Tyson Foods has agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Washington state alleging price-fixing in the broiler chicken industry.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the settlement Monday, which brings to $11.7 million the total from the three companies that have resolved the state’s claims against them.

The attorney general’s office reached a $725,000 resolution with Mar-Jac Poultry in May and a $475,000 resolution with Fieldale Farms Corp. in August.

As part of a consent decree approved Monday by a state court judge, the AG’s office said Tyson Foods will cooperate with its office “to produce information and documentation relevant to the case against the other co-conspirators.” Tyson did not admit wrongdoing in the consent decree.

The 16 remaining chicken producers named in the lawsuit include Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, and Koch Foods.

RMA: Insurance endorsement could help with input costs

Corn growers looking to control their fertilizer costs should consider a relatively new insurance policy endorsement, called PACE. That’s the advice of Marcia Bunger, administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

The Post-Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE), sold for the first time this spring, protects farmers who are unable because of field conditions to make a fertilizer application during the growing season.

Bunger said she expects more farmers to buy PACE for 2023, both because it’s available in more areas but also because of the higher price of fertilizer.

“A lot of producers were able to purchase their inputs in the fall year ago at a reasonable level. … This fall, prices are very high,” Bunger said in an interview with Agri-Pulse.

For 2023, the product will be available in most counties of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It will also be offered in areas of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota.

New assessment of Ian’s ag damage in Florida

Damage to the agricultural industry in Florida could total nearly $1.9 billion, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) said in a preliminary assessment Monday.

Unlike last week’s report from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which estimated crop losses between $787 million and $1.56 billion, the FDACS analysis considered citrus tree replacement, animal infrastructure damages, and forestry to come up with a range between $1.18 billion and $1.88 billion. The ag department estimated crop losses alone as between about $687 billion and $1.25 billion.

Brazil soy planting progresses despite weather delays

Brazilian farmers have planted 34% of this year’s soybean crop despite some weather troubles, according to the consulting firm AgRural. That’s significant progress from the 24% that the firm’s analyst reported a week prior, but it’s also below the 38% level at this time last year.

Either too much rain or not enough is forcing farmers in some regions of the country to replant their fields. Those delays will likely push back harvesting to February for some farmers that normally bring in their soybeans in January.

“With excessive rain, constantly cloudy skies and low temperatures, sowing lost steam in (the southern state of) Paraná, which also faces slower plant development,” said AgRural.

Maine lawmakers propose PFAS relief bill

All four members of Maine’s Congressional delegation have proposed a bill that would give the Agriculture Department access to $500 million between 2023 and 2027 for PFAS relief.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden proposed the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS act after several farmers in the state were forced to stop selling their products due to PFAS contaminations. The bill would give states new grants to provide relief to impacted farmers, expand monitoring and testing, remediate PFAS or help farmers relocate, according to a release.

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The bill — which was also co-sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. — would also create a USDA task force to identify whether PFAS contamination should be added as an eligible activity to other USDA programs and provide technical assistance to states when coordinating responses.

USAID provides thousands of Ukraine’s farmers with temporary storage

Thousands of Ukrainian farmers will get access to temporary storage for about 1.5 million metric tons of grain as well as machinery needed to load it, thanks to efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

USAID is providing grain sleeves, packing machines and modular warehouses to small and medium-sized farms in several regions of the country, according to Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry. The ministry says it expects farmers will be able to use the donated storage facilities this week.

USMEF honors Trump’s USTR with award

Former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer led the Trump administration’s trade war against China, but he also negotiated the “Phase One” agreement that eventually led to a rapid expansion of beef exports to the nation, and now the U.S. Meat Export Federation is bestowing its Michael J. Mansfield Award to the ambassador.

“We worked closely with USMEF through several negotiations and hopefully did a good job for the people USMEF represents,” said Lighthizer. “I’m grateful for the 20-hour days we get from our farmers and ranchers, and the reality is, when they are successful America is more successful.”

Lighthizer also negotiated an ag trade deal with Japan that cut tariffs on U.S. beef and gave U.S. exporters much of the increased access that the U.S. lost out on when the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Steve Davies, Phil Brasher and Noah Wicks contributed to this report. Questions, comments, tips? Email bill@agri-pulse.com.