact to commercial navigation as much as possible.   The current 9-foot channel lock and dam system on the Illinois River was built in ...

Five States Sue EPA Over Rule Limiting Pesticide Safety Enforcement

Five states this week sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that narrows the areas where farmers are required to limit human presence during the application of pesticides.   The states argue that the rule will harm their agricultural workers.   The agency's rule, finalized in October, makes it so that requirements that govern areas near pesticide applications can only be enforced on a farmer’s property and not in surrounding “off-farm” areas.   The EPA argued that it was hard for farmers to enforce rules off of their property, but opponents of the ...

Five Things Farmers Need to Know About EPA's Ban on Chlorpyrifos

After decades of litigation, EPA announced a plan to pull chlorpyrifos off the market last week.   If you missed the breaking news story, see it here: . But if you saw it and still have questions -- When does the ban start? What products are affected? Is it final? -- you're in the right place.   Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide better known to farmers and pesticide applicators by various brand names such as Lorsban and Vulcan. It was a popular insecticide option for farmers for many years, particularly in the fight against soybean aphids. Its use has waned ...

Five things we've learned about dicamba

As we prepare for another year with the Xtend soybean system, we thought it would help to briefly summarize some of the most important things we've learned about dicamba as a result of research our outstanding graduate students have conducted during the past several seasons.   1. Dicamba can be detected in the air following treatment.   This isn't really any grand new finding; we've seen this trend in graduate student Shea Farrell's research for the past two seasons. But Farrell is now finished with all his experiments, and his results clearly show concentrations of dicamba can ...

Five-Herbicide Corn Tech

USDA is considering how to regulate Bayer's developmental five-way herbicide-tolerant corn trait, which will ultimately tolerate in-season applications of 2,4-D, dicamba, glufosinate, glyphosate and quizalofop (FOPS herbicides).   USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a petition from Monsanto (now a legal entity owned by Bayer) to deregulate the new GM corn trait, called MON 87429, last spring, so the company can use it for hybrid seed production. After reviewing comments from the public, the agency announced its next step this week: the launch of an environmental impact review for the new trait.   "In reviewing ...

Flooding on the Mississippi Affecting Shipping of Ag Product

The Mississippi River at the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois reached a new record high and it's disrupting efforts to move ag product on the river.   The situation is so bad the CME says it is affecting corn and soybean shipping stations. You can read the release from CME Goup here. It says the shipping stations are unable to load due to high water levels and flooding.  The National Weather Service website showed the Mississippi River level last Thursday at 22.64 ft.  That's just above the 22.63 ft mark reached on July 9th, 1993.   Click Here ...

Floods, food, farms top Ag Legislative Day topics

Sunshine Tuesday greeted thousands of Illinois agricultural leaders and FFA members and advisers from across the state for the 50th Agricultural Legislative Day at the Capitol.   Addressing gathered leaders in the Illinois State Library, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recalled last year’s historic flooding. At a White House meeting, Pritzker said he sought President Donald Trump’s support for more flood fighting help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Rebuilding levees and protecting basic infrastructure is important,” the governor said.   In a news conference later, Pritzker told reporters the Rebuild Illinois capital ...

Florida confirms toxic red tide spreading along Atlantic coast

Dozens of dead fish littered a Palm Beach County beach Wednesday as a toxic red tide appeared to spread along Florida’s Atlantic coast.   Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials confirmed Wednesday that low to moderate amounts of the algae that cause red tide have now turned up off three counties along the state’s more densely populated east coast. Blooms were confirmed in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, marking the first appearance of red tide along Atlantic shores in more than a decade.   Wildlife officials are also testing Miami-Dade and Broward counties. ...

FMC buys DuPont crop protection assets, sells health and nutrition

DuPont is selling part of its crop protection business to FMC Corp. and acquiring that company’s health and nutrition business to satisfy conditions imposed by the European Commission when it approved DuPont’s merger with Dow Chemical on Monday.   The DuPont-FMC transactions should go a long way toward satisfying concerns by regulators in the U.S. and other countries such as Australia and Brazil that are reviewing the $130 billion union between Dow and DuPont. The companies said they now expect the merger to close sometime in August.   “The remedy we’ve entered into ... ...

FMC to Acquire Danish Insecticide Maker for $1.4 Billion

Auriga Industries of Denmark said on Monday that it had agreed to sell  its insecticide maker, Cheminova, to the FMC Corporation for about $1.4 billion in cash, plus the assumption of debt.   The deal is expected to bolster operations at FMC, which supplies insecticides, fungicides and other chemicals to the agriculture industry.   Click Here to read more.

