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Agriculture

Farmers already at higher risk of suicide face pressure from tariffs

After several tough years of prices near or below break even, the economics of the farm sector may soon get worse because of international tariffs.  China, the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, and Mexico, the largest importer of U.S. pork, are threatening tariffs that would likely choke off demand for those farm products and drop prices further.  Worth said it's another unknown farmers face, and another stressor.  "We got people who are fifth- or sixth-generation farmers who may lose the farm. They are thinking they let their ancestors down," he said.

Recent Right to Farm Decisions Around the US

There have been several court decisions lately across the country related to states’ Right to Farm statutes.  These cases provide good examples of the types of claims that can arise against a farm operation and also illustrate the differences between each state’s Right to Farm Act.

Carbon farming works. Can it scale up in time?

Over the last two years, the Estills have started checking off items from a long list of potential changes recommended in a thorough carbon plan they created in 2016 with the help of the Fibershed project and Jeffrey Creque, founder of the Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI). The plan lists steps the ranchers can take to create carbon sinks on their property.

Trump's Canadian dairy program

President Donald Trump's tirade on Twitter over the weekend aimed at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has elevated dairy trade between the two countries to the top political issue in Canada.Dairy was once considered a lower-rung issue in the North American Free Trade Agreement talks, but President Trump tied high Canadian dairy tariffs to his own push for steel and aluminum tariffs. The U.S. held a dairy trade surplus with Canada in 2017 that ran anywhere from $113 million to $521 million, depending on the math of different agencies and trade associations. Canada and the U.S.

Why Iowans should care about antitrust enforcement

But in 2012, ProSoy sold its germplasm assets to Bayer, the German agrochemical giant. Bayer was playing catch-up; its rivals such as Monsanto were already on an extended buying spree. From 2005 to 2007, Monsanto alone gobbled up more than two dozen smaller seed companies. Fast-forward to today. The giants are now consuming each other. During another three-year frenzy, agriculture’s Big Six have all merged or been acquired. ChemChina bought Syngenta. Dow and DuPont merged. And Bayer and Monsanto recently received final U.S. antitrust approval to merge.

High-Speed Planter Wars

John Deere recently filed suits in the Federal District Court of Delaware against AGCO and Precision Planting, claiming their high-speed planting technologies infringe on Deere's ExactEmerge planter patents. What are Deere's claims against Precision Planting and AGCO?  What are the possible outcomes?   One outcome is that Precision Planting and AGCO prevail, meaning nothing changes.Another outcome is that Deere prevails. If so, the court would award Deere damages that flow from the patent infringement (such as lost profits on sales).

Ohio Legislature approves orphan well plugging bill

Ohio landowners who have an idle or orphaned well on their property may have a greater chance of getting some relief, following recent votes by the state legislature. The House and Senate both voted in favor of H.B. 225 — a bill that requires the Department of Natural Resources to spend at least 30 percent of the state’s Oil and Gas Well Fund on plugging orphan wells.The bill appropriates a total of $15 million for plugging wells in fiscal year 2019, an increase of $7 million.

Court applies Building Permit Rule to large dairy farm

Wisconsin state Supreme Court removed a regulatory hurdle Tuesday for a large dairy farm in central Wisconsin, ruling that the right to use thousands of acres for crops was locked in when project officials applied for a building permit.Wisconsin is the nation’s second-leading milk producer. Dairy operations in the state account for nearly 80,000 jobs. But the industry has been struggling with declining milk and other commodity prices the past three years, largely because of an abundance of milk on the market.

Lawsuit Over Smelly Hogs Shows PA Law Makes It Near Impossible To Sue Over Nuisance Farms

For several years, a hog farm in Luzerne County has been under legal fire for emitting a stench that people say can make the surrounding area almost unlivable. A lawsuit is now awaiting consideration before the state Supreme Court.But the outlook isn’t good—and that’s largely because Pennsylvania law makes it near-impossible to sue farms for nuisances like smells.Will-O-Bett Farm’s hog feeding operation—which is causing the smell—began in 2013 in Salem Township.

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