The U.S. agriculture department predicted another record harvest this fall on Friday, raising the prospect of yet more financial pain in farm country. Crop, livestock and dairy farms are all suffering. Some are filing for bankruptcy, among them John Quaal, who runs a dairy farm near Fergus Falls. It's nearly impossible to break even producing milk, he said. Milk, like corn and soybeans, has been fetching less money than it costs to produce the commodity for most of those two years. Grain producers are in the third year of a financial downturn.
Larimer County now officially owns the 211-acre Malchow farm south of Berthoud and its associated water rights — a unique agreement that includes a water sharing component. The $8.4 million sale from the Malchow family to the Department of Natural Resources closed Monday. The county bought the property to conserve its agricultural, historic and scenic values and plans to continue leasing the fields as an active farm. One unique aspect of the sale was that the county also bought the water rights, including 240 units of Colorado-Big Thompson water, with the intention of entering into a water sharing agreement. Under such an agreement, the farm may vary its crops over several years, so in drought years, some of the irrigation water can be sold. This allows the farm to stay in production for the long-term and is an arrangement encouraged by the Colorado Water Plan.
Lancaster County’s 5,600 farmers and others in the Susquehanna River watershed have been much maligned over polluting the Chesapeake Bay. But they may soon be seen in a better light. Nearly 7,000 farmers, including Plain sect farmers, have sent in surveys listing on-the-farm conservation practices that state officials and farm groups contend are not counted by the federal government in grading Pennsylvania’s progress toward cleaning up the nation’s largest estuary.If confirmed, the uncounted conservation work that farmers have paid for themselves could mean a public relations boost for farmers. And if the survey results confirm that Pennsylvania has reduced the flow of nutrient and soil pollution entering the bay through the Susquehanna River, that could ease federal demands on the state, including threats of withholding money for state farm programs.
Hemp Inc., executives announced they expect the first 200,000 pounds of Lost Circulation Materials in inventory to go to market in the next 2 weeks. David Schmitt, COO of Hemp, Inc.'s wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC is meeting with specific companies next week to ensure the LCMs will be ready to go to market. The company's LCMs are expected to potentially sell for two to three dollars per pound, which could bring in revenue of four to six hundred thousand dollars. Schmitt has also been overseeing the final stages of Hemp Inc., 70,000 square foot multi-purpose industrial hemp processing facility and milling operation on 9 acres, in Spring Hope, North Carolina that is in the final stages of completion.
Agriculture credit conditions in the Midwest continued to deteriorate in the second quarter of 2016 as farm income remained subdued. That according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions released Thursday. Nearly 75 percent of bankers within the seven-state 10th District of the Federal Reserve Bank in the Midwest reported farm income was less than a year ago. Persistent declines in farm income have continued to pressure agricultural credit conditions, according to the survey. The KC Fed also notes demand for non-real estate farm loans and loan renewals continued to climb as slimmer profit margins pull down the rate of loan repayments. Almost half of all respondents reported loan repayment rates in the second quarter were lower than a year ago.
After viewing video depicting mishandling of chickens, Tyson Foods re-emphasizing proper animal welfare procedures. In a statement, the company remarked that it will also stress the consequences of not complying with its animal welfare policies. Part of the retraining includes a video conference with live production management at all of its poultry locations. According to Daugherty, 10 workers have now been fired as a result of the mistreatment of chickens. The company had earlier announced that two workers had been terminated, while others were suspended and their fates would be determined after a thorough investigation was completed.
Laura Wahl stands in the pasture with her lambs eight hours a day during peak lambing season to protect them. The predators aren’t coyotes or cougars; they are bald eagles. Wahl runs Wahl Grazing, a sheep and goat operation, with her family near Albany, Ore. She estimates that she loses 300 lambs a year to eagle depredation — a loss of approximately $37,500. During lambing season, Wahl is used to seeing 20 eagles lining the perimeter of her pastures waiting for ewes to give birth to their lambs. Because of a complex reporting system, few resources available to ranchers and the stigma surrounding complaints about the national bird, Wahl said her family doesn’t have many options to protect their lambs. “There’s nothing we can really do about (eagles),” Wahl said. “All we can do is hope the eagles don’t find the lambs.” Eagle depredation is a controversial and complicated issue for ranchers, ranching advocates and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees protected species. Ranchers agree that eagles killing lambs is a big problem but they do not report the depredation out of a lack of faith in federal government services.
Several law firms in Illinois are mounting a case against a multinational agrochemical manufacturer, claiming one of the ingredients in its herbicide product causes cancer. In what could become a class-action suit against Monsanto Co., several law firms are banding together to find clients who allegedly have been affected by the company’s Roundup product, which they claim has caused cancer in several consumers. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was declared by the World Health Organization earlier this year as a probable carcinogen to humans. Following the organization’s announcement, several lawsuits have popped up declaring that Monsanto’s Roundup was the reason for the plaintiffs’ cancer. Monsanto maintains that glyphosate is safe and said the World Health Organization is wrong in its findings. “The contrived claims that glyphosate causes cancer are based on the erroneous conclusions of a French-based, non-governmental agency of the World Health Organization,” Scott Partridge, vice president of global strategy at Monsanto
North Dakota's top agriculture official warned Monday that training provided by the Humane Society of the United States on how to handle animal cruelty cases poses a threat to the state's livestock industry, but an HSUS spokesman said that's untrue and trainers are only going where invited.Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said he believes the Humane Society's intentions behind the training "are misleading as they have a long history as an animal rights activist organization with the intention of ending animal agriculture." "HSUS is encouraging and training law enforcement to identify and seize animals without a veterinary inspection and assessment," he said.
Indiana farmland values have continued their downward trend of last year, with average declines of 8.2 to 8.7 percent depending on land quality, according to the 2016 Purdue Farmland Value Survey. Declines of this size have not been seen since the mid-1980s.
Over the past two years, the average farmland value has fallen about 13 percent. The declines are largely the result of tighter profit margins from low commodity prices.