August 16, 2019
Chlorpyrifos use drops by more than 98% in 2019
The California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association (CACASA) has punched up the numbers on how much chlorpyrifos has likely been applied since the state implemented strict mitigation rules in January.
About 400 gallons of liquid products were applied in the first half of the year, according to CACASA President Tom Pelican in a memo last month. Projected out for the year, this would be more than a 99% decrease since 2016, a year that saw about 100,000 gallons of use. The drop in granular products was nearly 40%. Total use was down more than 98%.
Pelican said the new permit conditions are working. DPR has lowered use and exposure while keeping “a viable tool available to growers for emergency uses when alternative treatments are unsuccessful,” he writes.
The Department of Pesticide Regulations responded to Pelican’s comments by saying the decrease “has little impact on the health risks” because the cancellation is targeting acute exposure, rather than chronic.
DPR publicly posted the memos yesterday, following Agri-Pulse coverage in Daybreak.
Economic impact: CDFA has bumped back to September the release of an economic impact report on canceling chlorpyrifos. It had originally hoped to publish the analysis in July.
Yet CDFA Secretary Karen Ross expects the cancellation will “increase pest management costs in several of California's major crops, including alfalfa, almond, citrus, cotton, grape, and walnut.” CDFA also recommends exempting bait and granular formulations from cancellation.
China: We’ll hit back against new US tariffs
It’s looking like Chinese tariff rates on some U.S. ag commodities may increasesoon if the U.S. follows through with its latest threat to tax more Chinese imports.
China’s government, speaking through the state-owned Xinhua News, said Thursday it “has to take necessary countermeasures in response to the U.S. announcement of imposing additional 10 percent tariffs on 300 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese imports.”
No details were given on which U.S. products would be hit, but China previously threatened to raise the tariff rate on $60 billion worth of U.S. products – including citrus fruit, berries, vegetables and nuts. But that was when the U.S. was threatening a 25% tax on the remaining $300 million worth of Chinese products without a tariff.
CalEPA defends Prop 65 label on glyphosate
The agency responded this week to the U.S. EPA’s recent directive that states cannot apply cancer warnings to glyphosate products because it is “false and misleading.”
In the statement, CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment stood by its 2017 decision that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic” and deserved a label. It had based that decision on a finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.
OEHHA argues that Proposition 65 is a “right-to-know statute” and it “does not require U.S. EPA to take any action.”
Joseph Green, an environmental regulatory lawyer, called that “a tad disingenuous, as OEHHA knows full well that EPA has authority over pesticide labeling.”
What to watch: Green said an ongoing First Amendment court case involving the National Association of Wheat Growers may decide the constitutionality of this issue.
Warren endorses California bill that’s tough on truckers
In an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee this week, Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren sides with labor groups on the controversial bill involving gig workers.
She compares the situation to child labor in coal mines and writes that “this exploitative business practice has proliferated in industries like trucking and construction for decades.” She adds that a similar law already is in effect in her home state of Massachusetts.
Warren argues that adding more exemptions would “sow confusion and uncertainty by adding other, still undefined, classes of workers.”
Keep in mind: As we’ve reported this week, AB 5 could mean that farmers would have difficulty hiring truckers under independent contracts. It has the potential to create yet another type of labor shortage during harvest. Trucking associations also argue that truckers are “independent by choice,” because it provides more freedom, flexibility and economic opportunity.
USDA advisers want dicamba food standard
A USDA advisory committee is urging USDA to work with EPA to establish a “reasonable” tolerance level for dicamba residue on crops not registered for its use. The tolerance would protect producers whose crops have been affected by off-target drift of the herbicide.
The Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee also agreed Thursday that dicamba products should not be re-registered until research shows specialty crop producers won’t be adversely affected.
For the third year in a row, complaints about the herbicide, which is registered for use in soybeans and cotton in 34 states, have continued to come in to state pesticide offices.
EPA pressed to watch pollinator plans
EPA is stepping up its oversight of state pollinator protection plans. The agency has agreed to use results of a survey going out to states this fall to evaluate the effectiveness of state-specific managed pollinator protection plans, according to a report by EPA’s inspector general.
Some 45 states have adopted voluntary measures designed to reduce risks of pesticides to commercial bee colonies and other pollinators, but their usefulness has not been examined closely yet.
