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3 Big Things Today, January 19

Soybeans, Corn Little Changed Overnight, Perdue is Trump’s Pick For Ag Secretary.

1. Soybeans, Corn Little Changed as Investors Unsure of Upside

Soybeans and corn were little changed overnight as a two-day rally that boosted bean prices almost 30¢ weighs on prices while excessive rainfall in Argentina threatens crops.

Soybean futures rose about 23¢ on Tuesday and another nickel yesterday. The rapid rise has left overnight traders wary about further gains. Meanwhile, excessive rain has delayed planting of the oilseed in parts of Argentina, the world’s third-biggest producer.

Also keeping a lid on price is the dollar, which has strengthened the past two sessions after dropping earlier this week to the lowest level in five weeks.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 1¾¢ to $10.73¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures lost $1.40 to $349.70, and soy oil declined 0.04¢ to 35.54¢ a pound.

Corn futures rose ¾¢ to $3.65¾ a bushel.

Wheat for March delivery fell 1½¢ to $4.29½ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures lost a penny to $4.51¼ a bushel.  

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2. Perdue is Former Governor of Georgia Who Runs Business Focused on Exports

President-elect Donald Trump finally picked a nominee for secretary of agriculture in Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor who now runs a business exporting agricultural supplies.

Perdue, 70, met with Trump in November when they talked about trading grains and oilseeds. If confirmed, Perdue would be in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has more than 100,000 employee and a budget of about $140 billion.

The nominee is not related to the family who owns the Perdue poultry empire. He was a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party before becoming governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. While he’s not a farmer now, he grew up on a farm, has a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and now owns a company that specializes in exports of ag products.

Whether he can be confirmed in time for Friday’s inauguration remains in question. Republicans have asked committee members to quickly confirm Trump’s nominees, but Democrats say they won’t fast-track confirmations as they need time to vet the candidates.

Perdue has at least one person in his corner – his cousin, Georgia Senator David Perdue.

“I could not be more proud of my cousin, Sonny, for being named the next Secretary of Agriculture,” David Perdue said in a statement on his website. “I am confident Sonny will work hard to advance smart agriculture policies that will help our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the country.”

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3. Weather Maps Mostly Quiet as Storm Eyed in Midwest Next Week

It’s a relatively quiet morning for much of the Midwest from a weather perspective with dense fog and some minor flooding in parts of Illinois.

Forecasters are keeping an eye on a storm system that will move into the Plains and Midwest early next week that could bring snow to parts of southern Nebraska and Iowa, the National Weather Service said in a statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, continued rainfall today and tomorrow could cause minor flooding along rivers and tributaries in parts of southern Michigan and northern Indiana, according to the NWS.

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