**U.S. beef and pork exports closed a strong first quarter on a high note as March was the best month ever for red meat export value, exceeding $1.3 billion.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports beef export value set a new record in March at $693.1 million, up 18 percent year-over-year and topping the previous high set in October 2014.

March pork export value was the second-highest ever at $610.4 million, up 4 percent from a year ago second only to the November 2017 record of $615.8 million.

**With House debate on the 2018 Farm Bill ready to begin, dozens of farm groups are strongly urging members to protect the crop insurance program.

The High Plains Journal reports, the group sent a letter citing the consistent support during the House Ag Committee’s Farm Bill listening sessions and worry amendments seeking to significantly weaken the program will be considered.

Major concerns include amendments to reduce or limit participation in crop insurance, making it more expensive or harming private-sector delivery.

http://www.hpj.com/crops/groups-seek-support-of-crop-insurance/article_c3556403-533b-55ea-8b86-230436990a15.html

**Liam Condon will lead Bayer’s new crop science division slated to go into effect at the close of Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto.

Agriculture.com reports Bayer and Monsanto continue to work closely with regulators in order to close the transaction in the second quarter of this year.

Condon continues to serve as a member of Bayer’s Board of

Management and as president of the crop science division.

https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/bayer-announces-executive-leadership-team-for-new-crop-science-division