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Agriculture

Indiana County Approves New Livestock Farm Zoning Regulations

A central Indiana county has approved new restrictions on livestock farms limiting where those farms can be built. The ordinance approved this week by the Bartholomew County commissioners takes effect immediately for concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.  CAFOs can be built no closer than a quarter-mile from schools, health care facilities and churches, and 500 feet from residential lots in areas zoned for agriculture. New farms must also be at least a 500 feet from any water well.

State Senate passes bill regulating pet safety at boarding facilities

California Senate unanimously passed SB-945, introduced by Senator Bill Monning. The bill aims to establish rules for pet boarding facilities regarding safety, sanitation, space, and more through a fine system. First violations would result in a fine up to $250, and up to $1,000 for each subsequent violation. The bill would also allow cities and counties to establish additional standards

Judge orders Idaho to pay PETA

A district court judge ordered Idaho to pay $249,875.08 in attorneys’ fees to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal welfare groups that successfully challenged the state’s law prohibiting undercover filming at agricultural operations.

To Survive The Bust Cycle, Farmers Go Back To Business-School Basics

After several boom years while the rest of the economy struggled, farming is entering its third year on the bust side of the cycle. Major crop prices are low, while expenses like seed, fertilizer and land remain high. And that means farmers have to get creative to succeed.

Modern crop farms in the Corn Belt are sophisticated businesses. So put aside your notions of bucolic red barns surrounded by a few cows. And pull out your best business school vocabulary, because crops are commodities.

Here's How a Bayer-Monsanto Merger Affects Workers, Farmers, and Investors

Bayer wants to buy Monsanto for $62 billion, hooking up the German chemical and drug company with the St. Louis-based producer of seeds and weed-killers.  The deal would create a global giant in agriculture technology touching much of global food production through the development of seeds and pesticides.  They would combine different regional strengths: Monsanto is big in the United States, while Bayer has a larger presence in Europe and Asia. Bayer says the head office for the combined seed business will be in St. Louis, Missouri, where Monsanto is headquartered.

Bayer Says It’s Confident It Can Meet Monsanto Deal Demands

Bayer AG, whose $62 billion takeover bid was rejected earlier by Monsanto Co., said it’s confident it can overcome the seed company’s concerns about the regulatory and financing risks related to a deal that would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and crop chemicals.  The conciliatory tone from both sides sets the stage for an improved offer from Bayer.

For many Somali refugees, meat processing offers hope — then takes it away

Though meatpacking plants have long relied on labor by immigrants, particularly Hispanics, major companies have moved to hire Somalis, who have the dual advantage for employers of being legal and relatively cheap. In one slice of a changing low-wage America, these are the new ideal workers.  Only a decade earlier, meatpacking jobs went almost exclusively to Hispanics. But now more Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States than coming to work, and the number of unauthorized immigrants is receding after decades of growth.

Washington farm workers get back pay

Some farm workers are getting back wages and damages, following the settlement of a labor dispute with some Washington blueberry growers.  The blueberry growers in Walla Walla County admitted in federal court that they violated the rights of their agricultural workers over a period of three years. That includes failing to pay the minimum wage and overtime in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 growing seasons.  The U.S.

Rescue farm overwhelmed by 50 goats, seeks the public's help

An animal rescue farm in Massachusetts is experiencing a goat overload and is seeking the public's help.The goats are an assortment of alpine, pygmy and angora mixes. They were voluntarily turned over by an owner in Montague who couldn't handle the growing herd. Some are nursing kids and pregnant does.

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