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Agriculture News

New York Governor Announces Over $1 Million to Support Agricultural Development Across the State

New York State | Posted on June 7, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced over $1 million for seven research, promotion, and development projects to strengthen New York State's diverse agricultural industry and spur economic growth across the state. The funding, approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, supports the continuation of malting barley research, enhances the processing capacity at a regional food hub, and assists with renovations to the New York Wine and Culinary Center, among other initiatives.

Cargill acquires Pollos El Bucanero in Colombia

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 7, 2017

Cargill has acquired Colombia-based Pollos El Bucanero S.A.(Bucanero Chicken), one of Colombia’s leading producers of chicken and processed meats products. The acquisition marks Cargill’s first introduction of its global protein business into Colombia. Pollos Bucanero has more than 30 years of experience and its products are the preferred choice of food service companies and retailers in multiple regions of Colombia. The company works with more than 170 farms across the country to deliver high-quality protein options to its customers.Jorge Ivan Duque will serve as general manager of Cargill’s Pollos Bucanero business. He has spent the past 12 years working in the poultry sector in Central America and Colombia.  Pollos Bucanero will operate as part of Cargill Protein Latin America, which includes businesses in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.“Cargill is starting a new stage in Colombia, under the Bucanero brand, which is recognized and preferred by millions of customers across the country,” said Duque. “Just like Cargill, this is a family business. We are confident that this will be a smooth integration and will lead to numerous benefits for our employees, customers and communities.”

Are Organic Pesticides Safer Than Synthetic Counterparts?

Wisconsin Ag Connection | Posted on June 7, 2017

Homeowners use a lot of pesticides. Statistics show that homeowners use three times more pesticides per acre than commercial agriculture producers. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the number to be even higher; their reports claim pesticide use in lawns is 10 times higher than in commercial agriculture.Though not quite ready to ditch the bug and weed killers, homeowners are seeking alternatives to conventional pesticides. Many homeowners are turning to organic pesticides due to the growing perception that these pesticides are safer. But are organic pesticides safer than their conventional cousins?"That is a good question," says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Chris Enroth. "First we should define what makes a pesticide organic. In most circumstances, an organic product, whether it is a pesticide or a fertilizer, is derived from the remains or byproducts of a living or once-living organism. Typically these products are marketed as natural, which reinforces the image these products are from nature and are therefore harmless."Enroth cautions, "Just because something is labeled organic or natural does not mean it is safer to the homeowner or unable to cause harm to the environment. Botanically derived pesticides are not always safer; in fact, some can be more dangerous."

Deere buying $5 billion road improvement business

Ottumawa Courier | Posted on June 7, 2017

There’s big growth in a different direction for Deere & Company: But the move, a release from the company states, could help diversify and solidify their business. The manufacturer is buying the Wirtgen Group, a privately-held international company that is the world’s leading manufacturer of road construction equipment, the release from Deere states.The total transaction value is about $5.2 billion. The Wirtgen Group had sales of $2.9 billion last year.According to the Deere press release, detailed financial information is in an investor presentation at in Germany, the Wirtgen Group has five premium brands across the road construction sector, the release says.“The acquisition of the Wirtgen Group aligns with our long-term strategy to expand in both of John Deere’s global growth businesses of agriculture and construction,” said Samuel R. Allen, Deere & Company Chairman and CEO. Max Guinn, President of Deere’s Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division, said it’s clear that society is spending more on road construction and transportation projects; the sector has grown at a faster rate than the overall construction industry — and, he said, it tends to be less cyclical.

Chicken snuggling: A dangerous trend that must end

Chicago Tribune | Posted on June 7, 2017

America has a chicken snuggling problem. That's right, snuggling. Not smuggling. Chicken smuggling is an entirely different — albeit equally despicable — problem that I'll address in a future column.The pressing poultry issue for today is that too many Americans are pressing poultry to their faces, giving pet chickens or adorable, fuzzy chicks a hug or a kiss.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with a number of state departments of health and agriculture are investigating a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections "linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks." As of May 25, there were 372 people from 47 states infected, and 71 of those people were hospitalized. About a third of the victims were from the key chicken snuggling demographic: children under 5.Last year set the record for salmonella infections caused by interactions with backyard poultry flocks. The CDC recorded 895 people infected, with 209 of them hospitalized. Three of the people who were hospitalized died.

