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Recent AgClips

Rich buyers are pushing rural hospitals to a controversial practice

The Atlantic | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Rural News

Beau Gertz faced a crowd of worried locals at the town senior center, hoping to sell them on his vision for their long-beloved—but now bankrupt—hospital. In worn blue jeans and an untucked shirt, the bearded entrepreneur from Denver pledged at a town-hall meeting in March to revive the Surprise Valley Community Hospital—a place many in the audience counted on to set their broken bones, stitch up cattle-tagging cuts, and tend to aging loved ones. Gertz said that if they voted on Tuesday to let him buy their tiny public hospital, he would retain such vital services.

Solar farms produce power - and food

Scientific American | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in News

Native plants have replaced turfgrass and gravel as the go-to bedding for solar gardens in Minnesota, a result of a 2016 state standard that outlines how developers can create pollinator-friendly environments. More than half of the 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) of solar farms built in 2016 and 2017 feature native plants that not only benefit pollinators but also beautify the site.  Although Minnesota may be in the vanguard of encouraging solar farm developers to grow native plants, it is far from the only place studying how solar farms can harvest more than just energy.

Trump seeks to reorganize the federal government

Politico | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Federal News

The Trump administration is preparing to release a sweeping plan for reorganizing the federal government that includes a major consolidation of welfare programs — and a renaming of the Health and Human Services Department. The report, set to be released in the coming weeks by the White House Office of Management and Budget, seeks to move safety-net programs, including food stamps, into HHS.  The plan would also propose changing the name of the sprawling department, while separately seeking cuts at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department.

The problem with betting American agriculture on exports

The Hill | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in News

Congress should check its assumptions and not simply accept financial hardship for farmers as a given. Reforms in trade policy to protect the integrity of emerging markets, combined with a strong competition policy, could further aid more profitable domestic market development. For our farmers and rural communities, new thinking on how we can better support profitability and locally-owned development — rather than repeating past mistakes — is urgently needed.

Trump aims to split up NAFTA negotiations, deal with Canada and Mexico separately

The Washington Post | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Agriculture, Federal News

President Trump wants to end the three-party talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, aiming instead to deal separately with Canada and Mexico to restructure the trade accord, a senior adviser said Tuesday. Trump does not intend to withdraw from NAFTA, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox & Friends.” But after more than one year of multilateral discussions, he feels the current approach hasn’t been fruitful and a new one is needed, Kudlow said.

America's largest private company - Cargill- reboots a 153-year-old strategy

Bloomberg | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Agriculture News

William Wallace Cargill pioneered the modern agricultural trading industry in 1865 when he established a string of grain warehouses across the American Midwest. Having a deep-pocketed buyer that could take delivery locally gave farmers an easy way to quickly get cash for their crops, lest they rot in the field waiting on a sale or transport to a faraway market. The ability to store huge amounts of grain also gave Cargill the flexibility to time his own sales to maximize the spread between what he paid farmers and what he could get from distant food processors or exporters.

New tax law changes how farm losses treated

DTN | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Agriculture News

The ag economy isn't great and many producers are struggling to break even. In the past, farmers accepted losses and even looked at them as opportunities. Having good and bad years is just part of the rollercoaster called farming. However, the new tax law changed how we look at farm losses. Under the old tax law and the 2014 Farm Bill, taxpayers who received a Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) loan were restricted in the deductibility of a farm loss (this rule didn't apply to C corporations).

From distillers to farmers, trade war would cause casualties

Associated Press | Posted onJune 9, 2018 in Agriculture, Federal News

If a trade war is coming, the cheesemakers of Wisconsin are standing in the line of fire. So are the farmers of the Great Plains and the distillers of Kentucky. And the employees of iconic American brands like Harley-Davidson and Levi Strauss. The likelihood of a trade conflagration leapt closer to reality this week after the United States imposed tariff on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Infuriated, the jilted U.S. allies vowed to retaliate with tariffs of their own. And in a separate dispute, China is poised to penalize $50 billion in U.S.

Replacing Petrochemicals with Biochemicals made from Corn

Illinois NPR | Posted onJune 8, 2018 in Agriculture News

The Corn Utilization and Technology Conference is organized by NCGA or the National Corn Growers Association. It happens every two years and is dedicated to exploring future uses of corn. Vijay Singh is a regular. He works for the agricultural college at the University of Illinois and specializes in engineering ethanol processing plants. Singh sees them expanding to include biochemical production in the near future, “That’s the big thing right now and for that, we need large amounts of sugar. The U.S.

Pork Secure Supply Plan detailed

Pork Business | Posted onJune 8, 2018 in Food News

The National Pork Board and USDA are working to create a Secure Pork Supply plan to help lower the disruption to producers and the marketplace if a foreign animal disease (FAD) event occurs. The plan is intended to help pig farmers prepare and quickly respond if an FAD occurs, and is similar to plans in development for other livestock and poultry producers. The plan enhances communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning.