Agriculture mega-mergers, wild bumble bee endangered

Agriculture mega-mergers, wild bumble bee endangered

By Matt Sabas   

The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to classify the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species.

This week’s top five food and ag stories:

  1. Agricultural executives defend proposed mergers before the House Judiciary Committee. Jeff Mordock of USA Today reports, “[m]ore choice and innovation was a theme repeatedly hammered by the executives Tuesday morning in a hearing before the Judiciary Committee on agriculture industry consolidation. Executives from Dow, Bayer AG, Monsanto and Syngenta along with representatives from farm advocacy groups all testified. ChemChina, an agriculture company owned by the Chinese government that is finalizing its $43 billion merger Syngenta, declined an invitation to participate.”
  1. The rusty patched bumble bee may be added to the endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to classify the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species, reports Reuters. “Named for the conspicuous reddish blotch on its abdomen, the rusty patched bumble bee — or Bombus affinis, as it is known to scientists — has plunged in abundance and distribution by more than 90 percent since the late 1990s, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency attributes the decline to a number of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.”
  1. Letter from 60 organizations calls on companies to quit a top organic trade group. Dozens of consumer groups have called on companies to withdraw memberships from the Organic Trade Association, according to the Wisconsin State Farmer. “About 60 organizations representing millions of U.S. consumers have called for companies to withdraw from the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in protest over the OTA’s role in passing a federal law that nullified Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law. The groups, many of which for years worked to pass state laws requiring labels on GMO ingredients, signed a letter asking OTA members to show solidarity with consumers by dropping out of the OTA.”
  1. China will invest $450 billion to modernize agriculture industry by 2020. The Chinese government will invest heavily to modernize its agriculture industry by 2020, according to Reuters. “The Agricultural Development Bank of China, one of the country’s main policy lenders, agreed to loan at least 3 trillion yuan ($450 billion) by 2020 for the modernization of China’s agriculture industry, state media said on Sunday. The Ministry of Agriculture and the bank, which lends in line with government policy, signed an agreement to protect national food security, support the sector doing business overseas and develop China’s seed industry, according to the official Xinhua news agency.”
  1. Alcohol distribution outlook remains strong. A Morgan Stanley report has found that alcohol distributors remain optimistic about growth prospects, reports Bloomberg Markets. “Of course, there was a bit of a catch. While more of the respondents did say they were optimistic about the future, there was also a rise in those that were getting a bit more nervous. It was the ‘unchanged’ option that shrunk. The team said that the results by and large still leave them very optimistic on the future of most brands, especially when combined with strong consumer sentiment, low gas prices, and a healthy job market.”
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