GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain Futures Bounce on Upcoming Rain

CHICAGO -- Grain futures rose on Wednesday as wet forecasts renewed concerns about this year's crops.

Corn and wheat futures oscillated in recent days as rainfall eased, soothing worries about planting delays and crop damage. But changing forecasts showed moisture building over much of the Midwest and Plains through the weekend and parts of next week.

Dow to Shed Corn Seeds to Win Deal Approval in Brazil -- Market Talk

11:31 ET - Dow Chemical (DOW) will divest "a select portion" of its Brazilian corn-seed business to win the country's approval for its merger with DuPont (DD). DOW has estimated it's the second-largest corn seed supplier in Brazil, thanks in part to varieties that have been genetically engineered to resist pests, and the country's expanding farm fields have been a major growth area for DOW's seed business. That unit delivered about $1.5B in total sales in 2015. Dow has also agreed to sell some seed processing plants and research centers, a copy of its Brazilian corn-gene "bank," and its Morgan brand, while agreeing to license the Dow Seeds brand for a period of time. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

Perdue Affirms Support for Rural Development -- Market Talk

14:24 ET - Lawmakers give newly-confirmed USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue an earful on concerns over his commitment to rural development. During Perdue's 3-plus hour testimony to Congress on the state of the rural economy, multiple members of the House Agriculture Committee air worries over his recent move during a reorganization of USDA to scrap the position of undersecretary for rural development, shifting oversight of related programs to the secretary's office. Rather than reflecting reduced interest in issues like housing, water and infrastructure, Perdue says the change is "an elevation with influence and access," and tells skeptics in Congress to "wait and watch and see what I do." (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Ag Secretary Sees Rural Broadband Helping Young Farmers -- Market Talk

12:05 ET - Internet connectivity in rural America is on USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue's to-do list, not least because the Farm Belt could be drained of young people without it. With the average age of the US farmer approaching 60, Perdue says college graduates aren't likely to return to their family farms without easy internet access, especially because it's a necessary to run much of the high-tech equipment and data gathering that has taken hold in the farm sector. "I look forward to promulgating [rural broadband] as much as we can across the country," Perdue says in comments to lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Big Deals Look Too Pricey to ADM -- Market Talk

10:59 ET - Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is nearly three years removed from its biggest-ever acquisition, its $3B deal for Wild Flavors, but CEO Juan Luciano says the grain conglomerate isn't in a hurry to do another big deal, mainly because sellers want too much. "Things look to expensive to us," Luciano says at a BMO conference, citing competition and "exorbitant multiples" baked into selling prices. Luciano, who steered the Wild deal in 2014, says ADM continues to prefer smaller-scale transactions that ADM has used to build out its flavorings and specialty crop businesses in recent years. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Inch Higher on Pork Demand

CHICAGO -- Hog futures rose on Wednesday as strong demand for pork continued to fuel a rally in the market.

June lean hog futures touched a three-month high at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before easing off those peaks to close 0.2% higher at 78.90 cents a pound. Some contracts for later-month delivery fell, however.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 17, 2017 17:46 ET (21:46 GMT)