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World hunger easing but one in nine people undernourished, food agencies say

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Rome | Reuters -- The number of hungry people in the world has fallen sharply over the past decade but 805 million, or one in nine of the global population, still do not have enough to eat, three U.N. food and agriculture agencies said on Tuesday. The number of chronically undernourished people dropped by more than 100 million, equivalent to a country the size of the Philippines, according to a report by the United Nations food agency (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural…
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Cargill says closing Memphis corn mill

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Reuters -- Cargill Inc. will close a corn mill in Memphis, Tenn., in January of next year, a move that will impact 440 employees, a company spokeswoman said. "The closure of the facility results primarily from the underutilization of the Memphis facility and its higher cost position," spokeswoman Nicole Marlor said in a release, adding that a corn oil refinery at the location will continue to operate. The company on Tuesday also noted the milling facility's location "away from…
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Pit traders abandon lawsuit against CME over grain rules

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Chicago | Reuters -- Veteran traders from Chicago's grain pits on Tuesday dropped a lawsuit against CME Group that sought to reverse a change to end-of-day settlement rules they said was killing open-outcry business. The traders, who work on the Chicago Board of Trade's 140-year-old agricultural trading floor, agreed to abandon their claims against the world's largest futures exchange operator without receiving any payment, CME Group said in a statement. The traders sued CME…
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USDA chief says urged Buffett to ready BNSF for record crops

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Washington | Reuters -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack met with Warren Buffett last week to urge the billionaire investor to make sure his BNSF railroad is ready for an expected record corn and soy harvest this year. Vilsack said on Tuesday that Buffett, who heads the sprawling conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, recognized the challenge and indicated his company was taking steps. "I said, 'Warren, you've got to make sure that your railroad understands what's going on…
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Crop damage limited from freeze in northern U.S. Midwest

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Chicago | Reuters -- The first freeze of the season hit the northern U.S. Midwest corn and soybean belt over the weekend, but the weather did not stay cold long enough to cause major damage to crops, agricultural meteorologists said on Monday. "There was some frost and a few light freezes but nothing that was permanently damaging," said Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc. "No production cuts will come from this," he said, "but there may be some quality declines in some…
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U.S. spring wheat protein premiums soar after wet, cool summer

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Chicago | Reuters -- Cash prices for top quality U.S. hard red spring wheat are soaring as the rain-delayed harvest throws up lower-than-average protein levels, and traders and analysts said outsized premiums are likely to continue for months. Farmers are expecting the largest harvest in four years as wet, cool weather swells yields. But that has hit protein levels for some of the crop, forcing millers and exporters to chase supplies of higher protein product to ensure…
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Food ban, population influx seen boosting Russia grain demand

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Moscow | Reuters -- Russia's ban on most Western food, the assimilation of the disputed Crimea region and people fleeing conflict in Ukraine are set to boost Russian grain demand this year, SovEcon, one of the country's leading agriculture consultancies, said. Russia, expected to be the world's third-largest wheat exporter this year, is harvesting a near-record grain crop against a backdrop of worsening relations with Western countries over the crisis in Ukraine. The European…
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Canada’s small fertilizer firms shuffle ranks, search for capital

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Reuters -- Capital-strapped small fertilizer companies in Canada are shuffling their senior executive ranks to draw investors in a period of weak prices. Stonegate Agricom Ltd., which is developing a phosphate mine in Idaho, said on Tuesday that CEO Mark Ashcroft resigned, the latest change at the top among small players in the sector. Others that have installed new senior executives this year include Arianne Phosphate and Karnalyte Resources Inc. Fertilizer values are rising off…
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Calif. governor OKs bills to regulate groundwater amid drought

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Reuters -- California Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills on Tuesday to regulate California's stressed groundwater supplies amid a drought that is expected to cost the state US$2.2 billion in lost crops, jobs and other damages, with no end in sight. The bills will allow the state to take over management of underground aquifers and water accessed via wells, and aim to tighten oversight of water at a time when groundwater levels are shrinking in the third year of a…
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U.S. livestock: CME live cattle close lower on cash price outlook

Chicago | Reuters -- Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed down slightly on Tuesday in anticipation of likely lower prices for market-ready or cash cattle this week, traders said. October and December live cattle both ended 0.15 cent per pound lower, at 156.2 and 158.875 cents, respectively (all figures US$). Packers might curb cash cattle spending given their deteriorating margins, tepid wholesale beef sales and more animals available for purchase. Last week,…
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