David's Stories

Soybeans are one of the most versatile agricultural products ever. The many food uses of soy products are well known. Because soybeans are high-protein, and soy protein includes all nine essential amino acids, it’s an important part of vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as being one of the …

The seemingly endless water regulation wars took another turn in the last week of August when a federal judge in Arizona vacated the Donald Trump administration’s Navigable Wagers Protection Rule, which itself had replaced the Barack Obama administration’s widely unpopular “waters of the U.S…

Soy growers were buoyant as they met in St. Louis to promote themselves and make deals at the “Gateway to U.S. Soy” event. The annual meeting of the U. S. Soybean Export Council was a joint event co-sponsored by the Soya and Specialty Grains Association.

All grain movements to and from the New Orleans area have halted since the Coast Guard shut down the entire Lower Mississippi River in anticipation of Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Aug. 30, traveling up the west bank of the Mississippi River. The eye of the storm passed over Reserve, Lo…

Bending to a judge’s order, the Environmental Protection Agency banned all use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on food crops. In a brief statement accompanying a prepublication version of the final rule, EPA simply said, “In August 2021, EPA released a final rule revoking all ‘tolerances’ fo…

Continuing severe drought in the Dakotas and Minnesota reduced soybean quality and production in those states, lowering estimates of both quality and production in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

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This year’s drought is having a severe impact in the western states. It actually began last year, when regular monsoons failed and the amount of snowpack was greatly reduced.

Of the 17 most affected states, Arizona is the worst hit, along with Utah, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. Some prime agricultural areas in Washington and Oregon are also affected. The drought’s effects on California are especially significant, since agriculture is a major driver of the state’s economy.

For months, U.S. shipping interests have been issuing anguished complaints about massive container imbalances, delays, jams, rising costs and the alleged refusal by some carriers of United States containerized exports. Now two U.S. senators and President Joe Biden have acted to address the i…

New low-carbon fuel standards coming online in California and other states and approved and about to be enacted in Canada are creating such demand for soybean oil as a renewable diesel feedstock that it could soon be priced out of the export market altogether.

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No one appreciates nature’s timelines better than Lee DeHaan, director of crop improvement and the lead scientist for the Kernza domestication program at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Kernza is the trademarked name for a variety of perennial intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum interm…

A second federal judge has halted payments to minority farmers under a Joe Biden administration program of farm debt payments that uses race as a criterion of eligibility. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for Middle Florida issued a preliminary injunction …

The National Pork Producers Association is asking the Joe Biden administration for help against a June 21 ruling by a federal district court striking down production line speeds that were approved in 2019 under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System. The ruling affe…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates showed few changes in its June 14 corn and soybean estimates. It raised its corn export forecast by 75 million bushels to a total of 2.85 million bushels, with no change in projected feed usage. The WASDE raised projected ethanol usage by 75 million bushels and reduced projected carryover by 150 million bushels to 1.107 million bushels, equal to 7.4% of usage and lower than was forecast earlier in the year. Corn carryover projections have steadily shrunk since last June.

The projected 2021 corn yield projections remained unchanged at 179.5 bushels an acre, the USDA still expects corn production of just under 15 billion bushels (although other crop estimators disagree).

A federal judge issued a ruling June 10 that halted the Joe Biden administration’s plan to make agricultural loan debt payments to “socially disadvantaged” farmers using race as the criterion for eligibility. The ruling came in response to a suit filed by 12 plaintiffs from several states re…

China gets most of the press on ag trade issues, but it’s easy to forget that the biggest destination for United States feed corn is Mexico, not China. Mexican yellow corn imports from the U.S. stood at $2.7 billion in 2019, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agriculture Ser…

In the wake of the rejection by United States District Judge Vincent Chhabria of Bayer’s proposed $2 billion settlement of claims against its signature product Roundup, Bayer announced several steps it will take to mitigate future risk. While the company hinted it may pull glyphosate as a Ro…

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The regenerative ranching movement got a huge boost when the Noble Research Institute announced in February that it will “focus all of its operations on regenerative agriculture and set its primary goal to regenerate millions of acres of degraded grazing lands across the United States.”

The announcement was the culmination of a series of internal discussions the Ardmore, Oklahoma-based organization has been having for several years. The decision means the organization will be winding down the plant science and plant breeding side of its research activities.

