While the U.S. has a very vigorous inspection system and some of the best sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions in the world, we have seen over and over that it is impossible to keep insects, weeds, and diseases out. According to the National Beef Association, we currently do not have the resources to deal with a large outbreak of FMD. The current FMD vaccine bank in the United States is located at Plum Island, NY, and only contains enough vaccine to meet the need of a small, confined FMD outbreak. Additionally, preparation of a vaccine, from onset until delivery of a ready-to-administer dose, would currently take weeks. By the time vaccines could be administered, the entire beef industry would be in devastation. Worldwide FMD vaccine production is also limited, and there is no surge capacity available to produce the millions of doses needed in the event of a large-scale outbreak in the United States. As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, full mandatory funding of $150 million a year for five years is proposed. It provides for a robust U.S. FMD vaccine bank, capable of responding rapidly and effectively to any potential FMD outbreak. While this is a significant budget request in an already tight spending situation, Congress needs to see this for the priority that it is.
A controversial measure that would make it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property rights has been finalized by the state’s lawmakers, according to media reports. Versions of the bill, Farm Act Senate Bill 711, were approved by the state’s Senate and House earlier this week. On Thursday the Senate approved the House’s proposed changes. The final version of the bill moves to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become state law without his signature. The second of what could be a host of nuisance suits is being heard in federal court now. In April, a jury awarded $50 million to 10 neighbors of a large hog farmer raising the animals for the Murphy-Brown unit of Smithfield; the residents had sued the processor, rather than the farmer himself. The award was later reduced in compliance with an existing North Carolina law that caps damages.
Authorities leveled multiple felony and misdemeanor charges on a Humboldt County man after investigators discovered hundreds of dead livestock on his ranch. Raymond Christie was charged with 35 counts, including seven misdemeanor charges and 28 counts for placing dead animal carcasses within 150 feet of state waters, according to a letter from Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming. Local, state and federal officials had discovered up to 300 deceased cows, some stacked in 10-foot-high piles or heaped in and near waterways, on four properties owned by Christie.
cademy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman has graced the silver screen for the majority of her life, entertaining audiences at the age of 12 in her first film "Léon: The Professional" and continuing to make her mark on Hollywood through "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," "Black Swan" and "Jackie." Portman is also a longtime animal rights and environmental activist. Her new documentary explores the rise of so-called factory farming in America and some of the potential alternatives to meat. The film is an adaptation of the 2009 best-selling book, "Eating Animals," by Jonathan Safran Foer, which Portman said was an "eye opening" read.
Recent years have not been easy for the dairy industry, and Indiana’s milk producers welcome any help they will see from the processing plant Walmart just opened in Fort Wayne. More than 100 farmers across much of the country, including at least 25 in Indiana, were notified earlier this year that due to an oversupply of milk, their contracts with Dean Foods would not be renewed. They had until May 31 to find a new market for their milk. In Indiana, “they were scattered throughout the state,” said Doug Leman, executive director for Indiana Dairy Producers. “Most of the larger farms that were affected were in central to northern Indiana.” Recent years have not been easy for the dairy industry, and Indiana’s milk producers welcome any help they will see from the processing plant Walmart just opened in Fort Wayne.More than 100 farmers across much of the country, including at least 25 in Indiana, were notified earlier this year that due to an oversupply of milk, their contracts with Dean Foods would not be renewed. They had until May 31 to find a new market for their milk.In Indiana, “they were scattered throughout the state,” said Doug Leman, executive director for Indiana Dairy Producers. “Most of the larger farms that were affected were in central to northern Indiana.”
Weeks of speculation have ended with new anxiety for growers of America’s leading agricultural export: President Trump announced today he is indeed levying 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This decision not only inflames trade tensions between the two countries, but also means U.S. soybean growers, who shipped roughly $14 billion in soybeans last year to China – their number one export market – stand to quickly feel the impact of retaliatory tariffs. The American Soybean Association (ASA), on behalf of all U.S. soy growers, is disappointed in the Administration’s decision, which follows weeks of imploring the President and his team to find non-tariff solutions to address Chinese intellectual property theft and not place American farmers in harm’s way. ASA has twice requested a meeting with President Trump to discuss how increasing soy exports to China can be a part of the solution to the U.S. trade deficit without resorting to devastating tariffs.
Farm groups took to social media on Thursday as part of a last-ditch effort to get the Trump administration to back off trade tariffs the administration is expected to implement against China on Friday. The groups fear China could bounce right back with tariffs against U.S. agricultural commodities. The farm groups, led by the American Soybean Association, started tweeting out with other business groups under the hashtag #TradeNotTariffs. Tweets with that hashtag started coming from ASA, the National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, the Corn Refiners Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers, as well as state affiliates of these groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Pruitt met with a coalition of Nebraska farm groups called Common Sense Nebraska as part of a trip this week through the Midwest that included stops in Kansas and South Dakota. Pruitt may have wanted to focus on waters of the U.S., but Pruitt spent most of the Nebraska meeting answering questions about the Renewable Fuels Standard, E15 and small refinery waivers. The themes were similar with the events in South Dakota and Kansas. With the agriculture economy on the ropes as a result of low commodity prices and trade battles, farm groups pressed Pruitt to provide a timeline on when the agency will approve year-round sales of E15, gasoline blended up to 15% ethanol. "We stand ready to proceed," Pruitt said. "I can't give you a timeframe but we're doing the work. I was encouraged to bring the parties together and I brought the parties together, and I said can you help us find an answer. There is a way forward here. I feel confident the statute provides for it (E15). We're in a pause period, but there is a desire to do it." Ideally, Pruitt said he'd like to see E15 on a fast track of about four months to approval, but that is likely optimistic. Because rulemaking takes time, he said, year-round E15 may not happen in 2018. "The issue is, when will it penetrate the marketplace?" Pruitt said. "It may take three years."
In sub-Saharan Africa, 20 to 80% of corn yields may be lost because of a semi-parasitic plant, Striga. In areas infested with Striga, farmers may even lose their entire crops. In a new study, researchers from southern Africa identified several varieties of corn resistant or tolerant to Striga. Importantly, these varieties also have improved nutritional content, particularly protein.
A newly developed fertilizer system will provide nutrition to engineered cotton crops worldwide and a deadly dose to weeds that are increasingly herbicide resistant, according to a new study. The new system applies phosphite to cotton crops engineered to express a certain gene -- a gene that makes cotton able to process the phosphite into nutrition while the same compound suppresses weeds that are unable to use it, researchers said.