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  • Click through to see what life is like at the annual show hosted by The Ohio State University.

  • The Senate Commerce Committee passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that gives the Surface Transportation Board more clout to deal with grain shipping delays on railroads in the northern plains. But don’t count an the rest of Congress doing anything soon.“I am pleased the committee was able to work together to pass these common-sense improvements to the STB,” said Senator John Thune (R-SD), who sponsored the bill along with committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WVl). “While there is more work to be done to address the concerns that agriculture producers and other shippers face, providing targeted improvements to the STB ensures that it functions as the regulatory body that Congress envisioned, while not stifling the railroads with additional regulations that can reduce infrastructure investment.”Thune and Rockefeller’s bill would allow board members to work together in a more streamlined approach. Their bill would also expand the STB board membership from three to five members and allow for limited board meetings without initial public meeting notice, but with later public disclosure. The bill would allow the board to initiate some investigations, not just respond to complaints, and would require the STB to establish a database of complaints and prepare quarterly reports on them.Don’t look for any more action on this soon, however.Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who supports the bill, told Agriculture.com this week that he doesn’t expect the Senate to do much before it recesses for fall election campaigning. He looks for a vote on a continuing resolution to fund government programs and avoid a government shutdown. Grassley said the Thune bill likely won’t come up for a vote until after the election in November.“After the election, harvest will be over,” Grassley said.

  • As expected, the U.S. corn and soybean crop condition ratings have been left unchanged from a week ago, according to the USDA Crop Progress Report Monday.For corn, the USDA rated the crop as 74% good/excellent, equal to a week ago and ahead of the 63% five-year average. The report shows that 4% of the crop has been harvested, with 2% completed in Illinois and 12% in Missouri.Overall, 82% of U.S. corn is in the dent stage, behind an 85% five-year average. Only 27% of the U.S. corn total production is rated as mature, behind a 39% five-year average.Mother Nature Welcomes Midwest Harvest Season Al Kluis, Kluis Commodities trader, says today's report is negative for prices tonight. "I expect corn to start out 1 to 2 cents lower tonight. For soybeans, today's report is likely to take prices 2 to 3 cents lower tonight."In its weekly report, the USDA pegged the U.S. soybean crop as 72% good/excellent, equal to a week ago and significantly ahead of a 50% five-year average. The USDA reported that 74% of the U.S. Spring Wheat harvest is complete, compared to an 86% five-year average. Meanwhile, winter wheat planting is 12% complete, vs. the 11% five-year average.

  • Cargill has filed a lawsuit against Syngenta Seeds, Inc. seeking damages from Syngenta for commercializing its Agrisure Viptera (MIR 162) corn seed before the product obtained import approval from China. Cargill’s grain export facilities in Reserve and Westwego, Louisiana loaded the vessels that were destined for and rejected by China.In court documents filed Friday, Cargill said that it has lost more than $90 million because Syngenta sold MIR 162 to U.S. farmers before gaining import approval from China, one of the world's biggest markets. “Unlike other seed companies, Syngenta has not practiced responsible stewardship by broadly commercializing a new product before receiving approval from a key export market like China,” said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America. “Syngenta also put the ability of U.S. agriculture to serve global markets at risk, costing both Cargill and the entire U.S. agricultural industry significant damages.”Since mid-November 2013, China has rejected imports of U.S. corn due to the presence of Syngenta’s MIR 162 trait because of its lack of approval for import, virtually halting U.S. corn trade with China. A study by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated that U.S. exporters and farmers lost up to $2.9 billion because of the uncertain trade environment.  Syngenta’s ResponseIn response Syngenta issued a statement saying the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies that can increase both their productivity and their profitability. MIR162 was approved for cultivation in the U.S. in 2010. Syngenta commercialized the trait in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements. Syngenta also obtained import approval from major corn importing countries. Syngenta believes it has been fully transparent in commercializing the trait over the last four years. The company believes MIR 162 has demonstrated major benefits for growers, preventing significant yield and grain quality losses resulting from damage by a broad spectrum of lepidopteran pests.MIR 162 BackgroundIn the last two seasons, MIR162 was planted on about 3% of U.S. acres. It is also approved and planted in Brazil and Argentina.Darci Vetter, USDA's chief ag negotiator says the agency is attacking the issue at all levels. "We are using our embassy in Beijing, urging China to immediately approve MIR 162, asking the government to follow the science on this issue to make a sound decision. We are asking China to streamline the regulatory process on trait approval. This issue is very important," negotiator Vetter says.

 

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