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Agriculture News

Recent Right-to-Farm decisions around the U.S.

Southwest Farm Press | Posted on November 22, 2018

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. The Pennsylvania Right-to-Farm Act was at issue in Burlingame v. Dagostin, 2018 WL 1530690. Since 1955, the Dagostin family has operated a farm in Luzerne County.  Up until 1990, it was a dairy, but then was switched to a beef farm.  In 2011, the family decided to convert to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) for pigs.  The farm developed a required nutrient management plan prior to beginning the CAFO operations. The facilities were built and the first shipment of pigs arrived in January 2013.  At some point after that, the Dagostin family began spreading liquid swine manure (LSM) on their surrounding farm fields.In May 2014 and April 2015, neighbors of the farm filed a nuisance suit against the Dagostin’s spreading of the LSM.  The Dagostin family moved for summary judgment arguing their operation was protected by the PA Right to Farm Act.  The trial court agreed that the Act prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims and entered judgment in favor of the Dagostins.  The plaintiffs appealed. Cases in Alaska and Georgia are also discussed.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcies on the Rise

Farm Policy News | Posted on November 22, 2018

In addition to the melancholy agricultural outlook contained in recent Federal Reserve District agricultural surveys, an update last week from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis pointed to troubling data regarding Chapter 12 Bankruptcies in the District.  In addition, recent news articles have also discussed some variables that could impact the state of the U.S. agricultural economy as the 2018 harvest draws to an end. A recent update from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (“Chapter 12 Bankruptcies on the Rise in the Ninth District“), by Ronald A. Wirtz, stated that, “It’s no longer a news story that crop and livestock prices are depressed, given their current multiyear persistence. Feedback from farmers, agricultural lenders, suppliers, and other interests in the ag sector, gathered informally by the Minneapolis Fed over the past year or so in meetings and other venues, has suggested that farm balance sheets are increasingly stressed.“And that nagging economic strain of low commodity prices on farmers and ranchers—compounded for some by recent tariffs—is starting to show up not just in bottom-line profitability, but in simple viability.

Researchers generate plants with enhanced drought resistance without penalizing growth

Science Daily | Posted on November 21, 2018

Extreme drought is one of the effects of climate change that is already being perceived. A team has obtained plants with increased drought resistance by modifying the signaling of the plant steroid hormones, known as brassinosteroids. The study is among the first to find a strategy to increase plant hydric stress resistance without affecting overall plant growth.

Salmonella geneslinked to antibiotic resistance

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on November 21, 2018

Investigators isolated 90 salmonella strains from food and human clinical samples, focusing on the serovar S. Typhimurium. Using whole genome sequencing at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientists measured antibiotic resistance in each of the 90 strains. According to the study, 65 (72.2 percent) of the strains proved resistant to sulfonamides, 44 (48.9 percent) to streptomycin, 27 (30 percent) to tetracycline, 21 (23.3 percent) to gentamicin and seven (7.8 percent) to ceftriaxone, a cephalosporin antibiotic. According to study co-author Fernanda Almeida, a biomedical scientist at the university's Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, S. Typhimurium remains one of the main serovars isolated from humans, animals and food in Brazil and worldwide.

Southeast Milk Prices Fall $1.67/cwt Since Last September

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on November 21, 2018

The Southeast Uniform milk price for September was $17.94, up $0.41 from August and $1.67 lower than September 2017. The Appalachian Uniform milk price was $17.35, up $0.32 from August and $1.71 lower than September 2017. 

High cost to compost poultry after Hurricane Florence

Watt AgNet | Posted on November 21, 2018

The State of North Carolina paid between $11 million and $13 million to compost chickens and turkeys that were lost to Hurricane Florence in September, the state’s agriculture commissioner said. During a recent presentation to state legislators, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner said the storm and subsequent flooding was responsible for the death of about 4 million birds. The primary expense involved was for sawdust, which was mixed with the poultry carcasses for the composting process, reported WRAL.Adding to the sawdust-related costs to have it shipped in. While most of the sawdust came from North and South Carolina, some had to be transported from as far away as Oklahoma. When questioned by one legislator whether the state could have sought bids for sawdust, Troxler said that if it would have done so, it would have prolonged the process.Even though the expense did seem excessive to some lawmakers, the state remained well under the budget of $20 million, which was approved by the administration of Gov. Roy Cooper.

On-farm economic conditions deteriorate more than expected

Delta Farm Press | Posted on November 21, 2018

Agricultural bankers reported that farm income had declined in the third quarter of 2018 and that farm household spending and capital expenditures remained below levels compared with a year ago, according to the latest Agricultural Finance Monitor published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The number of bankers reporting third-quarter declines was larger than three months ago and they expect farm income and expenditures to decline again in the fourth quarter.

Federal report shows farm income on the decline

KWQC | Posted on November 21, 2018

A report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank says farm income is continuing to decline within its district. The Fed says the third-quarter report released this week was the 19th straight survey in which most bankers indicated that farm income was on the decline. Bankers also were slightly less optimistic looking ahead, citing concerns over low prices for crops.Soybean prices have dropped significantly since July, when the Chinese government imposed tariffs on imports of soybeans.Bankers reported a 2.5 percent increase in crop land prices. They cited a 1.5 percent increase for pasture or ranch land.The Fed's St. Louis district includes Arkansas and parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Iowa site eyed for new beef packing plant

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on November 21, 2018

Local chamber of commerce members reportedly are working with an unidentified, out-of-state developer on a project that would create about 70 jobs. The city council’s action returns the land now owned by Crystal Distribution Services to the zoning in place when Rath Packing Co. operated a pork plant there. Rath went bankrupt in 1985.

Pa.’s Hunters Sharing the Harvest sets record for donations

PennLive | Posted on November 21, 2018

Now in its 27th season, the non-profit charity Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) helps to coordinate the donation, processing, and distribution of venison to Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity. According to a press release, HSH has donated 1,356,281 pounds of venison to the hungry since 1991. The Department of Agriculture partners with HSH to cover some of the costs of processing the meat, with the department increasing its share of financial support over the last two years due to increased deer donations. With continued support from Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Redding, legislative caucuses, businesses, sponsors and individuals, Pennsylvania hunters can donate their deer cost-free.