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Agriculture

Prestage Farms break ground for new plant in Iowa

Prestage Farms on Thursday broke ground in Eagle Grove, Iowa, to begin construction of its new fresh pork processing plant.  The $240 million facility is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018 and will employ about 1,000 people.Prestage Farms now raises pigs in more than 30 counties in Iowa. The plant will support those operations, utilizing "the latest in processing and automation technology," the company said.

DFA reports record profits

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) officials reported net income of $131.8 million, compared to $94.1 million of net income for 2015. The increase was attributable to higher sales volumes, overall operating efficiencies and lower commodity input costs. The record earnings were also buoyed by the acquisition of the remaining 50 percent equity interest in DairiConcepts, a manufacturer of cheese, dairy ingredients and dairy flavor systems with eight facilities across the United States. DFA’s net sales totaled $13.5 billion for 2016, compared to $13.8 billion in 2015.

What’s the Deal with Dicamba and 2,4D Drift in the News?

All producers should be aware of the new “Flag the Technology” program.  This is a field-marking program designed to prevent the misapplication of herbicides and to ensure applicators are aware of nearby sensitive crops.  Essentially, producers should mark all fields with a colored flag.  The different colors correspond with the specific trait technology planted in that field.  Red flags, for example, signify conventional varieties with no herbicide technology traits and sensitive crops like grapes, vegetables, or organic fields.

Dow and DuPont to sell substantial assets

Dow Chemical and DuPont won the blessing of the European Union for their $130 billion merger on Monday by agreeing to sell substantial assets including key research and development activities.The European Commission had been concerned that the merger of two of the biggest and oldest U.S. chemical producers would leave few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides in the future. The deal is one of a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the industry and consolidate six companies into three.

Farming becoming riskier under climate change

"Going forward, we're predicting warmer and wetter springs, and drier, hotter summers," Davis says. "The season fragments and we start to see an early-early season, so that March starts looking like a good target for planting in the future. In the past, March has been the bleeding edge; nobody in their right mind would have planted then. But we've already seen the trend for early planting.

Avian flu detected in Georgia breeder flock

A flock of chickens at a commercial breeding operation in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7 avian influenza, marking the state’s first case in 2017, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) stated. According to a press release from the GDA, it appears to be a low pathogenic strain, because the birds in the flock did not show any signs of illness.

It’s not enough to treat animals well; we have to win the information war

With so few people connected to agriculture these days, how are we going to convince students that a career in agriculture is a viable course of study? The rapidly increasing demand for food has insured that ag-oriented students often have multiple job offers. The last few years, many good poultry and animal science jobs have gone unfilled.  Without a new crop of talented, newly trained ag students, the world’s ability to produce food will be strained.

Financial Pressure on Farms Likely to Continue

The latest analysis of national and global agricultural trends from the University of Missouri indicates continued financial pressure on United States farm sector. Good news in the report includes a modest recovery in grain prices in 2017. The March 2017 U.S. Baseline Briefing Book by economists at the University of Missouri provides projections for agricultural and biofuel markets, based on market information available in January. The report’s macroeconomic assumptions are based primarily on forecasts by IHS Global Insight, which suggest moderate growth in the U.S.

Florida has won the battle against screwworms

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it will wind down its response against flesh-eating maggots that threaten small, endangered deer in a national wildlife refuge in the Florida Keys. The department said in a news release that the check point for New World screwworms in Key Largo will close at 7 p.m. Saturday. This comes after more than five months of aggressive response efforts and no new screwworm infestations found since January 10. New World screwworm can eat livestock and pets alive, and once cost the U.S. livestock industry millions every year.

Tractor Hack: Farmers are harnessing hacked software for John Deere repairs

Today, if you’re a farmer in the heartland of America who wants to keep planting it, growing it and harvesting it with the help of your trusty tractor, nothing is simple anymore — especially if your tractor breaks down. That’s when your new best friend may turn out to be a shadowy software hacker living in the Ukraine. A thriving crop of black-market hackers in Europe is creating and selling software hacks to John Deere software, which local mechanics in America’s breadbasket are downloading and using to repair the company’s tractors.

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