EPA extends timeline for pesticide applicators rule

Written by TF Staff on .

A regulation mandating more training and safeguards for people handling restricted-use pesticides has been delayed for one year by the EPA.

The EPA said it was going “back to basics” by delaying the Obama-era rule in its mid-May announcement. The Certification and Training of Pesticide Applicators (C&T) rule would have established a minimum age for handling these pesticides, required more training and more frequent certifications for the approximately 1 million applicators allowed to use them, and tightened overall controls on insecticides, pesticides and other substances.

“To achieve both environmental protection and economic prosperity, we must give the regulated community, which includes farmers and ranchers, adequate time to come into compliance with regulations,” said Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator.

The original effective date of May 22, 2017, is now extended to May 22, 2018.

In its statement on the year-long delay, EPA said it received feedback from states and stakeholders that more time and resources are needed to prepare for compliance with the rule. Specifically mentioned was an April meeting with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who applauded the move to extend the deadline.

“I look forward to continuing to work with this administration to curb regulations that are killing jobs and hurting our farmers,” Greitens said. “It’s time for government to get out of the way and let our farmers farm.”

Flurry of activity follows ag secretary's confirmation

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Three months after his nomination, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was confirmed as the 31st U.S. secretary of agriculture by the Senate on April 24 and sworn in the next day. 

The much-delayed appointment—the last announced Trump cabinet post on Jan. 19—prompted some in the agricultural industry to express concerns that the president has made a low priority of rural and farm interests credited with his victory. 

To address those concerns in part, President Trump and Perdue wasted no time in hosting a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House after the secretary’s swearing-in ceremony April 25. The event featured more than a dozen farmers and representatives of the agriculture community who discussed topics such as agricultural trade, regulatory reform, rural infrastructure, labor issues and the Farm Bill.

The president also signed an executive order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity with a mission “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America.” Perdue will lead that task force.

Perdue’s first official trip as secretary outside of Washington, DC, was to Missouri, where he spoke April 28 in Kansas City at a town hall session for farmers and ag industry representatives including MFA Incorporated CEO Ernie Verslues.

Two weeks later, Perdue announced he is reorganizing USDA, creating an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs position in recognition of the importance of international trade to American agriculture. The new position was outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill but never implemented. 

In the first significant reorganization of USDA since 1994, the proposed structure also includes a new Farm Production and Conservation mission area to focus on domestic agricultural issues. A new undersecretary will be selected for this area, which will include the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Under the reorganization plan, Rural Development will no longer have its own undersecretary but will report directly to Perdue. The undersecretary for natural resources and environment will retain supervision of the U.S. Forest Service. A reduction in USDA workforce is not part of the reorganization plan.

See the full report at

MU Interim Chancellor and Provost appoints Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

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University of Missouri Interim Chancellor and Provost Garnett S. Stokes announced today that Christopher R. Daubert, professor and department head of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, has been named vice chancellor and dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), effective Aug. 1, 2017.

“With a career spanning more than 20 years, Professor Daubert is a dedicated administrator and teacher focused on the land-grant philosophy, agriculture and food research, and innovative economic development initiatives,” Stokes said. “His experience will enable him to lead MU’s students, faculty and staff, and represent Mizzou effectively with CAFNR’s constituent base including members of Missouri’s broad agricultural community.”

Daubert joined the faculty at NC State in 1997 in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. While at NC State, he also served on the faculty of the biotechnology program and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. As an administrator, he has been leading an economic development initiative aimed at transforming North Carolina into a regional food processing destination, a project that supports the food and agriculture industry while creating new jobs.

In his new role as vice chancellor and dean, Daubert will report to the provost and be responsible for strategic planning and budgets, hiring faculty and staff, development activities, and building a climate of excellence on campus and throughout the entire University of Missouri System to fulfill the university’s mission of teaching, research, service and economic development.

“The MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has strong people, programs and partnerships serving our land grant heritage, making CAFNR such an attractive destination and opportunity for leadership,” Daubert said. “The faculty and staff are exceptional and dedicated, and CAFNR’s students are incredibly capable and well prepared to serve our stakeholders. During the interview process, it was clear that the college and the university have strong support across the entire state of Missouri, including alumni, commodity organizations, and members of the Missouri legislature. Agriculture is such an important part of Missouri, and everyone is eager to help move our college forward.”

Daubert received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 1991 and a doctorate in agricultural engineering and food science from Michigan State University in 1996. As a researcher, Daubert has authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications and books; mentored more than 20 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers; and obtained two patents connected to his research.

Since its establishment in 1870, CAFNR has embraced the three missions of the land-grant university — providing accessible educational opportunities to Missouri citizens, conducting applied and basic research to address the needs of Missourians, and delivering research-based information to enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of all Missourians.

