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Agriculture

California marijuana legalization faces unlikely foe: growers

Hezekiah Allen is a third-generation marijuana farmer in this Northern California county, where the cool coastal fog pours off the Pacific Ocean, coaxing pot plants to heights of 20 feet. The executive director of the California Growers Association trade group, Allen has long sought an end to what he calls "prohibition" and has looked forward to a day when he and the thousands of pot farmers here would no longer be outlaws.

Food and Agriculture Co-op Income Again Sets Record in 2015,

Net income for the nation's agricultural cooperatives soared by 14 percent last year, according to data released by the USDA. In its annual report on national cooperative business sales, USDA reported that the country's farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record net income of $7 billion in 2015.  "The cooperative business model continues to perform strongly," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "While the model has long been one of the hallmarks of rural economies, its reach has greatly expanded to include almost every aspect of U.S. commerce.

Cargill Fiscal First-Quarter Earnings Rise 66%

Cargill Inc. reported a 66% jump in profits for its most recent quarter, driven by expanding beef supplies and consumers’ rising appetite for burgers and steaks.  A rebound in the Minnesota agricultural conglomerate’s U.S. meat business, also lifted by chicken and turkey sales, helped raise Cargill’s net earnings to $852 million for the fiscal first quarter, even as sales declined slightly. Cargill said the results illustrated how a wide-ranging revamp of its voluminous business portfolio is paying off.

The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture

 

our industrialized food system nourishes more people, at lower cost, than any comparable system in history. It also exerts a terrifyingly massive influence on our health and our environment. Photographer George Steinmetz spent nearly a year traveling the country to capture that system, in all its scope, grandeur and dizzying scale. His photographs are all the more remarkable for the fact that so few large food producers are willing to open themselves to this sort of public view.

Drone Makers Create New Lobbying Group After Split From Google, Amazon

Major drone manufacturers have created their own industry advocacy group focused on unmanned aircraft for the growing consumer market. The Drone Manufacturers Alliance “will serve as the voice for drone manufacturers and our customers across civilian, governmental, recreational, commercial, nonprofit and public safety applications,” Kara Calvert, director of the new coalition.

New Hampshire leaders target December aid for dairy farmers

An emergency relief fund created in 2008 to help New Hampshire dairy farmers was never funded, but state officials said Monday they want to get money to farmers struggling with low milk prices and drought conditions by December. Nineteen of the state’s 120 dairies have closed in recent months. The state had lost 10 dairies over the previous four years combined.

How to feed the world with sensors, data and local production

Food and agriculture entrepreneurs took the stage at the White House lawn for SXSL 2016 to discuss the potential and limits of technology to feed a burgeoning world population. According to the most recent available estimates from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 793 million people in the world do not have enough to eat today.  And with a global population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, the U.S Agency for International Development (US AID) expects that agricultural production will need to increase by at least 60% from current levels to serve our nutritional

GMOs Are a Necessity—for Farmers and the Environment

Genetic modification will be extended to many more crops. It will be used to enhance the nutritional value of rice—such as with Golden Rice, which is fortified to provide vitamin A—as well as cassava, two major staples. Insect resistance will be conferred on more crops and widened to protect against more pests, reducing food waste and spoilage, especially in the developing world. The strides that GMO crops have already made against drought and heat stress will accelerate. Yields and yield stability will increase for plantation crops like palm, coffee, cocoa and trees for paper.

Online job site links California harvesters, growers

Carter Chavez saw plenty of online job platforms for produce executives, but little to help harvesters find work. So he started QuickHarvester.com.  Chavez, CEO of San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based Quick Harvester Inc., started the company within the past year and the website went live this summer.  “I worked for Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande for a while and realized they never had enough labor, like the majority of farms,” he said.

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