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AgClips for December 28, 2017


Agclips for the week ending April 25, 2018

This Week's AgClips

Ohio dairy farmers leaving at higher-than-usual rate

Feedstuffs | Posted on April 25, 2018 in Agriculture News

The dramatic drop in milk prices is causing Ohio’s dairy farmers to leave the business at a higher than usual rate, according to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. While some farmers retire and give up their dairy licenses every year, there has been an uptick recently. In March 2018, there were 2,253 licensed dairy farms in Ohio – a drop of 59 farms in five months.

Trade Concerns Batter Business Confidence

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on April 25, 2018 in Agriculture News

April Rural Mainstreet Index Positive:April Survey Results at a Glance:  For a third straight month the overall index remained above growth neutral.
* Farmland price growth and agriculture-equipment sales continue to decline.  Trade concerns slam the business confidence index.  More than three-fourths of bank CEOs reported that export markets were very important to their local economy.  Almost one-third of bankers support the abolition of NAFTA and undertaking a new agreement.  More than one-fifth of bankers support the elimination of oil refinery waivers to RFS obligations.

‘Plant-based’ plays way better than ‘vegan’ with most consumers

Food Navigator | Posted on April 25, 2018 in Agriculture News

On the face of it vegan and plant based might appear to be interchangeable but consumers do not view them in the same way.  in a nationawide survey, respondents felt plant based was more flexible, offered them more and tasted better than vegan.

Outdoor Recreation Driving Population Boom in Rural Areas

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on April 25, 2018 in Rural News

Every year, more people are moving to small towns tucked in the Flathead Valley so they can choose from a range of outdoor activities — camping, hiking, riding their bikes, even kayaking or skiing — throughout the year. Flathead County first hit 100,000 residents last year, after growing by about 10 percent since 2010, according to U.S. census estimates. It’s the state’s second-fastest growing county, after Gallatin County, home of Montana State University, and one of the fastest-growing rural counties with populations over 25,000 in the United States.

Water Quality BMPs in Midwest Ag Landscapes: What Can be Learned from the Forest Sector

Dovetail Partners Inc | Posted on April 25, 2018 in Agriculture News

Declining water quality is a pressing environmental challenge and a landscape scale issue, affecting public and private landowners and many aspects of society. The need to protect water resources has prompted both government and individual involvement in finding solutions. Agricultural crop and animal production significantly impact water quality (Table 1). Land cultivation activities can contribute to increased risks of soil erosion, and the application of fertilizers and pesticides contribute to contaminated water runoff.

Despite $1.1 billion year, Organic Valley posts $10 million loss in 2017 — its first in 20 years

LaCrosse Tribune | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

Organic Valley posted its first financial loss in 20 years in 2017, despite its second consecutive year of gross sales over $1.1 billion and business growth of more than 4 percent. The after-tax loss of about $10 million — compared with a $6.3 million profit the previous year — resulted from a combination of factors, including excess supplies of both organic and conventional milk that bedeviled all U.S. dairy farmers.

Farmers’ Anger at Trump Tariffs Puts Republican Candidates in a Bind

The New York Times | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

As President Trump moves to fulfill one of the central promises of his campaign — to get tough on an ascendant China — he faces a potential rebellion from a core constituency: farmers and other agricultural producers who could suffer devastating losses in a trade war. Mr. Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Chinese goods came with a presidential declaration that trade wars are good and easily won.

When Your Fixer-Upper Is Your Hometown

The New York Times | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Rural News

Darla Moore came from humble roots. She grew up in Lake City, S.C., an agricultural community with a population of 6,675. After college, she moved to New York, where she achieved tremendous success in finance. She was the first woman on the cover of Fortune magazine. And with Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, she became one of the first two female members of Augusta National Golf Club.About 10 years ago, Ms. Moore began spending more time in Lake City, where her grandparents had farmed and her father, a school principal and coach, was a local leader.

Species Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of Synch

Common Dreams | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

In a new study showing that the timing of species' natural events is failing to synchronize, "everything is consistent with the fact it's getting warmer" The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature's food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The study offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that huma

In Bryant Park, 3 Million Bees, Sold From the Back of a Truck

The New York Times | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

The truck’s back door opened to reveal its cargo: 3 million Italian honeybees. They did not seem that happy after having endured a 15-hour drive up from Georgia, but Reife was delighted, as he examined the hundreds of wood-and-screen boxes, each one holding more than 10,000 bees.He picked out two boxes.

