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Agriculture News

AEM’s Latest Ag Equipment Data: Waiting to Exhale

AEM | Posted on August 16, 2018

Overall U.S. sales of tractors and combines continued to post strong numbers, led by self-propelled combines and 4-wheel-drive tractors, according to the July 2018 report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). July U.S. sales of self-propelled combines gained 37 percent compared to last year, with year-to-date growth of nearly 24 percent compared to last-year’s January-July numbers.U.S. sales of 4-wheel-drive tractors jumped 77.5 percent for July compared to July 2017, and grew nearly 13 percent year-to-date over January-July 2017.For July, total U.S. sales of 2-wheel drive tractors grew 12 percent over last year. Sales in the 100-plus HP category led the way with 31-percent growth, followed by gains of 16 percent for under-40 HP tractors, and a dip of 1.5 percent for the 40-100 HP category.

HSUS looking for corporate buy-in

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 16, 2018

HSUS recently held its “Taking Action for Animals” Conference here in Arlington, and as always the Alliance had representatives on the scene. Despite HSUS’ efforts to appear moderate and professional, its conference has usually been a good source for quotes and insights that illustrate its true mission to promote veganism and end animal agriculture. When I reviewed the agenda for this year’s event, I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. The sessions were all billed under very innocuous names with vague descriptions, and most of the speakers were HSUS staffers vs. more openly radical activists. My theory was that the organization was trying to lay low and avoid controversy following all of the negative headlines this year.Apparently I wasn’t the only one who didn’t find the agenda to be particularly intriguing. Our representatives overhead several attendee conversations about how much smaller the audience was than usual, and most participants seemed to be affiliated with HSUS in some way. In some conversations, HSUS’ employee controversies over the past year were mentioned as the most likely reason for the low attendance.

Reports: Oregon has pot oversupply, Colorado hits the mark

Capital Press | Posted on August 16, 2018

Two of the first states to broadly legalize marijuana took different approaches to regulation that left Oregon with a vast oversupply and Colorado with a well-balanced market. But in both states prices for bud have plummeted. A new Oregon report by law enforcement found nearly 70 percent of the legal recreational marijuana grown goes unsold, while an unrelated state-commissioned Colorado study found most growers there are planting less than half of their legal allotment — and still meeting demand.The Oregon study released by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area — a coalition of local, state and federal agencies — includes the medical and general-use markets and the illegal market, despite gaps in data on illicit marijuana grows.The Colorado study focuses on the legal, general-use market, and researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder’s business school and a Denver consulting firm had access to state tracking data to produce the first-of-its-kind analysis.

Animal tests positive for swine flu at Shiawassee County Fair

WNEM | Posted on August 16, 2018

An outbreak of a deadly virus is closing down an attraction at a local county fair. Organizers are figuring out how pigs were infected with the swine flu at the Shiawassee County Fair.Closed signs and fencing cloak the Shiawassee Fair's Swine Barn with not even one pig in sight.That's because on Thursday night, Fair Manager Ric Crawford and barn superintendents noticed that a group of pigs started looking sick. Some of them even spiking 105 degree fevers triggering Crawford to call the state veterinarian."She came out that night she did samples on our suspect animals and the next day we did get a call from the state and said one test came back positive for swine influenza," Crawford said.With more than 30 years of experience, Crawford knew he had to act quickly for the safety of both the animals and fair visitors.

Canadian feedlots to benefit from new animal care audit

The Western Producer | Posted on August 16, 2018

A standardized animal welfare program for Canadian feedlot operators should result in healthier, more profitable cattle. Better animal care has a spin-off benefit because it improves performance, health and reduces the chronically ill or railers, that is, animals that must go to slaughter before they reach market weight.It is a companion to the national beef code of practice but addresses specific issues in feedlots.Canadian facilities JBS and Cargill Meats, and Tyson’s at Pasco, Washington, are involved with the program as are retailers and some companies like McDonald’s.

