Skip to content Skip to navigation

Agriculture News

Bacterial Imbalances Can Mean Bad News for Honeybees

Seed World | Posted on November 17, 2016

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their collaborators have established a strong link between honey bee health and the effects of diet on bacteria that live in the guts of these important insect pollinators. In a study published in the November issue of Molecular Ecology, the team fed caged honey bees one of four diets: fresh pollen, aged pollen, fresh supplements, and aged supplements. After seven days, the team euthanized and dissected the bees and used next-generation sequencing methods to identify the bacteria communities that had colonized the bees’ digestive tract.


Prison for woman who helped Michigan farms get illegal labor

Detroit Free Press | Posted on November 17, 2016

A woman who illegally helped immigrants work at dairy farms in Michigan's Thumb region was sentenced Wednesday to two years and three months in federal prison. In her plea deal, Yolanda Stewart admitted that she conspired with farms for years. She said she enabled at least 10 farms, especially in Huron and Tuscola counties, to benefit from the labor of more than 100 people who were in the U.S. illegally. Defense attorney Paul Beggs said the 60-year-old Marlette woman regrets her actions. But he called it a stiff sentence for "something so many people do." "She's Hispanic. She's a U.S. citizen. She speaks the language. She identified with the culture," Beggs told The Associated Press after the court hearing in Bay City, 100 miles northeast of Lansing.


Fumonisin reported in corn in additional US state

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 17, 2016

The new report of fumonisin in corn came from Nebraska.  Previously confirmed reports of fumonisin in corn have come from: Missouri, Texas,Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kansas


New Weed Killer Arrives Amid Fears of Crop Damage

Wall Street Journal | Posted on November 17, 2016

A newly approved herbicide will allow farmers to open a new front in their war against weeds next year, but some fear fallout for their own crops from illegal spraying of related chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday approved MonsantoCo.’s XtendiMax, a powerful new formulation of the powerful weed killer known as dicamba. Farmers and the company have said the new version is needed to combat pest plants that can choke out soybean and cotton plants, and which can’t be killed by other sprays.


Animal Ag on the ballot last week: how did we fare?

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 17, 2016

In Massachusetts, the measure (inaccurately) titled “An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals” which defined how pigs, veal calves and laying hens could be housed passed by a large margin. More than three-quarters of voters supported the measure, which appeared on the ballot as question 3.  The wording on the ballot said: “This question, if approved, would phase out what advocates say are “extreme” methods of farm animal confinement.” It is not surprising that a population with little exposure to or knowledge of animal agriculture would vote “yes” to that statement.  In Oklahoma, HSUS worked to oppose the passage of a constitutional amendment protecting “the rights of citizens and lawful residents to engage in farming and ranching practices” – also known as “Right to Farm.” The amendment was intended to protect farmers and ranchers, as well as ensure consumers have access to different food choices. As explained by the support campaign, the constitutional Right to Farm is needed because of extremist groups targeting agriculture. Proving that statement true, HSUS was one of the loudest opponents of the amendment and the second-largest donor to the opposition campaign, giving over $150,000 in cash as of Oct. 1.  The amendment unfortunately failed, with 60 percent of citizens voting “no.”


Simmons named Democratic staff director on House Ag Committee

Agri-Pulse | Posted on November 17, 2016

Veteran House Agriculture Committee staffer Anne Simmons has been named to serve as the panel's Democratic staff director.  Simmons currently serves as the committee's senior policy advisor. She has been on the panel's staff since 1993. Before that, she was on the staff of then-Congressman Tim Johnson of South Dakota. Simmons was raised on a corn, soybean and livestock farm near Spencer, Iowa, and graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. “Anne brings both a thorough understanding of Capitol Hill and an in-depth knowledge of Agriculture Committee issues to this position,” said Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the committee's ranking member. “She has long been a trusted advisor to Agriculture Committee leaders and will serve an important leadership role in upcoming farm bill reauthorization discussions.”