FMC To Introduce Two New Herbicide Modes Of Action In Next Decade

In a world where resistant weeds run rampant, one chemical company is bringing relief to corn, soybean and rice farmers. FMC will introduce a novel rice herbicide and a corn and soybean herbicide in the next five to ten years.    “When we say new mode of action, it means there’s not a product on the market today for that crop or that use,” says Kathy Shelton, FMC vice president and chief technology officer. “We have one molecule in our pipeline today that doesn’t have a name yet that focuses on rice, ...

FMCSA ELDT Resources

With the February 7th Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirement in full effect, FMCSA has created specific resources to help prepare and aid both companies and drivers who need additional information on the program. FMCSA recently released a YouTube video that details the regulations within the ELDT requirements. We also recommend viewing the Training Provider Registry, where drivers who have completed entry-level driver training can check their record to see what information their training provider(s) have submitted to the training provider registry. A very detailed Frequently Asked Questions page was also developed that should answer most questions people may ...

FMCSA Extends Comment Period for Speed Limiter Proposal

On May 27, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice extending the comment period on an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking (ANSPRM) requesting input on speed-limiting devices. The original notice was published on May 4. Comments are now due by July 18.  IFCA will be filing comments and urges members to add their comments. Over thousands of  comments have been filed in opposition to the rulemaking.  You can summit your comments here.

FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Exemption Through End of Year

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the COVID-19 emergency declaration until the end of the year.   This extension continues the exemption granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, for direct emergency assistance for some supply chains. It is limited to the transportation of:   -Livestock and livestock feed; -Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; -Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; and -Food, paper products, and other groceries for ...

FMCSA Issues Interim Final Rule on Agricultural Commodity Definitions

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is has published a final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.   Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source. The agricultural commodity rulemaking from FMCSA prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining ...

FMCSA Requires States to Revoke CDLs for Drug, Alcohol Violators

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new rule effective Nov. 8 to mandate states to not issue, renew, upgrade, or transfer CDL or commercial learner's permits after one or more drug and alcohol violations recorded in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. State driver's licensing agencies must remove CLP or CDL privilege and require states receiving Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds to adopt a compatible CMV driving prohibition.  IFCA will keep monitoring this issue.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out KJ at kj@ifca.com with more ...

FMCSA Seasonal Ag CDL Reforms

IFCA would like to thank the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for publishing reforms to the Seasonal Ag CDL (Restricted Class B CDL in Illinois) program.  These reforms go into effect immediately.   One of the main reforms impacting ag retailers is the increase to the number of days a restricted CDL is valid: 180 to 210 days. The second major reform is the change to a calendar year rotation for the program to prevent any overlaps from season to season from one year to the next.   IFCA along with our national association, the Ag Retailer ...

FMCSA suspends HOS in all 50 states for Coronavirus outbreak relief haulers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a nationwide Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for motor carriers hauling relief supplies for Coronavirus/COVID-19.   The FMCSA made the declaration shortly after President Trump declared a nationwide state of emergency over the Coronavirus outbreak on Friday, March 13.   The emergency waiver suspends HOS regulations in all 50 state and Washington D.C. for drivers who are directly providing relief supplies for the Coronavirus outbreak:   By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks are granted ...

FMCSA to Announce Two-Year Delay in Implementing ELDT Rule

Federal trucking regulators are near completion of a formal notice that implementation of the Entry Level Driver Training rule that was set to take effect on a limited basis Feb. 7 will be delayed by up to two years.   The notice is “in the pipeline,” said a DOT official who asked not to be identified.   “There is a Federal Register notice forthcoming,” the official said about the rule, which will be administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “The whole thing is going to be delayed. It’s mostly due to the ...

FMCSA Unveils Proposed Changes to Hours-of-Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 14 issued a long-awaited proposal to make changes to its hours-of-service rules that would increase truck drivers’ flexibility with their 30-minute rest break and with allocating time in a sleeper berth.   The proposal also would extend by two hours duty time for drivers encountering adverse weather and expand the current 100 air-mile “shorthaul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, consistent with workday rules for longhaul truck drivers.   The agency will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register, scheduled for Aug. 20. &...

FMCSA Updates to Hours of Service Rules are Welcome Reforms for Ag Retailers

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton released the following statement in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules: “This is welcome news. An update to HOS rules has been a priority for ag retailers for a long time. We are grateful that the Department of Transportation and the administration took our comments into consideration with this final rule. “Perhaps most notable reforms in the rule are the change to the short-haul ...

FMCSA Updates Training Provider Registry

On June 29, 2022, IFCA received updated information from FMCSA on the Training Provider Registry. This includes the following enhancements to the process training providers use to submit driver training certification information: After successfully submitting a driver training certification record, the user will now see a new confirmation message that asks if they need to submit another certification record. Users can select “Submit a Record for the Same Driver,” “Submit a Record for a Different Driver,” or “I’m Finished.” The Registry will no longer accept duplicate submissions—that is, submissions from the same ...

