China, formerly the No. 1 customer for U.S. ag exports, will buy a comparatively paltry $9 billion worth of those exports this fiscal year, a startling 45 percent cutback due to the trade war, said the USDA on Thursday.
Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.
As Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday, farmers in the Southeast were still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence just weeks ago.
Many states have reported significant complaints from farmers about dicamba damage to their crops and plants, said an association of state pesticide regulators in calling for the EPA to tighten its rules on use of the weedkiller.
Environmental groups told a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday that the EPA had failed to properly assess the risks posed by the weedkiller dicamba to nearby crops and should be ordered to revoke its approval of Monsanto’s version of the herbicide, reported Reuters.
Enrollment in a new cotton subsidy program, created by Congress early this year, will run until Dec. 7, said the USDA. The program, offered for so-called seed cotton, allows participants to choose from a pair of subsidy options.
U.S. farmers intend to sow 3 million fewer acres of corn and soybeans this year than in 2017, said the USDA. The surprising development could draw down overly abundant U.S. stockpiles and bolster weak commodity prices.
When U.S. farmers bring their crops to market this year, they will see “the beginning of gradual price increases that are expected to continue through the decade,” ending the slump that began in 2013, said USDA projections. Prices for most crops, however, will remain below their 10-year average.
The Arkansas State Plant Board, responding to nearly 1,000 complaints of crop damage due to dicamba, voted in January to bar use of the herbicide on cotton and soybeans during the 2018 growing season. Now Monsanto, dicamba’s maker, has “sued the board and each individual member,” reports NPR.