Potentially more profitable, cotton takes over soybean ground
Cotton growers plan to expand their plantings by a sharp 3 percent this spring, taking away land from soybeans, the most prominent casualty of the Sino-U.S. trade war, said the National Cotton Council over the weekend.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
What if insects disappear in a century? (The Guardian): Insects are going extinct eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles, according to a global scientific review that suggests that, at current rates, insects could disappear in a century, and that says agriculture is the main driver of this phenomenon, with urbanization and climate changes as contributors.
Klobuchar announces as centrist for president (Los Angeles Times): Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the second member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, is running as a pragmatist and a coalition builder.
Picking up the pace with potatoes (Science): Potato breeding is slow work, measured in years. So researchers are excited about a new approach, called hybrid diploid breeding, that could cut in half the time needed to add desirable traits to a new variety and allow farmers to plant seeds, rather than planting chunks of a tuber.
Delicious names for plant-based food (NPR): The path to consumer demand for plant-based foods is through adoption of a vocabulary that talks about flavor and taste rather than emphasizing virtuous dining, says a World Resources Institute report.
If you can’t catch fish, catch DNA (AP): In an effort to help the elusive Arctic char, a landlocked fish found only in Maine, scientists are collecting water samples from the lakes and ponds where the char live and studying their DNA.
ON THE USDA CALENDAR
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tours a hog farm in Newton Grove, North Carolina, and a Butterball turkey processing plant in Mount Olive, North Carolina, before hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement at the University of Mount Olive, 3 p.m. ET, Mount Olive.
– U.S. officials begin five days of talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing in hopes of resolving Sino-U.S. trade war. Discussions begin at the vice-ministerial level today with high-level officials joining the talks on Thursday and Friday. The U.S. delegation is led by U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and includes two agricultural trade negotiators.
– Society for Range Management hosts annual meeting, through Thursday, Minneapolis.
– Renewable Fuels Association hosts annual National Ethanol Conference, through Wednesday, Orlando.
– Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is lead witness at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, “Food and Drug Administration — Status of operations.”
– USDA releases Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook.
– USDA releases Vegetables Annual report and monthly Rice Outlook, Feed Outlook and Wheat Outlook.
– World Ag Expo, through Thursday, Tulare, California.
– Meat industry groups co-sponsor International Production and Processing Expo, through Thursday, Atlanta.
– Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, “The invasive species threat: Protecting wildlife, public health, and infrastructure,” 10 a.m. ET, 406 Dirksen.
– House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, “Climate change and public lands,” 10 a.m. ET, 1324 Longworth.
– Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky speaks at National Ethanol Conference.
– Sustainable Food Trade Association hosts annual membership meeting, Portland, Oregon.
– Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau hosts annual meeting, through Friday, San Diego.
– National Farm Machinery Show, through Saturday, Louisville.
– Final day to enroll for Trump tariff payments, officially the Market Facilitation Program. Producers of almonds, cotton, corn, dairy, pork, soybeans, sorghum, sweet cherries, and wheat are eligible for payments of up to $125,000 each for grain, livestock, and fruits and nuts.
– Houses Financial Services subcommittee hearing, “The affordable housing crisis in rural America: Assessing the federal response,” 10 a.m. ET, 2128 Rayburn.
– National Wheat Foundation awards “Wheat Leader of the Year” to Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, 5 p.m. ET, Russell Building.
– Four organic trade groups sponsor the biennial Organicology meeting, through Saturday, Portland, Oregon.
– USDA releases Export Sales report for the week ending Jan. 3, delayed by partial government shutdown.
– USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.
– USDA releases monthly Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook and database tables from its long-term agricultural baseline.
– Deadline for negotiations on border security and expiration of three-week funding for USDA, FDA and other agencies.
– Northeast Organic Farming Association hosts Vermont winter conference, through Monday, Burlington, Vermont.
– President’s Day. Originally created as a holiday to observe the Feb. 22, 1732, birthday of George Washington, the first president, the holiday became a day to honor all presidents following a 1971 law that set the observance as the third Monday of February. Some states still hold separate observances for Washington; President Lincoln, born on Feb. 12, 1809; and other leaders. Washington’s birthday became a federal holiday in 1879.
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