Ag credit stress runs hot and cold

DTN | Posted on November 17, 2016

Harvest 2016 isn't officially over, but already predictions of a fourth and fifth consecutive year of grim commodity prices in 2017 and 2018 are putting a damper on agricultural lenders' attitudes. Those attending the American Banker Association conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, this week described attitudes anywhere from relative calm in parts of the Corn Belt to severe distress in cotton and cattle country. "Most ag lenders have a few big customers they are worried about, a few others straddling breakeven and a few doing fine," said Nate Kauffman, assistant vice president and Omaha branch executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. However, over 90% of lenders in the Kansas City district report deterioration in working capital levels among farm borrowers. Roughly 60% of lenders report increases in ag loans placed on "watch" lists, about double the level of a year ago. Lenders are also hiking collateral requirements and raising interest rates to reflect risks.  "You can see which way the trend is going this year," Kauffman added. "Agriculture is going through a period of transition. Profitability in crops is still poor, and adding to the stress is that there have been rare selling opportunities for the livestock sector."  Harvest 2016 isn't officially over, but already predictions of a fourth and fifth consecutive year of grim commodity prices in 2017 and 2018 are putting a damper on agricultural lenders' attitudes. Those attending the American Banker Association conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, this week described attitudes anywhere from relative calm in parts of the Corn Belt to severe distress in cotton and cattle country.  "Most ag lenders have a few big customers they are worried about, a few others straddling breakeven and a few doing fine," said Nate Kauffman, assistant vice president and Omaha branch executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. However, over 90% of lenders in the Kansas City district report deterioration in working capital levels among farm borrowers. Roughly 60% of lenders report increases in ag loans placed on "watch" lists, about double the level of a year ago. Lenders are also hiking collateral requirements and raising interest rates to reflect risks.  "You can see which way the trend is going this year," Kauffman added. "Agriculture is going through a period of transition. Profitability in crops is still poor, and adding to the stress is that there have been rare selling opportunities for the livestock sector."


Betting the Farm and Losing: Banks Seek Collateral for Debts

Bloomberg | Posted on November 16, 2016

Betting the farm on record crop, livestock and dairy prices has turned into a losing investment for an expanding share of America’s agricultural heartland. The level of debt to income is the highest in three decades, and growers are increasingly unable to make loan payments.  Four years after record U.S. crop and farmland values boosted purchases of land and equipment, a global surplus has sent prices tumbling and farm income into the longest slump since 1977. The Federal Reserve says growers are borrowing more to pay bills, repayment rates are plunging, and the number of bankers requesting additional collateral is the highest in 25 years.


CoBank Launches “No Barriers” Program For Veterans With Disabilities From America’s Rural Communities

CoBank | Posted on November 16, 2016

CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, announced it is launching a new program for veterans with disabilities from America’s rural communities. In partnership with its customers and the nonprofit group No Barriers USA, CoBank will sponsor up to 50 veterans from rural areas across the U.S. to participate in outdoor expeditions that challenge them mentally and physically and help them to transform their lives. Cooperatives and other eligible CoBank borrowers will be able to nominate veterans from their local communities to participate in the No Barriers Warriors program, with CoBank covering the full cost for each veteran, including travel expenses. Selected veterans will go through the program in 2017. “Every American owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and protect our country,” said Bob Engel, CoBank’s chief executive officer. “Those who are wounded or injured in the course of duty are even more deserving of our thanks.  Engel noted that over 5 million of the nation’s 22 million veterans are located in rural areas and called on the bank’s customer base to help identify deserving participants for the No Barriers program. “Rural America produces a disproportionate share of the nation’s military personnel,” Engel said. “We need our customers to help make this program successful by nominating individuals from their communities who would benefit from the No Barriers experience. We look forward to partnering with our customers in this effort, which we believe has the potential to change the lives of rural veterans who have been disabled as a result of their military service.”


Officials probe chicken house fire that killed 12,000 birds

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 16, 2016

Authorities in Yadkin County, N.C., are investigating what may have caused a multiple-alarm fire over the weekend that killed an estimated 12,000 chickens.


Pages