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Agriculture

Bankers toughen loan terms for farmers

Amid “a growing sense of risk in the farm sector,” bankers across the U.S. are demanding farm real estate as collateral on short-term operating loans, says the Ag Finance Databook compiled by the Kansas City Fed. Real estate provided one third of the collateral on loans of $250,000 or more issued during the summer vs. 10% a year earlier. It was an abrupt reversal of the five-year decline that began during the ag boom.  Interest on non-real estate loans is shifting higher. Some 85% of loans carry a floating rate, for only the second time since 1977.

Monsanto shareholder’s suit to block Bayer merger thrown out

A Monsanto Co. shareholder’s lawsuit to block the agricultural giant’s merger with the German chemical company Bayer AG was thrown out by a Missouri judge. The investor alleged that Monsanto’s board of directors had breached its fiduciary responsibility to shareholders by accepting Bayer’s $128 bid for Monsanto shares. The shares were worth more than that and the directors stood to reap financial windfalls from the deal, according to the complaint.St. Louis County Circuit Judge John D. Warner Jr.

A new generation of farmers rents to cope with soaring American cropland prices

The overall number of farmers in the U.S. has been shrinking steadily, but the number of tenant farmers age 25 to 44 climbed almost 9 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) census. In California, the country’s leading agricultural producer, it rose 22 percent; in Washington and Oregon, it was up 9 percent and 11 percent, respectively.  Many of the new tenant farmers identify with the locally grown food movement and are cultivating high-value organic produce. U.S.

Organic livestock and poultry rule reaches last step

USDA’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule now is pending at the White House Office of Management and Budget, the last step in the rulemaking process before it becomes final. The National Pork Producers Council is urging the USDA to withdraw the rule, or if it’s approved before Jan. 20, the Trump USDA to repeal it.

Are these genetically engineered cows the future of medicine?

They look like normal black-and-white Holstein cows, a common sight in Western Iowa. But these cows are special: used not for their milk or meat, but for their blood. They’re plasma donors, and one day, the life they save may be your own. The cows were genetically engineered by biotech company SAB Biotherapeutics to produce human antibodies, proteins that fight pathogens. These antibodies could one day treat infectious diseases like Ebola, influenza, and Zika — and their potential to address global outbreaks was recognized this summer by the World Health Organization.

Florida's shriveling agriculture industry can't shake the fall of citrus, loss of land

Matt McKendree, 29, orders a burger, as does everyone else at the table after a morning of penning and deworming cows. "In 20 years, I don't think there will be any real cattle operations around here," says the seventh-generation cattle rancher and father of two young boys. "There won't be enough land." It has been a long time since farmers and ranchers could turn their spreads of land into big moneymakers. Many of them, like McKendree, have little faith that their children will be able to scrape together a living if they stick with the family business.

Republican rancher will chair Idaho House ag committee

Rep. Judy Boyle, a Republican rancher from Midvale, has been selected to chair the House Agricultural Affairs Committee.  She is one of 11 current or retired farmers or ranchers who will chair House and Senate committees in the Idaho Legislature when the 2017 session starts in January.Boyle, who is in her fifth term in the legislature and has been named one of the 100 most influential people in Idaho, said her predecessor, Ken Andrus, set a high bar.

USDA final analysis recommends deregulation of GE bentgrass

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service received a request (APHIS Petition 15-300-01p) from The Scotts Company LLC of Marysville, OH and Monsanto Company of St. Louis, MO seeking a determination of nonregulated status for ASR368 creeping bentgrass that has been engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. When APHIS receives a petition for nonregulated status of an article currently regulated under its PPA authority codified in 7 CFR part 340, the Agency is required to make a decision.

Ranchers seek exemption to electronic device trucking rule

Cattle ranchers want an exemption to a livestock hauling rule change that they say will hinder their ability to transport animals long distances. The new rule requires the use of hours-of-service electronic logging devices by drivers who are currently required only to prepare records of duty status.The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device rule goes into effect Dec. 18, 2017.The final rule does not change federal hours-of-service requirements, said Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration spokesman Duane DeBruyne.

South Africa to Allow U.S. GM Corn Imports for First Time

South Africa approved imports of genetically modified corn from the U.S. for the first time after its worst drought since records began 104 years ago cut local output. Local white corn prices fell. The nation will allow both white and yellow GM corn from the U.S. to be brought in, Dirk Kok, a spokesman for the secretariat of the Pretoria-based South African Cereals and Oilseeds and Trade Association, said in an interview on Monday.

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