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Agriculture News

New case of bovine tuberculosis found in northern Michigan

Capital Press | Posted on September 9, 2016

State officials say another case of bovine tuberculosis has been detected on a northern Michigan cattle farm. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the potentially fatal illness was confirmed in an Alcona County beef herd when one of the animals was tested before being moved to another place. Sixty-six cattle herds in Michigan have been found to be infected with bovine TB since 1998. Alcona County is one of four counties where cattle producers must test their herds for the disease annually and before they’re moved.

WI Senator fights Canadian milk trade barriers

WSAW TV | Posted on September 8, 2016

Senator Tammy Baldwin says millions are being lost in milk export sales to Canada due to dairy pricing changes this spring. Baldwin is asking USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael to investigate the new Canadian dairy pricing policies to see whether they're fair and to make sure trade agreements are being upheld. “You need to investigate whether trade deals are being broken though this policy and you especially need to talk with your Canadian counterparts now that they're looking at expanding this Ontario based policy nationwide,” said Baldwin. Agricultural agent at UW-Extension Mark Hagedorn says Canada is pushing to impose limitations on the importation of milk products. “If we aren't able to export products it will have an impact on what we receive in our milk check every month. The more products we have here at home the less value it has here,” explained Hagedorn.

Avian influenza action plan unveiled by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

Global Meat | Posted on September 8, 2016

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has launched materials to help poultry producers organize and implement an incident response plan. 

Class Action Lawsuit: Poultry Producers manipulated market

Cook Couny Record | Posted on September 8, 2016

Maplevale Farms, one of the country’s leading food service providers, has brought a federal class action antitrust lawsuit against the country’s top poultry producers, alleging they conspired to hatch a plan to manipulate the supply of chicken to keep the price of the birds artificially high, harvesting bumper profits. According the complaint, at a time their input costs were falling – in particular, the prices of the corn and soybeans used to feed their chickens – the prices of broilers remained stubbornly high, relative to past “boom and bust” cycles. The lawsuit pinned the blame on the historically unusual price stability on alleged cooperation between the large poultry producers.

Cuban Connection: The journey of one rice farmer

KATC | Posted on September 8, 2016

Louisiana Agricultural commissioner Mike Strain presented the Cuban government with a memorandum of understanding.  "It's a pledge of mutual support, working together to grow agricultural trade, industrial trade."  In upcoming months, Cuban officials will revise the memorandum, and on a state visit in October, Governor Edwards is scheduled to sign it.   But for Guillory, there's no deeper understanding than talking rice farmer to rice farmer... "Farmers everywhere have a fraternity that no one else understands."  ...and there's no substitute for a shared cigar-and a handshake. 

Migrant farmworkers on 1,500-kilometre caravan to Ottawa

Windsor Star | Posted on September 8, 2016

Fifty years after Canada began flying in seasonal workers to help out on the farm, a group is rallying to have the program’s participants granted permanent immigration status.  “These are the workers putting food on our tables, but they’re not being treated the same as other workers,” said Elizabeth Ha, a member of Harvesting Freedom, a migrant farmworker caravan travelling over the next several weeks from Windsor to Ottawa to highlight issues facing those seasonal visitors.  Facing unemployment at home on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Gabriel Allahdua said it was a “great, great, great moment in my life” when he was selected to participate in the program and visit his first developed country. Allahdua spent four years at an Ontario farm, but he said his initial “high expectations” were met with disappointment.

Social Sustainability: the good, the bad and the ugly

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on September 8, 2016

For those who believe the phrase “social sustainability” and the ideas it represents are an overblown waste of time, I have to say that you need to wake up and smell the coffee along with the bacon! The primary pillar of economic sustainability depends upon the corollary of social sustainability. Our incomes are ultimately sourced from the society we serve. To the extent that we allow a willful ignorance to unnecessarily alienate our ever-changing consumer base, we shoot ourselves in the foot. This era of social media is an era requiring deeper transparency. Consumers are more aggressively probing companies, and companies are trying to stay ahead of consumer concerns by revealing more detailed information about their supply chains and sustainability policies. So strategic discussions about sustainability are occurring in board rooms, buyers offices and staff meetings all over our country for good reasons.

Atrazine Important for Conservation Farming

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on September 8, 2016

A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency was highly critical of the herbicide atrazine, which helps reduce soil erosion and runoff problems, keeping soil healthy and water clean. EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment as part of the re-registration process for atrazine; and, if its recommendations stand, farmers will basically lose the use of the herbicide. Tillage is an effective way to control weeds, but disturbing that top layer of soil leads to a loss of 90 percent of crop residue from the soil. Tillage damages the soil and leaves it more vulnerable to erosion from wind and water, which in turn leads to more runoff of fertilizer and pesticides. Atrazine was one of the first products to be used on a widespread basis because it is a broad spectrum product. It reduced the number of times farmers had to drive over their soil, and that decreased erosion and runoff problems.  Iowa State University Professor of Weed Science Bob Hartzler said farmers have made significant progress adopting reduced-till and no-till methods of growing a crop and that atrazine plays a key role in making these practices more sustainable. The National Corn Growers wants farmers to comment on the EPA’s proposal at www.NCGA.Com/atz.

Purdue Entomologist Receives USDA Grant To Study Neonicotinoid Use In Vegetables

Growing Produce | Posted on September 8, 2016

Purdue University entomologist Ian Kaplan and his team have received a $3.6 million grant from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture to fund their research into the environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic effects of neonicotinoid pesticide use.  The five-year grant is part of the USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a program providing funds for research in plant breeding and genetics, pests and disease, production efficiency and profitability, technology, and food safety hazards.

North Dakota unveils new agriculture magazine

My San Antonio | Posted on September 8, 2016

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has started a new magazine. The publication is called North Dakota Agriculture. It plans to cover topics about industry cooperation, technologies and the numerous commodities grown in the state, among other things. State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the magazine should help readers gain a greater understanding of how farmers and ranchers produce the state's "food, feed, fiber and fuel."