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Agriculture News

Research questions role of poultry plants in stormwater contamination

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on March 6, 2018

University of Georgia and Georgia Tech Research Institute scientists have found that the contribution of poultry processing plants to stream bacterial load may be overestimated. The research aimed to identify and quantify the level of preexisting background indicator organisms under dry conditions in watersheds impacted by poultry processing facilities in urban heavy industrial, suburban light commercial, and rural settings. Investigators determined the typical level of bacterial contamination found in surface water upstream from the site of a poultry processing plant. They found significant levels of coliform bacteria in streams prior to any stormwater runoff from poultry processing plants.

Organic chicken manure plant proposed in Iowa

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on March 6, 2018

Officials in Wright County, Iowa, are considering a company’s plan to build a $25 million plant that would convert chicken manure to fertilizer for sale to organic farmers. The company has obtained the necessary state and county permits, and If approved by the board, construction on the facility could begin in the next 60 days, with completion in about one year.

Veterinarians want freedom to recommend like medical doctors

The Sacramento Bee | Posted on March 6, 2018

Unlike medical doctors in California, veterinarians are prohibited under state law from discussing cannabis as a treatment option for pets. That would change under a bill recently proposed by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, D-San Jose. AB 2215 would have the state Veterinary Medical Board come up with guidelines for discussing marijuana treatment and “protect state-licensed veterinarians from disciplinary action for discussing the use of cannabis on animal patient clients.” The bill is sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Association.

U.S. Horse Industry Has $122 Billion Economic Impact, Provides 1.74 Million Jobs

Paulick Report | Posted on March 6, 2018

The equine industry in the U.S. generates approximately $122 billion in total economic impact, an increase from $102 billion in the 2005 Economic Impact Study. The industry also provides a total employment impact of 1.74 million, and generates $79 billion in total salaries, wages, and benefits. The current number of horses in the United States stands at 7.2 million. Texas, California, and Florida continue to be the top three states with the highest population of horses.

Oregon sues to shut down new mega-dairy, citing repeated manure spills

edairynews | Posted on March 6, 2018

Lost Valley Farm opened in April 2017 near Boardman along the Columbia River in north central Oregon to supply the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook Cheese. Its wastewater permit allows up to 30,000 animals and 187 million gallons of manure per year.Regulators approved the dairy despite objections from about 4,000 people and a dozen state and national health and environment organizations raising concerns about air and water pollution, water use and health impacts on nearby communities.Since then the dairy has failed numerous inspections, has been cited four times and has been fined $10,640.Each citation included steps the dairy was required to take to remain in operation. Each time, the dairy failed to comply with most of those requirements, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said in the lawsuit filed last week. As a result, liquid manure and wastewater has repeatedly overflowed storage lagoons and seeped into soil. The lawsuit seeks an immediate and permanent injunction prohibiting the dairy from creating any more wastewater.

Legal challenge to Iowa ag gag law moves forward

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on March 1, 2018

A U.S. District Court judge has denied Iowa’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “ag gag” law. In October, a coalition of groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Center for Food Safety, and Public Justice filed the lawsuit, claiming the law violates Iowans’ First Amendment right to free speech. The suit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

Senator, don’t tax irrigation water in Nebraska

Scottsbluff Star Herald | Posted on March 1, 2018

Any legislation that would increase the tax burden for Nebraska farmers deserves a quick and unceremonious defeat in the Unicameral. We’re speaking specifically about LB1022, a proposal to tax irrigation water. The idea makes little sense because farmers and ranchers already are paying more than their fair share in property taxes and are struggling to turn a profit, so why has Columbus state Sen. Paul Schumacher proposed taxing irrigation wells? Schumacher is regarded as one of the most intelligent state senators, but he’s casting doubt on his intellectual capacities with LB1022.The bill would create a one-cent tax on every 10 gallons of water pumped from an irrigation well capable of producing at least 5,000 gallons of water per day.The daily total for a 5,000-gallon well would be $5. That sum doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply it times five wells, and a 50-day irrigation season would result in added taxes of $1,250.Schumacher thinks his irrigation tax could provide needed revenue for schools, which shows his heart is in the right place, it’s just not pumping blood to his brain. Added taxes could further cripple farmers and ranchers, undermining our state’s No.1 industry that contributes $11 billion annually to the Nebraska economy and is responsible for more than 31,000 jobs.

West Virginia Gas Companies Wined and Dined Lawmakers Before Scoring Favorable Fracking Legislation

Desmog | Posted on March 1, 2018

A country club luncheon. A $130 steak dinner. A whiskey tasting. Dinner at an historic neo-Georgian mansion. These are just a few examples of the many occasions last year when oil and gas lobbyists wined and dined West Virginia state lawmakers on key committees that craft fossil fuel legislation. Lobbyists representing industry players including natural gas giant EQT, Antero Resources, TransCanada, and multiple oil and gas trade associations wooed state lawmakers with thousands of dollars’ worth of food and drink throughout 2017, according to lobbying records

Soledad farm labor contractor fined $168K for 'inhumane' housing conditions

The Californian | Posted on March 1, 2018

A Soledad farm labor contractor has been fined $168,082 in penalties for housing employees in unsanitary and dangerous conditions following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The penalized company, Future Ag Management Inc., a farm labor contractor, provided illegal and substandard housing to 22 employees during the lettuce and cauliflower harvests in Monterey County last summer, according to the press release by the U.S. Department of Labor. The penalizations will resolve Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act violations.

U.S. judge halts California plan to require glyphosate warnings

Reuters | Posted on March 1, 2018

A federal judge has temporarily blocked California’s plans to require cancer warnings on products containing the popular weed killer glyphosate, in a win for manufacturer Monsanto Co. U.S. District Judge William Shubb said the warnings would be misleading because glyphosate is not known to cause cancer, according to court documents filed on Monday in California. He still allowed the state to keep glyphosate on a list of cancer-causing products.