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Rapid US cage-free egg farm expansions lead to ‘chaos’

Watt Ag Net | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Agriculture News

Cal-Maine president says potential US retail egg market conversion to cage-free eggs has already caused losses for egg producers. The number of non-organic cage-free layers housed in the U.S. rose to 16.6 million head in April of 2016, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures. This is roughly double the 8.7 million head housed in 2014. With all the pledges made by retailers, foodservice outlets and food manufacturers to purchase cage-free eggs, it would seem cage-free eggs would be flying off the grocery store shelves in the U.S. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case.


Florida Locals Bugged by Proposed Release of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

U S News | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Rural News

Locals in the Florida Keys are concerned about the prospect of their community becoming a testing ground for the release of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes marketed as a solution to the Zika virus, and plan to protest the potential experiment.Ultimately, however, the decision will be up to the five-member mosquito control board.


California is in flames right now, with fires fueled by historic drought

The Washington Post | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Rural News

California is burning.  The state has nine active wildfires as large as 25 acres or more, including the massive Clayton fire north of San Francisco that forced nearly 1,500 residents to flee their homes after it erupted Saturday in dry conditions created by the state’s extreme drought. On Sunday the blaze doubled in size.  “The winds really kicked up, and the fire crossed over tentative lines in place [to slow its advance] and started impacting a whole new area,” Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Monday.


FDA Revamps Rules for Food Ingredients Recognized as Safe

Bloomberg | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Federal News

The Food and Drug Administration issued final rules today updating how the agency determines a substance used in food to be “generally recognized as safe,” known by the shorthand GRAS. Unlike food additives, substances determined to be GRAS are not subject to pre-market approval by regulators, thought they must meet the same safety standards as additives.


University's new technology blossoming in agriculture

Magic Valley | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Agriculture News

Williamson is referring to two projects Bulanon is developing at NNU. One is the IdaBOT, which is a robot that can move on its own through vineyards and orchards. The other is a multi-spectral camera, which captures multiple color wavelengths that would aid in counting fruit blossoms to estimate crop yield. The idea came to Bulanon when talking with Williamson in April during the blossom season. Bulanon flew a drone over the orchard and took near-infrared pictures of the blossoms, which showed up more clearly on the image than if a normal camera would take it.


State to consider $11.5 million in tax credits for Prestage project

Des Moines Register | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Agriculture News

Iowa economic development leaders will consider providing about $11.5 million in tax credits for Prestage Farm’s $240 million proposed hog processing plant near Eagle Grove. Prestage, a North Carolina hog and turkey producer, would need to create 922 jobs, with 322 of them paying a minimum of $15.54 an hour, plus benefits, to receive the incentives.


Credit Becomes Gatekeeper

DTN | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Agriculture News

A year ago, university economists warned that typical Illinois corn farmers would need to shave $100 an acre off average cash rent and production costs if they hoped to break even in 2016. Renters hesitated, landlords balked, most input suppliers held firm. Big savings didn't happen.  Now, worse prospects for 2017 grain markets mean many cash renters will have little choice but to plead poverty when renewing leases this fall.


What $100 can buy, state by state

Boston Globe | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Rural News

Spend enough time traveling around the United States and you’re bound to notice a dramatic variation in what a dollar can buy.  Everything from the price of a cup of coffee to the cost of a house can fluctuate among, and even within, states. A gallon of regular gas costs $2.74 in Hawaii but just $1.82 in South Carolina. The average Connecticut resident pays twice as much for electricity as the average Tennessee resident. Tuition at public colleges varies by orders of magnitude.


Trump assembles A-team on ag policy

Politico | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in SARL Members and Alumni News

Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled a list of agricultural advisers brimming with Republican heavy hitters, including Govs.


GMO feedback, the Ogallala aquifer and researcher objectivity

Ag Policy | Posted onAugust 17, 2016 in Agriculture News

Our purpose in writing this series of columns on GMOs was not to try to convince one side or the other, but rather to argue that the GMO labeling legislation that was recently signed into law by President Obama is not likely to end the GMO crop debate any time soon.  We also wanted to reiterate one of the fundamental principles of economics: the preferences of the customer are at the center of every transaction. As Specter wrote “it doesn’t matter…if people refuse to eat it.”  That same issue of “National Geographic” contained another article that grabbed our attention.


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