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Agriculture News

The Transformation of the American Farm, in 18 Charts

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 2, 2018

The shift to specialization, fed by technology and competition, has boosted profits. It has also left farmers more vulnerable to price busts like the one currently sweeping the Farm Belt.

EPA nixes bid to herd livestock under Clean Air Act

Capital Press | Posted on January 2, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has denied a petition by environmental groups to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations like factories under the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a letter to petitioners, acknowledged livestock are potential sources of air pollutants. The agency, however, doesn’t have a reliable method for estimating animal emissions. Until it does, new rules could be unjustified and ineffective, according to Pruitt.“Once the agency has sufficient information on CAFO emissions, it will determine the appropriate regulatory approach to address those emissions,” he stated.

Rabobank warns of ‘rising tide of milk’

edairynews | Posted on January 2, 2018

Rabobank expects EU milk supply to continue growing in the next six months. European milk supply in the next six month will decide the fate of global markets, according to the latest report from the Dutch-based agri lender.Rabobank’s latest quarterly dairy report sets the tone clearly in its headline: “Rising tide of milk weighs on sentiment”.While the bank’s analysts note that global supply has increased since last spring, they warn that it is not over yet. In Oceania, unfavourable weather conditions reduced production during the November spring peak. This leaves room for expansion this year.

Dairies Are Awash in Organic Milk as Consumers Jump to Alternatives

Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 2, 2018

Organic milk sales have cooled as the very shoppers who drove demand for the specialty product not long ago move on to newer alternatives, leaving dairy sellers and producers grappling with oversupply. A yearslong surge in demand prompted food companies and dairy farmers to invest in organic production, which requires eschewing pesticides and antibiotics and allowing cows to graze freely. Now, organic-milk supplies have ballooned just as demand has stalled. Many shoppers have moved on to substitutes such as almond “milk,” which contain no dairy.Packaged-food companies that invested in producing organic milk are cutting capacity or looking to turn it into cheese or other products. Grocery stores that rushed to stock organic milk have eased purchases and allotted more dairy-case space to plant-based alternatives. Dairy cooperatives are slashing prices paid to farmers, setting quotas and even selling organic milk as conventional dairy.

Poultry Tops Mississippi’s $7.3 Billion Agriculture Economy in 2017

Drovers | Posted on January 2, 2018

Mississippi’s $7.3 billion agriculture economy continues to see growth from the poultry industry which saw an increase of 13% in 2017, reaching $2.8 billion in value. Agricultural economists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service released year-end estimates for the value of crops in the Magnolia State. Government payments accounted for $227 million in commodity value, so when added to the total crop value the overall monetary value jumps to $7.53 billion.

VA:State Forester to Head Virginia Agriculture, Forestry

Lancaster Farming | Posted on January 2, 2018

After more than a decade in the Virginia Department of Forestry, Bettina Ring will be the commonwealth’s next secretary of agriculture and forestry. She will replace Basil I. Gooden in the role that oversees the state’s largest private industry, agriculture, which combined with forestry provides more than 442,000 jobs, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.“We have sustainable farmland and forestland across the state, and we want to make sure it stays healthy and the families stay healthy” managing it, Ring said. “We want to be developing the economy (and) protecting the environment.”

Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program Prepares Future Dairy Farmers

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on January 2, 2018

Now, Mericka is, in a way, paying it forward.He’s hosting an aspiring farmer through the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, or DGA. It acts like a matchmaking service, partnering master farmers with beginning farmers or experienced farmers who want to transition to grazing.It’s his friend, Matt Nielsen, who like Mericka, did not grow up in a farming family. Nielsen has toyed with the idea of becoming a farmer since he was a kid. But before settling down on the farm, he had to get some things out of his system."I’ve been living in Chile the last couple years. I took a big bike trip, and I’ve just kind of seen what I wanted to see," said Nielsen. "But that agitation was always in the back of my mind, calling me. 'Maybe I should try dairy farming again?' I found myself all throughout my travels still reading about dairy farming, still trying to download all these publications about cheesemaking. I thought, 'Well, what am I putting it off for anymore?'"Now that he’s ready to dive in, Nielsen decided DGA was the best way to prepare himself to be a farmer.

Dairy employs 1 million Americans

Hoards Dairyman | Posted on January 2, 2018

“Nearly 1 million people are employed in the United States directly because of dairy,” said former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. That job total includes those employed on dairy farms, those working with dairy farmers, dairy processing, trucking, and other associated sectors.“That employment has a $206 billion economic impact on the U.S. economy,” Vilsack went on to explain to those attending the joint annual meeting of the National Milk Producers Federation, the United Dairy Industry Association, and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board at its gathering in Anaheim, Calif., on November 1.Of that 1 million employed figure, Vilsack estimated that 100,000 of those jobs were directly related to U.S. dairy exports. One day each week, the U.S. now exports all the milk production from its entire dairy herd.

Public attitude to GM crops ‘is medieval’

The Times UK | Posted on January 2, 2018

xperts were told to consider how to improve the Scottish public’s understanding of science after ministers raised concerns about “medieval” debates on genetically modified crops. Papers from 2002 that have just been released reveal that ministers discussed a “general failure by the public to understand scientific processes”.Minutes from a cabinet meeting on May 1, 2002, report a discussion led by Ross Finnie, then minister for environment and rural development, on the GM crop trial at Munlochy on the Black Isle, Easter Ross.A field of modified oilseed rape was subject to a long-running vigil and a farmer was jailed for contempt of court after he refused to name those who had helped him to damage it.The cabinet minutes noted “a ‘medieval’” approach.


Ohio, Pa. agriculture by the numbers (Infographic)

Farm and Dairy | Posted on January 2, 2018

We often take our farmers and the economic impact of local agriculture for granted. But combined, Ohio’s agricultural and food production cluster employed one out of every eight Ohioans in 2015 and contributed $33 billion (5.3 percent) to Ohio’s gross state product, according to a report produced by a team of agricultural economists from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Along with the $33 billion, the state’s agricultural and food production cluster contributed an additional $20 billion to Ohio’s 2015 economy indirectly through farmer payments for various expenses such as rent and accounting services, as well as income that farm employees used to buy goods and services.