The renewable fuel standard works for rural America and our economy

The Hill | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Energy News

Political posturing from a small segment of the petroleum industry has the Trump administration considering damaging changes to our most successful American energy policies that we’ve seen in decades: the renewable fuel standard. The RFS was passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush more than a decade ago, provides an avenue for domestic biofuels producers to gain access to the U.S. transportation fuels market, which has been monopolized by the petroleum industry for more than a century. The results of the program have been impressive.

The Facts About Food Stamp Fraud

Forbes | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal News

There's too much misinformation about the U.S. government's food stamp scheme. So after some investigation, here are some facts about the benefit, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).The takeaway is that food stamp fraud ballooned during the four years through 2016 but that it still represents a tiny percentage of the program. How much did fraud grow? It jumped to $592.7 million in 2016, up a staggering 61% from $367.1 million in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chinese scientist gets 10 years in U.S. prison over theft of GMO rice

Reuters | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

A Chinese scientist in Kansas was sentenced to more than 10 years in a federal prison for conspiring to steal samples of a variety of genetically engineered rice seeds from a U.S. research facility, the U.S. Justice Department said.

What role do immigrants play in U.S. labor force?

Marketplace | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Rural News

President Donald Trump and many congressional Republicans are pursuing policies to reduce legal immigration to the United States, with proposals to prioritize admission for highly skilled and well-educated immigrants over those with family ties to residents and by deporting undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S.Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen toward 4 percent, and employers increasingly say they're experiencing worker shortages.Economist Aparna Mathur at the American Enterprise Institute warns that reducing immigration to the United States over the comi

Melting of Arctic mountain glaciers unprecedented in the past 400 years

Science Daily | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Rural News

Glaciers in Alaska's Denali National Park are melting faster than at any time in the past four centuries because of rising summer temperatures, a new study finds.

Pennsylvania Launches Community Clean Water Toolbox to Expand Local Engagement in Reducing Pollution

Gant News | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

 About 200 leaders from municipal governments, county conservation districts, agriculture, environmental groups, water companies, and other entities participated Tuesday in a meeting hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to expand local engagement in Phase 3 of the state plan for improving water quality in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

VSU ag center director named Virginia's new agriculture commissioner

The News & Advance | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

The executive director of Virginia State University’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement and Outreach has been appointed the state’s agriculture commissioner. Jewel Bronaugh was named to the post by Gov. Ralph Northam.

First Amendment: Skim Milk Labeling Leads Maryland Dairy to Sue FDA

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture, Federal News

A Maryland dairy farm with its own milk bottling business is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the labeling of skim milk and if it violates the First Amendment. A lawsuit was filed by the non-profit group the Institute for Justice with Randy and Karen Sowers, owners of South Mountain Creamery near Frederick, Maryland, on April 5 against the FDA. At issue is South Mountain Creamery’s labeling of skim milk. The dairy milks 550 cows and bottles milk on-farm selling to about 5,000 customers.

Trump to put biofuel reform push on ice, for now

Reuters | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture, Energy News

The Trump administration will delay any moves to reform the nation’s biofuel policy for about three months, according to three sources briefed on the matter - a decision one of the sources said was meant to shield farmers worried about a potential trade war with China. The decision comes after President Donald Trump failed to broker a deal between Big Oil and Big Corn during meetings over months about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a law broadly supported in the U.S. heartland that requires oil refiners to add biofuels like ethanol to the nation’s gasoline.

Rural population grows in counties witrha lower digital divide

Daoly Yonder | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Rural News

When they live in remote rural areas, millennials are more likely to reside in a county that has better digital access. The findings could indicate that the digital economy is helping decentralize the economy, not just clustering economic change in the cities that are already the largest.

EU moves to ban sale of lower-quality branded food in eastern Europe

The Guardian | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal, Food News

Brussels wants to make it illegal for food and drink multinationals to sell inferior versions of well-known brands to customers in eastern Europe, after studies suggested hundreds of products were involved in the practice. An EU directive banning so-called “dual food” was announced on Wednesday following longstanding complaints from member states in central and eastern Europe. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, HiPP baby food, Birds Eye, Lidl and Spar have denied accusations of selling lower quality goods in the east bearing identical branding to products sold in western Europe.

