EPSOM, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire dairy farmers say low milk prices and ongoing drought have contributed to the state losing 16 percent of those farms over the past eight months.
The state’s agriculture commissioner says 19 of the state’s 120 dairies have closed this year. The state had lost 10 dairies over the previous four years combined.
Federal agricultural prices list 100 pounds of milk as selling for $14.80 last month. That’s down from $23.40 in June 2014 and $16.90 in June 2015.
Farmers in several counties can apply for a federal emergency relief loan after Gov. Maggie Hassan had a drought disaster designation request granted last week.
State Rep. Bob Haefner says he plans to have a meeting in September to discuss funding the state’s milk farmers’ emergency relief fund board.
The International Dairy Foods Association has selected Michael Dykes to replace Connie Tipton as its president and CEO. For the past 19 years, Dykes was vice president of government affairs for Monsanto. He has spent his career involved in developing agricultural government affairs policies and strategies, according to an IDFA press release. At Monsanto, he was responsible for a portfolio of programs that included agricultural biotechnology policy.
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.
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.
The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has launched materials to help poultry producers organize and implement an incident response plan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.