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Agriculture News

Ohio dairy farmers leaving at higher-than-usual rate

Feedstuffs | Posted on April 25, 2018

The dramatic drop in milk prices is causing Ohio’s dairy farmers to leave the business at a higher than usual rate, according to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. While some farmers retire and give up their dairy licenses every year, there has been an uptick recently. In March 2018, there were 2,253 licensed dairy farms in Ohio – a drop of 59 farms in five months. “Farmers are deciding they can no longer dig any deeper into their equity to pay for what I call ‘the privilege of milking cows,’” said Dianne Shoemaker, Ohio State University Extension field specialist in dairy production economics.

Trade Concerns Batter Business Confidence

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on April 25, 2018

April Rural Mainstreet Index Positive:April Survey Results at a Glance:  For a third straight month the overall index remained above growth neutral.
* Farmland price growth and agriculture-equipment sales continue to decline.  Trade concerns slam the business confidence index.  More than three-fourths of bank CEOs reported that export markets were very important to their local economy.  Almost one-third of bankers support the abolition of NAFTA and undertaking a new agreement.  More than one-fifth of bankers support the elimination of oil refinery waivers to RFS obligations.

‘Plant-based’ plays way better than ‘vegan’ with most consumers

Food Navigator | Posted on April 25, 2018

On the face of it vegan and plant based might appear to be interchangeable but consumers do not view them in the same way.  in a nationawide survey, respondents felt plant based was more flexible, offered them more and tasted better than vegan.

Water Quality BMPs in Midwest Ag Landscapes: What Can be Learned from the Forest Sector

Dovetail Partners Inc | Posted on April 25, 2018

Declining water quality is a pressing environmental challenge and a landscape scale issue, affecting public and private landowners and many aspects of society. The need to protect water resources has prompted both government and individual involvement in finding solutions. Agricultural crop and animal production significantly impact water quality (Table 1). Land cultivation activities can contribute to increased risks of soil erosion, and the application of fertilizers and pesticides contribute to contaminated water runoff. Land management practices, planting locations and methods, crop selection, soil types and many other factors affect the processes of erosion and runoff. The use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other strategies have been shown to mitigate water quality impacts from land use activities and can help to ensure healthy water systems. While there are many ways to address the risks of runoff and erosion, this report focuses on BMPs that can be implemented as part of land use practices within agricultural watersheds.

Upstate NY farmer says ICE officers stormed his farm without a warrant, cuffed him | Posted on April 24, 2018

John Collins was standing outside the milk house at his dairy farm this morning when he heard yelling coming from inside. He ran in, he says, and saw his worker, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, pinned up against the window by armed men. The men did not identify themselves and were screaming at Aguilar, Collins said. "I run and say, 'What the hell is going on in here?'" Collins said.Then the men told Collins they were officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He asked them for a warrant or some paperwork to explain what they were doing. They had none, he said, so he ordered them to get off his property and leave Aguilar alone. As this happened, Collins said, Aguilar's children watched. They were waiting nearby for the school bus to come. Collins said the officers put Aguilar in handcuffs and took him across the rural road to their vehicles. At least seven officers had come onto the small farm, Collins said. Collins said he followed the officers cross the street and asked them why they were taking Aguilar, but he didn't get a straight answer. He also continued to ask for paperwork, but was not offered any by the ICE officers. Collins said Aguilar had proper documentation to work for him. And he's been paying taxes since working for Collins. Just like police officers, ICE officers are required to provide a warrant before they go onto private property. "ICE needs a warrant. If they go on someone's property without one, they are violating the law," said immigration law expert and Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.

Despite $1.1 billion year, Organic Valley posts $10 million loss in 2017 — its first in 20 years

LaCrosse Tribune | Posted on April 19, 2018

Organic Valley posted its first financial loss in 20 years in 2017, despite its second consecutive year of gross sales over $1.1 billion and business growth of more than 4 percent. The after-tax loss of about $10 million — compared with a $6.3 million profit the previous year — resulted from a combination of factors, including excess supplies of both organic and conventional milk that bedeviled all U.S. dairy farmers.

Farmers’ Anger at Trump Tariffs Puts Republican Candidates in a Bind

The New York Times | Posted on April 19, 2018

As President Trump moves to fulfill one of the central promises of his campaign — to get tough on an ascendant China — he faces a potential rebellion from a core constituency: farmers and other agricultural producers who could suffer devastating losses in a trade war. Mr. Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Chinese goods came with a presidential declaration that trade wars are good and easily won. But the action has injected damaging uncertainty into the economy as Republicans are already struggling to maintain their hold on the House and the Senate in a difficult election year.While the battle for control of the House will be waged in large part in the suburbs, rural districts in Southern Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas and Missouri could prove important. And control of the Senate could come down to Republican efforts to unseat Democrats in North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Montana — all states staring down the barrels of a trade war’s guns.

rotecting Backyard Poultry Owners Against Zoonoses

AVMA | Posted on April 19, 2018

To prevent zoonotic diseases from poultry, remember what your mother taught you, advises Richard M. (“Mick”) Fulton, DVM, PhD, DACPV, professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in East Lansing: “Wash your hands before you eat; don’t put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth; and don’t eat poultry that is undercooked.”  Most people become infected with poultry-related zoonoses via contamination of mucous membranes or by eating undercooked meat, Dr. Fulton said. He discussed problems associated with the growing number of backyard chickens.

Species Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of Synch

Common Dreams | Posted on April 19, 2018

In a new study showing that the timing of species' natural events is failing to synchronize, "everything is consistent with the fact it's getting warmer" The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature's food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The study offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that human activity has contributed to has had far-reaching effects throughout the planet.A paper by ecologists at the University of Ottawa examined 88 species on four continents, and more than 50 relationships between predator and pray as well as herbivores and the plants they eat, and found that food chain events are taking place earlier in the year than they have in the past, because of the warming climate.

In Bryant Park, 3 Million Bees, Sold From the Back of a Truck

The New York Times | Posted on April 19, 2018

The truck’s back door opened to reveal its cargo: 3 million Italian honeybees. They did not seem that happy after having endured a 15-hour drive up from Georgia, but Reife was delighted, as he examined the hundreds of wood-and-screen boxes, each one holding more than 10,000 bees.He picked out two boxes. His mother paid the bee man $150 apiece for them and drove them off to Long Island, where the family keeps hives.They were among roughly 150 beekeepers who flocked to Bryant Park for the bee delivery, to replenish hives across the city and the region: on building rooftops, in small urban backyards and sometimes even indoors. Beekeeping in New York City was long a furtive hobby. It has become more popular since the city made it legal in 2010 to keep hives. For many of the estimated 500 beekeepers now in the city, the annual bee delivery has become a springtime ritual, said the bee man, Andrew Coté, founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association.Every April, Mr. Coté brings up millions of bees to sell — nearly at cost, he said.