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Jury awards Missouri peach grower $265 million in damages due to dicamba drift, USDA reveals 2020 acreage forecasts and China's back in the market.

Janet Kubat Willette, E-Content Editor

February 21, 2020

3 Min Read

It's been a busy week for ag news. We've recapped 7 news items for you.

1. China's back in the market for American agriculture commodities after issuing a list of products that will be eligible for tariff waivers. Buyers are bidding for U.S. sorghum for shipment in the first half of the year and inquiring about prices for soybeans. They also inquired about wheat prices. This follows China's publication of a list of 696 American products that will be eligible for relief from tariffs imposed by Beijing during the trade war with Washington. – Farm Futures

2. A federal jury awarded Missouri peach grower Bill Bader $265 million in damages to offset damage caused by dicamba drift. Bader sued both Monsanto Company, which Bayer acquired in 2018, and BASF Corporation. A lawyer who represented Bayer said the company is appealing. The company disputes dicamba was present at the orchard, saying instead Bader's orchard is suffering from a soil fungus called armillaria root rot.- Missouri Ruralist

3. USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson revealed USDA's acreage forecasts for 2020 on 2-20. USDA predicts 94 million acres of corn will be planted in 2020, 2 million more acres than predicted at last year's outlook and up 4.3 million acres from 2019. About 85 million acres of soybeans are forecast to be planted, up nearly 9 million from last year's known production. Wheat acreage is forecast to remain unchanged to slightly lower at 45 million acres. – Farm Futures

4. Farmers for a Sustainable Future launched Wednesday. The coalition of 21 farm groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council, is committed to environmental and economic sustainability. On Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an initiative to reduce the environmental impact of American agriculture. Perdue's plan closely mirrors that of Farmers for a Sustainable Future in that it emphasizes voluntary conservation incentives and efficiency improvements. – Farm Futures

5. Geneticist Paulo Arruda was mapping the microbiome of sugarcane when he realized some of the microorganisms were much more abundant than others. Working with researchers at Brazil's Genomics for Climate Change Research Center, he set out to answer the question of whether or not these microorganisms were facilitating the growth of sugarcane. And if they were, could those microbes be harnessed to increase production of other crops. – Smithsonian Magazine

6. Dale and Cindy Ekdahl got into the grain bin safety business after a 13-year-old by died not far from their farm in western Minnesota. The boy was buried in grain. Each year, dozens of grain bin accidents happen across the country. The couple want Minnesota state lawmakers to create incentives for farmers to buy grain bin safety equipment. – MPR News

7. President Donald Trump signed an official memorandum to address complaints in how water is managed for fish and the environment in Bakersfield, California. The action comes two years after Trump ordered the departments of Commerce and Interior to improve irrigation reliability to California farmers. – Western Farm Press

And your bonus.

In Louisiana, more than 120 young women will be crowned in honor of crops and commodities. The young women spend their tenure educating the Louisiana public about the commodities they represent. – The New York Times

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