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7 ag stories you might have missed this week - July 3, 2020

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USDA releases acreage numbers, COVID-19 cases rise in rural Colorado, USMCA goes into effect and crisis for dairy producers.

Missed some ag news this week? Here's seven stories to catch you up.

1. Grain markets jumped on news that the nation's corn crop is smaller than the trade expected. USDA on Tuesday released its highly anticipated acreage and quarterly stocks reports. Corn acres came in at 92 million acres, compared to the 97 million acres that growers indicated they were going to plant in the March 31 Prospective Plantings report. Soybean acres came in at 83.8 million acres, nearly a million acres lower than the trade expected. – Farm Futures

2. The world's dairy farmers are facing an existential crisis. Do they suffer through losses or pack it in and sell the cows? It's going to be a long time before restaurants go back to dining out as they did pre-pandemic. That's a hit for the dairy industry, which is valued at about $700 billion. – Farm Futures

3. The United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal went into effect July 1, updating the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The deal puts into effect new rules around digital trade, makes changes in point of origin rules that determine what products can be traded across borders without tariffs, and rewrites labor enforcement mechanisms. – The Hill

4. Parts of rural Colorado are seeing an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks. There are now five active outbreaks in the San Luis Valley’s agricultural industry, four at potato warehouses and one at a mushroom farm. These account for about 15% of the region’s total COVID-19 cases. – Colorado Public Radio

5. Burger King restaurants and Cargill are teaming up with World Wildlife Fund and ranchers within the Northern Great Plains to launch a three-year grasslands restoration program. – Dakota Farmer

6. The difference between hemp and marijuana is not botanical, but regulatory. Federal law defines hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, while plants with more than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana and must be destroyed. A Cornell doctoral student says the limit restricts breeders' ability to innovate. – Democrat & Chronicle

7. Watching your local cattle auction to see what cattle are bringing in your area is essential work for any cattle producer. Check out this and other marketing commentary from @mrcattlemaster. – Beef Producer

And your bonus.

A little Fourth of July trivia for you. Did you know there have been 28 versions of the U.S. flag to date? Which three American presidents have died on July 4? – Farmers Almanac

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