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Agriculture News

“Organic” doesn’t mean “small”

Daily Yonder | Posted on March 14, 2018

Not too long ago a press release from a big CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) called Natural Prairie Dairy crossed the desk of the Daily Yonder, proclaiming a new era for organic dairy production.  It offered “a 21st century farm (with) 21st century careers.” A 21st century farm with more than over 4,000 cows, that is. The dairy is proposing to build an operation in northwest Indiana with 4,350 cows. The farm will produce 26 million gallons of urine, manure, and dirty water, according to the Newtown County Enterprise. But don’t worry. The milk will be organic.

Proposal floated would satisfy cooperatives, grain elevator groups

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on March 14, 2018

Two major agricultural groups announced a proposal on Tuesday to roll back the Section 199A tax-break deduction that has upended grain trade. The National Grain and Feed Association and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives support a plan that would replace the 20% deduction on gross sales to cooperatives with a tax deduction more comparable to the original Section 199 deduction, known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction.If approved by Congress, a farmer selling to a cooperative would still see a tax benefit over selling to a private company, but the tax break won't be as lucrative. The new tax provision also would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, which would effectively nullify any significant tax savings farmers believe they were going to gain by exclusively selling to grain cooperatives. Under the draft legislation, the 20% gross sales language would be repealed and parts of the old Section 199 DPAD would be restored.Changes would be made to the farmer-level 20% deduction on qualified business income, which all non-corporate taxpayers received under the new tax law. Farmers who do businesses with cooperatives would see their 20% deduction reduced by either 9% of qualified income subject to such sales, or 50% of the farmer's wages allocable to such sales. The farmer would then add any pass-through from the co-op on the new Section 199 back in as a deduction. The total farmer-patron deduction would be the pass-through deduction from the cooperative, plus the modified 20% deduction.So the new change retains a benefit for selling to a cooperative, but it isn't simple.The draft language also notes that farms structured as a C corporation would not be eligible for the 20% pass-through deduction because of the language in the new law.


Iowa could support 45,700 livestock confinements, but should it?

Des Moines Register | Posted on March 13, 2018

Trent Thiele loves feeding and caring for the 3,400 pigs that live less than a half mile from his home. "I truly enjoy coming to work every morning. They're always in a good mood," said Thiele, reaching down to scratch the backs of a few pigs inside the confined feeding operation.Without the northeast Iowa business, Thiele said he would be forced to move to a city or town to support his wife and their five children, a common tale in a state that's seen rural jobs and opportunity drain away over several decades.That's why Thiele, 35, doesn't understand calls for a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations."I don't know why we'd want to limit future generations," Thiele said, adding that farmers need the fertilizer.The clamor over confinements has grown louder after one expert estimated Iowa could support 45,700 CAFOs, four times more facilities for pigs, cattle and chickens than currently exist in the state.Skirmishes between CAFOs and their neighbors have played out across Iowa for at least three decades. In that time, the number of pigs has grown about 60 percent in the nation's largest pork-producing state as farmers have shifted f

China hog prices plunge after farm building boom

Reuters | Posted on March 13, 2018

Chinese pig prices hit their lowest in nearly four years this week, plunging farmers in the world’s top pork market into the red and underscoring concerns that a rapid expansion of large pig farms in China has outpaced slowing demand growth.

Poultry farms aren’t small independent businesses, says the agency that funds them

The New Food Economy | Posted on March 13, 2018

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on Tuesday announced in a new report that most chicken growers may no longer qualify as independent, small businesses. And that means they won’t qualify for small business loans. It’s a finding that could signal a significant loss in support: Between 2012 and 2016, SBA loaned about $1.8 billion to poultry growers. In 2016, poultry companies received more than three-quarters of all the SBA loans that went to agricultural businesses.

Bayer Feed A Bee program funds 20 new projects

PR Newswire | Posted on March 13, 2018

Less than one year after launching the Feed a Bee 50-state forage grant program, the Bayer Bee Care Program revealed the list of 20 new organizations that have received funding for important forage initiatives around the country, bringing the total number of projects funded to more than 100. After a rigorous review and evaluation process by the Feed a Bee steering committee, 20 organizations were chosen in the latest round of review to receive awards ranging from $1,000 - $5,000. This brings the total for the program to 112 funded projects in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

Canadian egg farmers disappointed with new TPP agreement

Canadian Poultry Magazine | Posted on March 13, 2018

Egg Farmers of Canada has weighed in on Tuesday’s Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) announcement. In a press release, the organization said it was disappointed with the deal, describing it as a failure to protect the future of Canada's egg farms.EFC added it also represents a hit on Canadian consumers.“The outcome of the CPTPP agreement means difficult challenges for Canada's egg farmers, their communities and many farms and businesses they support,” EFC chairman Roger Pelissero said.Once fully implemented, Canadian egg farmers will have lost the right to produce close to 291 million dozen eggs, with an additional 19 million dozen eggs added each year after the implementation phase.

Qatar Is Shipping In 3,000 Cows From California, Arizona and Wisconsin

Bloomberg | Posted on March 13, 2018

The nine-month Saudi-led embargo of Qatar has an undisputed mascot for Doha’s defiance: the cud-chewing American cow. Thousands of airlifted dairy cows landed in Qatar in the first months of the boycott that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt established against the country in June. The airborne bovines created a spectacle that highlighted the gas-rich sheikdom’s ability to overcome sanctions and provide fresh milk to its 2.7 million residents.The herd settled at Baladna Farms, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Doha.

States consider blocking pesticides after EPA flips

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on March 13, 2018

A month after Scott Pruitt began leading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the former Oklahoma attorney general rejected an Obama-era recommendation from agency scientists to ban a widely used pesticide from use on food crops. That means farmers can continue to spray chlorpyrifos on crops ranging from corn to cranberries. The change was welcomed by farm groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which said farmers need access to the chemical to stop infestations. But environmentalists, who had been working for years to get the Obama administration to crack down on the pesticide, were outraged. And officials in several states — all led by Democrats — now say that if the federal government won’t force the pesticide off their lands, they will. Seven states have sued the EPA over Pruitt’s decision. In at least four states, legislators have filed bills to ban the product.

Immigrants say working at Kansas ranch was 'like slavery'

Yahoo News | Posted on March 13, 2018

Immigrants working on a remote Kansas ranch toil long days in a type of servitude to work off loans from the company for the cost of smuggling them into the country, according to five people who worked there. There are no holidays, health insurance benefits or overtime pay at Fullmer Cattle Co., which raises calves for dairies in four states. The immigrants must buy their own safety gear such as goggles.One worker spent eight months cleaning out calf pens, laying down cement and doing other construction work. Esteban Cornejo, a Mexican citizen who is in the U.S. illegally, left Kansas in November after paying off debt, which he figures was nearly $7,000. The pay stub Cornejo shared with The Associated Press shows he worked 182.5 hours at $10 an hour over two weeks — an average of 15 hours a day with Sundays off. His pay was $1,828.34 before taxes. Also deducted was a $1,300 "cash advance repayment" that he said was a company loan for bringing him into the country. His take-home pay was $207.46, the pay stub shows, or just over $1 an hour