Missouri Minute: Consumers projected to drive holiday sales growth; Missouri farmer first to face federal dicamba charges

Here are today’s top headlines from across Missouri:

Confident consumers projected to drive holiday sales growth

Ahead of the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping surge, Missouri retailers prepared for a holiday season that one report projects will bring year-over-year sales growth of more than 5 percent. “Shopping cheer resounds this year,” Deloitte declared in its annual holiday retail survey. The survey projects retail sales will increase 5 to 5.6 percent, driven by consumers who “seem bullish about the economy, their household financial situation, and their spending plans for the coming holiday season.” Read more

Missouri farmer first to face federal charges over dicamba

A cotton and soybean farmer from New Madrid County is the first person in the U.S. to face federal charges over alleged misuse of the weedkiller dicamba. Bobby David Lowrey is accused of violating Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for dicamba use on his cotton and soybean crops, and causing significant damage to neighboring crops. Read more

St. Louis County officials brace for budget cuts or tax hikes

An official from the St. Louis County executive’s office suggested this week that the county will likely need to cut jobs or raise taxes in the face of a looming budget crunch. The county’s budget is feeling some stress due to requested pay increases from employee groups. A sales tax approved in 2017 increased pay for public safety workers, but other county employees are now seeking raises. Read more

Trade war exacerbates grain storage woes, forces farmers to decide

With grain elevators full and demand for soybeans depressed by the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, American farmers are facing the question of what to do with crops as they finish harvesting. The answer for many: let them rot. Read more

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