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Agriculture News

Does investment in sustainable farming pay off?

Phys.org | Posted on December 1, 2016

Exploring the nascent field of sustainable farmland investment, a new report from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment found that innovative investment strategies focused on sustainable agriculture appear to deliver financial, environmental, and social returns. Authored by two Yale students, this report is an attempt to understand the provenance, strategies, key trends, value drivers, and structural challenges of in . (The authors adhere to the definition of sustainable food systems put forth by the Royal Society.) Sustainable farming currently offers two primary avenues for returns on investment. First, supporting farming efficiencies and improvements, particularly as they relate to ecosystem function, enhances asset performance. Second, there is growing consumer demand for natural and organic products, which command a price premium. Initial findings indicated that conversion to organic agriculture, water efficiency projects, and raising grass-fed beef were particularly promising investment targets.

 


CRISPR used for first time to correct clotting in newborn and adult mice

Science Daily | Posted on December 1, 2016

CRISPR/Cas9, a powerful genome editing tool, is showing promise for efficient correction of disease-causing mutations. For the first time, researchers have developed a dual gene therapy approach to deliver key components of a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene targeting system to mice to treat hemophilia B. This disorder is also called factor IX deficiency and is caused by a missing or defective clotting protein.


Wild Pig Bomb Still Rocking Agriculture

AgWeb | Posted on December 1, 2016

The wild pig bomb has detonated, ripping and rooting billion-dollar scars across U.S. farmland every year. The search for a silver bullet has come up empty, and the past 30 years have seen an established wild pig presence balloon from 19 states in 1985 to 39 states in 2016. High-end estimates of 11 million wild pigs make warnings over impending wild pig invasions mostly moot: The porcine beasts have already set up shop. However, with new trapping techniques in hand, and promising control tools on the horizon, the means to halt wild pig advances may soon arrive. Control efforts require a pace to match prolific breeding, and 50 percent to 75 percent of a pig population must be killed each year to keep population numbers in check – an extremely tough task for any afflicted state. Even if a toxicant arrives by 2020 and an oral contraceptive follows on its heels, Mayer remains uncertain about wild pig population projections.


NASS Surveys Have Direct Impact on Critical Farm Programs

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on November 30, 2016

The NASS mission is to provide timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U. S. Agriculture. Crop yield forecasts tend to be our most well-known publications, but NASS measures agriculture in many different ways, ensuring that the full scope of agriculture is accounted for. NASS surveys the hog and pig industry, the total cattle herd and cattle on feed, fruit and vegetable production, and the vast overall economic impact of agriculture across Illinois and the rest of the United States. We even measure maple syrup!


Wisconsin governor orders agencies to apply digester technology to farms

Capital Press | Posted on November 30, 2016

Gov. Scott Walker has directed three state agencies to come up with ideas on how dairy farms can use manure digesters to protect water quality. Walker announced during a stop in Kewaunee on Thursday that he has directed the Public Service Commission, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Natural Resources to come up with recommendations by Dec. 1 on how dairy farms in environmentally sensitive areas can use digester technology.


Lower cattle prices starting to pull down retail prices

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 30, 2016

Lower cattle prices have begun to spill over into the retail price market, according to USDA’s latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.


U.S. pork industry to produce record volumes in Q4

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 30, 2016

On the basis of October and early November slaughter data, USDA raised its  forecast for fourth-quarter commercial pork production by 30 million pounds to just under 6.7 billion pounds, or 3 percent higher than a year ago.


Farmers’ Grain Bounty, Crop Exports Buoy U.S. Railroads

Wall Street Journal | Posted on November 30, 2016

Rail traffic is still recovering from years of steep declines in coal, oil shipments. Shipments of grain and soybeans are up around 6.5% this year, and set a record of over 26,000 carloads a week during the peak of the harvest in October, according to the Association of American Railroads, a trade group. Leasing company GATX Corp. said every one of its grain cars was in use during the third quarter. CSX Corp., the third-largest U.S. railroad, said grain shipments shot up 27% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, helping fuel a rally in the company’s stock.


Arkansas Proposes Stringent Rules on Dicamba-Based Herbicides

DTN | Posted on November 30, 2016

Many eyes were on the Arkansas state pesticide board Nov. 21 as officials that oversee pesticide regulations wrestled with decisions on dicamba herbicide. At the end of a packed, three-hour public meeting, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to push measures toward that state's governor that would ban some forms of the herbicide and limit how and when newer dicamba formulations are used in the state.  The situation has been brewing for months after cotton and soybean seeds engineered to tolerate dicamba were released in 2015 and 2016 without the special herbicides designed for those seeds. Some farmers who planted the Xtend-brand seeds later reached for existing dicamba herbicides, despite warnings from companies and state officials that those applications would be illegal.


Study: Barriers between producers, buyers hinder local food movement

Capital Press | Posted on November 30, 2016

The local food movement may be growing in popularity, but barriers exist between buyers and producers that make locally grown food harder to find, a pair of experts says.  Producers have difficulty finding local buyers to purchase a large portion of their crops, while buyers such as schools, restaurants, catering companies and stores complain they can’t get sufficient volume locally to meet their needs.  Those were the findings of a survey by California State University-Chico professor Jake Brimlow and Golden State Farm Credit marketing and outreach director Noelle Ferdon, who are a married couple.


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