Dicamba damage to soybeans, trees, ornamentals and other plants is back again this season, and a leading seed developer is asking growers to send proof.
Joe Merschman, president and CEO of Iowa-based MS Technologies, sent a message to growers Friday asking them to send along photos of damage that can be shared with the press and the Environmental Protection Agency.
On Merschman Seeds’ Cup of Joe podcast Saturday, Merschman said Enlist E3 soybeans – which are resistant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate but not dicamba – are becoming the preferred trait for growers, and “we're taking a heck of a beating, and we don't like it.”
Bayer, which developed the Xtend dicamba system, signed an agreement with MS Technologies earlier this year to distribute E3 soybeans starting in 2023.
In the podcast, Merschman said label changes haven’t stemmed the damage. EPA “is going to have a lot of pressure on it. … And I think it's finally going to get put to bed this year. I mean, I just think something's going to change.”
House Ag stays on road for vulnerable Dems
Democrats facing tough reelection battles on the House Agriculture Committee are getting some help reaching out to rural voters. The House Ag Committee held a farm bill listening session last month in the district of vulnerable Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., and just last week was in Fresno, California, for a session led by Rep. Jim Costa. Now, the panel’s majority has scheduled sessions for July 22 in Washington state with Rep. Kim Schrier and July 25 in Minnesota with Rep. Angie Craig.
Schrier’s and Craig’s races are both rated toss-ups by the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter. O’Halleran’s seat is rated as “Likely Republican.”  
By the numbers: Four in 10 non-visa farmworkers unauthorized
Some 44% of farmworkers who don’t have H-2A visas are in the country illegally. That’s according to Rural Migration News, citing a Labor Department survey of workers in 2019 and 2020. Some 36% of non-H-2A ag workers were unauthorized in 2017 and 2018. 
Take note: Half the non-H-2A workers were in the country illegally two decades ago. About 70% of current farmworkers are foreign-born, according to the data.
Ukraine grain exporters get new access to Danube River
Ukrainian grain exporters desperate to get shipments out of the country now have a new route through Romania, according to the consulting firm APK Inform. Repairs have finished at the Galati river port on the Danube, allowing trains full of Ukrainian grain to unload there without having to stop for inspection in Moldova.
“The (Ukrainian) grain that will … quickly reach the Port of Galati can be transferred more efficiently on barges or can be stored in the silo in the port, which has a capacity of 25,000 (metric tons),” the firm quotes Romanian Minister of Transportation Sorin Grindeanu.
Ukraine is still unable to export grain through its own Black Sea ports because of the Russian naval blockade, but it continues to export by sending the grain to Romania, transferring it to barges on the Danube, which then take the loads to Romanian Black Sea ports.
USAID commits $117M in food aid to South Sudan
The U.S. Agency for International Development said Thursday it will be sending $117 million worth of U.S. food commodities to war-torn South Sudan to try to help alleviate a hunger crisis. The donations are part of the Biden administration’s plan announced April 27 to draw down the $282 million balance in the USDA’s Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, an account used to buy U.S. commodities for food aid.
“With these funds, the U.S. government is supporting the UN World Food Program to provide food and nutrition assistance to more than one million crisis-affected people, including refugees and individuals facing malnutrition, across South Sudan,” USAID said in a statement.

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says there are a record 11.7 million people in South Sudan “facing acute hunger.” That’s about a quarter of the population, and 2 million more people than last year.
The USDA committed in the April announcement to use Commodity Credit Corporation funds to pay for transporting the BEHT commodities.
STB orders Union Pacific to prioritize shipping to California farm
The Surface Transportation Board has directed the Union Pacific Railroad Company to prioritize shipments to two Foster Poultry Farm facilities in California that say the railroad has not been shipping livestock feed to them on time.
Both facilities, one located in Traver and the other in Turlock, ran out of corn supplies on June 17 and had to cut off feed for dairy cattle. Union Pacific told the farm that it would deliver three of the company’s expected shipments that weekend, but only one came in.
Lance Fritz, Union Pacific’s CEO, acknowledged in a letter to the board that the company had “failed to provide adequate service” to the farm. The board, tasked with resolving rail disputes, issued an emergency service order calling for Union Pacific to fulfill its promise of restoring service to the farm and extended it on July 1.
USTR Tai positive for COVID
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says she tested positive for COVID on Saturday.
“I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, isolating at home and following the advice of my doctor,” she said in a tweet. “I urge all Americans to get vaccinated and a booster if you are eligible.”
In a statement, USTR spokesperson Adam Hodge said Tai “has not had recent close contact with the President or Vice President.”  
He said it: “Insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We're just not getting different results.” Joseph Merschman, president and CEO of Merschman Seeds, discussing dicamba damage on his company’s podcast.
Questions, comments, tips? Email Steve Davies.