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Ohio moves to protect corn mazes, farm markets from lawsuits

Farmers who run pumpkin patches, corn mazes and petting zoos say they can’t always stop an aggressive goat from chomping down on a visitor’s hand or prevent someone from stumbling in a field.

That’s why Ohio lawmakers have signed off on legislation shielding farmers with agritourism businesses from being sued when accidents happen.

Supporters of the measure expected to become law once it’s signed by the governor say it’s an acknowledgement that running a business that brings people onto a working farm poses risks not found in most places.

ND Governor declares Animal Agriculture Awareness Week

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed this week Animal Agriculture Awareness Week in the state.  Officials say animal agriculture in North Dakota generates about $2.6 billion in revenues, with an economic impact of more than $12 billion.

Local Economies and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza - See more at:

Approximately $879 million was spent on the 2014-2015 HPAI outbreak and Fall planning activities according to data from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This is equivalent to 1.82% of the total poultry production value, including egg values (USDA-NASS, 2014).

Midwest Farm Debt Accumulating

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Thursday announced farm debt in the Midwest is increasing. In the first quarter of 2016, the bank says loan demand continued to rise, repayment rates continued to weaken, and almost all district bankers under the KC Fed Bank reported that farm income declined. The Bank released its Ag Credit Survey, which says that, although cash rents declined modestly, production costs have remained high and many producers reduced both capital and household spending to cut costs.

Left uncontrolled, weeds would cost billions in economic losses every year

Imagine that weeds were left to grow uncontrolled in corn and soybean fields across North America. That scenario would cut U.S. and Canadian yields by about 50 percent, resulting in $43 billion in annual economic losses to those two crops alone, according to a new study.

The research, spanned seven years from 2007 to 2013.

Grassley bill would ban packer ownership of livestock

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he has introduced legislation that would ban packer ownership of livestock after seeing continued consolidation in the livestock industry.  The consolidation means independent producers have fewer choices for where to buy from and sell to, said Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and also a member of the Agriculture Committee.

Grassley’s bill contains exceptions to the ban for:

Record High Temperatures Cause Major Runoff In Pacific Northwest

The entire Pacific Northwest experienced record high temperatures throughout April, causing much of the remaining snowpack to melt and runoff. More than 80% of all Snowpack Telemetry sites with at least 15 years of data set all new melt rate records for April. During two separate high-pressure weather systems in April, sites experienced minimum daily temperatures exceeding 20 degrees above normal. Due to the rapid snowmelt, runoff was above normal and Washington State’s rivers and streams were able to contain it without flooding.

The Effects of Demographic Change on Forest Cover in New England and New York

The New England states and New York are more than 50 percent forested, a rate well above the national average. Economies in this heavily forested region have historically relied on forest-based industries, and human population has clustered along coastal regions and major waterways, though recent trends suggest widespread in-migration to amenity-rich rural areas. Over the last decade, all states in this region have experienced notable declines in forest cover.

Farmer Co-ops Feeling Growing Pressures to Merge

American farm co-ops are coming under pressure to merge from global competition, falling farm incomes, ag industry consolidation and a growing need for specialized talent, according to co-op leaders. Farmer-owned cooperatives historically have bought grain from farmers, storing it in elevators until it was loaded for shipment. But today, many co-ops do much more than store grain and sell fuel, fertilizer and pesticides.


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