FMSCA Top Five Violations for 2021

Based on roadside inspections in 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued its top five violations for driver, vehicle, and hazardous materials. Share the top five violations with your team members and stress the importance of always following safe-driving measures and operations.   2021 Roadside Inspections - Driver Violations Description of Violations 1 Speeding 6-10 63,950 2 Failure to obey traffic control device 59,188 3 False reporting of driver's record of duty status 53,313 4 Failure to use seat belt 50,297 5 Operating without a CDL 42,005   2021 Roadside Inspections - Vehicle Violations Description of Violations 1 Required lamp(s) not operable 350,886 2 Operating without proof of a periodic inspection 166,281 3 Brake(s) ...

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Food Inflation and Higher Input Costs May Ease but Will Still Persist Through 2022

Rising prices are impacting every aspect of the food and agriculture supply chain and that may not change dramatically through the balance of 2022 according to officials with the Federal Reserve Banks of Minneapolis and Kansas City.   The two held a symposium to look at the increased input costs on the farm and well as higher food prices.   Officials say these are consequences of recent upheavals in global commodity markets with the war in Ukraine and rising costs of food processing, transportation, and labor shortages.   And the outlook isn’t expected to improve for the 2023 ...

Food Prices Soar, Up 10.4 Percent From Last Year, Biggest Jump Since 1981

Rachel Siegel reported on the front page of today’s Washington Post that, “Inflation soared in June, continuing to climb at the fastest pace in 40 years across many sectors of the economy, driven in large part by higher energy prices.   “The blistering consumer price index was 9.1 percent higher in June than it was compared to a year ago, and 1.3 percent higher than it was in May, according to a report released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealing scant signs of progress in the fight against inflation. The last time inflation reached over 9 percent was ...

For Ag Retail, the Long and Shortage of It

As the world has largely moved on from the COVID-19 economic stoppages of 2020, many markets have been hit with severe product shortages due to supply chain disruptions.   Unfortunately, agriculture has not been immune to this phenomenon. Back during the beginning for the 2021 spring season, several ag retailers and their grower-customers were reporting some severe shortages of key early season products. This included such popular herbicides as glyphosate and glufosinate.   Indeed, back in April, many ag retailers started warning their grower-customers about the potential short supplies of their favorite early season products. “This year is going to be ...

For Triazines, 2020 Provides Some ‘Good News’

For most of the world, it almost goes without saying that 2020 has been long on bad news and short on the good. However, for one class of popular herbicides, there is some good news!   In mid-September, EPA announced a long-awaited interim decision regarding the re-registration of the triazines: Atrazine, propazine, and simazine. Following years of research and public comments from the agriculture community, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declared these fundamental crop management tools “safe for continued use in controlling resilient weeds.” According to the Triazine Network, a coalition of agricultural organizations that advocates for science-based regulatory decisions, ...

Forget GMOs. The next big battle is over genetically ‘edited’ foods

Green stalks have only just begun to sprout in the test fields where biotech giant DuPont Pioneer is planting rows of a new genetically edited corn. But across the street, in the company’s sprawling research campus, executives are already fretting about how to sell it to the world.   On one hand, this corn is a revolution: It will probably be the first plant to market developed through the cutting-edge genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas.   On the other, the industry’s last big breakthrough of this kind — genetically modified organisms, or GMOs — was an unqualified ...

Former Georgia governor expected to get USDA nomination

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is emerging as President-elect Donald Trump's selection for agriculture secretary even though the search had focused in recent weeks on a woman or Hispanic and no official announcement has yet been issued.   Experience a renewed commitment to crop insurance. A source close to the transition team confirmed media reports Monday that Trump had settled on Perdue, whom the president-elect had interviewed in November.   Perdue, 70, served two terms as Georgia governor, from 2003 to 2011. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine although he spent much of his career in business in rural Georgia, running ...

Former Illinois House Speaker Indicted on Racketeering and Bribery Charges

Michael J. Madigan, the former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on 22 federal charges related to racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion, prosecutors said.   The indictment accuses Madigan, 79, of using his political power to obtain bribes and steer business toward his private Chicago law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner, according to the Department of Justice. Many of the allegations in the indictment relate to claims that Madigan illegally influenced the Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), northern Illinois' primary electric utility, and it supported him in return.   Click Here to read more.

