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Agriculture News

Dog and cat treat trends follow human snacking trends

Pet Food Industry | Posted on July 8, 2017

Many pet owners, as we know, like to pamper their pets by feeding dog or cat treats – and increasingly, as they are aware of health and wellness, with treats that offer health or functional benefits. A new study from Mintel reveals that for US consumers, these behaviors may mimic their own snacking habits. The top reason these American consumers gave for snacking is to treat themselves; 50 percent said so. And while 28 percent ranked taste over health in choosing a snack, 32 percent claimed that most snacks they eat are healthy, and another 28 percent said their snacks now are healthier than what they ate in 2016. In addition, 37 percent said they snack as a way to take a break during the day, 24 percent to relieve stress and 17 percent to control their weight. (That latter reason has increased from 10 percent in 2015, when the study was last done.) Other research shows that consumers worldwide are snacking more, with 72 percent noshing at least occasionally between meals, according to GlobalData. Interestingly, that behavior is higher among pet owners, at 82 percent.

Multiple States Ban Dicamba

| Posted on July 8, 2017

The states of Arkansas and Missouri both took action Friday to ban the use of dicamba-mix herbicide applications in their respective states after waves of complaints from farmers who were not using the technology. The Arkansas Legislative Council executive subcommittee on Friday chose to take no action on a vote by the state plant board to ban the use of any dicamba-mix herbicide in the state, which basically means Arkansas will ban the use of dicamba for at least 120 days.Just hours later,  Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn issued a temporary stop sale, use or removal order on all herbicides that contain dicamba. The Missouri ban is considered "temporary," said a spokeswoman for the state agriculture department "until a solution is reached." Arkansas has been at the heart of the battle over dicamba misuse or volatilization and drift to off-target crops. Just under 600 complaints have been filed with the Arkansas State Plant Board, which initially recommended a ban on the sale and use of dicamba on June 23. The Arkansas plant board's recommendation was sent to a joint legislative Agriculture Committee, which held a hearing Friday morning then voted by voice vote to approve the plant board's recommendation. That kicked the decision up to the Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee, which met Friday afternoon and chose not to take an action. That essentially allowed a ban to go into effect.

41 PEDV positive sites confirmed in Canada

National Hog Farmer | Posted on July 6, 2017

Manitoba Pork Council confirms 41 positive operations identified in southeast Manitoba in the 2017 porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreak. So far, officials confirmed PEDV on 18 sow operations representing over 54,000 sows, seven nurseries representing just over 126,000 nursery spaces and 16 feeder operations representing just over 99,000 feeder spaces.

Iowa farmers and politicians 'disappointed' in EPA biofuel standard volume

KWQC | Posted on July 6, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for the 2018 conventional biofuels requirement at 15 billion gallons under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).The EPA lowered the amount of biofuel that must be used in the U.S. next year. It's the first ever reduction in volumes under the program. The EPA’s proposal would cut the “advanced biofuels” category from 4.28 billion gallons required in 2018 to 4.24 billion gallons, an important category that biodiesel helps fill.Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) released a statement saying, “I am disappointed biodiesel levels are not higher, but Iowa will continue working with the administration to increase marketplace opportunities for biodiesel." Governor Reynolds went on to say, “I am grateful this administration works for and with our state rather than against it.”Republican Senators Ernst and Grassley called the decision a 'mixed bag.' Senator Ernst saying, “While I am pleased the new administration has set the proposed volume requirements for conventional ethanol for 2018 at congressionally approved levels, I am disappointed that the 2019 biodiesel number was held constant, and would like to see it more accurately reflect current domestic usage and production capacity.

Farm Bill Math Updated in New Congressional Budget Office Baseline

Farm Bureau | Posted on July 6, 2017

The change in farm bill outlays is due to a variety of factors. First, price expectations for several covered commodities have changed due to different supply and demand conditions. For example, consider that record yields and larger domestic inventories have weakened corn prices in recent years and led to higher ARC-CO payments. CBO’s June 2017 projections are for marketing year average corn prices to remain below $4 per bushel over the next decade. These lower corn prices contribute to an additional $4.8 billion in ARC-CO and PLC outlays over the next 10 years. While government costs of the corn program have increased due to weaker prices, other commodities saw their outlays decrease due to higher market prices. For example, tighter supply conditions in peanut markets resulted in the CBO raising their price forecasts in nearby years. In March 2016, CBO estimated the five-year average peanut price at 17.4 cents, and in the most recent baseline, the five-year average price was 21.5 cents per pound, Figure 2. These higher peanut prices lowered forecasted PLC payments by $1.7 billion over 10 years. This reduction in baseline spending was expected as forward contracts to peanut producers have been reported in the range of $400 to $500 per ton. 

