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3 Big Things Today, September 6

Wheat Futures Decline Overnight; McConnell Says Farm Bill Failure ‘Not an Option’

1. Wheat Futures Slightly Lower, Corn, Beans Little Changed

Wheat was slightly lower in overnight trading amid concerns about global competition after Russia said earlier this week that it wouldn’t curb exports.

The country’s government said it didn’t see a need for limitations on shipments after weeks of speculation by traders and analysts that it would impose some sort of restriction after drought curbed its wheat crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report last month that it expects Russian wheat output to fall to 68 million metric tons this year from almost 85 million last year. Exports are pegged at 35 million metric tons, down from 42 million a year earlier.

Still, news that Argentina will put export taxes on shipments of agricultural products has been underpinning not only wheat but also corn and soybeans. President Mauricio Macri said in a televised speech earlier this week that the government will implement an export tax of 4 pesos per dollar on exports of agricultural products.

Wheat for December delivery fell 2¢ to $5.19¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures declined 2¾¢ to $5.25¼ a bushel.

Corn futures were down ½¢ to $3.64¾ a bushel overnight.

Soybeans for November delivery rose ½¢ to $8.38½ a bushel in Chicago. Soymeal added 80¢ to $310.50 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.1¢ to 28.46¢ a pound.


2. Failure Not an Option,’ McConnell Says on First Day of Farm Bill Committee Meetings

Lawmakers from across the U.S. expressed their desire for a strong farm bill on Wednesday, the first day of meetings for the conference committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “failure is not an option” and that legislators need to get a farm bill into law before the end of the month. The conference committee, which is composed of nine senators and 47 congress members, will try to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of the new farm bill. The current version expires at the end of September.

The House passed its version of a farm bill in June by a narrow 213-211 vote with no Democrats approving. The sticking point is a work requirement for adults who receive food stamps that raises the age to 59.

The Senate version of the bill doesn’t impose any additional restrictions on SNAP recipients.

President Trump, who favors the House version, tweeted that the committee should pass a farm bill with work requirements for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs) recipients.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, the chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee for Rural Development and Energy, said in opening remarks that completion of the Farm Bill is a must.

“A farm bill can’t walk beans, a farm bill can’t change the forecast, and a farm bill can’t restore lost market access, but what it can do is provide our farmers with the tools to navigate this stretch of declining farm income, low commodity prices, and a very turbulent trade climate,” she said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, the ranking member on the ag committee, said in a statement that farmers in her state are “hurting” as the ongoing and potentially escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is hurting prices and “throwing a wrench of uncertainty” as harvest nears.

She said in a tweet she’s encouraged that the House Agriculture Committee chairman was willing to make concessions on the House bill.

Indeed, House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway from Texas submitted a farm bill proposal in which he said has “significant compromises” on the SNAP requirements.

The committee has until September 30 to come up with a new farm bill.  


3. Heavy Rain, Flooding Expected as Tropical Depression Gordon Heads North

Heavy rain and flooding will continue for several days after Tropical Depression Gordon makes its way north from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Weather Service.

“The threat for heavy to excessive rains and flooding will continue for parts of the south and (the) mid-Mississippi Valley for the next several days,” the NWS said in a report early Thursday morning. “Tropical Depression Gordon will continue to weaken as it moves into Arkansas, while a front will stall across the saturated Midwest. The combination of the two with tropical moisture will yield significant flood concerns.”

Meanwhile, much of Missouri is under flood watches and warnings as rain falls in several parts of the Show Me State.

Rainfall heavier than originally forecast likely will cause rivers and streams to rise beyond their banks, the NWS said. Flash flood watches are also in effect for much of the state.

Showers are expected today and then again from Friday through Saturday evening. As much as 6 inches of precipitation is expected, which will lead to flooding of low-water crossings, low-lying fields, and other areas prone to standing water, the NWS said.

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