Four Things Missouri Scientists Learned About 2,4-D and Dicamba in 2020

University of Missouri Extension weed scientist Mandy Bish unveiled the results of the group's latest research on new auxin herbicide technologies at the annual MU Crop Management Conference, held virtually Dec. 1-2.   MU weed scientists, who led the charge on early investigations of dicamba volatility and temperature inversions, have now turned some of their attention to 2,4-D-choline as its use on 2,4-tolerant Enlist crops ramps up.   Here are four big takeaways for farmers to keep in mind for the 2021 spray season.   Click Here to read more.

Four versions of legal sports betting bill filed by state rep

In an effort to kick-start discussions on legal sports betting in Illinois, state Rep. Mike Zalewski has filed four different proposals.   The Riverside Democrat said the proposals will be discussed at a hearing of the House Revenue Committee next week. “What we have learned the last few months is there is great interest and agreement in the gaming industry to bring sports betting and its economic benefits to Illinois and little agreement yet on now to best do it,” Zalewski said in a statement.   Zalewski said the proposals that will be discussed were modeled on sports ...

Four-State Study Tests Nitrate-Reduction Technology

Approxmately 265 square miles drain into the Lake Springfield watershed from an area covering portions of three counties.     Researchers are tracking technology at two test sites in Auburn intended to keep the nitrate byproducts from 300 farms within the watershed out of streams, rivers and ultimately the lake.  The sites -- known as "saturated buffer zones" -- are among 15 in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota in a larger study on reducing nitrates that threaten water quality and aquatic life.   Click Here to read more.

France clamps down on use of weedkiller glyphosate in farming

France’s health and environment agency announced restrictions on weedkiller glyphosate in farming, but stopped short of a full ban in the European Union’s top agricultural producer due to a lack of non-chemical alternatives in some areas.   The new rules set out by ANSES on Friday are part of a push by the French government to phase out glyphosate by 2021 and reflect a global debate about the safety of the weedkiller, first developed by Bayer’s Monsanto unit under the brand Roundup.   President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 pledged to end glyphosate use in France within ...

France Offering Financial Aid to Growers to Stop Using Glyphosate

With everything that has happened in the world these past 18 months or so, you might have missed this somewhat important development for agriculture. Back in December, one country’s president did not like how market forces were working against his personal beliefs. So, he decided to try to a new tactic to better support his world view.   Of course, I’m talking about French President Emmanuel Macron and his ongoing efforts to discontinue the use of glyphosate in his country. Originally, back in 2017, President Macron made a pledge to his supporters that his government would end the ...

Franklin Park, Illinois to seek ability to regulate pesticide use

Franklin Park officials want to be able to regulate pesticides at the village level, and they have plans to ask the state to allow them to do so.   The village board may vote as soon as its next meeting on a resolution requesting that the Illinois General Assembly remove the clause from the Illinois Pesticide Act that prevents municipalities from controlling pesticide use.     “It’s the reason I got involved in public office — sustainability,” Mayor Barrett Pedersen said of the proposed resolution.   Oak Park and Evanston have approved similar motions, according to ...

Freight Costs To Remain High Through Winter, Analyst Says

Freight costs are likely to remain elevated through the winter, despite the recent decline in crude oil prices, says Altin Kalo, senior economist at Steiner Consulting Group.   The U.S. Energy Administration’s recent update put inventories of diesel and heating oil at just 106 million barrels, well below the five-year range and also at the low end of the range for the last 40 years.   Click Here to read more.

Freight Rail Legislation Introduced in U.S. House

On August 2, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation, titled the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act, to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Board.   The legislation is backed by many companies in the ag input industry.  It seeks to address several longstanding policy concerns and objectives impacting fertilizer and other rail shippers, including service standards and reciprocity for shippers dealing with unreasonably poor rail service.    The legislation will likely to considered by the House Transportation Committee in September. Click here to read the fact sheet of the bill.

Freight rail reform can’t come soon enough

Forest and paper product manufacturers rely on America’s railroads to move raw materials to mills and finished products to customers. Nearly 60 million tons of wood, pulp and paper products made that journey in 2015, according to the American Association of Railroads. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), which has regulatory oversight of rail rates and service, has initiated proceedings to revise outdated regulatory exemptions, enhance rail competition through reciprocal switching agreements and improve its procedures used to challenge unreasonably high rail rates. Implementing those reforms will go a long way toward supporting our industry’s needs for ...

From the Farm: Chemical Supplies for Herbicides

Farm chemical supplies are having difficulty sourcing typical herbicides as Stu reports in Thursday’s From the Farm.   COVID-19 is being blamed for a shortfall of the popular herbicides “Roundup” and “Liberty.”   “If we are seeing any tighter supplies on those two chemicals. There’s some tighter supplies on other stuff, but most of those, the Roundup and the Liberty are the biggest two, I would say tighter supplies, or short supplies in certain areas of the country right now,” said Kevin Johnson, Interim President of Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical ...

