** An extension business management specialist says building employer leadership will help ensure farm operations successfully recruit and retain ag labor.

Betty Berning with the University of Minnesota tells Brownfield a strong U.S. economy has resulted in a dwindling workforce for many farmers, especially those in dairy and specialty crop production.

Berning says Bureau of Labor statistics comparing ag wages to a comparable industry like construction show a nearly $10 dollar difference in hourly pay, which can also make it difficult for farm operators looking to hire.

**The European Union has approved the proposed merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont.

The approval is conditional upon Dow and DuPont divesting certain assets. DuPont will reportedly divest a large share of its existing pesticide business, including herbicides for cereals, oilseed rape, sunflower, rice and pasture as well as insecticides used for fruit and vegetables. Dow has agreed to sell plants in Spain and the U.S. that make acid co-polymers.

Now that the Dow-DuPont merger has cleared its first major hurdle, it is also being scrutinized by the U.S., Canada and Brazil.

**China has lifted its ban on imports of meat from Brazil, less than a week after imposing it.

China and several other countries issued the bans last week after news of a scandal involving bribes being paid to Brazilian meat inspectors and politicians. Twenty-one Brazilian meat processing facilities are involved in the allegations.