House ag leader backs one-time aid for flooded grain

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers ought to be considered for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. Perdue gave conditional support to compensation at nearly the same time the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee called for a one-time grain payment …

Cold snap put U.S. grain shipments in the ice box

The cold spell that hit the country in the early days of January has slowed barge traffic on rivers in the Midwest, says Harvest Public Media. In the first two weeks of the month, barges moved about 60 percent less grain than in the same period in 2017 due to heavy ice buildups, according to USDA.

Grain industry seeks a fix for flaw in new tax law

Two major agribusiness groups are scrambling to fix a flaw in the new tax law that offers a big tax deduction to farmers who sell their crops through cooperatives but not when they deal with privately owned merchants. The flaw was created when lawmakers tried to replicate the benefits to farmes from a provision of the old tax code, known as Section 199, that was eliminated by the new law.

Food, feed and industrial demand boost grain usage to a record high

World consumption of grain will exceed 2.1 billion tonnes during 2017/18, a record due to "new peaks for food, feed and industrial uses," according to estimates by the London-based International Grains Council. "Food demand is expected to continue to drive increases for wheat while growth for feed and industrial use will push maize (corn) utilization to a new high."

Farm groups urge Trump to preserve NAFTA

The Trump administration is mulling a draft executive order to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA, says a senior White House official, according to Reuters. NAFTA renegotiations were expected to start in August, but a withdrawal by the U.S. could rush the timeline.

Canada’s carbon tax could take a toll on farms

Canada’s new tax on carbon, set to start at C$10 in 2018 and reach C$50 by 2022, could hurt the country’s farmers and fertilizer companies, says Reuters. Canada is in one of the world’s biggest grain-producers. But at C$50, the tax “would raise fertilizer prices by C$2 per acre for Canadian farmers, and some experts peg the total farm cost at C$6 an acre, according to the CIBC bank.”

Below-normal cereal harvest in Africa due to El Niño drought

Africa accounts for 28 of the 36 countries worldwide that need food aid, says the FAO in its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Drought reduced harvests in North Africa and in southern Africa, more than offsetting improvements in East and West Africa and pulling the continent's grain output to a below-normal level.

Merger in China may create a rival to ‘ABCD’ grain giants

A Chinese government commission announced the merger of COFCO, the nation's largest food trader, with Chinatex Corp., one of the country's main textile and grain-trading groups, said China Daily. The new company will be "a bigger rival to compete with the so-called ABCD companies." The "ABCDs" are the long-time international farm export and processing companies — ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.

Floods damage Chinese farmland and crops

State media say more than 1.9 million hectares of crops were damaged by flooding in central and southern China, reports Reuters. It was not clear whether heavy rains and the resultant floods would affect the summer grain crop, forecast for 140 million tonnes.