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3 Big Things Today, January 18

Soybeans Higher Overnight; EPA Still on Track Despite Not Working on E15 Rule.

1. Soybeans Higher on Brazil Weather, Sales Optimism

Soybeans were again higher overnight amid hot, dry weather in Brazil and on hopes that China is buying U.S. supplies.

Temperatures in some growing areas of Brazil have been in the mid-90˚F., a trend that likely will continue, according to forecasters.

Consultancy Celeres this week lowered its soybean output forecast due to the ongoing drought in some areas to 117.2 million metric tons. The USDA last month pegged output in the country at 122 million tons.

With the government shutdown about to enter its fifth week, making it the longest on record, export sales data has been lacking. Still, investors are hoping that China is continuing to buy from U.S. exporters.

Soybeans for March delivery rose 4½¢ to $9.12¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $2.10 to $314.30 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.07¢ to 28.82¢ a pound.

Corn rose ¾¢ to $3.80¾ a bushel overnight

Wheat for March delivery added 1¾¢ to $5.19½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 2¾¢ to $5.05¾ a bushel. 

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Today’s 3 Big Things from Successful Farming magazine is brought to you by Golden Harvest Seeds.

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2. EPA Head Wheeler Says E15 Rule Still on Track, Could Be Delayed Due to Shutdown

Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the EPA, told senators this week that the partial government shutdown, now in its 28th day, means the agency cannot work on the E15 rule that would allow higher blends of ethanol to be sold.

The new rule, which was announced in December, “may be slightly delayed” due to the shutdown even after the EPA stayed open a week longer than other departments, he said.

Wheeler told senators that he still expects the rule to be read for implementation by the start of the summer driving season that starts on June 1. So far, at least, implementation is still on schedule, but government employees haven’t been able to work on it due to the shutdown. It will be in place in time “as long as the shutdown doesn’t go on.”

The government has been partially shuttered since December 22, as President Trump continues to demand $5.7 billion for a wall on the southern border of the U.S. Democrats refuse to fund the wall, leaving lawmakers at a stalemate and about 800,000 workers without pay for the time being.

No end is in sight as Trump and Democrats are seemingly at an impasse.

In other testimony, Wheeler said the EPA will take a case-by-case approach to small-refiner waivers instead of offering so-called blanket waivers that Corn Belt lawmakers said benefited the oil industry but hurt agriculture.

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Today’s 3 Big Things from Successful Farming magazine is brought to you by Golden Harvest Seeds.

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3. Central, Northern Midwest From South Dakota to Indiana Getting Blasted by Winter Storm

Much of the central and northern Midwest are being hammered by a winter storm, as snow, strong winds, and ice hit the region.

A winter storm warning is in effect starting today stretching from central South Dakota east into western Indiana this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

In parts of Iowa, as much as 8 inches of snow are expected, though totals are expected to be lower west of Interstate 35 that runs from Kansas City, Missouri, to Des Moines, Iowa, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Travel is expected to be hazardous.

“Brief periods of intense snowfall rates may also quickly reduce the visibility to around ½ mile or less at times,” the agency said.

In northern Illinois, up to 7 inches of snow are forecast with winds gusting as high as 35 mph this evening into Saturday. The winds will cause blowing and drifting snow that could “significantly” reduce visibility. Travel is not advised.

Seven inches of snow also are expected in parts of South Dakota and northwestern Iowa, the NWS said.

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