Frontline, Farm-State Democrats Push Back Against Biden Tax Plan

A group of 13 House Democrats, led by Iowa’s Cindy Axne and California’s Jim Costa, is pressing party leaders to exempt family farms from a tax increase President Joe Biden has proposed on inherited assets to help pay for new child care, education and other spending.   Under Biden's $1.8 trillion package of family-related assistance, heirs would no longer receive "stepped up basis" for capital gains tax purposes, which resets the value of inherited property to the date of death. Instead they'd be liable for the tax on the full appreciation in value from ...

Frost/freeze damage report: will plants recover?

Temperatures over most of Illinois dropped to the upper 20s or low 30s on Saturday morning, May 9. This resulted in damage or even death to emerged and emerging corn and soybeans. The extent of damage was closely tied to when fields were planted.   Corn planted during the warm part of April—the first week—was up and growing (slowly) by May 1, with limited leaf area. In some fields, emerged stands were already subpar, especially in the wettest parts of the state, whether or not water stood in the field. According to NASS, 68 percent of the corn crop ...

Funding Change in WRDA Bill Expected to Increase Inland Waterway Projects

A change in the funding formula for inland waterway projects could add $100 million annually to waterway infrastructure spending as the House of Representatives approved a new Water Resources Development Act on Tuesday.   The bill, commonly known as WRDA, will lower the funding cost share for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund from 50% to 35%, and increase the costs from general federal revenue for those projects from 50% to 65%. The shift in cost share will boost the number of projects that can be funded annually.   "It will provide about an additional $100 million each year for construction projects for inland waterways," ...

Funding Request Shows USEPA Serious on Pesticides

EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the agency is putting a priority on re-evaluating pesticides for their environmental impact under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).   Regan told senators this week that the White House had requested ten full-time staff and $4.3 million in fiscal 2023 to carry out the ESA reviews.   He conced the agency was behind schedule in finishing a review of the impact of pesticides on pollinators. He went on to say, “We are continuing to forge ahead on this very important issue. It’s a priority, and it’s reflected in our ...

Future Agricultural Transport on North American Waterways

The long-term trend of annual rainfall taken across Northern USA and Southern Canada for over a century reveals a steady increase. Redirecting some seasonal spring flood water through pipes into water tables would bypass frozen ground and enhance summer agricultural production. That production would influence future seasonal agricultural bulk transportation along North American inland waterways.    North America’s inland waterways carry massive amounts of bulk freight at lower per ton operating costs that railway and truck transport. As winter approaches and cash crops harvested, waterway transport moves massive volumes of produce such as corn, soy, barley, oats ...

Future Cronus Plant Site Sees Planting of Last Crop

Crops are being planted for one last time on the 240 acres of rural Tuscola farmland slated to be site of the new Cronus fertilizer plant. Come spring 2016, all of that corn and soybeans will be replaced by a beehive of activity, with construction workers transforming the farmland into a $1.4 billion plant. "We are absolutely excited about coming to Tuscola," Cronus spokesman Dave Lundy said. "We chose Douglas County because it is so well positioned for us. Our customers are there, our resources are there, and the area will provide us with a great workforce." Click Here to read more.  

FWS proposes listing bumble bee as endangered

The rusty patched bumble bee is one step closer to becoming the first bee in the continental United States to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.   Its range has shrunk by 92 percent since the 1990s, a major reason that the Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list it as endangered. The service's proposed listing rule was issued today and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.   The Xerces Society, which petitioned FWS to list the species in 2013, said the bee “is not only an important pollinator of prairie wildflowers, but also of cranberries, ...

G.M.O. Foods Will Soon Require Labels. What Will the Labels Say?

The United States Department of Agriculture has proposed new guidelines for labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Food makers will be required by federal law to use the labels, starting in 2020.   The safety of genetically modified ingredients, widely known as G.M.O.s, remains a source of anxiety for some Americans despite the scientific studies that say they pose no health threat. Many food makers now voluntarily place “No G.M.O.’’ labels on their products as a marketing tactic.   Clarifying how genes are altered in the plants and animals we eat, and ...

Gambling bill could move with or without Senate’s ‘grand bargain’

A state senator said he’s willing to move forward with a bill that would create six new casinos in Illinois if the “grand bargain” budget resolution stalls.   Senate Bill 7, which is part of the Senate’s legislative bargain aimed at ending the state’s nearly two-year budget impasse, seeks to expand gambling in the hope of generating substantial revenue. Additionally, the legislation would allow existing Illinois casinos to expand and permit Chicago airports to install slot machines in terminals and at four horse racing tracks.   One of the sponsors of the bill, ...

