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Energy developer again seeks Missouri approval for transmission line from Kansas wind farms

Buoyed by recent high-profile endorsements from the public and private sector, Clean Line Energy, developers of the Grain Belt Express transmission line from Kansas wind farms, submitted a new application for the project’s approval. The fate of the project now rests in the hands of the Missouri Public Service Commission, which scuttled the project's original application last year amid concerns from farmers and other landowners in the project’s path.

Soybeans on Upswing as Corn Slips After USDA Acreage Report

Analysts were expecting soybeans and corn futures to keep heading in opposite directions, even though USDA raised acreage and ending stocks for both grains and soybeans in Thursday’s Acreage and Grain Stocks reports.  “Corn was the most bearish surprise,” observed Brian Basting of Advance Trading, Bloomington, Ill., and the commentator on a post-report MGEX press call. The soybean rally “underscores the export demand,” he explained.

Farm labor shortage vexes farmers

A new video produced by the American Farm Bureau shines a spotlight on the frustrations of the nation’s farmers in finding workers to harvest their crops. While the video highlights peach production in Georgia, it also outlines the scope of the farm labor problem across the United States.

Maine retiree fueling governor’s questions about ethanol

A retired mechanic from South Berwick who believes ethanol in gas may be to blame for Maine’s opioid crisis was a driving force behind Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to study the corn-derived gasoline additive. The mechanic, Ralph Stevens, 77, said in an interview that he believes emissions from the additive have prompted the state’s ongoing drug crisis and may be responsible for a host of other health problems. State Rep. Beth O’Connor, R-Berwick, seized on Stevens’ concerns, and has worked with him to study the issue for over six years.

After the Flood

Larry Winkelmann has never seen flooding like he has seen this spring. The 68-year-old cow/calf producer from Burton, Texas, located halfway between Houston and Austin, saw about 400 acres of his grassland under water earlier this month. Flooding has been an issue in the region for several months now. Corrie Bowen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Wharton County, said heavy rains in mid-April caused the Colorado and San Bernard Rivers in his county to flow out of their banks.

High Hopes for Costco Poultry

Experts on poultry contracts have spent the last week in eastern Nebraska talking to farmers about issues to consider and the possible pitfalls of a bad contract as farmers consider the income potential of a new broiler operation in the region.  Costco Wholesale Corp. has been working all spring to get approval for a $180 million poultry processing plant near Fremont, Nebraska, that would process roughly 1.6 million birds a week. The facility would cater to Costco stores, which sell rotisserie chickens that are popular with customers.

U.S. 'Ham Capital' Proves Chinese Investment Can Be a Good Thing

When Chinese suitors took over the pork producer in Smithfield, Virginia, it sent tremors through the tiny town that calls itself the Ham Capital of the World.  Three years on, residents and union leaders who represent workers at Smithfield Foods Inc. say the initial fears about the buyer from a Communist-ruled nation proved unfounded. The happy marriage so far belies the rhetoric on the U.S presidential campaign trail that depicts China as an untrustworthy business partner, and serves as an example of Chinese investment that can benefit both countries.

USDA finalizes crop insurance rules

USDA's Risk Management Agency has announced the completion of the final round of crop insurance provisions stemming from the 2014 farm bill. RMA's Federal Crop Insurance Corporation will leave its 2014 proposal largely untouched save for some native sod provisions.  The final rule will clarify an exception allowing producers to break up to five acres of native sod without receiving reduced premium subsidies on coverage of native sod acreage.

California marijuana legalization measure on November ballot

Californians’ November ballot will include an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, with the coming campaign likely to reverberate nationwide given the state’s size and implications for similar efforts elsewhere.


June hogs and pigs report shows slight expansion, low prices

n the June hogs and pigs survey, pork producers told USDA they had increased the size of the breeding herd by one percent relative to year-ago levels. The breeding herd began to increase in the fall of 2014 after producers had record profitability due to reduced production due to the PED virus.  Basically, the industry has been in a slow expansion since that time. Declining feed prices were also a stimulus to expansion until this spring when feed prices began to rise once more.


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