Quebec pork producers get $1.4 million to mitigate market risks

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 6, 2017

The Canadian government has announced some C$1.4 million in financial assistance to Quebec’s pork sector. About C$1.2 million will be used to improve the Market Risk Management Service, launched in 2000 by the producer group Éleveurs de porcs du Québec (ÉPQ) to help producers mitigate  price fluctuations without having to individually secure financing required by financial markets.

NC businesses feel the pain of cuts to seasonal worker visas

WBTV | Posted on July 6, 2017

International workers are the backbone of the Seaside Farm Market in the remote northern Outer Banks town of Corolla. Only 500 people live there, but up to 50,000 visit every week in the summer.But for the first time in 23 years, the family-owned produce and seafood market didn’t open this summer. Owners Bill and Julie Grandy weren’t able to get the H-2B visas they needed to bring in the workers from Mexico they’ve employed for years.They didn’t get a single local applicant for jobs advertised at $15 per hour, Bill Grandy said, calling Corolla a “black hole” for local labor. The husband and wife have both had to take other jobs.“It’s devastated us,” he said. “We have a half a million dollar investment just sitting there generating no money. I don’t know how to describe it other than (total) disaster.”H-2B visas are designed for businesses to fill seasonal non-agricultural jobs. In North Carolina, they’re mainly used in the landscaping, tourism and seafood processing industries. North Carolina uses more H-2B visas than any state besides Texas and Colorado, receiving 4,324 worker certifications in fiscal year 2017, according to data from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification.

How A Vermont Family Dairy Farm Makes Ends Meet

Vermont Public Radio | Posted on July 6, 2017

The number of dairy farms in Vermont continues to decline, with around 805 in business this spring. While large farms, with more than 700 cows, are a growing sector of the dairy economy, small operations with fewer than 200 animals still make up 80 percent of the state’s dairy farms.It’s challenging for small farms to stay in business as costs increase and the price of fluid, non-organic milk fluctuates, but some have found a way, including Silloway Farms in Randolph Center. They figured expanding would mean expenses. They’d have to build a bigger barn and milk house, which would add up to long-term debt. Instead, they found other ways to grow the  business. Just up the road from the farm, logs are loaded onto a machine that cuts and splits them. The chunks of firewood rattle up a conveyor and into a waiting truck.In the most recent year the family’s firewood business added another $140,000 to the bottom line and it’s still growing.“At some point we decided we did not want to expand the size of the herd. We would expand sugaring or firewood,” says David.A sugaring business is separate from the farm, but the two help each other by loaning money back and forth when each needs it.John Silloway says the biggest challenge to running the farm is juggling finances to compensate for the two big variables in dairy farming: the weather and roller-coaster non-organic milk prices.

Dairy Cow Carcasses Pile Up Following California Heat Wave

NBC | Posted on July 6, 2017

Central California's largest rendering plant is overwhelmed by the number of cows that died during a June heat wave, so officials are allowing dairy farmers to bury or compost hundreds of carcasses. The unusual run of heat last month — including nine straight days of triple-digit temperatures — and a mechanical malfunction at Baker Commodities have contributed to the overload at the plant


Foreign investment in U.S. farmland on the rise

Des Moines Register | Posted on July 6, 2017

In 2013, the Chinese firm Shuanghui received wide public attention when it purchased U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods for a record $4.7 billion.In an overlooked part of the deal, Shuanghui also acquired more than 146,000 acres of farmland across the United States, worth more than $500 million, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The deal made Shuanghui, now the WH Group Limited, into one of the biggest foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land, according to an analysis of that same data.That purchase was just a part of a continuing surge in foreign investment in American farmland and food that has raised concerns in Congress and among rural advocacy groups. “When foreign entities buy farmland, my assumption is that we’re never going to get that farmland back,” added Gibbons. “They’re going to keep it forever.”Indeed, over the past decade, foreign companies have been investing in agricultural land in the United States at a record pace, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of USDA data. The data was compiled from 1900 to 2014 under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.