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Agriculture News

Assessing the Pulse of the Next Farm Bill Debate

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on August 1, 2017

Thirteen agricultural economists put together short papers describing issues that will surface during the writing of the next farm bill. For each issue, the author describes the "policy setting" and details "farm bill issues" that likely will arise during negotiations. Each issue then has a "what to watch for" summary. These papers, along with an overview, are presented in this article.

    Agriculture Secretary Perdue to Kick Off “Back to Our Roots” RV Tour

    USDA | Posted on August 1, 2017

     U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that he will embark on a five-state RV tour, titled the “Back to Our Roots” Tour, to gather input on the 2018 Farm Bill and increasing rural prosperity.  Along the way, Perdue will meet with farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, students, governors, Members of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees, and other stakeholders.  This is the first of two RV tours the secretary will undertake this summer.  In making the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued the following statement: “The ‘Back to our Roots’ Farm Bill and rural prosperity RV listening tour will allow us to hear directly from people in agriculture across the country, as well as our consumers – they are the ones on the front lines of American agriculture and they know best what the current issues are,” Perdue said.  “USDA will be intimately involved as Congress deliberates and formulates the 2018 Farm Bill.  We are committed to making the resources and the research available so that Congress can make good facts-based, data-driven decisions.  It’s important to look at past practices to see what has worked and what has not worked, so that we create a farm bill for the future that will be embraced by American agriculture in 2018.”This first RV Tour will feature stops in five states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  For social media purposes, Secretary Perdue’s Twitter account (@SecretarySonny) will be using the hashtag #BackToOurRoots. 

    What is going on with increasing sow death loss and culling?

    National Hog Farmer | Posted on July 31, 2017

    SMS database shows top 10% of the farms have a favorable trend line for death loss while the database as a whole has an unfavorable trend line. Overall death loss was actually lowered each year from 2006 to 2010 before it was steady until 2014 and then jumping up in 2015 to 8.6% and finishing 2016 at 10.2%.

    Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Japan's Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef

    USDA | Posted on July 29, 2017

    The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan's tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States.  The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.  The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force.

    California's booming almond crop hits 1M acres

    Daily Democrat | Posted on July 29, 2017

    California’s almond boom has hit 1 million acres, covering a total area bigger than the state of Rhode Island. The Almond Board of California reported the state’s almond harvest is expected to hit a record 2.2 billion pounds this year.Surging demand for almond snacks in Asia has helped make almonds California’s richest agricultural export, passing wine grapes and other crops.The doubling of the state’s almond acreage since 2000 is controversial because the state has frequent droughts, and nut trees can’t be fallowed in a dry year.


    Study: antibiotic use in India’s chicken industry is a looming disaster

    The Fern | Posted on July 29, 2017

    Poultry farms in India are dosing their chickens with antibiotics at such high rates that 94 percent of meat chickens and 60 percent of laying hens tested in a new study harbored multi-drug-resistant bacteria that can cause grave human infections. In the study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Minnesota and several institutions in India interviewed farmers and collected samples on 18 farms in northern India. Half of the farms raised broilers and half kept hens for egg production, some on solo family properties and others under Western-style contract arrangements in which farmers raise but do not own birds.All told, more than 500 chickens were tested — the largest such study yet done in India, the researchers said — yielding more than 1,500 samples of E. coli that was resistant to drugs that are important in human medicine. The most common resistance pattern was ESBL, which denotes bacteria that are resistant to penicillin and the drug family cephalosporins. The latter  includes the common antibiotic Keflex. Eighty-seven percent of broilers and 42 percent of layers carried ESBL-resistant bacteria.“That was truly shocking; I had not expected that level of ESBL resistance,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, an economist and the study’s lead author, said by phone. “When the results first came out I asked the team if they were sure they were right. When we confirmed it, it was mind-boggling.”

    Water Law Webinar from the National Ag Law Center on Sept. 6th

    National Ag Law Center | Posted on July 29, 2017

    Wednesday, September 6th at Noon EDT. This webinar summarizes recent legislative developments and case law from around the country that impact agriculture and agribusiness. The status of the Waters of the United States Rule will be analyzed. Recent case law on exempt wells, water rights and regulatory takings, and other important topics will be discussed. The webinar will include an analysis of the possible impacts of Des Moines Water Works decision. Practical impacts for the producer and agricultural law will be emphasized throughout the webinar.

    Secretary Perdue to announce new mentorship initiative in Iowa August 5, Register Now!

    Farm Services Agency | Posted on July 28, 2017

    On August 5, 2017, Secretary Perdue plans to announce an initiative that will increase access to business mentorships by farmers, ranchers and small business entrepreneurs.  Please join us for this announcement and a panel discussion on supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers! New farmers need people in their corner who can help them navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business.  Advisors from a wide range of backgrounds can support new farmers through agricultural mentorship.  While a generation of farmers prepares to transition off the land, the next generation is exploring ways to get started and grow their operations.  USDA is working with partners like you to ensure that farmers and ranchers have access to the support and tools they need to succeed, and this new mentorship initiative that Secretary Perdue will announce on August 5 is an important tool in the toolbox. I hope that you can join us for this event in person or on USDA’s Facebook page, where we will be broadcasting live!  Please also share this announcement with your membership and producers in Iowa.  Logistics:Where: Iowa Ag Summit held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. When:  Saturday, August 5, 2017. Events: 11:00am Secretary Perdue’s keynote address and announcement. 3:00pm Panel discussion “Supporting the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers” Attendance at the Iowa Ag Summit is free but registration is required at, and late registrations will be accepted.

    American Farmland Trust releases new guide on Growing Local

    American Farmland Trust | Posted on July 28, 2017

    Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure. Written for farmers, community residents and food policy councils, as well as planners and local government officials, this practical guide highlights real life examples of ways communities are growing food connections from field to fork.  “GROWING LOCAL is an excellent resource, sharing successful policies and approaches to food systems development from across the country,” said David Rouse, managing director of research and advisory services for the American Planning Association. “It identifies key places in the planning process where a community can address the viability of local farms and improve healthy food access—from civic engagement, to visioning and goal setting, to developing solutions to grow its economy and the well-being of its residents.”

    New York meat plant to close despite grant money

    Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 27, 2017

    Value-added and portion-controlled pork and veal products maker Delft Blue will close its pork processing plant in New York Mills, N.Y., just months after announcing it would expand its operation and add 22 jobs in exchange for a $330,000 government grant, according to local media reports. According to, the expansion never happened, and now Delft Blue plans to close the plant and lay off its 83 employees, filing a notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act saying it will shut its plant in October.