The winter wheat harvest is running a bit ahead of average, although farmers are farthest along in some of the Plains states where the crops were most damaged by drought. 

According to USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report, 54% of the crop had been harvested. The five-year average of the harvest at this date is 48%. 

Meanwhile, 64% of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition, the same amount as at this time a year ago. 

Farmers worried about their future survey finds

Looking ahead a year, farmers expect to be in worse shape financially than they are now, according to the latest monthly survey of producers by Purdue University and the CME Group. 

The measure of farmer sentiment said its “current conditions” score was 99, up slightly from May. However, that “small improvement … was more than offset by weaker expectations for the future,” with that index declining 5 points to 96, the lowest level since October 2016. 

Indices measuring expectations about farmland value also declined sharply. While still at historically strong levels, they show that “farmers are noticeably less confident that farmland values will continue to rise from current levels,” the survey authors said.

The index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from June 13-17.

US calls out India on rice, wheat subsidies

The U.S., in what could eventually lead to a WTO dispute, is demanding that India give a full accounting of how it stockpiles subsidized rice and wheat and then exports the grain.

The technical “consultations” that the U.S. and other nations are demanding are a right established about a decade ago in the “Bali Peace Clause” agreement, which allowed developing nations to stockpile subsidized farm commodities. The U.S. and other nations have accused India of abusing its use of public stock holding and distorting the world market for rice and wheat.

“India makes up nearly half of global rice trade and much of its exported rice benefits from the government-established floor price, and is then exported at low prices, distorting trade," said Bobby Hanks, chairman of the USA Rice Federation.

The U.S. may not be ready yet for a full challenge to India at the WTO, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill are urging exactly that.

Twelve House members sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Friday, saying “America must not yield for the sake of reaching consensus. Instead, America must work to promote solutions that will alleviate the global supply chain and food shortages, and America must take actions that will address those consumers most impacted by inflation and rising food prices.”

EPA will respond to treated seed petition by Sept. 30

The Environmental Protection Agency will issue a decision by Sept. 30 on a petition submitted seeking regulation of pesticide-treated seeds under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

The Center for Food Safety and 10 other groups or individuals submitted the petition in 2017, saying EPA “has failed to adequately assess the risks of the unregulated seeds, instead exempting them from registration or labeling requirements and only registering the liquid coating products.”

The agency agreed to the deadline in a proposed consent decree filed in litigation that was brought to compel the agency to make a decision.

Syngenta forms alliance in Ukraine

Seed giant Syngenta, the crop protection company Adama Ukraine and Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry have signed a memorandum of understanding in which the companies committed to supporting “employees and their family members who suffered from Russian aggression by providing them with asylum and humanitarian assistance” as well as working to support farmers.

The companies also pledged to “deliver high-quality products to the Ukrainian market of plant protection and … provide agricultural producers … with seeds and plant protection products” even if they cannot afford to make full payment, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

“It is worth noting that this memorandum opens up new prospects for effective interaction between state institutions and representatives of big business," said Syngenta General Director Sergiy Klishyn.

He said it: “America’s farmers deserve a level playing field.” That was Sen. John Boozman, the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, who was reacting to the U.S. confronting India on its subsidized stockpiling of grain.

Furthermore, he added, “I appreciate the Office of the United States Trade Representative taking this action. Furthermore, I thank the governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, Paraguay, Thailand and Uruguay for joining the U.S. in these consultations on India’s subsidies for rice and wheat.”

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