The IG report also recommends EPA use the survey data to advance national program manager guidance goals. Bee colonies declined from 5.7 million colonies in the 1940s down to 2.7 million colonies in 2015.
He said it:
“This foolhardy rule risks nearly 300 endangered species in California alone.” – Attorney General Xavier Becerra, responding to an EPA proposal to streamline the pesticide review process.
Becerra signed a letter yesterday with 12 other AGs opposing the EPA measure. He does not mention California is the only state to have its own pesticide regulatory agency, which often exceeds the mitigation standards of the U.S. EPA.
Steve Davies, Bill Tomson, Ben Nuelle and Sara Wyant contributed to this report.
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August 15, 2019
DPR’s roster for its new alternatives work group excludes pesticide companies
Yesterday the Department of Pesticide Regulation named the members of its new work group that will find alternatives to the pesticide chlorpyrifos.
The list includes a county ag commissioner, farm and pest control advisors, academics, environmental justice advocates and the CEO of a biopesticides company. Facilitating the group will be a business consultant from the ag industry.
Not on the list? Corteva, which manufactures the chlorpyrifos product Lorsban. According to sources, the company has been involved in discussions with DPR over the cancellation process. As a business, it likely would not support the development of alternatives to its own products. Other synthetic pesticide manufacturers have not been included either.
Next: In the news release, Food and Ag Secretary Karen Ross said: “Farmers have come a long way in reducing their use of chlorpyrifos, but development of alternatives for the remaining users will require significant investment and time for transition.”
The group has until Spring 2020 to complete its work. It will first find a short-term fix and then develop a five-year plan.
Funding: The challenges ahead will be difficult for the group, as it meets for the first time this month. The governor allocated $5.7 million in his budget to replace a product that the industry would typically invest more than $100 million into developing over the course of at least a decade.
Send your thoughts: DPR asks that public comments be sent firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for updates at the DPR list serve under “Alternatives.” The group will also hold three public listening sessions beginning in January.
Newsom serves Corteva 15-day notice
Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his office yesterday filed official complaints with the state and served notices to 13 companies listed as registrants for chlorpyrifos. In the complaints, DPR gives those companies 15 days to file a request for a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
At the top of the list is Dow Agrosciences, now known as Corteva.
DPR Acting Director Val Dolcini writes that chlorpyrifos directly causes developmental neurotoxicity by inhibiting a specific brain activity. The U.S. EPAdetermined last month that its scientists had not found evidence of this type of inhibition when reviewing chlorpyrifos. In a carefully worded letter, CalEPA’s independent review panel also noted a correlation, rather than causation, to the inhibition.
Dolcini also adds health concerns from ingestion. DPR’s cancellation, however, was officially the result of the Air Resources Board labeling the pesticide as an air quality risk.
Read Brad Hooker’s full report about DPR’s cancellation at Agri-Pulse.com.
DPR may allow chlorpyrifos in granular or drip form
In a document obtained by Agri-Pulse, DPR Assistant Director Karen Morrison leaves open the possibility for chlorpyrifos to be applied in other forms.
She writes that the department is “cancelling products that result in spray drift or dietary exposures of concern.” She adds that DPR “lacks evidence” regarding exposure from granular or drip products.
Morrison is responding to questions from the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association (CACASA).
On the issues of greater setbacks and buffer zones, CACASA President Tim Pelican said the measures would actually be “feasible and not logistically complex” and requested the commissioners be granted the discretion to use them. In response, Morrison asserts that “DPR does not believe” the setbacks and buffer zones are feasible statewide. She also rules out additional training for applicators.
Imports: Morrison acknowledges that DPR and USDA lack the resources to test foods coming into the state for chlorpyrifos residue. Pelican said not having this safeguard “will leave most Californians with the same risk level of dietary exposure.”
Keep in mind: Morrison will be one of the DPR advisors for the alternatives work group.
Secretary Ross (center-left) alongside US consul general Virginia Blaser at the US Consulate in South Africa. They are joined by state ag advisors and water agency officials, as well as Casey Creamer of Citrus Mutual and Abby Taylor-Silva of the Grower-Shipper Association.
USDA advisers consider appeal to EPA on dicamba
USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee is considering whether to recommend EPA set food tolerance levels for dicamba because of off-target movements of the herbicides. Setting tolerance levels would protect producers of tomatoes of other crops who may be affected by dicamba drift.