Slow-moving flooding disaster to expand along Mississippi River through mid-May

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AccuWeather reports as a surge of water continues to flow downstream, flooding will occur along the middle and lower Mississippi River through the middle of May and perhaps to the end of the month in some areas.

While some areas along streams and small rivers have born the brunt of the slow-moving flooding disaster in recent days, communities along the Mississippi River from Missouri and Illinois to Louisiana and Mississippi will be racing against rising water over the next couple of weeks.

The larger the stream, the longer it takes for flooding to cycle through. Small creeks in mountainous or hilly areas can flood in a matter of minutes and hours, while the largest rivers in nearly flat terrain sometimes take days and a week or more for water to drop below flood stage.

Torrential rain from the last weekend of April set the flooding disaster in motion.

During late April and early May, record flooding occurred at some locations, including along the Black river at Pocahontas, Arkansas; Current River at Doniphan, Arkansas; Meramec at Sullivan, Steelville and Eureka, Missouri; and the Gasconade at Hazelgreen and Jerome, Missouri. Levees in some communities were breached or topped by high water levels.

Rainfall during the middle days of this week brought a second surge and crest along small streams and tributaries of the major rivers.

This new surge of water will also prolong the rise and recession of the Mississippi River and lower portions of the Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and White rivers. The high water levels will continue to impact river navigation and port operations.

This weekend, the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, will crest near or just shy of the record of 48.9 feet set on Jan. 2, 2016, according to data compiled by National Weather Service hydrologists and the United States Geological Survey.

At St. Louis, where some highways have been closed due to high water, the Mississippi is not expected to drop below flood stage until the middle of next week.

Farther downstream, a crest at major flood stage is forecast at Osceola, Arkansas, later next week.

At Memphis, Tennessee, while only minor flooding is forecast, the Mississippi River may remain above flood stage from the middle of next week to beyond the middle of the month.

Areas farther south along the Mississippi River in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana may not experience a crest until the third week in May. River levels in some portions of these states will reach moderate flood stage and may not drop below flood stage until nearly the end of the month.

Meanwhile, a portion of the Black River in northern Arkansas may remain above flood stage into early next week.

Areas along the White River in Arkansas will experience major flooding through this weekend. Waters along the White River may not drop below flood stage until the third or fourth week in May.

It may take many weeks until flooded farmland is workable, but the weather may cooperate in the short term.

"No significant rain is anticipated to fall over the middle and lower Mississippi Valley from this weekend through the middle of next week," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

The extended rain-free weather will help some communities with damage assessment and cleanup operations, while communities over the lower Mississippi will have fair weather to prepare for the flooding to come.



Income on decline

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Net farm income will likely fall for the fourth straight year in 2017, and the farm debt-to-asset ratio is rising. Even with a modest recovery in agricultural income in 2018 and beyond, pressure on farm finances is expected to continue.

The good news? Grain and milk prices could see slight increases in 2017.

Those projections summarize the latest analysis of national and global agricultural trends from the University of Missouri’s Baseline Briefing Book released in March. Based on market information available in January, the comprehensive report is prepared annually by economists with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute and the MU Agricultural Markets and Policy team.

“The world is an uncertain place, and commodity markets will continue to be volatile,” said Patrick Westhoff, director of FAPRI. “We use our models to develop a range of projected market outcomes that takes into account some major sources of uncertainty about future supply and demand conditions.”

The report gives policy-makers, farmers, agribusinesses and the public an overview of the state of the U.S. farm economy and serves as a point of reference for policy analysts, he said.

FAPRI’s most recent briefing includes declines in corn and wheat acreage and production in response to price decreases caused by record crops in 2016. Corn prices are projected to increase to $3.60 per bushel for the 2017–18 marketing year and $3.71 per bushel from 2018 to 2026. Meanwhile, shifts in relative prices are likely to push up soybean and cotton acreage in 2017. Strong export demand has supported soybean and cotton prices in 2016–17, and soybean prices are projected to average $9.57 per bushel in 2017–18.

Cattle and hog prices are expected to decrease due to large domestic supplies. Although milk prices have dipped since 2014, stronger international markets could buoy prices in 2017.

Other key results from the report include:

  • Net farm income has declined by 48 percent since its 2013 peak. It may likely increase in 2018 and later years.
  • Lower farm income and rising interest rates result in lower projected land prices and farm asset values. The debt-to-asset ratio increases from 11 percent in 2012 to nearly 14 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2026.
  • Agricultural risk coverage payments are expected to decline rapidly, largely because of reduced guarantees tied to moving averages of past market prices.
  • Crop insurance net outlays are projected to average about $8 billion per year for fiscal years 2018–2026.

The full report is available at


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