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Agriculture

USDA Withdrawal of Certain Proposed Rules and Other Proposed Actions

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing that it has withdrawn certain advance notice of proposed rulemakings (ANPRM) and proposed rules that were either published in the Federal Register more than 4 years ago without subsequent action or determined to no longer be candidates for final action. USDA is taking this action to reduce its regulatory backlog and focus its resources on higher priority actions.

Robotic harvesting technology passes on-farm testing.

An Iowa-based company is marketing one of agriculture’s first driverless systems for tractors. Smart Ag, an ag technology firm in Ames, has successfully tested the system that allows existing farm equipment to become autonomous. Smart Ag is taking orders and will sell a limited number of the systems in 2018. Smart Ag’s technology was demonstrated at a field day on a farm near Plainfield in northeast Iowa in November. MBS Family Farms hosted the event to help introduce AutoCart, a software program.

Soaring popularity of grass-fed beef may hit roadblock: less nutritious grass

What he's found is a trend in the nutritional quality of grasses that grass-fed cattle (and young cattle destined for grain-heavy feedlots) are eating. Since the mid-90s, levels of crude protein in the plants, which cattle need to grow, have dropped by nearly 20 percent.  "If we were still back at the forage quality that we would've had 25 years ago, no less 100 years ago, our animals would be gaining a lot more weight," Craine says. He has a sneaking suspicion that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are contributing as well.

Want to fix agriculture? Stop with the name-calling — and death threats.

What has the world come to when people get death threats for expressing an opinion about agriculture? The toxicity of the debate about farming in general and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in particular is so entrenched that Mark Lynas, a prominent British journalist and environmentalist who publicly changed his mind about genetic modification, wasn’t even surprised by the death threats. “I got very few,” he says. And the name-calling and Internet trolling were just what he expected when he put his head over the parapet to champion GMOs.

NC State project develops solar heaters for chicken houses

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a practical solar heater for poultry houses as part of a project partially funded by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation, the organization announced. Sanjay Shah and his colleagues developed and tested the low-cost solar heater that warms the air as it passes through a black plastic housing that has been heated by the sun.

EPA nixes bid to herd livestock under Clean Air Act

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has denied a petition by environmental groups to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations like factories under the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a letter to petitioners, acknowledged livestock are potential sources of air pollutants. The agency, however, doesn’t have a reliable method for estimating animal emissions.

Rabobank warns of ‘rising tide of milk’

Rabobank expects EU milk supply to continue growing in the next six months. European milk supply in the next six month will decide the fate of global markets, according to the latest report from the Dutch-based agri lender.Rabobank’s latest quarterly dairy report sets the tone clearly in its headline: “Rising tide of milk weighs on sentiment”.While the bank’s analysts note that global supply has increased since last spring, they warn that it is not over yet. In Oceania, unfavourable weather conditions reduced production during the November spring peak.

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