“We’re not advocating for putting chemicals on our crops,” said tomato grower and processor Steve Smith, agriculture director of Red Gold in Indiana, the largest privately held tomato processor in the country. “We’re advocating to not lose our crops.”
If pesticide residues are found on a crop that has no approved tolerance for that pesticide, the product can be seized. If pesticides are found on organic produce, the farm that grew the produce could lose its certification.
A working group of the USDA committee is considering today whether to approve the draft recommendations.
Enviros press fight against dicamba approval
Environmental groups are trying to persuade a federal appeals court to reverse EPA’s conditional registration last year of Bayer’s Xtendimax version of dicamba. The organizations say in a brief filed with the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals that EPA ignored the potential effects of the herbicide on endangered species.
“EPA refused to seek the guidance of the federal expert wildlife agencies, as the Endangered Species Act requires,” the Center for Food Safety and other groups say in a press release. “Instead, the agency denied that there would be any risk and approved the pesticide without any measures to protect endangered plants and animals.”
The groups say EPA also failed to comply with its 2016 registration, which said it would expire in November 2018 unless the agency determined that off-site incidents were not “occurring at unacceptable frequencies or levels.”
She said it:
“The visit so far is inspiring – California and the Western Cape have many similarities from agriculture (wine & citrus), to weather and water management.” – Secretary Ross during her visit to South Africa.
Ben Nuelle, Bill Tomson and Steve Davies contributed to this report.
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August 14, 2019
Rabobank optimistic for California’s produce market
Bayer held its first Agriculture and Innovation Showcase yesterday at its facility in Woodland. During one of the sessions, RaboResearch Analyst Roland Fumasi ran through the latest market trends for the audience of fruit and nut growers:
- Asia’s rising middle class is creating more demand for berry markets, though a weak dollar has led to sales losses.
- The expanding middle class in Mexico, however, has led to an agricultural labor shortage similar to California’s.
- Value-added vegetables, such as steam-in-bag broccoli, and packaged salads have had “tremendous growth” in recent years.
- Stone fruit has returned to profitability after a decade of it being “darn near impossible to make money” from.
Organic: Fumasi said he is “still bullish on the organic space.” While the market maintains a high growth rate, he explained, it has slowed in recent years.
Demand once driven by consumers now comes from retailers pushing to reach price-sensitive consumers. Fumasi’s research found that about 15% of the market consists of consumers who buy only organic. The rest buy it only some of the time because “they don’t really care that much… and will buy either one.”
(photo: UC Davis)
UC Davis launches Cannabis and Hemp Research Center
The nation’s top ag school has already been involved with research into cannabis production for years. Now it will also be “convening conferences and seminars, providing seed funding and engaging with policymakers,” according to Cindy Kiel of the Office of Research. She said that the new Cannabis and Hemp Research Center will also “provide a centralized resource to ensure compliance with current laws and policies.”
UC Davis plans to officially launch the center later this year and is seeking faculty directors.
Campus researchers have also partnered with a pharmaceutical company to analyze the chemical and biological profiles of cannabis. The findings may benefit law enforcement, health care providers and the scientific community.
Keep in mind: UC Davis already has more than 40 research centers and institutes in the food and agriculture space that claim to engage in policy.
Wanted: More immigrants in rural America
Pete Buttigieg is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to come out with detailed proposals for farm and rural policy. And one of his ideas could appeal to the party’s urban base as well as some rural voters.
Buttigieg is proposing a special visa program to repopulate rural communities with immigrants who agree to live there for at least three years in return for a green card. The proposal follows on the heels of a Trump administration rule that’s expected to reduce legal immigration by denying green cards to immigrants who get food stamps and other government benefits.
Buttigieg’s plan also emphasizes themes that have become a staple of the Democratic candidates’ rural outreach effort: Rural broadband expansion, tougher antitrust enforcement, and financial incentives to farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Money quote: Buttigieg accused the Trump administration of ignoring rural voters. “Rural America is hurting right now. Farm income is down to half of what it was five years ago, and these policies are making it worse. We may not be able to win everybody over, but I absolutely believe in campaigning in rural areas.”
Keep in mind: President Trump needs a strong rural vote win Iowa and other swing states.
For a deep dive into the advice Democratic candidates are getting on farm policy, be sure and read this week’s Agri-Pulse newsletter. We also look at how Trump is transforming the federal judiciary, with far-reaching effects for regulations.
