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Agriculture

Does Revenue Diversification Improve Small and Medium-Sized Dairy Farm Profitability?

Dairy farmers are well acquainted with managing volatile input and output prices. In the past 5 years, dairy farms experienced record high milk prices in 2014 followed by devastatingly low milk prices. In Minnesota, farms that contribute financial information to the FINBIN farm financial database reported the lowest average accrual net farm income, $407, in 2009, while the same sample reported an all-time average high of $236,544 just 5 years later in 2014 (FINBIN, 2018a).

Washington Ecology proposes new fees on wineries

New wastewater-disposal regulations imposed by the Washington Department of Ecology will collectively cost 68 of the state’s larger wineries more than $200,000 the first year, under a department proposal. Beginning July 1, the wineries must obtain permits to use wastewater on land or discharge to most sewer plants. Ecology can’t cite any case of a winery polluting groundwater, but the agency says water laced with cleansers, stems, leaves and wine sediment has the potential to pollute.

Water buffalo meat sparks labeling concerns

The appearance of imported water buffalo meat on U.S. retail shelves has alarmed U.S. bison producers, who worry the product isn’t being inspected or properly labeled. The National Bison Association has requested an investigation by the U.S.

Connecticut farm gets $244K for manure digester

A $244,000 USDA Rural Energy for America Program grant has been awarded to Fort Hill Farm AG-Grid LLC. The announcement followed a visit to Fort Hill Farms by US Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Oct. 30. The grant will be used for the purchase and installation of a 450kW anaerobic digester.The 850,000 gallon digester will process manure and food waste into biofuel to be converted into electricity. The project is expected to generate power for farm operations with about 90 percent sold to three municipalities. This will be Connecticut's first digester to convert waste to energy.

Family gets into dairy business after claiming donkey milk saved daughter's life

From promises of beautiful skin to allergy relief and healthier digestion, it all comes from the prized producers at the Oklahoma Donkey Dairy. The Traywick family, from Luther, started the journey four years ago when their daughter, Hannah, started getting sick with no explanation. "One of the girls was sick. She actually got strep throat," Saundra Traywick said.

China battles to control African swine fever as it reports 50th case

China confirmed a new case of African swine fever on Monday, in southern Hunan province, marking the 50th outbreak of the highly contagious disease in the world’s top pork producer. The disease, which can be deadly for pigs and has no vaccine, has reached 14 provinces and municipalities in China since it was first detected in early August. Most of the recent cases have been in the south, which has the country’s highest pork consumption per capita.

Court grants R-CALF’s motion to expand beef checkoff lawsuit

The federal district court in Montana on Monday granted independent rancher group R-CALF USA’s motion to expand its lawsuit against the USDA and the beef checkoff program to include at least 13 states in addition to Montana, the group announced in a news release. R-CALF contends that funds collected from its cattle producer members through the checkoff have been used illegally to fund the private speech of the Montana Beef Council.

Meet Mestic, the company that makes fabric out of cow poop

Would you wear a shirt if the label said it was made of shit? Chances are you’re currently wearing something made of cotton. Ever since the fifth millennium BC, people have used the natural fiber derived from the cotton plant in textile production, and it’s now an enormous industry. Currently, the plant is growing on about 2.5 percent of the world’s arable land to supply the world with 25 million tons it uses every year. Cows are famous for having four stomachs (in fact, they have one, consisting of four compartments, but whatever right) to be able to digest tough grass.

Winnowing farm programs

The 2018 Farm Bill is being written in an intensely partisan environment. We see it in the campaign rallies, we see it in the ads on television, we see the results of partisanship in day to day interactions when neighbors are afraid to talk to each other if they are on opposite sides of the divide. That partisanship is clearly evident when it comes to the nutrition title of the farm bill where some want to make critical changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Program and others don’t. But when it comes to the commodity title, no partisanship is evident.

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