Big News as Agriculture Gets Ready for Harvest
Surprising crop reports, a disease report and two lawsuits top last week
Harvest is ramping up here in Wisconsin as the weather cools and producers want to beat the first frost to the field. Things are also ramping up here at the Feed & Grain office as the press date for our Oct./Nov. issue gets closer. So, if you missed some of last week’s biggest news (there were some big developments) in all of your pre-harvest preparations — here it is handy shortened form.
The top news stories for the week of Sept. 16 are …
The USDA lowered its estimated soybean levels by 70 million bushels over last month. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise due to the late planting season for soybeans and the drought reemerging in key states during a key developmental period. What is a surprise is the increase in estimated corn yields, increasing the estimated total harvest by 80 million over last month. As with soybeans, a late planting along with the drought in the Corn Belt during key times makes many experts skeptical of the corn numbers, but more accurate numbers should come in as harvest moves forward.
Just like last year’s battle in California over GMO labeling, things are turning ugly. In just the last few weeks, the pro-labeling side of the debate has gone from a position of dominance in donations, to being vastly outspent. That’s because of large multi-million dollar donations by companies like Monsanto and DuPont, along with the advocacy group the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is being sued over its $2.2 million donation by the pro-labeling group Moms for Labeling. The lawsuit claims that the group needs to disclose who donated the money used to fight labeling and to register as a political committee if they wish to donate to specific ballot measures.
For the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control has reported a connection to antibiotics used in livestock to increasing bacterial resistance that is the estimated result in the deaths of over 23,000 people a year. CDC Director Thomas Frieden is calling for a scale back in antibiotic use and to start regulating their use across all uses. The low but constant dosing in the animal agriculture sector are said to be ideal breading grounds for these super bacteria, though overuse in the medical field is also a problem. The Animal Health Institute states that the problem is being overblown, and that livestock antibiotics can only be linked to two of the 18 noted threats.
There was a fire at Cargill’s Soybean processing plant in Raleigh, NC, on Friday the 13th. The sprinkler system in the facility was effective in subduing the initial blaze, and the fire was under control by 10 p.m. Even so, firefighters stayed on the scene as the soybean smoldered due to the risk of explosion.
In what is being called the "largest tax and securities fraud scheme in Indiana history," Craig Ducey, Chad Ducey, Chris Ducey, Brian Carmichael, Jeff Wilson, Joseph Furando and Evelyn Katirina Pattison are being charged with fraud from knowingly selling lesser biodiesel. The defendants sold 35 million gallons of the biodiesel B99 as B100. The Renewable Identification Numbers they received where worth about $2 more than B99. Not only were they claiming that the fuel was more valuable than it was, but they were relabeling fuel that they had purchased not produced. This means that the RINs had already been claimed for that fuel by the company that manufactured it, and the defendants were claiming again. Prosecutors say that the defendants cheated their customers out of $55 million and the IRS out of $35 million.
Well those are the top five. I want to remind you to email me if you have any story ideas, comments on what news you want to hear about, or just to say hey. Subscribe to Industry Watch, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for all the latest news in the industry.