Buttigieg mans the grill at the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Pork Tent.
EPA looks to educate workers on pesticides
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is looking for an organization to educate farmworkers about how to reduce their exposure to pesticides. EPA says it expects to provide $500,000 annually for five years to the grant recipient, who also will train pesticide safety educators to work with farmworker service organizations, growers and other members of the farming community.
The training materials are supposed to be targeted “at the low literacy, predominantly non-English speaking agricultural worker population” and will be written not just in Spanish, but also Mixteco, Haitian-Creole, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Mandarin and Russian.
US-China discussions resume, but Trump disappointed
It looked for a few days like the U.S.-China talks may have collapsed again. But top trade officials are talking again, even though neither side has committed to meeting in person yet.
Chinese officials led by Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. officials led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke over the phone Tuesday and the teams are scheduled to speak again in two weeks, according to a report from Xinhua News, a state-controlled media outlet.
The renewed talks come as the U.S. moves through the process of hitting China with new tariffs, some of which will be delayed by more than three months to Dec. 15.
Trump says he’s still not satisfied with the overall state of the talks and China’s failure to buy more U.S. farm commodities, but he displayed some optimism that the situation will improve.
“I think they want to do something,” he said. “I think they'd like to do something dramatic … But they really would like to make a deal.”
USDA’s fruit-vegetable advisers get trade briefing
A two-day meeting of USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee will feature a presentation today from USDA trade counsel Jason Hafemeister as well as updates on production trends and the department’s Pesticide Data Program.
Bret Erickson, who chairs the committee’s labor workgroup, will discuss farm labor issues along with employees of the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Labor Department. There also will be presentations on food safety and the Food Safety Modernization Act’s agricultural water regulations.
The committee last met in May, the first time it had convened since 2017.
He said it:
“The typical urban consumer thinks you’re doing the best job you know how to do – that you’re honest and you’re hard working. But they simply think they know better… They simply don’t understand how advanced this industry really is.” - Roland Fumasi, RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness.
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August 13, 2019
ESA overhaul faces legal challenges
States and environmental groups are announcing their plans to sue the Trump administration over changes announced Monday to the Endangered Species Act.
California and Massachusetts will be among those litigating the changes, which are designed to make the law clearer and more efficient, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters during a press call that California “will act in whatever ways we can and that includes going to court.”
Critics, including most environmental groups, say the rewrites will reduce the amount of species habitat protected and give federal agencies more leeway to ignore recommendations from the wildlife agencies.
Based on comments submitted last fall that were critical of the proposed rules, other states likely to sign on to litigation include Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Among environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Center for Biological Diversity said they would go to court.
Read the full report at Agri-Pulse.com.
Rodenticide ban pulled
A ban on second-generation rodenticides was pulled by its author ahead of a committee vote in the state legislature yesterday.
Assembly Bill 1788 would have enacted a sweeping statewide ban, though exemptions had been added for agricultural operations. A number of trade groups opposed the bill, including pest control advisors and pharmaceutical companies. A long list of environmental groups supported the measure.
Keep in mind: The bill is the third pesticide ban to be pulled ahead of committee this session, following proposed bans on glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. All three are likely to return in the second year of the current legislature.
California's greenhouse gas emissions by sector. (Air Resources Board)
Ag emissions remain at 8% of statewide total
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its latest state inventory of climate-changing emissions, which now covers 2000 to 2017. The agricultural sector has continued to contribute about 8% of the total statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
Approximately 70% of ag emissions come from livestock, which also contributes more than half of total methane emissions in California. Livestock emissions are 16% higher than levels recorded at the turn of the century. Dairy production accounts for 60% of ag emissions, despite a decreasing cow population. The report notes that “some dairy methane emissions have declined, while small annual increases in overall methane emissions have continued.”
By comparison, researchers estimate livestock is globally responsible for 14.5% of all emissions. The difference depends largely on diet and animal health, which tends to be better in developed countries. UC Davis Professor Frank Mitloehner is often quoted defending meat production by pointing to the much larger impact of fossil fuel burning.
According to the CARB climate inventory, transportation accounts for 41% of statewide emissions, while 24% comes from the industrial sector.
