Corn Wars

From: New Republic

The farm-by-farm fight between China and the United States to dominate the global food supply.

By Ted Genoways

On September 30, 2012, agents from the FBI contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago with an urgent request. They wanted bags from two passengers on an outbound flight to Beijing pulled for immediate inspection. The passengers didn’t track as dangerous criminals: Li Shaoming, president of Beijing Kings Nower Seed Science & Technology, a large Chinese agricultural company that develops corn, rice, cotton, and canola seeds, and Ye Jian, the company’s crop research manager.

Sweet potato leader says: Agriculture needs Congress to resolve labor issues

From: Delta Fram Press

“All we’re asking for is for them to give us a viable guest worker program so agriculture can have a stable, adequate, and predictable supply of labor,” says Key Rentzel, executive director of the U.S. Sweet Potato Council.

Labor issues remain a challenge for U.S. agriculture, and particularly for sectors that are labor-intensive such as fruits and vegetables, says Kay Rentzel.

“We know the labor regulation system is broken; Congress knows it’s broken,” she said at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s annual sweet potato commodity meeting. “This is especially critical to farmers who rely on workers to help at key times such as planting and harvest.”

ARA meets with OSHA officials regarding PSM reinterpretation

From: Ag Professional

By Agricultural Retailers Association

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently changed its interpretation of the retail exemption under the Process Safety Management regulations.

Under the new interpretation, retail facilities are only exempt if their primary North American Industry Classification System code starts with 44 or 45. It is estimated that under this new interpretation an additional 4,800 facilities will now be subject to PSM. 3,800 of the 4,800 are estimated to be agricultural retail facilities.

OECD and FAO expect stronger agricultural production, lower prices over coming decade – Rising incomes in developing world spurring demand for food, dietary changes

From: OECD

Watch the press conference:

Strong crop yields, higher productivity and slower growth in global demand should contribute to a gradual decline in real prices for agricultural products over the coming decade, but nonetheless, prices will likely remain at levels above those in the early-2000s, according to the latest Agricultural Outlook report produced by the OECD and FAO.


Outlook for Brazil

This year’s Outlook contains a special focus on Brazil, which is poised to capture most of the trade expansion to be generated by import demand growth, particularly from Asia.

Meat-labeling legislation sparks fear of retaliation against US

From: The Hill

By Lydia Wheeler

Industry groups and top U.S. trading partners are pushing back against legislation to redesign an Agriculture Department meat-labeling rule found to violate international standards, arguing the regulations should be scrapped altogether.

In May, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) appellate body weighed in on the long-running dispute, siding with Canada and Mexico and ruling that the U.S. regulations put those countries at an unfair disadvantage in the U.S. marketplace.

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OSHA revises PSM, restricts retailer exemption

From: AgProfessional

By Agricultural Retailers Association

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised interpretation of the Process Safety Management (PSM) for highly hazardous chemicals.

The PSM standard contains an exemption for retail facilities. Until this week, OSHA defined retail facility as one that derived more than 50 percent of its income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals to the end user, otherwise known as “the 50 percent test.”

OSHA has rescinded all prior interpretations, including the 50 percent test, and will now interpret the retail facility exemption in accordance with the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Manual:

Deere, Case And Other Equipment Companies Join Forces On Planter Design Standard

From: CropLife


As many of you already know, generally speaking there isn’t a whole lot of reaching across the aisle going on in the world of Big Ag Equipment.

For lack of a better analogy, the giants like John Deere, Case IH and AGCO seem to operate on a similar philosophy as longtime Big Ten conference rivals The Ohio State University and Michigan, both of whom refuse to refer to the other as anything other than “That School Up North” and “Ohio.”

Many ag retailers deserve recognition

From: AgProfessional

By Rich Keller, Editor, Ag Professional

You technology-minded ag retailers need to be recognized for your influence and assistance in improving agricultural operations, and that is why there are three Precision Impact Awards being presented again this year.


Precision agriculture is a big part of how agriculture will continue to improve production and sustainability. What is your local operation doing to help your customers be the best farmers possible by using the latest technology? Tell us through your Precision Impact Award entry.

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GMOs in the Hotseat: White House to Overhaul Regulatory Framework on Biotechnology

Editor’s Note: Cross-posted form OIRA Watch.

From: The National Law Review

Joanne S. Hawana | Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C

Katherine Fox, project analyst at Mintz Levin, also contributed to this story.

Last week, the White House waded into the GMO regulatory fray with the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) announcement of a major overhaul of GMO regulation.

FACT SHEET: The United States and Brazil – A Mature and Multi-Faceted Partnership

From: The White House

Today President Barack Obama hosted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the White House.  Their meeting underscored the long-standing and increasingly diverse partnership between the United States and Brazil, which is rooted in a shared commitment to expand inclusive economic growth and prosperity; promote international peace and security and respect for human rights; strengthen bilateral defense and security cooperation; and deepen our people-to-people ties through exchanges in education, energy, health, science and technology, and innovation.  The visit highlighted our cooperation in the following areas:

Expanding Economic Growth and Prosperity