Europe foresees record apple crop

Capital Press | Posted on August 16, 2018

Europe is projecting it’s largest apple crop which increases competition for Washington apples overseas in the coming year of sales.

Bring the Dairy Farm into Your Classroom

Discover Dairy | Posted on August 16, 2018

“Adopt A Cow” Year-Long Learning Experience. Forget the guinea pig. How about adopting a 1,500-pound dairy cow your classroom mascot? Don’t worry about finding a pen big enough to hold her. The photos and stories we’ll send you about her life on the farm will make her “come alive” for your students! Here is an opportunity to use the “Discover Dairy” Lesson Series to create a year-long discovery for your students to explore where their food comes from. Once you complete and submit the enrollment form below, your classroom will be registered to “Adopt a Cow.” Registrations for each academic year are due by September 30th, 2018, and you’ll receive your introductory kit with details about your cow in November. You’ll find out what her name is, when her birthday is, where she lives and how the farmer takes care of her. We’ll also send photos of the cow, bookmarks and activity sheets for the students, and a poster to hang up. Then, in January and March, you’ll receive updates about your dairy cow and the dairy farm where she lives.

How free-range access impacts poultry health, welfare

Watt Ag Net | Posted on August 16, 2018

While some of poultry efficiency can be attributed to genetics and improvements in nutrition, bringing birds inside also improved production. “We were able to control their environment, and we were able to protect the animal,” Pescatore said. However, with the separation between farming and the general public continuously growing, there is an increased interest from consumers to better understand where their food comes from — hence the increased interest in free-range poultry production, he explained. Pescatore and his associates took an in-depth look at free-range access and whether or not it has an impact on animal welfare. Hens with outdoor access had lower plumage damage and a reduced incidence of footpad dermatitis compared to cage hens. Structural bone integrity was better, too. Free-range hens do have better bone integrity; however, that improved integrity is not enough to prevent fractures or keel-bone deformities, Pescatore explained.“As the birds have more access to move, they have more chance of flying, running into things and flying higher,” he said. These are all issues that can attribute to bone issues.

Editorial: Lack of guestworker bill leaves farmers hanging

Capital Press | Posted on August 16, 2018

Apparently, Congress can afford to put off revamping the H-2A guestworker program. But farmers can’t.Called the H-2A visa, it allows farmers to bring in guestworkers from outside the U.S. to do the work that Americans will not do. To qualify to bring H-2A workers to their farm to harvest fruits or vegetables, prune trees or do other work, farmers first have to advertise the jobs to Americans. Once they can’t get enough domestic workers, they can apply for foreign workers, but they have to pay to get the paperwork through the federal government. They then must pay to get the workers to the farm and back to their home country and provide housing. They also must pay the H-2A workers a higher minimum wage — $14.12 an hour in Washington state — established by the federal government. This is to prevent farmers from using “low-cost” H-2A workers to displace domestic workers.  Though some in the House continued to work to get an improved guestworker program passed, others appeared to be intent on holding off until after the November elections.That’s too bad. It’s not like Congress has a sterling record for incumbents to run on. One would think that passing a bill to help U.S. farmers harvest the food they need to feed Americans would be a top priority among elected leaders.

Company launches service to reduce fees from Syngenta lawsuit

Feedstuffs | Posted on August 16, 2018

Legal Expense Solutions (LES) has launched a service to advocate for farmers across the country to reduce fees paid to attorneys in the $1.51 billion Syngenta biotech corn settlement, some of which LES argues may be “excessive, unnecessary and unethical.” According to LES, tens of thousands of farmers have retained their own attorneys, with hundreds of thousands more being represented by a consortium of law firms in the class action. The settlement requires that no claimant will receive more money per acre/bushel than any other for at least one year.LES said individual attorneys have retained some farmers at fees of 40% or more of the farmer's recovery, while the class settlement attorneys to the court have posted their intent to request up to 33.333% of the settlement, plus expenses (possibly totaling more than $500 million).