Gambling expansion revived in Illinois House but stalls in committee

A massive gambling expansion bill stalled in a House committee Monday further clouding chances the bill can win approval before Thursday’s scheduled adjournment.   The lead sponsor of Senate Bill 7, Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, said he’ll keep working on the bill despite time running out on the session.   “I want to analyze it and figure out where we can massage something, in terms of the testimony today,” Rita said. “I’m going to continue to work on this. I’m not going to close the door now.”   ...

Gambling expansion, sports betting on collision course as end of Illinois' legislative session nears

The smart money says that if Illinois lawmakers are going to legalize sports betting this spring, it’s going to be part of a larger gambling expansion deal that also includes new casino licenses and expanded betting options at horse tracks.   Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not want to squander the opportunity to bring in new state revenue through legalized sports betting, made possible by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year, by tying the issue to the parochial gambling debates that have failed to produce an agreement for the better part of a decade. The ...

Gas taxes and driver's license fees would go up dramatically under Illinois Senate proposal

The cost of owning and operating a vehicle in Illinois would increase dramatically under a proposal in the state Senate aimed at paying for repairs to crumbling roads and bridges.   The legislation, introduced this week by Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago, would more than double the state’s gas tax to 44 cents a gallon, double the driver’s license fee to $60 and raise the vehicle registration fee to $148. The driver’s license fee is now $30; the vehicle registration fee is $98.   It also would significantly hike the registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000. Greater ...

Gavilon Expands Fertilizer Operations in Minnesota and Illinois

Omaha-based commodities commodities company the Gavilon Group is expanding fertilizer operations in Minnesota and Illinois.   MicroSource, a micronutrient division of Gavilon Fertilizer LLC, will expand its capacity and research and development capabilities in Shakopee, Minnesota.  The company also recently purchased about 7 acres of land in Marseilles, Illinois, which it has leased since 1995 as part of its fertilizer operations, said Patrick Burke, a Gavilion spokesman.   Click Here to read more.

GE Crop History Revisited: Researchers Talk About Food Safety, Regulations, Markets and Growing Weed Resistance

John Linder, a grain farmer from Edison, Ohio, offered the closing public comments Monday in the opening discussion by scientists and laypeople on the past experience and potential future of agricultural of agricultural biotechnology in the U.S.   "As farmers, we are looking for the new innovation if we are really going to have the population growth going to have the population growth going forward that has been spoken about so many times," Linder said.  "We need the next products to get us there and actually achieve what needs to be done for the world.  I think ...

Gene Editing Crops: Pros and Cons

There are few food-related areas of discussion more emotive than that of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Public debate often takes place at the extremes of the argument, where combatants on both sides are accused of playing fast and loose with the future of the planet and strong opinions are held on the morality of use, the independence of any research and the exact nature of any benefits or potential risks.   Wider use of the technology leads to a significant reduction in pesticide use. As the genetic change is designed to make crops more resistant to pests, the reliance on ...

Gene Editing Has ‘Limitless Potential’ to Reduce Malnutrition, says Global Food Expert

Gene editing is a tool with unlimited potential to help reduce malnutrition globally, said Dr. Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).   The world needs the technology because billions of people are struggling to access the nutritious meals required to stay healthy, Haddad said.   The leader of GAIN, a Switzerland-based foundation launched by the United Nations in 2002 to reduce malnutrition worldwide, made his remarks during an Alliance for Science-hosted Food Systems Summit independent dialogue. Haddad also chairs the upcoming Summit’s Action Track 1, which is charged with ensuring access to safe and ...

Gene editing plants and animals could help fight climate change

Editing the genes of plants and animals could help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other sectors, according to a report highlighting the possible uses of the technology.   Why it matters: For too long the potential of biotechnology to address climate change has taken a back seat to engineering, chemistry and energy. But new advances in gene editing could make farming more efficient and take carbon out of the atmosphere.   By the numbers: The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think tank for science and technology policy, concludes in a recent report that gene-editing technologies like CRISPR ...

Gene Editing Seeds With CRISPR Is Transforming Agricultural Biotechnology

One of the main focuses of agricultural biotechnology is to feed a hungry world in a more sustainable way. Many current farming methods are inefficient because they require large amounts of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Agricultural biotech is trying to solve these problems by starting at the seed level.   Inari, a company that specializes in seed technology, is using gene editing to change food production by making it more sustainable. Inari announced it has raised $208 million in a Series D fundraiser and has reached a valuation of $1.2 billion.   Inari's SEEDesign platform focuses on gene-edited seeds that can ...

