Ag tech gets a lot of buzz these days — with talk of drones, sensors, data-reading apps on tractors and new genetic engineering tools hot topics in Silicon Valley and recipients of a surge of investment. But the reality is that not much of that technology is yet in the fields. According to AgFunder, while investment in ag tech nearly doubled last year to $4.6 billion from $2.4 billion in 2014, the commercial adoption of new ag-tech products is generally "soft" with farmers agreeing to free or deeply discounted beta trials of new tools but not often buying them for long-term use.
It's being called a landmark decision by New Mexico's Supreme Court Justices, a 3-1 decision last week (June 30, 2016) that effectively nullifies a long standing law enacted by the state lawmakers nearly 80 years ago that exempted many of New Mexico's farms and ranches from having to provide workers' compensation coverage to some farm workers. Calling the law discriminatory and unconstitutional, the Court's decision is expected to make state workers' compensation insurance available to an estimated 20,000 uninsured farm laborers across the state, but it comes with a price tag to farm and r
With water supplies pinched, environmentalists, city dwellers and farmers have gotten into a pushing match. But Ross points out that “it takes a lot of water to grow everything that we eat” and notes that nearly 80% of the water used in California is used for agriculture. One of the stakeholders of interest to Ross is generations not yet born. Ross looks at the over-taxing of aquifers and notes that the status quo can’t endure for long.
Potentially toxic algae is expected to form again this summer in western Lake Erie but should be considerably less severe than the blooms that blanketed the lake and threatened drinking water supplies the previous two years, scientists said. After three wet springs, the region's rainfall was more normal this year, said Richard Stumpf of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Grazing and logging will continue on 3,613 acres in Klickitat County that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will buy, according to a state official. The Fish and Wildlife Commission on June 10 approved purchasing the land for $1.98 million from Western Pacific Timber. The state also hopes to buy approximately 15,100 acres in the Simcoe Mountains from the timber company as money become available.
A farmer advocacy group, Save Family Farming, was formed to counter the allegations that farmers are unregulated polluters. Stap serves as the group’s president. He jokes about being railroaded into the position, but also says finger-pointing at dairies “kind of got my blood boiling.” Whatcom County has fewer dairies and fewer cows and handles manure better than in the 1990s, he said. “How can a diminishing factor be increasing the problem?” Stap asked. “It didn’t add up to me at all.”
FSIS last week set updated export requirements for exports to Cuba, including fresh and frozen pork, poultry, beef – and their related products – along with sheep and goat meat. The eligible listings include specific exceptions and several ineligible products under the poultry category based in some cases on the origins of the birds from 13 U.S. states processed before Oct. 20, 2015. Those birds may have been affected by last year’s avian influenza outbreak.
The provincial government has doubled the number of baited oral vaccines for wildlife to 500,000. It plans to air drop and hand deliver the vaccines over the next two months to Carleton County, Saint John, and Fredericton and Chartlotte County. The vaccines, with capsules that smell of maple, will be coated in fat, marshmallow and sugar and will be placed where raccoons and skunks hang out. When eaten, the animal becomes immune to rabies in about two weeks.
The flea-borne sylvatic plague has wiped out most of the ferret’s favorite snack—prairie dogs—and when the dogs die, so do the ferrets. So the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to use drones to sprinkle peanut butter-flavored plague vaccines over the prairie dog’s habitat. If it gets approved, the agency wants to start testing the method in UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana, where they’ve been trying to reestablish a ferret population for more than two decades. “It’s a good year if it takes more than two hands to count them all,” says USFW biologist Randy Matchett.
American farm income is projected to drop 3 percent this year and 56 percent from its 2013 high, to $54.8 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It would mark the third consecutive annual decline and the lowest level since 2002. But why should the average American care?