A study of ag transportation released in December by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that 80% of United States ag freight moves on only 17 transportation corridors that make up 17% of the U.S. highway network. The study, titled “Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture,” was un…

Is the end in sight for the agricultural insecticide chlorpyrifos? On April 29, 2021, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency within 60 days to either ban chlorpyrifos completely, or to fix safe tolerances for it in food residues.

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Even in a year in which Russia, Australia and Canada all produced record wheat crops, United States wheat export levels to China were up by 2.7 million metric tons above last year’s totals. With continued tight supplies of corn and soybeans and strong demand from China forecast to continue, …

A group of more than 300 agricultural groups sent a letter April 27 to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg demanding immediate action on a shortage of containers for exporting ag products that is worsening, as a growing United States hunger for imports accelerates an imbalance between…

A bill that, if passed, would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to lay the groundwork and set standards for a “carbon farming” market was introduced in Congress April 20. The U.S. Senate Ag Committee planned to take up the Growing Climate Solutions Act April 22 during a commi…

“I can’t remember a time when there were as many variables involved [with the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates] as today,” remarked Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export council, at the beginning of a webinar discussing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s newly released A…

A letter of concern signed by a broad coalition of more than 40 agricultural groups, ports and other river stakeholders along the Columbia/Snake river system is opposing a plan to breach four Snake River dams to protect spawning salmon. The plan was proposed by Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho.

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The designation by the Army Corps of Engineers of a multi-port area in the Quad Cities/Peoria/Quincy area of Illinois and Iowa has been supported by city officials, the regional economic development organization and terminal owners.

A decision rendered March 11 by the U.S. International Trade Commission to slap an additional duty on phosphate fertilizer imported from Morocco and Russia will raise fertilizer costs for United States farmers an estimated $1.5 billion, according to a former American Farm Bureau economist.

It should be the best of times for agricultural exporters. Prices for soybeans, corn and wheat are at record highs. Expert after expert has testified that the signs point to a continued increase in the burgeoning world demand for U.S. ag products. Markets have grown in many regions of the wo…

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How long can the era of high demand for soybeans (and corn) and corresponding high prices last? During a recent webinar, Jim Sutter, CEO of the United States Soybean Export Council, wondered aloud whether the soybean market and commodities markets in general are entering into a “demand supercycle” like the one a few years ago that fueled a worldwide boom in commodity prices.

As Sutter pointed out during another webinar on the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released March 10, a couple of years ago at this time, farmers were looking at a carryout of a billion bushels of soybeans. Today it’s a tenth of that.

When buying crop insurance this season, corn and soybean farmers are likely to face "sticker shock" at how much premiums will rise, according to Jim Mintert, director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. In the 2020 season, net returns to land equaled or exceeded returns…

“I know you won’t read this in the mainstream media, but I believe that the moderate wing of the Democratic Party has found its voice and is in control”—at least, on issues of importance to cattle producers.

China’s demand for imported corn is about more than just the rebuilding of its swine herd from the devastation of African swine fever. It’s also about a strengthening Chinese currency (which makes United States corn and other ag exports cheaper), an increasing concern for soil health within …

An imbalance in the supply of empty containers for ag exporters to use has worsened to the point where a federal investigation into the trade effects of COVID-19 has expanded into an inquiry into whether or not some ocean carriers might be skirting federal law by refusing contracted ag shipments.

On Feb. 3, Bayer announced a proposed agreement with class plaintiffs’ counsels on a $2 billion settlement fund to resolve outstanding claims that exposure to Roundup, one of Bayer’s signature products that has been mired in litigation, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The company is hoping it…

Some climate change activists want the incoming secretary of agriculture to draw from the $30 billion in the Commodity Credit Corporation, set up to support farm prices, to be used to fund carbon farming.

On Dec. 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of a first-of-its-kind intentional genomic alteration in a line of domestic pigs. The altered pigs are referred to as GalSafe pigs. Their cell surfaces are altered to remove alpha-gal, a galactose sugar present in most …

A top executive for Cargill, one of the world’s leading ag companies, promised soybean farmers “an exciting 2021” because of rising demand combined with supply constraints, resulting in higher prices. Joe Stone, an agribusiness veteran and head of Cargill’s agricultural supply chain and corp…

Even as Bayer moved to settle thousands of outstanding claims of dicamba damage to soybeans between 2015 and 2020, four nonprofit groups filed a new lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency Dec. 21 in the District Court of Arizona challenging the EPA’s Oct. 27 recertification and …

The incoming administration of President Joe Biden has announced it will nominate Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was a presidential candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. If confirmed, he would replace Elaine Cha…