Hog Farm Ruling Involving Smithfield Foods – February 3, 2020

‘Nobody wants another Flint, Michigan,’ judge tells Smithfield in hog-case appeal hearing


Attorneys for a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, went before the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, last Friday and asked three judges to overturn a $3.25 million jury award in a lawsuit filed by neighbors of a large North Carolina hog farm.


Monsanto officials limited dicamba weedkiller testing, court testimony shows


In Feb. 2015, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considering whether to approve a new Monsanto weedkiller anticipated to be sprayed on tens of millions of acres of crops, many researchers wanted to see how the herbicide would work in the field. But knowing federal regulators were paying attention to the new weedkiller’s potential to contaminate other fields, the company decided to “pull back” on testing to allow dicamba to have a “clean slate,” according to an email from a Monsanto official.


Trump speech to include next steps on China

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Trump will provide details on further steps in U.S.-China trade relations, says a senior administration official. The nations signed a “phase one” agreement to de-escalate the trade war on Jan. 15 and Trump indicated “phase two” negotiations would begin soon, although no date has been announced.

Talks & Eats – Manhattan – Surf ‘n’ Turf: Can our seafood survive Big Ag and climate change?

As oceans warm, our major fisheries are shifting. At the same time, farm runoff is contributing to dead zones from the Gulf of Mexico to Long Island. Both of these issues – climate change and farming practices – affect the health of ocean ecosystems and, ultimately, the seafood that winds up on our plates. Join moderator and best-selling author Paul Greenberg for a stimulating discussion Feb. 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Subculture in Greenwich Village. VIP reception with drinks and bites beforehand.



First decline in cattle inventory since 2014 (USDA): There are 94.4 million head of cattle and calves in the nation, down 0.4 percent from 2014 and the first contraction in cattle numbers in six years.


FDA approves peanut allergy drug (Washington Post): It isn’t a cure but Palforzia, approved by the FDA, is the first drug to treat potentially life-threatening reactions in people allergic to peanuts.


No ads for Roundup lawyers? (Reuters): The maker of Roundup weedkiller, Bayer, is considering a proposal that would bar lawyers involved in lawsuits accusing Roundup of causing cancer from advertising for new clients.


Two hemp companies face bankruptcy (Lexington Herald-Leader):  Creditors filed a petition in federal court to force GenCanna, one of Kentucky’s largest hemp companies, into Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy; three weeks earlier, hemp fiber manufacturer Sunstrand filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy.


First GMO food crop approved in Nigeria (The Conversation): Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, approved for release to smallholder farmers a genetically modified strain of the cowpea that resists the damaging cowpea pod-borer.




– Iowa precinct caucuses, held in 1,678 locations, open the presidential nomination race, 8 p.m. ET. Iowa will send 41 delegates to the Democratic National Convention; the party will select 3,979 delegates to the convention during a primary season that runs into June.


– American Seed Trade Association holds annual Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference, through Tuesday, Monterey, California.


– President Trump delivers annual State of the Union speech, 9 p.m. ET, The Capitol.


– Purdue University releases monthly Ag Economy Barometer, providing a sense of the agricultural economy’s health.


– USDA makes first forecast of farm income in 2020, 11 a.m. ET. The report will also update USDA’s forecast of 2019 income, now estimated at $92.5 billion, the highest since 2013. Direct farm program payments, including Trump tariff payments, would account for 24 percent of net farm income, the highest share since 2006. The Economic Research Service will hold a webinar on the report at 1 p.m. ET.


– Senate votes on articles of impeachment against President Trump, 4 p.m. ET, The Capitol.


– House Oversight Committee opens two days of subcommittee hearings on  the “Trump administration’s attack on children.” Hearings will focus on poverty, housing, hunger and health.


– Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, “On oversight of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” 10 a.m. ET, 406 Dirksen.


– National Cattlemen’s Beef Association holds annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA trade show, through Friday, San Antonio.


– Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research holds “Foster our Future – Cultivate, discover, grow,” Reagan Building. Speakers include former vice president Al Gore and deputy agriculture undersecretary Scott Hutchins.


– The House may vote as early as today on HR 5687, which provides $4.7 billion in supplemental disaster aid for Puerto Rico, including $40 million for disaster nutrition assistance, say House Democratic leaders.


– House Oversight subcommittee on economic and consumer policy hearing, “A threat to America’s children: The Trump administration’s proposed changes to broad-based categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” 10 a.m. ET, 2154 Rayburn.


– UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases monthly Food Price Index, Rome.


– USDA releases semi-annual Catfish Production report, 3 p.m. ET.



– National Association of Conservation Districts holds annual meeting, through Feb. 12, Las Vegas.


– Northeast Organic Farmers Association holds New Hampshire winter conference, North Sutton, New Hampshire.


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