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Agriculture News

How changing crops, moving to no till agriculture and lightening infrastructure can reduce extreme temperatures.

Science Daily | Posted on February 1, 2018

New research has found that climate engineering that modifies the properties of the land surface in highly populated areas and agricultural areas over North American, Europe and Asia could reduce extreme temperatures there by up to 2 to 3 degrees C.

Michigan offers grants to county fairgrounds

The Detroit News | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering grants to help improve buildings and other facilities at county fairgrounds. Also available are grants for groups hosting other fairs or expositions where livestock and commodities are shown. Those awards would support premiums or promotional activities.

Vermont offers producer growers food safety improvement grants

Vermont Food and Market Agency | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to offer a two-roud grant opportunity to improve on-farm produce safety. Approximately $74,000 in funding will be available in each round. This grant is to assist Vermont produce growers to make improvements that help prevent or reduce known produce safety risks on their farms. Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR), and have average annual produce sales of greater than $25,000 over the past three years.* Successful projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants until all funds in the round have been allocated. 

'Lancaster County is not going to be the same': Large numbers of dairy farmers may sell cows within next 6 months

Montrose Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

The long, proud tradition of Lancaster County as the state’s dairy capital may take a hit in the next six months as milk farmers like Elmer K. King reluctantly empty their barn stalls. The Ronks-area dairyman recently began shopping for a buyer for his 48 milking cows, an unwilling step to exit the dairy business forced by a three-year-downward spiral in milk prices and a new projection that 2018 might be the worst yet.“I’d rather keep on going,” the longtime dairyman says, “but I don’t see any milk futures as being profitable, so there’s no sense in keeping cows. It’s not profitable. Local agriculture lenders, ag leaders and politicians fear the next six months may bring an unprecedented selloff of dairy herds in Lancaster County.The exits are expected to be mainly by younger dairy farmers and those renting farms who don’t have the equity built up to weather the storm any longer.

Western Wisconsin Led Nation In Farm Bankruptcies In 2017

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Western District had 28 Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases filed in 2017, a chapter specifically for family farmers or fishermen. The district includes 44 counties and covers more than half of the geographic area of the state. The Eastern District of Wisconsin had 17 cases and the Minnesota District had 19 cases. There are 94 federal court districts in the United States."The increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies is certainly an anomaly when you compare it to the other types of bankruptcies," said Christopher Seelen, an Eau Claire attorney who represents creditors in bankruptcy court. "People seem to have jobs, and the economy seems to be going well for most folks. Unfortunately for some of these farmers who are suffering through these low grain prices, the economy is not going as well for them."Low commodity prices for corn, soybeans and milk mean Wisconsin farmers are earning less, while input costs have remained steady or increased.

Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don't Help The Environment

NPR | Posted on February 1, 2018

Honeybees are amazing and adorable, and they suffer when people spray pesticides or mow down wildflowers. We've heard plenty in recent years about collapsing bee colonies. So Jonas Geldmann, at the University of Cambridge, says he understands how the honeybee became a symbol of environmental conservation.But he still doesn't like it."Lots of conservation organizations are promoting local honey, and even promoting sponsorships of honeybees and that kind of stuff, and that increasingly annoyed me," he says. It annoyed him because the honeybee is perhaps the one type of bee that we should worry about the least. Honeybee hives aren't natural, and they don't help the environment. In fact, they may harm it.There are thousands of bee species. Almost all of them live in the wild, hiding away in the ground or in odd cavities, like hollow plant stems. They play a vital role in the ecosystem, pollinating flowering plants. Many are in peril; some species have disappeared.

Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society

Politico | Posted on February 1, 2018

A couple of days later, she and five other women met with two human resources representatives, detailing a pattern of behavior they had witnessed over the preceding six years. The women said Shapiro, the vice president of Farm Animal Protection, asked them to have sex and told lewd jokes in the office, according to a POLITICO investigation based on new interviews with seven current and former employees, including four of the women who filed the complaint. According to interviews, emails and an internal document reviewed by POLITICO, Shapiro suggested a female employee should “take one for the team” by having sex with a donor, sent pornography and lewd emails to male employees and discussed with colleagues his sexual philosophies, such as having as many sexual partners as possible. His alleged behavior, staffers say, led to the resignations of no fewer than five employees from 2015 to late 2017.

Legal opinion: Gene editing exempt from Europe’s GMO rules

Capital Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

An advisory ruling has found the European Union should exempt gene-edited crops from strict GMO regulations, which may influence global attitudes toward gene editing.The opinion by an “advocate general” of the European Court of Justice isn’t a binding legal decision, but it’s considered highly persuasive for the panel of judges who will issue a ruling on the matter this summer.Advocates of biotechnology see the opinion as an early step in the right direction regarding Europe’s gene editing policy, but critics say it’s unlikely to sway wary European consumers.

Oversupply of milk, low prices cause concern for area dairy farmers

Reedsburg Times Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

Recent milk production numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture’s website show the United States dairy industry will produce an estimated 218.8 billion pounds of milk this year. While it’s a 0.5 billion pound reduction than what was predicted at the end of 2017, prices continue to drop because the demand for US dairy products are low.One reason for the oversupply comes from the limited amount of exports currently available to ship dairy products as well as a decrease in domestic demand.

New TPP deal puts U.S. wheat farmers at tariff disadvantage

Capital Press | Posted on January 31, 2018

A new Trans-Pacific Partnership deal would put U.S. wheat farmers at a $200 million disadvantage each year, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers, in a joint statement.Japan imports an average of 3.1 million metric tons of U.S. wheat every year, according to U.S. Wheat and the National Association of Wheat Growers. That was about 49 percent of Japan’s food wheat imports in 2016, according to the USDA. Canada supplied 34 percent and Australia 17 percent that year.After full implementation of the new TPP, Japan’s import tariffs on Canadian and Australian wheat will drop by about $65 per ton while the tariff on U.S. wheat will remain.