Gene-edited plants aid food security, researchers say

With renewed attention to implementation and regulation, new plant breeding technologies such as gene editing could make an important contribution to global food security, say a group of plant geneticists and economists.   The authors, from several institutions including the University of Liege, Belgium, and the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Pakistan, catalogue several new technologies to edit genes of plant crops that they suggest “may allay fears associated with GM crops”.   Because direct gene editing doesn’t involve transferring DNA across species – which creates transgenic crops – the paper, published in the ...

Gene-Edited Plants and Animals: Can They Bridge the Divide in the GMO Debate?

The debate surrounding genetically engineered (“GE” or “GMO”) plants and animals has historically been, and still is, extremely divisive. Anti-GMO activists raise many objections, including two that often resonate with a segment of the public: (1) control of the food supply by a few multinational corporations, and (2) reliance on pesticides.   To exemplify these controversies, take Bt corn and cotton, wherein scientists have introduced bacterial genes[1] that produce insecticidal toxins. When insects eat portions of these plants where the toxin is produced—such as in the root, as is the case for the corn rootworm—...

General Assembly can’t hold remote meetings, citing state law

Although many Illinoisans are being urged to work remotely from home during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, that does not appear to be an option for state lawmakers.   A spokesman for Senate President Don Harmon said in an email that Article IV, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution says sessions of each house of the General Assembly must be open to the public unless two-thirds of the members vote to close them. He also pointed to a state law that says legislative sessions must be held “in the seat of government,” which is Springfield.   That statute goes on ...

General Assembly debating bills on bag taxes

Before the spring legislative session is over, Illinois residents might find it pays -- literally -- to hang onto those bags you get in the store.   That’s because the General Assembly is debating bills that would put a tax on the bags that stores put your groceries and other merchandise in as you check out.   The proposals vary. Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a 5-cents per bag tax, but only on plastic bags. A bill favored by environmentalists would put a 10-cents a bag tax on all types of single-use bags, whether plastic, paper or ...

General Assembly headed back to Springfield

Illinois lawmakers will return to Springfield Wednesday to resume a spring session interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.   However, with the specter of the pandemic still looming over the proceedings, it will be anything but a normal session. The House will relocate to the Bank of Springfield Center to conduct its business so that members and staff can maintain social distancing. The Senate plans to meet in the Capitol.   House members are being issued a lengthy list of instructions to follow, including getting tested for COVID-19 before returning, being advised they should travel alone and not bring family members ...

General Assembly Made History, but Much Left Undone

The 101st Illinois General Assembly took historic action that ranged from passing legislation to end cash bail prior to electing a Black House Speaker for the first time.   But lawmakers ran out of time on several consequential measures — including bills that would have expanded vote-by-mail, allowed lawmakers to conduct business remotely during the pandemic and eliminated newly expanded income tax deductions for business owners. Another bill relating to the state’s rollout of legalization of adult-use marijuana also failed to pass, as did a measure that was part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ health care ...

General Assembly returns with little time left for budget

  Time may be running out for the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to end the standoff, now in its 10th month, before it claims its highest-profile victim to date. Chicago State University officials have said the predominantly black South Side school only has enough money to make payroll through month’s end.     Like every other public university and community college across Illinois, Chicago State hasn’t received any state funding for the fiscal year that began July 1. Eastern Illinois University has laid off hundreds of employees, and faculty members have agreed ...

General Mills Shareholders Reject Proposal to Dump GMO's

General Mills Inc. has made strong commitments this year to natural and organic foods.  It took genetically modified ingredients out of its signature cereal brand Cheerios and then doubled down on its organic lineup by striking and $820 million deal for Anne's, a stalwart of the the organic and natural foods industry.   But when the industrial food behemoth's shareholders were presented with a proposal to dump all genetically modified ingredients from the company's vast lineup of brands, they responed with a resounding "NO."   Click Here to read more.

Genetic Labeling: Take #2

The State of Vermont has passed a statute mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods as of July 1, 2016. Other states have considered and are considering similar legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to preempt all state legislation on the labeling of genetic engineering. The Senate failed by a vote of 48-49 to preempt the states, falling well short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate.   Several major companies have now made independent decisions to label their products as made with genetic engineering given the vacuum left by the Senate. They are making the best of ...

Genetically Boosting the Nutritional Value of Corn Could Benefit Millions

Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of corn – the world’s largest commodity crop – by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, according to a new study.   The Rutgers University-New Brunswick discovery could benefit millions of people in developing countries, such as in South America and Africa, who depend on corn as a staple. It could also significantly reduce worldwide animal feed costs.   “We improved the nutritional value of corn, the largest commodity crop grown on Earth,” said&...

