Ag information company DTN passes into Swiss ownership

Swiss investment holding company TBG AG has taken ownership on Midwest-based Telvent DTN, the agricultural information company best known for the DTN news site and Progressive Farmer magazine. The $900-million transaction was announced in April and took effect at the start of June.

Bulk of lawsuit over Syngenta GE corn heads for trial

A federal judge has decided that the bulk of lawsuits by thousands of farmers against Syngenta over a genetically engineered corn variety will proceed to trial, reports DTN.

Size of farm subsidy sequestration ‘up in the air’

The size of budget sequestration cuts in crop subsidies "is still up in the air," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told DTN. The cuts will fall in the range of 6.8 percent to 7.3 percent unless Congress changes the 2011 sequestration law.

USDA may pro-rate payments for farm program

The government plans to pro-rate subsidy payments for 2014, 2015 and 2016 grain and soybean crops, says economist Art Barnaby of Kansas State U at the Ag Manager website.

Drones are the ‘Wild West’ of aviation regulation

Regulations for use of drone aircraft "are significantly lagging the pace of innovation," says a Brookings Institution blog post. The writers point to reports of misuse of drones, from smuggling drugs to interfering with firefighters, and say that "we are living in the proverbial wild West."

USDA asks sugar industry to support TPP

Agriculture Undersecretary Micheal Scuse asked the sugar industry at its summer meeting to support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, reports DTN.

Analysts ask if crop insurance should be redesigned

The federally subsidized crop-insurance program grew dramatically over the past two decades. It covers 44 percent more acres and, with creation of revenue insurance, the average level of coverage climbed to 75 percent in 2014, a 17-point increase from 1996, according to economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State and Dan Orden of Virginia Tech.

U.S. hen total plunges again, as bird-flu fallout continues

The inventory of hens laying eggs for table consumption dropped by 5 percent in June, says the monthly Chicken and Eggs report. It was the second month in a row that the total plunged and a sign of the swift spread of the avian influenza epidemic.

‘Tax extenders’ bill advances, including Section 179 expensing

The Senate Finance Committee approved, 23-3, a bill to retroactively revive four dozen tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014.

Economist predicts break-even farm revenue for years to come

After the fall-off from record-high corn, soybean and wheat prices in 2012, Purdue economist Mike Boehlje says growers can expect to "bounce along close to break-even for five to 10 years," reports DTN.

Market is glutted with used farm equipment

With commodity prices down, sales of used farm equipment are drying up as farmers guard their checkbooks, says DTN. The loss of "bonus" depreciation, which allowed a faster write-off of equipment purchases, also deters sales.

U.S. ban of raw Brazil beef imports in spotlight as Rousseff visits

Few major achievements are expected during a fence-mending visit by Brazil president Dilma Rousseff to the United States this week, including a bilateral meeting with President Obama on Tuesday, says McClatchy.

Ethanol makers feel impact of bird-flu epidemic

The impact of the worst epidemic of avian influenza ever to hit U.S. poultry flocks has reached the ethanol industry in the form of smaller sales of distillers dried grains (DDGs), a widely used feed, says DTN.

Ethanol boosters dominate EPA hearing on biofuel mandates

An EPA hearing in Kansas City on an agency proposal to relax the biofuel mandate for 2015 and 2016 "turned into somewhat of a pro-ethanol hearing and rally with the vast majority of those who testified telling EPA not to mess with the RFS," reports DTN.

EPA to expand review of glyphosate and atrazine

Two of the most widely used herbicides, glyphosate and atrazine, will be part of a nationwide evaluation of the effects of 16 chemicals on 1,500 endangered plants and animals...

Group says USDA researchers face industry harassment

A public-employee group petitioned the USDA to better protect its scientists from outside pressure and assure the integrity of its research, says DTN.

Uncertainty slows arrival of new-generation biofuels

Commercial-scale production of new-generation biofuels has been slowed by a year and a half of uncertainty about federal support for the fuels, which use grass or corn stover as feedstocks rather than food crops, reports DTN, based on a panel discussion at a trade meeting.

Ohio lawmakers aim to reduce nutrient runoff from farms

The Ohio House and Senate are expected to vote this week on legislation intended to reduce toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie by reducing farm runoff, says the Associated Press.

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