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Agriculture News

Opioid abusers could be 'doctor shopping' with pets, vet warns

CBC Canada | Posted on July 6, 2017

Richardson said opioid prescriptions issued at veterinarian clinics are not recorded in the province's prescription monitoring system, which means there is a risk of "doctor shopping." "The same client could go into another veterinarian with the same complaint and potentially get the same medication from that veterinarian and so on down the line," said Richardson."There's an opportunity for some of these drugs to be diverted to the street, which is never a good thing, and certainly something that we're all conscious of, and we want to minimize the risk of those things happening."

U.S. Rice Farmers Turn Sustainability into Carbon Credits, with Microsoft as First Buyer

Inside Climate News | Posted on July 6, 2017

Microsoft bought carbon offsets from rice farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi and California who had worked for the better part of the last 10 years to implement conservation measures on their farms. Through a complicated measurement and verification process, these conservation steps ultimately translated to carbon offsets purchased by the software giant. The transaction this month was the first of its kind and, in the complex and controversial world of carbon markets, it represents a milestone for agriculture."Now we know what it takes to do this," said Debbie Reed, director of the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a group that works with agricultural producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "It's not symbolic, so much as proof-of-concept."For years, researchers, advocacy groups and private-sector environment-focused investment groups have eyed agriculture's potential contribution in carbon markets to help address climate change. But carbon trading is complex under any circumstances, and particularly so when the entities generating the offsets grow rice or corn or raise cows. Measuring emissions—or, rather, emissions reductions—accurately and consistently from agricultural sources can be more complicated than for wind energy or solar power projects.

How producers can control anti-animal agriculture press

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 6, 2017

The key to all of the preparations, she said, was transparency. “This is what I tell all my producers in Illinois: We cannot go around in blinders. We have to move forward. We raise our animals indoors, but we need to tell our consumers why. We have biosecurity issues so we can’t bring a whole busload of people into our barns, but there’s the internet, people,” Tirey said. “There’s a lot of different ways we can share this information and that’s how we have to continue to be transparent because we were able to neutralize, we were able to form partnerships and work together and we were able to learn from this for future issues.”

Mountaire to buy Maryland, Virginia grain facilities

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 6, 2017

Mountaire Farms has entered an agreement to purchase the grain elevators and operating assets of Lansing Trade Group LLC in Pocomoke, Maryland; and Eastville and Painter, Virginia.

Debunking the myths about GM crops

Innovators Magazine | Posted on July 6, 2017

A network of unpaid experts are giving up their time to debunk the many myths about GM crops.GMO Answers – backed by The Council for Biotechnology – is an online platform where people can find out more about an issue which is often misunderstood.“GMO Answers is an initiative committed to responding to your questions about how food is grown. Its goal is to make information about GMOs in food and agriculture easier to access and understand,” the organisation’s website states.A recent paper ‘GM Crops: Global Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2015’ from PG Economics says biotech crops are helping to slash harmful greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time injecting tens of billions of dollars into the global agricultural industry.

Cotton nanoparticles can help kill bacteria

Science Direct | Posted on July 6, 2017

Silver has been used as an antimicrobial agent for more than 100 years. Today, silver in the form of nanoparticles is incorporated in such products as plastic food containers, medical materials, and clothing. In textiles, however, preventing the nanoparticles’ antimicrobial properties from washing away has always been a problem. But not anymore.Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, have developed a method to trap inside , where they remain wash after wash.The amount of silver nanoparticles required to kill bacteria is extremely small, which makes them efficient and cost effective to use. Moreover, the new method, developed by ARS materials engineer Sunghyun Nam and her colleagues, is inexpensive and eco-friendly.Typically, silver nanoparticles—particles that are 1 to 100 nanometers in diameter—are grown in a bulk chemical solution. In the new technology, the silver nanoparticles are produced within the cotton fibers, making their application more effective and affordable.

U.S. Plains drought highlights spring wheat supply crunch

Reuters | Posted on July 5, 2017

Drought conditions in the northern U.S. Plains that have propelled spring wheat prices to a three-year high worsened in the past week and there are forecasts for more hot and dry weather that could crimp the harvest. As the world struggles with a glut of grain that has filled inventories to record-highs and cast a wet blanket over the corn and bean markets, the shortage of high-quality spring wheat has taken markets by surprise. The drought in the United States has propelled prices for the high protein grain that is prized by bread makers to three-year highs.