How an experiment turned Canadian farmers into cooking oil kings

Frederick News Post | Posted on June 6, 2017

In the heart of Canada's bread basket, a Richardson International Ltd. processing plant stands as a testament to what may be the country's most successful agricultural experiment.Farmers across the Prairie Provinces are planting a record acres of canola, a crop that didn't exist about four decades ago but now is the nation's biggest, sown on more land than spring wheat. Richardson was the first company to market canola oil. It has since expanded capacity at factories like the one in Lethbridge, Alberta, as global demand exploded and Canada became the top exporter of an oilseed used in everything from salad dressing to french fries.Richardson's facility now spans six square blocks -- a warren of crushing machines, conveyor belts, railroad links and grain silos devoted entirely to canola. After a C$120 million ($89 million) upgrade to expand capacity by 55 percent, it will be able to process 700,000 metric tons annually, boosting exports of oil and related products including margarine and buttery popcorn topping."It's almost a constant turnover" of jugs, barrels and bottles of oil shipped to grocers, fast-food restaurants, hospitals and bakers every day of the work week, said Steve Scott, the plant's maintenance manager. Pointing to a tanker car capable of hauling 80 tons, he said, "a big potato-chip plant will be taking a couple of these a week."Canadian scientists invented canola in 1974 by breeding out undesirable traits from the rapeseed plant, though it didn't get the name "canola" until 1978.The seed has more than twice as much oil as a soybean, and canola oil has become popular in cooking and deep frying. It's rich in heart-healthy fatty acids found in salmon and tuna that lower bad cholesterol and help control blood sugar, with no artery-clogging trans fats. Canola oil has about 7 percent saturated fat, about half as much as olive oil and a fraction of what's in palm oil, according to the Canola Council of Canada."The healthy oil profile that canola enjoys is going to keep it popular," said David Reimann, a market analyst in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for Cargill Ltd., the world's largest agricultural company. "It's a huge, huge market and can certainly tolerate a lot more acreage and production."Farmers are doing just that. While planting is a little behind schedule because of wet weather, Canadian growers eventually will sow 22 million acres of canola this year, the most ever, government data show. The planting season will end in a few weeks.

Minnesota tax credit provides relief to farmers, greater chance for rural schools to build

Stateline Midwest | Posted on June 5, 2017

In Minnesota, the chances of a local school district getting the money it wants to build a new facility or improve existing buildings can depend greatly on where it is located: In metropolitan areas, most school construction projects get approved by local voters; in rural districts, these proposed tax increases tend to fail. This discrepancy led to legislative action this year. As envisioned under a section of HF 1 (Minnesota’s omnibus tax bill that still needed final approval as of late May), new state tax credits would offset 40 percent of a school district’s bond debt load that is attributed to agricultural property-tax payers. Some 240,000 parcels of land would qualify for the credit.By providing relief to farmers, lawmakers hope that this group of local taxpayers will be more likely to vote “yes” on local referenda and less burdened by the costs of approved school projects.In some districts, farm families make up only a small percentage of the taxpayers and a local school’s students, but their land accounts for a majority of the tax base that must pay for a project. As a result, individual farms may wind up paying several hundred thousand dollars in additional taxes over the life of a 30-year construction bond.

Supreme Court declines to hear Proposition 2 challenge

| Posted on June 5, 2017

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to California's Proposition 2 law that was filed by six other states. The law, which took effect in 2015, requires that eggs produced and sold in the state are laid by hens that have adequate room to stand up, sit down, turn around and extend their limbs without touching another bird or the sides of the cage.The recent challenge to California’s law was led by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who stated he believed the law imposes onerous new regulations on Missouri poultry farmers and would drive up the cost of eggs for Missouri consumers.Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma joined in the appeal.The law had been legally challenged by other states before. Hawley’s predecessor, Chris Koster, in 2014, filed a lawsuit that challenged the California egg law, months before it was to be enacted. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Fresno, California. That challenge also involved the other five states.

World Milk Day - 10 Amazing things you didn't know about milk

Dairy Good | Posted on June 1, 2017

1. A Trendsetter: Milk really is a trendsetter – it’s one of humanity’s first foods. People drank cow’s milk even before they started practicing agriculture – more than 10,000 years ago.
2. “Food of the Gods”: Throughout history, different cultures have embraced milk as a staple. From Greeks and Romans to Egyptians and Sumerians, ancient mythology valued milk as the “food of the gods.”
3. A Family Affair: Did you know that 97 percent of dairy farms are family owned and operated – often by multiple generations.
4. A Nutrient Powerhouse: To get the same amount of calcium in an eight-ounce glass of milk, you’d need to eat ten cups of raw spinach!
5. Who Knew?: It takes more than 21 pounds of whole milk to make a single pound of butter and 12 pounds of whole milk to make a gallon of ice cream.
6. The United States of Milk: Forget state birds or state flowers. Did you know 28 states have a “state beverage”? And 21 of those states choose milk.
7. Chocolate Milk for the Win: Low-fat chocolate milk makes a great post-workout recovery drink. 

Lawmakers vote to fund veterinary medicine at Texas Tech

Texas Tribune | Posted on June 1, 2017

Texas Tech University's on-again, off-again plans to open a veterinary school in Amarillo might just be on again. Buried in the 900-plus page budget approved Saturday by state lawmakers is $4.1 million allocated to Tech for "veterinary medicine." That money appears to be start-up funding for a new vet school — even though Tech started the legislative session saying that plans for the school were "on pause."Tech originally announced in late 2015 that it wanted to open a school in Amarillo 2019. But the idea was met with fierce resistance by Texas A&M University, which has the only veterinary school in the state. Despite the "on pause" declaration, lawmakers from the Lubbock area never gave up. A line providing the funding was included in the House's version of the budget — but not the Senate's. The budget conference committee tasked with crafting a compromise decided to leave it in.