AG Jeff Sessions halts free legal assistance program for detained immigrants

Dallas News | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal, Rural News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has suspended a free legal assistance program for detained immigrants who need  basic advice as their cases wind their way through court. "Every day this program is not in operation puts family unity at risk, harms our communities, and infringes on the right of all people to make informed decisions about their legal claims," the Vera Institute said in a statement Wednesday.

Gene Editing for Good

Foreign Affairrs | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Agriculture News

But ultimately, eliminating the most persistent diseases and causes of poverty will require scientific discovery and technological innovations. That includes CRISPR and other technologies for targeted gene editing. Over the next decade, gene editing could help humanity overcome some of the biggest and most persistent challenges in global health and development. The technology is making it much easier for scientists to discover better diagnostics, treatments, and other tools to fight diseases that still kill and disable millions of people every year, primarily the poor.

Farmers growing produce eaten raw will be contacting water testing labs about new rule

Michigan State University | Posted on April 19, 2018 in News

The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) is one of seven rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) coming into effect in the next three years. Growers will be calling labs for water testing, and they will be using new FSMA vocabulary that lab techs and support staff may not have heard before. They must establish a Microbial Water Quality Profile for each of their water sources. The source and use of that water dictates the type and frequency of water test they need performed. The two water types under FSMA are Production Water, and Postharvest Water.

US manufacturers seek relief from steel and aluminum tariffs

ABC News | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal News

Rising costs. Delayed shipments. A baffling bureaucracy. President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported aluminum and steel are disrupting business for American companies that buy those metals, and many are pressing for relief.Hundreds of companies are asking the Commerce Department to exempt them from the 25 percent steel tariff and the 10 percent aluminum tariff.Other companies are weighing their options. Jody Fledderman, CEO of Batesville Tool & Die in Indiana, says American steelmakers have already raised their prices since Trump's tariffs were announced last month.

Supreme Court Shuts Down Enviros’ Attempt To Block Nuclear Plant

Daily Caller | Posted on April 19, 2018 in News

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal that sought to block the construction of a nuclear reactor in Michigan, dealing a heavy blow to environmental groups that have been fighting the proposal for a decade. The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday not to consider an appeal from a coalition of anti-nuclear and environmental groups hoping to block the construction of Fermi 3, a proposed reactor near Monroe, Mich. Despite the setback, opponents of the project are vowing to continue fighting on, and hope to eradicate all nuclear power in the state.

SCOTUS nixes part of law requiring deportation of immigrants convicted of some crimes

CNN | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal News

The Supreme Court on Tuesday invalidated a provision of federal law that requires the mandatory deportation of immigrants who have been convicted of some "crimes of violence," holding that the law is unconstitutionally vague.The case, Sessions v. Dimaya, had originated during the Obama administration but had been closely watched to see if the justices would reveal how they will consider the Trump administration's overall push to both limit immigration and increase deportations.

Farm Bill Ties Food Stamps to Work, Adjusts Farm Aid

Roll Call | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal News

The House Agriculture Committee released its 2018 farm bill Thursday with proposals to reshape the nation’s largest domestic food aid program, consolidate conservation efforts and tweak farm aid. The bill arrives amid controversy over its focus on shifting funding within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, into work and training programs. It does not have the support of Democrats, who worry that some states could use the tougher work requirements in the bill to push thousands out of the program by making it difficult to meet the terms.

Trump tweet appears to back away from rejoining TPP

Capital Press | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Federal News

President Donald Trump this week appeared to extinguish the glimmer of hope he offered U.S. farmers last week over rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty. After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, Trump suggested there was one area where they would have to agree to disagree: the TPP, which Trump pulled the U.S.

GAO to USDA: Take further action to reduce pathogens in meat

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on April 19, 2018 in Food News

The GAO said USDA has developed standards limiting the amount of salmonella and campylobacter permitted in certain meat and poultry, such as ground beef, pork carcasses and chicken breasts. But it has not developed standards for other products that are widely available, such as turkey breasts and pork chops. Further, USDA's process for deciding which products to consider for new standards is unclear because it is not fully documented, which is not consistent with federal standards for internal control, GAO said.