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Agriculture News

We'll regret bypassing local shops for sake of a few bucks

Madison | Posted on October 11, 2018

We American consumers are a fickle lot.I was reminded of that again last week when a family-owned local grocery chain announced it is calling it quits after decades serving the Chicago market.The few giant national chains, the product of years of cutthroat consolidation, did them in, just as they have done in thousands of mom-and-pop stores across the land, including here in Wisconsin.All for the sake of saving a buck or two, shoppers unwittingly rush to the latest mega-store while the small businesses that have served as the bedrock of American commerce for centuries drop by the wayside.One of those shoppers wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune last week blaming herself for the closing of the locally owned Treasure Island groceries.

What would the loss of 2-4D impact? | Posted on October 11, 2018

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was first marketed to control broadleaf weeds in 1945 and since that time has become one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. 2,4-D formulations include esters, acids, and several salts (WHO 1989). The dimethyl-amine salt (DMA) and 2-ethylhexyl ester (EHE) formulations account for approximately 90-95% of its total global use (Charles et al. 2001).The loss of access to 2,4-D would most certainly force applicators to switch to more expensive alternative herbicides and would likely result in decreased crop yields. Cost increases for agricultural uses associated with such a ban could be anywhere from $53 to $102 million. Cost increases for non-crop uses range from $130 to $510 million.

Trade and a frog

OFW law | Posted on October 11, 2018

The U.S. trade deficit rose in August to $53.2 billion. That’s up $3.2 billion. A decline in soybean and oil exports is what pulled us down. China is not buying our beans – at least, not now. Their companies don’t want to pay the 25% tariff imposed by China on our beans. There is some good news. USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, Jr. is cheering a big purchase – 90,000 metric tons of rice by Iraq. That is triple what they had been buying. The National Pork Producers Council is praising President Trump for announcing that the U.S. and Japan are to begin trade talks. National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimer said: “Fantastic news. Japan has been our top export market for years.” 
Also, beef exports are expected to increase to South Korea. The duty has just been reduced to 21.3% from 40% and will be eliminated by 2026. Cattlemen are excited to see the U.S. as the largest supplier of beef to South Korea.We need to make free trade deals with South Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries because we are not part of the Trans Pacific agreement. President Trump withdrew.I said I wanted to talk about a frog. Here we go. Assume that you own a farm and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came and said they would take it away from you, even though you own it. It would be off limits to you. The dusky gopher frog doesn’t live on your land but the government decided it would be a perfect home for that useless frog. He is an endangered species but to kick a farmer off of 1,500 acres of his land for a useless frog is outrageous.

U.S. not invited to Canada’s upcoming trade meeting — only ‘like minded’ nations allowed

Global News | Posted on October 11, 2018

Canada has not included the United States in an upcoming meeting aimed at saving the international trading system because it doesn’t share the views of the 13 invited countries, says the new Canadian trade minister. Canada will host senior ministers from 13 “like-minded” countries for a two-day discussion in Ottawa later this month to brainstorm ways to reform the World Trade Organization, said Jim Carr, Canada’s newly appointed international trade diversification minister.

Peoples Company, Stine Seed offer a paid-in-full cover crop program to land owners

Michigan Farm News | Posted on October 11, 2018

Iowa-based land brokerage firm Peoples Company, offering management, investment and appraisal services in 20 states, is partnering with Stine Seed, the largest independent corn and soybean seed company, and one of the most-recognized corn and soybean seed brands, to offer land owners a “paid-in-full, managed cover crops program.” According to a press release announcing the cover crop partnership program, the initiative will demonstrate to land owners that it’s possible to simultaneously protect environmentally sensitive acres, maximize yield on the productive acres and improve overall return on investment.“Peoples Company is committed to helping land owners effectively manage their property to maximize productivity, but also to reduce environmental impact,” said Peoples Company President Steve Bruere. “Our program will show land owners it’s possible to reduce environmental impact while increasing productivity.”The program, called the Sustainability Cover Crop Initiative, will be offered to land owners in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri, for a three-year term, starting in 2019 with two major conditional strings attached.To receive cover crops paid-in-full by the program – a value of up to $30/acre – land owners must agree to have their land professionally managed by Peoples Company during the three-year term and commit to planting Stine Seed.

