Beef Price Conspiracy – April 29, 2019

Ranchers claim packers conspired to deflate beef prices

Last week, several Midwestern feedlot owners, along with the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that dominant meatpackers conspired to depress cattle prices starting in 2015.

States struggle to regulate pesticide use in legal-cannabis industry

In the absence of federal guidance on the use of pesticides, the nine states that have legalized cannabis for commercial use are building a patchwork of regulatory polices in an effort to ensure that the end product is safe for consumers, reports the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.


Harvesting American forests for the EU’s ‘green’ electricity plants

Wood-processing plants around the South are turning trees into pellets and then exporting those pellets to be burned in electricity plants in the EU. It’s part of the EU’s initiative to generate “green” electricity, but scientists question whether burning trees is really carbon neutral according to The Weather Channel.


Wisconsin dairy industry faces ‘extinction’ (New York Times): The state’s total number of dairy herds is below 8,000, half of what it was 15 years ago.

Trump, Abe clash over ag, auto tariffs ahead of talks (Bloomberg): Trump called Japan’s ag tariff’s “unfair,” and Abe disputed Trump’s claim that the U.S. doesn’t punish Japanese auto exports.

Farm equipment sales plummet (Bloomberg): Sales of agriculture equipment plunged at an annual rate of $900 million in the first quarter, with farmers cautious on spending in the face of the continuing trade war.

A surprising way to reduce farm pollution (Mother Jones): A new study points to a surprising way to cut runoff from farms that fouls waterways and the Gulf of Mexico — put poorly performing acres in fallow and focus on the those fields that produce the most.


– Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tour the headquarters and production facilities of Vermeer Corp., a maker of agricultural and industrial equipment, in Pella, Iowa, at 1:30 p.m. CT; Perdue and Iowa state Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig tour Corteva Agriscience Mendel Greenhouse at a Corteva research center in Johnston, Iowa, at 3:40 p.m. CT.

– Ceres holds 30th annual conference, through Wednesday, San Francisco. The conference brings “more than 600 influential investors, senior corporate executives, policy makers and capital market influencers to reaffirm the business case for sustainability and share best practices to empower leadership, build solutions, and drive change.”

– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “Reviewing the state of the dairy economy,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.

– Farm Foundation sponsors conference, “Agricultural trade in a time of uncertainty,” 8:30 a.m. ET, Arlington, Virginia.

– A U.S. delegation led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin meet Chinese counterparts in Beijing for talks to resolve the trade war. The lead Chinese official, Vice Premier Liu He, is scheduled to travel to Washington for talks beginning May 8. The White House  says topics for this week’s discussions include intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement.

– Chef and author Dan Barber discusses “the commodification of taste” as part of the Future of Food series presented by Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, 4 p.m. ET, ASU Barrett and O’Connor Center, 1800 I St NW, Washington, D.C.

– USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices report, 3 p.m. ET.

– Today is May Day, which “just might have more holidays than any other day of the year,” says Infoplease. It’s a traditional day to celebrate spring, it’s a day for organized labor, it’s a day for political protests and in many countries, it is a national holiday. In Hawaii, it is Lei Day, to celebrate Hawaiian culture. During the Cold War, there were attempts to cast the day, claimed by workers and activists of many types including socialists, in support of law and the established order; President Eisenhower issued a Loyalty Day proclamation for May 1, 1958.

– CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo is lead witness at House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “The state of the CFTC,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.

– Hartnell College holds annual Western Food Safety Summit, through Thursday, Salinas, California.

– USDA releases Vegetable and Pulses Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.

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