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Calgary Stampede: Torturing cows and horses is wrong, outdated and illegal

There’s little doubt that using animals for entertainment is rapidly becoming unacceptable. The fleeting entertainment we may experience at seeing animals perform tricks isn’t worth forcing them to endure suffering, and even death. I predict that rodeo events will be the next spectacle of suffering to become socially unacceptable. The Calgary Stampede has become synonymous with the trauma and violence of rodeo events. Starting this weekend, rodeo competitors will face off in nine separate event categories, including calf roping, steer wrestling, bronco riding, and chuckwagon racing.

Bayer, DuPont bet $15 million that ag tech is ready to bloom

Ag tech gets a lot of buzz these days — with talk of drones, sensors, data-reading apps on tractors and new genetic engineering tools hot topics in Silicon Valley and recipients of a surge of investment. But the reality is that not much of that technology is yet in the fields. According to AgFunder, while investment in ag tech nearly doubled last year to $4.6 billion from $2.4 billion in 2014, the commercial adoption of new ag-tech products is generally "soft" with farmers agreeing to free or deeply discounted beta trials of new tools but not often buying them for long-term use.

High Court ruling tough news for New Mexico farmers

It's being called a landmark decision by New Mexico's Supreme Court Justices, a 3-1 decision last week (June 30, 2016) that effectively nullifies a long standing law enacted by the state lawmakers nearly 80 years ago that exempted many of New Mexico's farms and ranches from having to provide workers' compensation coverage to some farm workers.  Calling the law discriminatory and unconstitutional, the Court's decision is expected to make state workers' compensation insurance available to an estimated 20,000 uninsured farm laborers across the state, but it comes with a price tag to farm and r

California’s Agriculture Chief: Why Can’t We All Get Along?

With water supplies pinched, environmentalists, city dwellers and farmers have gotten into a pushing match. But Ross points out that “it takes a lot of water to grow everything that we eat” and notes that nearly 80% of the water used in California is used for agriculture. One of the stakeholders of interest to Ross is generations not yet born. Ross looks at the over-taxing of aquifers and notes that the status quo can’t endure for long.

Farmer speaks up for Washington dairies

A farmer advocacy group, Save Family Farming, was formed to counter the allegations that farmers are unregulated polluters. Stap serves as the group’s president. He jokes about being railroaded into the position, but also says finger-pointing at dairies “kind of got my blood boiling.” Whatcom County has fewer dairies and fewer cows and handles manure better than in the 1990s, he said. “How can a diminishing factor be increasing the problem?” Stap asked. “It didn’t add up to me at all.”

Farm income is the lowest since 2002. Here's why you should care

American farm income is projected to drop 3 percent this year and 56 percent from its 2013 high, to $54.8 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It would mark the third consecutive annual decline and the lowest level since 2002.  But why should the average American care?

Rural Mainstreet Economy Remains Weak for June: Bankers Tighten Farm Loans

Survey Results at a Glance: • For a tenth straight month, the Rural Mainstreet Index fell below growth neutral. • Farmland prices remained below growth neutral for the 31st straight month. • Due to the weak agriculture economy, 73.5 percent of bankers increased collateral requirements, half boosted interest rates, and 35.3 percent rejected a higher percentage of farm loans. • Rural Mainstreet businesses boosted hiring for the month. While remaining very fragile, the Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) has increased four of the last five months.

US Senate passes national GMO labeling bill

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 63-30 to approve a bill that would require a mandatory labeling system of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for all 50 states.  The measure would require the USDA to determine which food products and ingredients should be labeled as GMO. Those products would be labeled by text, symbols or a bar code that can be scanned with smartphones. The USDA would have two years to develop the rules and regulations for the nationwide labeling program.  The measure now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.


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