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Agriculture

Sizing up livestock farming’s carbon footprint

A new and interactive tool released by FAO allows farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and eggs production as well as greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and more climate-friendly.  GLEAM-I the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Modelinteractive, provides answers to a wide range of questions. For example, as a small livestock keeper or a pastoralist, how can you get your animals to produce more milk, meat or eggs?

Test your animal welfare assessment skills with AVMA quiz

Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility that includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling and, when necessary, humane euthanasia. Seems straightforward, right? In reality, animal welfare assessment may be much more complex and challenging to assess; real-life situations may present advantages in one area and disadvantages in another, and an assessment often depends on weighing which elements of welfare are most important to the animals.

The next animal rights target

If our new friends in the eat-no-meat movement are to be believed, then which on-farm practice is the next target?  While I have no inside track on the strategies of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and its cohorts, I’m guessing the next target will be the broiler industry specifically and poultry production of all varieties broadly, if only because we raise and kill more than 9 billion birds a year for food.

Pennsylvania calls on conservation districts to help with nutrient inspections

As Pennsylvania continues its push to reduce the loading of farm nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay, the state is now calling on the 41 county conservation districts in the bay watershed to conduct on-farm inspections. It’s a decision that was announced in May, as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s “Bay Reboot” strategy, that would shift conservation district staff from conducting 100 educational farm visits, to conducting 50 farm inspections a year. The goal is to inspect 10 percent of the state’s farms each year — eventually inspecting all the farms in the watershed.

Phosphorus levels trending lower in Ohio soils

Agricultural soil phosphorus levels held steady or trended downward in at least 80 percent of Ohio counties from 1993 through 2015.  The findings, part of the college’s Field to Faucet initiative, represent good news for Ohioans concerned about protecting surface water quality while maintaining agricultural production, according to college researchers Elizabeth Dayton, Steve Culman and Anthony Fulford. “Soil phosphorus levels are strongly related to runoff water phosphorus levels. Less phosphorus in the soil should result in reduced phosphorus runoff risk,” Dayton said.

Dairy Farmers Seek U.S. Help to Cut Into Cheese Glut

Dairy farmers drowning in cheap milk begged agricultural officials on Friday to buy up tens of thousands of tons of cheese to help bail them out. Jim Mulhern, chief executive of the National Milk Producers Federation, asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to buy $150 million worth of cheese to protect struggling dairy farmers and provide 90 million pounds of food to needy Americans. “Dairy producers here in the United States need assistance,” Mr. Mulhern wrote to Mr. Vilsack.

A radical vision for saving the family farm

a former dairy farm that, as of this year, is fully leased to nine small farmers, represents a new vision for farmland conservation and sustainable agriculture - and, its operators hope, a model for connecting small farmers with land trusts, which control more than 600,000 acres in Pennsylvania. "Underlying this is the concept of reinventing the family farm for the 21st century," said Marilyn Anthony, Lundale's executive director. "On a family farm back in the day, there would be livestock, fruit, and vegetables: a full diet.

Are Your Truck Drivers in Compliance?

With farms sharing equipment, expanding their reach and offering services to other farms, it's critical to know the federal and state regulations applicable to trucking. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations (FMCSR) provide exemptions from some compliance for farm vehicle drivers. However, too often farm businesses make wrong assumptions about their exemption from the rules.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Releases Preliminary Yield Estimates

According to Saskatchewan Agriculture's Aug. 18 crop report which covers the recent week ending Aug. 15, provincial yields for most crops are expected to be well-above long-term averages. The notable exceptions are chickpea and lentil crops which fared poorly given the excessive moisture received over many areas of the province. As of Aug. 17, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada maps show a significant area of southwestern and west-central Saskatchewan receiving 150% to 200% of average precipitation in the April 1 through Aug.

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