Agriculture groups are calling on Congress to expressly state that the nation’s pesticide law preempts states’ authority to craft their own warning labels for products.
“We strongly urge Congress to reaffirm that EPA is the primary, federal authority under [the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act] for making pesticide findings and decisions, and that states may regulate their use, but not impose additional labeling or packaging requirements,” 332 groups said in a letter to congressional leadership.
The U.S. Solicitor General filed a brief backing California’s right to issue its own warning labels, in opposing a Supreme Court petition filed by Bayer. The company wanted the court to review an appeals court decision upholding a $25 million award to California resident Edwin Hardeman, who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup. The court rejected the petition, in which Bayer made the pre-emption argument.
IPEF negotiations set to continue in Australia
Negotiations to gain ground in negotiating the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are set to resume in Australia on Dec. 10. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the State Department are billing the week-long meeting as the first in-person negotiations, but talks are well under way.
USTR Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met virtually last month with leaders of the other 13 IPEF nations for ministerial-level negotiations.
Along with our 13 partners, we are tackling challenges and opportunities facing the citizens and economies on both sides of the Pacific – including supply chains, clean energy, digital trade, and sustainable agriculture, among other important issues,” USTR spokesman Adam Hodge said.
Brazil nears 70% completion of soy planting
Brazilian farmers have planted about 69% of the country’s soy crop this year, according to the consulting firm AgRural. The pace remains slower than last year, which was about 78% complete at this time in 2021.
Complicated weather patterns are raising some concerns in the country’s Midwest, but spurring sowing in the South. High temperatures and little precipitation last week in the Midwestern state of Minas Gerais are making farmers anxious, said AgRural.
Meanwhile, in the South, “firmer weather that prevailed throughout last week favored the advance of planting” after “excess moisture had been causing delays in sowing and plant development.”
Farmworkers make plea for FWMA
A group of more than 60 farmworkers is expected to be on Capitol Hill to lobby for passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act during the lame duck session that opened Monday. The House-passed bill would provide legal status for existing farmworkers and expand the H-2A visa program for foreign labor.
Supporters of the legislation have been unable to get enough GOP support for the measure. The American Farm Bureau Federation has opposed the bill in part because it would allow H-2A workers to sue their employers. 
“On Thanksgiving, when Americans gather with family to give thanks for the food on their table, we ask Congress to show its thanks to essential farm workers and their families by passing this common sense bipartisan legislation,” said United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero.
Keep in mind: The bill’s prospects won’t improve in the next Congress. Supporters will still need to find at least nine GOP votes in the Senate, and a Republican-controlled House is unlikely to even take up the bill.
Smithfield to pay $75M to settle consumer claims in pork pricing case
A federal judge has approved a $75 million settlement between Smithfield and consumers in litigation involving allegations of price fixing in the pork industry.
The settlement was filed with the court in September and approved by Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim.
Smithfield has previously reached settlements in the class-action case filed against it and other pork producers, agreeing to pay $125 million to commercial purchasers such as restaurants and foodservice operators.

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Smithfield spokesman Jim Monroe said when the settlement was first announced in August that, “While we deny any liability in these cases and believe that our conduct has always been lawful, we decided that it was in the best interests of the company to negotiate a settlement.” 
Tyson sales up, earnings down from fourth quarter in 2021
Tyson Foods’ earnings per share for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year were down from a year ago by 29%, but the company’s year-end sales and earnings results were record-setting, the company said Monday.
Sales for the meat giant topped $53 billion for the year ending Oct. 1, more than $6 billion above last year’s sales of $47 billion. Net income was $3.25 billion, about $190 million ahead of 2021.
The average sales price for beef products increased in 2022 due to higher costs, including live cattle, labor, freight and transportation. The price dropped in the fourth quarter, “driven by reduced demand for premium cuts of beef as compared to exceptionally high demand in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021,” Tyson said.
Sales for pork decreased in the fourth quarter “due to reduced domestic availability of live hogs,” Tyson said. Chicken sales increased, however, and for the year, sales of both pork and chicken were up from 2021.

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