Minnesota provides grants for milk coolers

Minnesota Department of Agriculture | Posted on October 11, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that its Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Milk Cooler Grants are now available. The MDA will award up to $22,500 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota dairy by adding milk coolers to their nutrition programs. “Our goal is to invest in schools and early care and education organizations so they can buy and serve more Minnesota dairy,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Dairy is a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Kids at a young age are more likely to become lifelong consumers of milk and other dairy products, which benefits Minnesota’s farmers.”The MDA anticipates awarding up to $22,500 to assist Schools and Early Care and Education organizations in purchasing milk coolers for their meal programs.  Each school or organization may apply for up to $1,500.00.  A maximum of three proposals will be accepted for each organization or school.  Eligible expenses include the cost of the milk cooler and associated installation expenses.

U.S. dairy experts cast doubts on Canadian trade deal ending deep slump for American farmers

Journal Sentinel | Posted on October 11, 2018

U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful that a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt that it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk. The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said.  The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Under the terms, still being finalized, Canada would open more of its dairy market to trade and has agreed to drop its quota and pricing system for “Class 7” milk powders  — a move that could help the struggling American dairy industry as it seeks export markets.But it opens only about 3.6 percent of Canada’s market for dairy, poultry and eggs to the U.S., and that’s not much for American farmers.“The impacts will be minimal. Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” Goodman said.Tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement were heightened last year when Canada raised tariffs on ultrafiltered milk used to make cheese and other dairy products.

Happy National 4-H Week

Ag Daily | Posted on October 11, 2018

Millions of 4-H students, parents, and volunteers will celebrate the 76th consecutive National 4-H Week. The festivities run from Oct. 7 through 13; you can find the 4-H youth and alumni sharing the theme, Inspire Kids to Do. This year’s theme hopes to inspire the youth to take advantage of opportunities, empower them with the skills they need to succeed in life and their future career. 4-H gives today’s youth the tools to pursue their passion while creating their own course. It was founded on the belief that the youth can develop their own, unique skills, to allow them to grow and take shape in order to be the leaders of tomorrow in their communities.  Research has shown that the young people involved in 4-H are nearly four times as likely to contribute to their communities and twice as like to engage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. 

Farm Bureau study finds livestock farms environmentally sustainable

Journal Star | Posted on October 11, 2018

Livestock operations in Illinois are environmentally sustainable economic engines that keep young people from fleeing the state. Those broad pronouncements represent the main findings of what agriculture and trade group officials call the first-ever comprehensive review of livestock farms in Illinois and how they operate within the state’s regulatory framework.Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources at the Illinois Farm Bureau, co-authored the Illinois Livestock Farms 2018 report in response to “undue criticism by a vocal minority.”“We need to keep people in Illinois, that’s our main goal,” Lurkins said. “We want people to know we have a robust regulatory environment and it’s effective.”Environmental and conservation groups, as well as individuals who have opposed specific livestock operations, have claimed that current regulations allow hazardous conditions that threaten the environment and neighbors of some livestock farms.

'Buy local' dairy campaign sparked by trade deal that allows more U.S. milk into Canada

CBC | Posted on October 11, 2018

The latest trade deal allowing more U.S. milk to pour into Canada has sparked a rallying cry to buy Canadian dairy. The message comes not only from dairy farmers upset over losing market share but also from many Canadian consumers pledging their support on social media."My heart hurts for the local industry," said software engineer Erum Tanvir in Winnipeg. Last week, she posted a Facebook message to buy Canadian milk.Tanvir says she'll choose Canadian over U.S. dairy products — even if they're more expensive.