Emissions from crop production, meanwhile, have continued a decline, making up 20 percent of ag emissions. The report attributes this to reduced acreage, decreased fertilizer use and large-scale adoption of drip irrigation. California’s extreme drought also had an impact on the numbers.
Keep in mind: The Department of Food and Ag has been implementing dairy digester and manure management programs in order for livestock operations to meet strict CARB regulations. Those standards were put in place by SB 1383 in 2016, which was aimed in part at livestock methane emissions.
Governor Newsom, however, significantly reduced funding to these programs in his current budget. He also approved $100 million in greenhouse gas reduction funds to instead go to safe drinking water programs.
Cage-free laws sweep West Coast
With the signing of a new law in Oregon on Monday, all eggs from the West Coast will have to come from cage-free facilities.
“Like laws recently passed in California and Washington, Oregon’s new law will require that eggs produced and sold in the state come from cage-free barns that also contain perches, nests, as well as scratching and dust-bathing areas,” the Humane Society of the U.S. said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into law a bill requiring the state’s agriculture department to develop rules by 2024. California’s law is being phased in through 2022, and Washington’s through 2023. The Oregon law does not apply to farm owners or operators with 3,000 or fewer hens.
Water Portfolio raises concerns over state management
During a spate of listening sessions this summer for Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio, most of the discussion has been optimistic and welcoming of the new initiative. UC Davis Professor Jay Lund, however, had some blunt critiques during a recent meeting of the State Water Board.
Overlapping programs: He said “we’ve got a real problem here” when it comes to coordinating research efforts across agencies. Lund, who directs the Center for Watershed Sciences, had found that state programs often duplicated research, even within the same agency. He counted, for example, half a dozen programs estimating evapotranspiration from crops.
Policy disconnect: Lund also said that agency projects often fail to factor the actual regulations into the operations.
Fractured data collection: Lund also emphasized the need for a common water accounting system across all agencies. He said this is critical for implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or the Voluntary Agreements for the Bay-Delta Plan. He said it will be difficult to build this cooperation and is “even harder than finding money.”
A portfolio approach: Lund note the regions that had developed water portfolios were successful during the drought, as well as the wet years. This more adaptable approach would incorporate a range of activities, stakeholders and environmental concerns, from local nonprofits up to state agencies.
No bonds: Lund said 85% of the problem is local. Large state water bonds are not the answer, he added. Lund's research students have analyzed the reasons why the Prop 3 water bond failed last year.
Keep in mind: A broad $7.9-billion water and wildfire bond proposal is still in the works and collecting signatures.
USDA setting up vaccine bank
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will begin gathering input this fall from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the new National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank authorized by the 2018 farm bill.
The agency will use the feedback to decide how to acquire stocks of foot and mouth vaccine.
Under the farm bill, APHIS is also releasing $10 million to be divided between the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
He said it:
“The thing that really limits our success is our ability to get along.” – UC Davis Engineering Professor Jay Lund on the importance of collaboration in water management.
Ben Nuelle, Steve Davies and Bill Tomson contributed to this report.
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August 12, 2019
Water Plan calls for doubling state investment
The Department of Water Resources held a webinar recently to explain the release of the final update for the 2018 Water Plan, a project begun under Governor Jerry Brown.
DWR Division Chief Kamyar Guivetchi said the state currently spends about $2 billion a year investing in water resources. The Water Plan proposes doubling that to $4 billion for 50 years in order to meet the 19 recommendations. Of that $90 billion, almost $78 billion would go to local and regional efforts. About $10 billion would fund state infrastructure improvements and ecosystem restoration.
Keep in mind: The editorial board for the Chico Enterprise-Record wrote a scathing critique of the plan after it was released last month. The paper said the state has offered 12 water plans since 1957 and all have existed “to provide a justification for seeking increased funding to some legislator or legislators who want to make a splash.” It added that “almost none of them make a difference in how the state operates.”
On that note: During the webinar, a DWR policy advisor called Governor Newsom’s upcoming Water Resilience Portfolio “an invitation to dream big.” She said the administration will release a draft of the recommendations in early October.
CDFA delegation visits South Africa to talk climate-smart ag
Food and Ag Secretary Karen Ross led a delegation of ag representatives last week on a trip to meet with South African policymakers.
Ross notes in a blog post that the talks emphasized climate resilience through better water management, harkening to Newsom’s policy priorities. The two ag regions share a Mediterranean climate with only three other parts of the world: Europe, Chile and Australia.
