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Agriculture

Corn farmers will lose money on virtually every cob

Pale green and 8 feet tall, tightly packed corn stalks reach to the horizon throughout the Midwest in what is likely to be the biggest harvest the U.S. has ever seen.Aside from a sense of pride in breaking the previous record by nearly a billion bushels, farmers won't benefit. They'll lose money on virtually every cob.It'll be the third consecutive year in which most corn farmers will spend more than they'll earn. The growing has been too good and the resulting glut of corn depressed prices to a decade-low.

Canada backs study to reduce antibiotic use in poultry

The Canadian government has awarded CA$690,000 (US$523,436) to poultry industry group Éleveurs de volailles du Québec (EVQ) to study the possible reduction of the use of antibioticsfor preventative purposes in the Quebec poultry industry. Under the project, the Poultry Research Chair at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will assess various alternative strategies and their effects on flock performance.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread to pigs by workers

Research has found that pig farm workers likely spread methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to swine in Norway. Scientists observed signs of the human-to-pig infection while working on a campaign to stamp out MRSA in Norway. The researchers asserted that disease-prevention programs like Norway’s could reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, especially in countries with little or no import of live pigs, since farm workers could introduce the disease to pig herds.

The storm Atlas sparks insurance policy reviews for livestock losses

Nearly three years after Winter Storm Atlas blanketed western South Dakota and two months after the state Supreme Court ruled that a Quinn couple was entitled to compensation from their insurance company for nearly 100 yearling heifers that died in the blizzard, dozens of ranchers are reportedly revisiting their insurance policies to determine if they, too, are eligible for claims previously denied.The South Dakota Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision by a lower court that ruled against Richard and Larayna Papousek, who run a crop and livestock ranch 61 miles east of Rapid City.

Agriculture ‘Bundle Mania’ Draws Skepticism in Some Quarters

The rationale behind Bayer AG’s $66 billion takeover of Monsanto Co., and other huge deals in the same industry, is that farmers are better served by a company offering optimized packages of seeds, crop chemicals and technology services. But not everyone is convinced. Bayer is one of the largest producers of pesticides and Monsanto is the world’s biggest seed supplier. DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. also plan to merge, in the process carving out a new crop-science unit that follows the same logic.

Idaho DEQ proposes unusual plan to address field burning changes

An unusual legislative approach will be used to implement changes to Idaho’s crop residue burning program. Idaho Department of Environmental Quality officials say the changes are necessary to avoid a large reduction in the number of allowable field burning days in Idaho. The federal standard for ozone was tightened in October, which means the number of burn days in Idaho for farmers who use that tool to control diseases and pests and increase stand health would be reduced by a third to half under Idaho’s current crop residue burning program.

Study: Consumers prefer gene-disrupting pesticides over GMOs

Consumers prefer gene-disrupting “RNAi” biopesticides over genetically engineered crops, but they don’t much like either technology, according to a recent study.  Researchers from the University of Arkansas conducted the study by asking consumers about their “willingness to pay” for conventional rice sprayed with insecticides, rice that’s genetically modified to withstand pests and rice treated with an RNAi biopesticide. The biotech rice and RNAi biopesticide described to consumers aren’t commercially available, so those possibilities were hypothetical.

Four states offer ideas for ag economy

Recent talks on the health of the area’s agricultural economy have spurred recommendations that will be forwarded to federal officials. A wrap-up session was held in St. Joseph and brought together agricultural leaders from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Organizers said a St. Joseph session presented an opportunity for collaboration, allowing each state to report feedback from producers and financial experts. They said the findings will be useful in setting outreach and policy priorities.

Trade is Not to Blame for American Job Loss

Those opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement say trade deals like this cost jobs in America. But the facts do not back that up. When managing plants in Indiana, Ohio, and other Midwestern states close and relocate their operations to Mexico or China, trade deals like TPP and NAFTA get the blame. But the actual figures do not back up that claim, according to John Hardin, Indiana farmer and member of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “For every three jobs that are lost to foreign trade competition, 7 jobs are lost to automation.

Federal District Court Ruling Concerning for Farmers

Farmers should be concerned about a recent decision (Duarte Opinion) from the United States District Court of the Eastern District of California involving the federal Clean Water Act.  Generally, the CWA provides that a landowner may not discharge a point-source pollutant (Section 402) or dredge and fill material (Section 404) into a “water of the United States”

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