Lawrence MacAulay’s speech in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was well received by an estimated 5,000 people attending the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee Jan. 7. The bureau, the United States’ largest farm organization, also supports NAFTA.“My message to you this morning is the Government of Canada is committed to working with you to strengthen Canada-U.S. relationship for the good of our people, our businesses and our economy,” said MacAulay, the first Canadian agriculture minister to address the 99-year-old farm organization.
Pennsylvania's agricultural industry is among the most diverse and powerful in the nation. And yet that industry faces its share of changes and challenges -- in technology, consumer tastes and a rapidly changing workforce; as well as opportunities. On Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the state unveiled its agricultural economic analysis report -- a document that it hopes will not only capture the state of agriculture now but help provide a path forward as part of a broader strategic planning process for the state's vast agricultural industry."We are at a critical intersection as an industry," said Russell Redding, the state's secretary of agriculture at an event highlighting the report. "We must be mindful of how the landscape is changing."The board umbrella of agriculture in the state has an economic impact in excess of $135 billion annually, supporting more than a half-million jobs and $26.9 billion in earnings. It includes traditional farming and forestry as well as food and forestry processing and new emerging sectors such as hydroponics and urban farming.
The escape of more than 160,000 salmon from a Cooke Aquaculture pen in Washington last year has led to a legal battle between the company and the state. Cooke Aquaculture Pacific is challenging a decision by the state's Department of Natural Resources to terminate the company's ease to operate a salmon farm in Port Angeles, about 128 kilometres west of Seattle.
Dr. Cowley explained that, “Although farm income appears to have stabilized in the short to longer term, one risk to the outlook has been growing supplies. Yields for corn and soybeans have been above 20-year trend levels since 2014 and have contributed to increasing inventories.” “In addition, soybean inventories have doubled since 2015. Growth in U.S. corn and soybean inventories is a risk to the outlook because larger inventories have been linked to lower prices.” “One reason trade is a risk to the outlook is because exports in recent years have contributed a larger share of the total value of U.S. crop production. The total value of crop production has declined since 2013 (Chart 4). At the same time, the total value of crop exports has increased slightly. Over the last four years, the export share of the total value of U.S. crop production increased from 29 percent in 2013 to an estimated 40 percent in 2017.
Mark Coats has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on creating a predator awareness program he believes can successfully reduce or eliminate predation deaths. Coats, who has cattle operations in Siskiyou County in far Northern California and Klamath and Jackson counties in Oregon, said the attacks happened on a neighbor’s land.“My cows turned out fine,” he said. “I’m confident in my cows’ ability to stand off predators,” explaining he routinely takes steps to retrain his herds.Coats doesn’t necessarily like it, but he accepts the fact that wolves have become a fixture in Oregon and parts of Northern California.“The wolf is a carnivore. Killing is what he does. By the laws of the ESA we can’t do a lot,” said Coats, referring to protections to wolves mandated under the federal Endangered Species Act. “We need to learn how to stay in business in his presence.” He has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on creating a predator awareness program he believes can successfully reduce or eliminate predation deaths.“What they need is the individualized chase,” where a wolf or wolves isolate a cow or calf from the herd, then chase, immobilize and eat the animal, which is often still alive. “We’re trying to interrupt that. That is the key.”The key, he believes, is training cattle to gather in herds when threatened by wolves or other potential killers.
New Mexico lawmakers proposed a bill that would raise the registration fee pet food manufacturers pay. The bill would raise the fee from US$2 to US$100 for each product sold in New Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers have harvested record crops for soybeans, peanuts, canola, rapeseed and hops. The agency released its annual crop production report Friday summarizing the 2017 crop year.It shows that peanut production jumped 30 percent to 7.2 billion pounds. Production of hops, a main ingredient in beer, grew 20 percent as Idaho's production surpassed Oregon's for the first time. Washington remained the leader, producing 75 percent of the nation's crop.Soybean production was at 4.39 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the previous year as farmers planted a record 90.1 million acres.
Montana is wrestling with the best way to manage Chronic Wasting Disease among deer, elk and moose. One wildlife specialist maintains preserving predators is the answer. Under its current plan, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has set up survey hunts of deer to determine where hotbeds of CWD are located. The state's second survey hunt in north central Montana began last weekend, and lasts through Feb. 15. But Norman Bishop, a retired wolf interpreter at Yellowstone National Park who has studied wolves for decades, says protecting predators could be a better solution for eliminating the neurological disease."Not just wolves but also, mountain lions have been shown to be pretty effective at selecting and taking prey that's disadvantaged or disabled, and that includes those with CWD," he points out.Bishop says a number of studies confirm that wolves and mountain lions are able to detect diseased prey, even animals that aren't visibly sick to humans. He says the steep decline in predators likely is one reason CWD is taking hold in the region.
In this six part series, we are discovering what sustainability on Michigan farms means, looking at examples of how farms are demonstrating that sustainability and how exploring how MSU Extension is working with producers to become even more sustainable. This sixth article’s sustainability topic addresses the “enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole” portion. If there is anything that is as hard to get an agreement upon as the definition of sustainability, it would be the definition of quality of life. A quick internet search will show you a variety of methods that researchers and organizations have used to try to quantify and rate both individual and country quality of life. These indexes often include areas such as: financial well-being, job security, health, freedom, family, safety and community. You don’t have to look hard to find farms and farmers that improve many of these areas for the communities that they live and work in. Farmers provide food security for their communities and the state of Michigan as a whole, to the point that most of us do not have to worry about whether we will be able to go to our local grocery store and find the food that will nourish our families and us. We often do not recognize them for this and many do not make the connection between what is bought in the grocery store and the farm that produces the food or the ingredients for the food products we buy.
New Hampshire state lawmakers took a step toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana on Tuesday even though a commission studying the issue is months away from finishing its work.The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and to cultivate it in limited quantities. Provisions that would have created a regulatory system for selling and taxing the drug were dropped from the bill, which advanced to the House Ways and Means Committee on a vote of 207-139.