Consumers today do not understand agriculture: where their food comes from and how it is produced. The agricultural sector expends a good deal of energy trying to bridge this gap, a task that has been made more important and more difficult in recent years. But teaching consumers how their food is produced will not bring them any closer to understanding farmers.
The Colorado Senate on Thursday passed a first-in-the-nation bill expressly permitting marijuana clubs. But Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is hinting that he will veto the measure unless it bans indoor smoking. The bill allows local jurisdictions to permit bring-your-own pot clubs, as long as those establishments do not serve alcohol or any food beyond light snacks. The bill does not say whether those clubs could allow people to smoke pot indoors.
Charles Baron has a story he likes to tell about the time that farmers in North Dakota saw his data. Baron’s startup, Farmers Business Network, pools data from farmers and shares insights from the group back with its members. And for one corn crop across thousands of acres in North Dakota, the data said that Baron’s customers were planting the lowest yielding, highest priced seed on the market. “The difference was a lot of money,” Baron says. “So we said, don’t shoot us as the messenger. But what’s going on?” A farmer finally raised his hand, the cofounder explains.
Last week, a vegan “animal advocate” in Georgia intentionally crashed into a truck hauling live chickens – not once, but twice. She claimed to be concerned about the safety of the birds and wanted to prevent them from reaching their ultimate destination – the processing plant.Luckily, the driver of the truck was not injured and maintained control, preventing what could have been a massive accident.
As the new Administration gets going, understanding certain segments of the economy will gain importance. One area that many don't consider is the off-highway equipment market, which includes farm equipment. A new report released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows that off-highway equipment manufacturing supports about 1.3 million jobs and has contributed more than $159 billion to the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. in 2016. The association unveiled the report during its Conexpo-Con/Agg 2017 event being held in Las Vegas.
Kansas rancher Greg Gardiner got into some of his scorched pastures for the first time Wednesday and surveyed what he likened to a battle zone: carcasses of dead cattle everywhere. "It's pretty much a catastrophe," Gardiner said as he looked out on his ranch near Ashland, charred by wildfires that have burned through hundreds of acres in four states. "It's as bad as a mind can make it."Gardiner cries when he talks about how thankful he is that none of his family members were lost in wildfires that that have led to the deaths of six people.
The Montana Senate on Wednesday advanced a bill to limit where drones can fly, after a lengthy debate on whether the legislation would actually protect property rights.Senate Bill 170, carried by Sen. Steve Hinebauch, R-Wibaux, would establish a civil penalty if a person flies a drone over private property below 500 feet. It also would change the minimum fine from $500 to $2,500 if a drone flew over a critical infrastructure facility.The bill would require drones to follow public roads and land, unless the user had permission to fly over private property.
China leads the U.S. by a large margin in government funding of food and ag research and development. China began pouring money into agricultural R&D at the same time that U.S. funding from federal and state sources stagnated and, about a decade ago, began to decline. According to three USDA economists, China surpassed the U.S. in public funding in 2009 and had a 2-to-1 advantage in 2013. They say reduced U.S. spending “may have negative implications for agricultural productivity” when dealing with new pests and diseases and with climate change.
A state House committee has unanimously endorsed an idea to take a close look into how Georgia lawmakers could help struggling rural communities. “I want this council to look at the big picture and recommend legislative actions that can empower our rural areas,” said House Speaker David Ralston, explaining House Resolution 389 to a House committee on Tuesday. The legislation would create the House Rural Development Council, a group of 15 lawmakers to be appointed by Ralston.
Consumers have seen flat or declining energy costs as renewable energy becomes a greater part of the energy mix of Minnesota and the nation. That’s one of the findings in the annual 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in partnership with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.