Ross adds that the recent United Nations report on the impacts of climate change to global food security “gave new urgency to a challenge we have been facing for years” and it “sounded an alarm” that food supplies are in jeopardy.
Remember that: She has been taking over the mantle from Jerry Brown, whospoke at several UN climate conventions as governor and last year organized California’s Global Climate Action Summit. In June, Ross also spoke at a meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture during the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Also, UC Davis is one of the founding members of that UN alliance.
On that note: CDFA is holding a stakeholder meeting for its Healthy Soils Program on August 23, in Sacramento and online. Growers will have the opportunity to share thoughts on how the additional $13 million allocated for the program this year can best be used.
CDFA is also accepting applications until the end of August for technical assistance funding for both the Healthy Soils and the Alternative Manure Management Programs.
Merced unveils draft groundwater plan for almond region
Ahead of the January filing deadline, the groundwater agency serving the Merced subbasin has released its plan for complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
The agency has determined that agricultural and urban water demand must be reduced by 10%. The total cost for implementation will run as high as $1.6 million per year, funded through a range of state grants. The projects include groundwater monitoring and recharge and infrastructure improvements.
Merced County accounts for about $3.4 billion in annual farmgate sales. Its top commodities include milk, almonds and chicken.
SGMA the board game
SGMA has become a game of high stakes, powerful players and potentially painful sacrifices. Now it’s also a board game.
The Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Michigan developed the Groundwater Game as a social science tool for engaging community members on SGMA. Players can choose to be a broccoli, almond or alfalfa grower or a rural family, community water system or urban water utility. According to EDF, “players experiment with different groundwater pumping and management strategies, including unregulated pumping and allocations.”
Almond farmers and urban utilities are the dominant players, starting with a bank balance of $300. Perhaps a poke at the Bureau of Reclamation, surface water allocation is determined by a roll of the dice.
The game makers so far do not offer an expansion pack to include political water grabs.
Bayer mediator calls Bloomberg report of settlement offer ‘pure fiction’
Ken Feinberg, who is overseeing mediation between Bayer and plaintiffs in federal lawsuits in California, dismissed a Bloomberg News report that Bayer had offered to pay $8 billion to settle the claims.
“Bayer has not proposed paying $8 billion to settle all the U.S. Roundup cancer claims,” Feinberg said in an article by Reuters. “Such a statement is pure fiction. Compensation has not even been discussed in the global mediation discussions.”
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Brent Wisner said earlier this year that he had been told Bayer could settle the thousands of claims against it for $22 billion. But since then, the number of lawsuits in state and federal court has ballooned from an estimated 13,000 to 18,000.
The Bloomberg report early Friday boosted the company’s stock by 11% but after Feinberg’s statement it dipped and closed up slightly.
Trump fuels uncertainty about China talks
President Donald Trump is offering a more pessimistic view of trade talks with China, now saying the U.S. is “not ready to make a deal, but we’ll see what happens.”
In remarks outside the White House Friday, Trump said the countries have an “open dialogue” but said he wasn’t sure whether their trade representatives would meet in September.
The comments follow a week of worsening news on the trade front.
Last week, Trump labeled China a “currency manipulator” after the country allowed the value of the yuan to dip. The week before, he announced a new round of tariffs, placing an additional 10% on about $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. China responded by reinstating tariffs on U.S. soybeans on its own importers.
Harris flips pork chops at the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Pork Tent.
Can trade peel off rural voters?
Democrats are trying to use the trade war to make inroads with rural voters, or at least to dampen their enthusiasm for Trump. Criticism of Trump’s trade policy has been a staple of Democratic campaign rhetoric in Iowa in recent days.
On Saturday at the Iowa State Fair, California Sen. Kamala Harris said Trump had imposed a “trade tax” on farmers. Trump’s policy has “resulted in farmers in this great state looking at bankruptcy (with) soybeans rotting in bins.” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Trump was using farmers as a “bunch of poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos.”
For more about what the candidates have been saying about ag policy in Iowa, read our coverage at Agri-Pulse.com.
She said it:
“We need to bridge this divide between rural and urban and make sure that people that live in metropolitan areas understand that food just doesn’t magically show up on their table,” Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.
Philip Brasher, Spencer Chase, Ben Nuelle and Hannah Pagel contributed to this report.
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