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Agriculture

Farm Bureau files suit over corporate farming law

A lawsuit challenging the state's corporate farming law, which was described by the North Dakota Farm Bureau as unconstitutional as well as discriminatory, was filed in federal court. The lawsuit comes less than two weeks before voters weigh in on a ballot measure to determine whether or not to uphold exceptions to corporate farming law passed by lawmakers last session. Senate Bill 2351 passed last session following a lengthy debate. It provided exemptions to allow for corporate dairy and swine operations numbering at least 50 cows or 500 swine on a farm of up to 640 acres.

Farm Confessional: I Hope My Family’s Farm Doesn’t Become a Golf Course—But I Won’t Take it On

When I asked him why he didn’t want to take over his family’s farm, he rubbed his thumb against his index and middle fingers. Money. I couldn’t blame him. As a senior in high school, I applied to every need-based scholarship I could to go to college, receiving many. One of the organizations that awarded me a scholarship, however, thought I doctored our tax returns. They called me on the phone, unwilling to believe a family could survive on such little money. “We want people who are needy, not greedy,” they said.

California Dept. of Ag orders long-term change on milk pricing

Milk prices paid to California dairy farmers, specifically the portions related to dry whey, will continue to be calculated based on a state milk pricing formula that's been in use since last August. The California Department of Food and Agriculture ordered a permanent change to the dry-whey scale used to determine the whey-factor value in the state pricing formula for Class 4b milk, which relates to milk used to manufacture cheese and its byproduct whey. The decision comes after CDFA held a hearing in April to consider changes to the dry-whey scale.

Craft malting could spark new interest in barley

With the rising popularity of craft beers and the explosion of microbreweries in California, a San Francisco brewer says he plans to open the state’s first craft malting facility — a move that could revive grower interest in barley, a crop that has seen downward trends in production for years.  Compared to fruits, vegetables and nuts, barley is considered a minor crop in California, with most of it grown for animal feed. When grown as malting barley for brewing beer, the grain fetches a much higher price.

Local-food push fuels egg production boom in Nevada

As California egg producers continue to adapt to new cage size rules, their industry in neighboring Nevada is experiencing a boom. Poultry and egg production cash receipts in the Silver State have risen 200 percent since 2010 — from $5.32 million that year to $15.96 million in 2014, according to USDA statistics. The jump comes as the state’s overall agriculture production value rose by 50 percent during the same period, from $636 million to $952 million, the Nevada Department of Agriculture reported. Driving the growth were cow-calf, milk and hay production, according to the agency.

Global Grain Glut to Continue with Second-Biggest Crop on Record

A global grain surplus will continue to pressure crop prices as this year’s harvest will expand to the second-highest on record. The International Grains Council says world grain production will be nine million metric tons more than forecasted in April as wheat crops improve in the European Union, the United States, and Russia. The International Grains Council expects grain stocks will likely grow again, with much of the increase in China.

Growing Environmental Threat from Animal-to-Man Diseases

The most worrying environmental threats facing the world today range from the rise in diseases transmitted from animals to humans to the increasing accumulation of toxic chemicals in food crops as a result of drought and high temperatures, according to a U.N. report.  The U.N. Environment Agency's Frontiers report also highlighted the threat to human health posed by the alarming amount of plastic waste in the oceans, and scientific evidence suggesting that losses and damage from climate change are inevitable, with "profound consequences" for ecosystems, people, assets and economies.

CFTC eases on hedging rules, pleasing grain traders

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has responded to the concerns of agribusiness by loosening its restrictions on the type of hedging strategies that can be exempted from position limits. A supplemental proposal released by the CFTC would ensure that anticipatory hedging practices could qualify for a “bona fide” hedging exemption. The proposal also would provide flexibility to commodity exchanges to recognize certain positions as bona fide hedging, subject to CFTC oversight.

Animal welfare activists, state spar over 'ag-gag' law

Utah's law banning secret filming of agricultural facilities is unconstitutional and should be struck down just as Idaho's measure was last year, argue animal welfare activists in a new court filing. The so-called "Ag-gag" law, passed in 2012, has a chilling effect on groups trying to expose unsafe and illegal practices at slaughterhouses and factory farms, said attorneys for a group of plaintiffs that include the Animal Legal Defense Team and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Former SD ag secretary tapped to lead Pork Board

The National Pork Board has selected Bill Even to serve as the organization's next CEO. Even is currently global industry relations lead with DuPont Pioneer, where he has worked in some capacity since 2010. Before then, he served as South Dakota agriculture secretary for three years.

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