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Agriculture News

Maine shrimp population still looks bad amid shutdown

The Salem News | Posted on September 13, 2018

The early numbers from a new stock assessment of Gulf of Maine northern shrimp doesn't seem to bode well for the future of the long-shuttered fishery. The northern shrimp fishery has been shut down since the 2014 season because of historical lows in spawning and recruitment and escalating concerns over the warming of the Gulf of Maine waters — which researchers have said are warming faster than 99 percent of the world's other ocean waters.The news going forward does not appear much better.Results of the stock assessment "look fairly similar to what we've seen in previous years," said Megan Ware, a fishery management plan coordinator with the Atlantic States. "We're still seeing low trends for northern shrimp. Low abundance, low biomass."

Georgia farm will get compensated for poultry deaths due to bald eagle attacks

Agdaily | Posted on September 11, 2018

White Oak Pastures, whose 3,200 acres makes it the largest USDA certified-organic property in Georgia, estimates that bald eagles have destroyed nearly 160,000 chickens over the years, resulting in over $2,200,000 in losses. The farm was famously the subject of a 2016 Audubon feature article titled, “An Organic Chicken Farm in Georgia Has Become an Endless Buffet for Bald Eagles,” which explored the impact of the nearly 75 eagles living at the farm. It made the farm a focal point of the debate over animal welfare and of the differences in health and safety of pasture-raised and barn-raised poultry. Thursday’s FSA ruling means that White Oak can be compensated for the loss and destruction of its poultry. The decision followed years of disputes between the farm and the FSA, the organization responsible for compensating producers and farmers under the Livestock Indemnity Program. In a press released put out by White Oak, they said that the ruling determined that the FSA failed to follow its own rules for compensating farmers in its previous denials of White Oak’s claims, and that the FSA’s decision to deny benefits was erroneous.

Congress rolls back tariffs

Washington Examiner | Posted on September 11, 2018

On a voice vote and with little fanfare the House passed legislation Tuesday that would roll back tariffs on an estimated 1,660 products from China, mostly chemicals. The legislation, dubbed the Miscellaneous Tariffs Act, previously passed the Senate last month and now heads to the White House, which has not taken a public position on it. The bill’s supporters argue that the tariffs are outdated and protect few products made domestically and therefore drove up costs for the manufacturers that need them. A Reuters analysis said that the tariffs included just 145 items made in the U.S."Requiring manufacturers to pay tariffs on products that simply aren't made here runs up their manufacturing costs and puts them at a competitive disadvantage," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

German cows die after being freed from organic farm

DW | Posted on September 11, 2018

At least four cows have died and many more are injured after unknown assailants trespassed on an organic farm and released the cattle from their pens in the German state of Brandenburg. The culprits released scores of dairy cows and young cattle between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The cows proceeded to the concentrate feed area, where they ate up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of the substance. Normally, cows only receive a maximum of two kilograms of concentrate per day, the report said. Four cows died from overdose while 40 others are in critical condition and require veterinarian treatment, according to the report.

Minnesota farmers consider asking for government help as trade war worsens downturn that started years ago

Minnesota Star Tribune | Posted on September 10, 2018

The escalating trade war is imposing new burdens on Minnesota’s vast and economically important agricultural sector. Farmers have already endured almost five years of marginal profits as they produced record volumes in summer after summer of good weather. Now, the trade war appears likely to tip them from small profits to sizable losses. Many are reluctantly preparing to take what they consider a distasteful step: turning to the government for help. Last Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started accepting farmer applications for $4.7 billion in emergency aid aimed at helping them through this year. But the market is already signaling danger for 2019. Bankers who provide capital to farmers won’t stand for losses and, instead, will likely force many farmers to sit on the sidelines. As many as 20 percent of farmers in the Upper Midwest won’t be able to get credit to finance spring planting, barring a miracle turnaround in prices, said Al Kluis, a commodity broker in Wayzata. Farmers have lost big foreign markets like China and Mexico, which placed taxes on their products after Trump imposed tariffs on steel imports and pushed to recraft other trade deals. As a short-term response, the Trump administration responded by creating the aid program.

Ag associations voice support for King amendment

Watt Ag Net | Posted on September 6, 2018

Support for the proposed King amendment is growing, as a group of agricultural organizations is urging members of Congress to make sure the provision is included in the next farm bill. The King amendment, formally known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA) was introduced within the House version of the farm bill. The bill was designed to prevent states from regulating farm animal production in other states.For Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who introduced the legislation, this would protect his state’s egg industry from laws in other states, such as California and Massachusetts that have laws that set restrictions on how hens that lay eggs that are sold in in their state are raised, regardless of where they are raised.

BSE Found in Florida Beef Cow

DTN | Posted on September 6, 2018

A 6-year-old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida tested positive for an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, USDA announced. USDA stated the animal never entered slaughter channels, and at no time posed a threat to the food supply, or to human health in the United States."As expected, the market has greeted the news with a big yawn," said John Harrington, DTN livestock analyst. "The scary days of BSE are long gone."

Northeast farmers paid following settlement $50M lawsuit

Observer Reporter | Posted on September 6, 2018

Thousands of Northeast dairy farmers – including some from Pennsylvania – are receiving their share of a $50 million settlement, nearly nine years after the farmers filed a class-action lawsuit against a national dairy marketing cooperative.Dairy farmers of America this week paid an average of $4,000 to nearly 9,000 farms to settle a lawsuit that accused the marketing group of trying to drive down milk prices.The 2009 class-action lawsuit charged Dairy Farmers of America; its marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services; and Dallas-based Dean Foods with working together to monopolize the market for raw milk in the Northeast.Dean Foods agreed to a separate $30 million settlement in 2011.

Trump’s Fight With Canada Over Nafta Faces New Hurdles

Bloomberg | Posted on September 6, 2018

President Donald Trump’s effort to force Canada into signing on to a new Nafta on his terms is facing new hurdles thanks to growing opposition at home to his threat to proceed without the U.S.’s northern neighbor. Trump’s frustration spilled into the open over the weekend as he railed against Canada on Twitter -- as well as its many supporters in both political parties. The president has threatened to leave Canada out of a new trade deal already negotiated with Mexico, but without congressional support he lacks leverage to force Ottawa to make concessions.

Swine fever has made its way into China, home to half the world’s pigs.

The Guardian | Posted on September 6, 2018

This is not the first time Europe has been struck by ASF. In 1957, it was introduced into Portugal, reportedly after infected airline food was fed as swill to pigs near Lisbon airport. The disease spread to Spain and France and took until the 1990s to eradicate through concerted surveillance and culling. In southern Spain, where ticks acted as an additional reservoir, old-fashioned farm buildings were destroyed and replaced with modern facilities to keep ticks out. “There was a major effort to eradicate it,” says Linda Dixon, a cell biologist who works on ASF at the UK’s Pirbright Institute.This time the spread has been far more rapid despite considerable biosecurity efforts. The current outbreak in central and eastern Europe began in January 2014, when cases were first reported in Lithuania, swiftly followed by outbreaks in Poland in February, and in Latvia and Estonia in June and September that year.