Documentary 'Food Evolution' turns to reason to discuss GMO controversy

The Los Angeles Times | Posted on July 5, 2017

Calm, careful, potentially revolutionary, "Food Evolution" is an iconoclastic documentary on a hot-button topic. Persuasive rather than polemical, it's the unusual issue film that deals in counterintuitive reason rather than barely controlled hysteria. As directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, "Food Evolution" wades into the controversy that makes the term GMO (genetically modified organisms) what Jon Stewart once called "the three most terrifying letters in the English language."or what right-thinking citizen hasn't quailed at the thought of armies of artificially conceived zombie fruits and vegetables marching in lockstep under the command of monster corporation Monsanto until they take over the world.As environmental activist Mark Lynas says, "it’s difficult to pay Monsanto a compliment. It's like praising witchcraft."But taking as his theme a quote attributed to Mark Twain that posits, "It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled," filmmaker Kennedy wants us to consider the notion that much of what we feel about GMOs may be wrong.Previously responsible for the splendid "OT: Our Town" and the Oscar-nominated "The Garden," about the plight of a 14-acre community garden in South Los Angeles, Kennedy is a veteran documentarian.Here he's engaged the mellifluous voice of science celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson as narrator and made sure to talk to people on both sides of the issue, partisans who, ironically, all have the same goal: safe, abundant food for everyone without the use of excessive toxic chemicals.It is in fact the question of how to feed the staggering amount of people in the world — more than 7 billion now, 9 billion by 2050 — that was one of the stimuli that started Kennedy on this project. And he wants you to remember that trying to modify plants to emphasize desirable aspects is something farmers have been doing for a long time.

Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives Varroa Mites Ideal Conditions to Spread

Growing Produce | Posted on July 5, 2017

As the managed honey bee industry continues to grapple with significant annual colony losses, the Varroa destructor mite is emerging as the leading culprit. And, it turns out, the very nature of modern beekeeping may be giving the parasite the exact conditions it needs to spread nearly beyond control. In an article recently published in the Entomological Society of America’s Environmental Entomology, researchers argue that the Varroa mite has “co-opted” several honeybee behaviors to its own benefit, allowing it to disperse widely even though the mite itself is not a highly mobile insect. The mite’s ability to hitchhike on wandering bees, the infections it transmits to bees, and the density of colonies in managed beekeeping settings, make for a deadly combination.“Beekeepers need to rethink Varroa control and treat Varroa as a migratory pest,” says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader and location coordinator at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, AZ, and lead author of the research.In the wild, bee colonies tend to survive despite Varroa infestations, and colonies are usually located far enough apart to prevent mites from hitching rides to other colonies on foraging bees. Wild bee colonies’ natural habit of periodically swarming — when the colony grows large enough that a portion of its bees splinter off to create a new colony elsewhere — also serves as a mechanism for thinning out the density of mite infestations and their associated pathogens. In managed honeybee settings, though, these dynamics are disrupted, DeGrandi-Hoffman says. Colonies are kept in close proximity, and swarming is prevented.

anone to sell Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875 million

Wall Street Journal | Posted on July 5, 2017

The sale of Stonyfield is part of an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with Danone’s recent acquisition of WhiteWave. Danone and WhiteWave together have big chunks of the yogurt market with brands including Dannon, Oikos, Actimel, Silk, Wallaby and Horizon Organic, which led to concerns from the Justice Department about concentration in the dairy sector. Danone said that the sale price represented a multiple of about 20 times the 2016 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for Stonyfield.Lactalis, based in the town of Laval, about 175 miles southwest of Paris, is a family-owned company whose cheese, milk and other dairy products are sold under well-known brands such as President and Bridel. It said it has 75,000 employees spread across 85 countries.Its agreement to buy Stonyfield comes as the French company faces increasing pressure to offer healthier foods as consumer tastes change.Other bidders for the asset included big dairy processor Dean Foods Co. , Mexico’s Grupo Lala and China’s largest dairy company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., according to a person familiar with the matter.