Germany Will Ban Glyphosate After 2023 To Save Insects

Germany will ban the use of glyphosate herbicides at the end of 2023. The country is making the decision as part of an environmental protection program the government cabinet agreed to this week, according to Dow Jones.   Glyphosate, owned by German ag and pharmaceutical company Bayer, has come under fire in the U.S. over the past year with claims the pesticide causes cancer. Germany’s concerns, however, revolve around the pesticide’s impact on food sources for insects in the country.   Bayer provided the following statement to Agweb regarding the announcement in Germany:   We respect ...

Get Ready for an InfoAg Road Trip!

  Get Ready for an InfoAg Road Trip!   August 3-4 | St. Louis Union Station Hotel   You know the InfoAg Conference and the value you've received in years past - the new precision ag knowledge, the hands-on experience with new tools and technology, and the days of getting together with friends and colleagues.   So make tracks for this year's InfoAg and... Learn--See what's new, what's next, and what to expect as we move forward - 15 CEUs available. Network--Meet the experts and experienced users in the newest tech and software while developing new relationships to ...

Getting out: Many students leaving Illinois to attend college

Illinois has the second-highest rate nationally of college freshmen choosing to leave the state to pursue higher education — a mark it hit even before the state’s two-year budget impasse — and preliminary figures this fall suggest the numbers continue to look grim.   Between 2000 and 2014, when the out-migration hit an all-time high, the number of freshmen leaving Illinois to attend college shot up by about 64 percent, according to a study earlier this year by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Only New Jersey, which also has had state budget woes, exceeded Illinois in loss of students to ...

Getting the Crop Protection Message Out Beyond the Agriculture Industry

I can remember the last business trip I took in the opening days of the pandemic hitting our shores. I was in an apple orchard outside Quincy, WA, speaking to growers and distributors at a workshop about crop protection programs. During the trip my cohorts and myself were rightly concerned that our return flights back east may get grounded. Thankfully our return flights proceeded as scheduled but a week later at the end of March 2020, nearly all travel was coming to a pandemic-induced standstill. That apple meeting seems like decades ago.   Fast forward to Summer 2021 with vaccinations pushing the ...

Global Fertilizer Supplies to Outweigh Demand, Rabobank Says

While global fertilizer supplies appear set to outweigh demand, the forecast for pricing for the first quarter of 2015 "looks rather cloudy" according to a new report on the global fertilizer industry by Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group.   The report, which looks at issues of price, supply and demand in key agricultural markets, says that lower farmer margins will prompt farmers to be more prudent in fertilizer applications, but "strong demand destruction" is unlikely.  Spring demand in the Northern Hemisphere will prevent prices from slipping significantly, the bank said.   Click Here to read more.

Global Nitrogen Outlook: 4 Key Market Drivers to Watch in 2021

Having grown up in a farming community, then working in agriculture for more than 25 years, I have witnessed the exceptional resiliency of North American farmers many times.   After 2019, I thought I had seen our industry overcome among the most significant challenges we would ever face: Historic flooding in the spring that disrupted fertilizer applications and planting followed by poor weather in the fall that disrupted the harvest.   As we all know, the agriculture community faced even more challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic created extreme uncertainty across the economy, including for key crop consuming industries such as ethanol and ...

Glufosinate Resistant Palmer Amaranth has Been Found in Missouri

Glufosinate resistant palmer amaranth has been found in the Missouri bootheel.  University of Missouri Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Mandy Bish tells Brownfield the discovery is frustrating, but not surprising.   “We have a limited number of post-emergent herbicide options for control of pigweeds like palmer amaranth and waterhamp. As Dr. Bradley, our state weed scientist, has said multiple times if we are overusing them then we are going to break the system, so it seems we have officially broken glufosinate in at least one palmer population in Missouri.”   Click Here to read more.

Glufosinate: The Next Big G-Force in Crop Protection

“The glufosinate molecule has essentially been a rollercoaster ride the last 12 to 18 months across the globe. What we’re seeing is a huge increase in demand on a global scale for glufosinate,” Sam Knott, Director of U.S. Central Crops for generics player Atticus LLC told AgriBusiness Global.   “When countries like China started to phase out paraquat several years ago and Mexico started to ban glyphosate, the industry has had to rely on a broad-spectrum herbicide like glufosinate that has tolerant crops to fill that void.”   Spurred by rapid adoption of the glufosinate-enabled ...

Glufosinate: The Next Big G-Force in Crop Protection

“The glufosinate molecule has essentially been a rollercoaster ride the last 12 to 18 months across the globe. What we’re seeing is a huge increase in demand on a global scale for glufosinate,” Sam Knott, Director of U.S. Central Cro