Animal agriculture – farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, feed mills and animal health companies – is dedicated to providing a safe and healthful food supply for everyone. That dedication starts on the farm with ensuring livestock and poultry are also healthy. As part of that commitment, the animal agriculture community is currently working to implement significant changes in the way antibiotics are used.
Survey Results at a Glance: • For a 14th straight month, the Rural Mainstreet Index fell below growth neutral. • Overall index slumps to lowest level since April 2009. • Bank CEOs project more than one in five farmers with negative 2016 cash flows. • More than one in four bank CEOs expect rising regulatory costs to be the biggest challenge to their bank operations over the next 5 years. • Gains reported for Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota while losses were recorded for Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wyoming.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that nine land trusts, four counties, one township and 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program
VTT has developed a solution for converting even small sources of methane-rich biogas into raw materials for animal feed or bioplastic on farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. This emission-reducing solution is based on the ability of methanotrophic bacteria to grow on methane in gas fermentors. The methanotrophic bacteria and (depending on the growth conditions) cell mass may also contain polyhydroxybutyrate plastic (PHB) - a natural substance in the cells that enables them to store conserve energy. For example, PHB can be used as a raw material for biodegradable packaging material, instead of oil-based and non-biodegradable plastics such as polypropylene (PP). The cell mass may contain 50% half of the PHB, in which case the protein content is around 30%.
transcripts show that farm policy hasn’t come up even once during a presidential debate for the past 16 years. For more than a hundred years before that, however, the hyperbolic praise of American farmers was a campaign mainstay. So much so that Charles Warren of Mutual News opened his moderation of a 1960 presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon by stating, “It’s a fact, I think, that presidential candidates traditionally make promises to farmers.” He then queried the candidates, “Why this constant courting of the farmer?” Well, it’s 2016, and the courtship is clearly over. How did we get from there to here? American farms are still hugely important. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross output of American farms is $393 billion. That’s more than eight times the figure for coal mining, an industry that held the spotlight several times during the presidential campaigns. The Farm Crisis of the early 1980s is considered to be the worst financial crash that the United States farming sector had experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s; it completed the boom-and-bust cycle that had begun with a steep rise in agricultural speculation during the early 1970s. Out of its aftermath emerged a new permanent reality that has changed the entire concept of farming in America: the end of the self-supporting family farm.
New and stiffer Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) training requirements for farm workers using chemicals, specifically pesticides in an agricultural setting, are set to take effect beginning in January of 2017. As it stands now, and as it has been in the past, workers who handle pesticides on the farm must receive specialized training every five years to conform to EPA regulations. But effective Jan 2, 2017, that and many other rules change, and EPA says it is critical that everyone working in agriculture and handling pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals must conform to the new regulations.
Ethanol was a factor in both the price run-up that began in 2006 and the price run-down that began in 2013. Tepid growth replaced explosive growth. The question for the future is, “What is ethanol’s organic growth rate (growth without government policy stimulus)?” Recent history suggests growth will continue in the corn ethanol market, but it likely will be notably lower than the growth in yields. Thus, upward pressure on corn prices is less likely.
Federal law does not pre-empt state or local governments from banning genetically engineered crops that have been deregulated by USDA, according to a federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an earlier ruling that held Maui County in Hawaii was prohibited from banning commercialized genetically modified organisms in 2014 because the ordinance was pre-empted by federal rules for biotechnology. Because the USDA lacks jurisdiction over biotech crops once they’re deregulated, there is no conflict between local regulations and federal rules and laws, the 9th Circuit said. Prohibiting states and local governments from regulating crops that were once considered plant pests would have a “backwards effect” because they can still regulate conventional crops that “raise fewer concerns,” the 9th Circuit held.
A USDA official, Alexis Taylor, has been nominated to head the Oregon Department of Agriculture, replacing former director Katy Coba. Taylor is currently the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services and will begin serving as ODA director on Jan. 23, once confirmed by the Oregon Senate.
It is an argument that comes up every Thanksgiving season: using corn for ethanol drives up food prices. Another study proves this is simply not true. Year after year, study after study continues to show that the renewable fuels sector does not impact the price or availability of food. Again this year, an independent analysis shows food prices are not impacted by commodity prices. Jeff Cooper, vice president of the Renewable Fuels Association, says it is really hard to notice any impact on consumer food prices from the expansion of the ethanol sector. The study, done by Informa Economics, indicates that food prices were not impacted by the prices of corn or soybeans. “In fact, the inflation rate for grocers is about half of what it was before the RFS started in 2010,” said Cooper. Prior to 2010, grocery prices were averaging a yearly increase of 3.2%; since 2010 that has dropped to 1.8%.