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7 ag stories you might have missed this week

7 ag stories you might have missed this week
Bayer-Monsanto reach merger agreement, trade with Cuba and overtime for ag workers in California.

Need a quick catch up on the news? Here are seven agricultural stories you might have missed this week.

1. The Bayer-Monsanto merger is all over the news this week. Talks have been ongoing for months and the two companies came to an agreement Wednesday.  The two say they will create an ‘innovative engine’ for agriculture.  Farm groups pledged to examine the merger to determine impacts on their members and Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, decided he wanted to hear more. A hearing is Sept. 20 in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Others are also questioning the wisdom of ‘bundle mania’ in agriculture. – Farm Futures

WTO suit against China, E15 and disaster in Louisiana are among ag items making news this week.

2. Louisiana state agriculture commissioner Mike Strain wants USDA to declare the rural farming parishes of the state that flooded as the result of 24 inches of rain in 24 hours as disaster areas. The disaster declaration clears the way for farmers to access federal money and programs.  Damages are estimated at $110 million and rising. – NPR

3. Trade with Cuba was again discussed in Congress, with a Sept. 14 hearing in the House Agriculture Committee. A cash-only restriction on trade with Cuba is believed to be hampering trade with the island nation 90 miles from the coast of Florida. – Farm Futures

4. Agricultural workers in California will receive overtime if they work more than eight hours a day under a law signed Sept. 12 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Agricultural workers were exempted from a 40-hour workweek, overtime and the national minimum wage in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Before the bill became law in California, workers there were paid overtime if they worked more than 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week. – The Wall Street Journal

5. The Obama administration filed a trade enforcement action against China concerning the country’s support of rice, wheat and corn production. The complaint alleges China’s use of “market price support” for these three crops is in excess of China’s commitments under WTO rules. – Farm Futures

6. Amid rising labor costs, self-driving tractors and robots are expected to replace human labor on the farm.  – CNBC

7. The governors of Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri are calling on the Obama administration to allow the sale of fuel with 15% ethanol during the summer. The seven sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy. – Farm Futures

And your bonus:

A student from London’s Royal College of Art wants to put empty shipping containers to use to grow vegetables. Battery-powered LED lights would provide light for growing the vegetables hydroponically. – Reuters

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