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Agriculture News

Land O’Lakes Spotlights Female Farmers in Its Feminist Reimagining of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on August 29, 2018

Old MacDonald may have had a farm with a dog, cows and some chickens, but he also had something far more important to keeping said farm running—a daughter. At least according to Land O’Lakes’ “She-I-O,” a reimagined (albeit slightly hokey) version of the classic children’s nursery rhyme sung by country artist Maggie Rose."'She-I-O' serves as a rallying cry for women breaking stereotypes, not just in dairy farming, but in every industry," Maggie Rose said.Also featured in the video was Candice Dotterer along with her sister Amanda and cousin Lori. Dotterer, who is now the manager of her 900-cow operation in Mill Hall, Penn., gave a behind the scenes look at life as a female dairy farmer.As part of Land O’Lakes new All Together Better Initiative program, which includes a partnership with Feeding America, Land O'Lakes will donate $1 to Feeding America for every share, tag or comment on any of the "She-I-O" music video content on Land O'Lakes social channels, as well as the "She-I-O" music track, available on SoundCloud and iTunes, up to $100,000.Also debuting as part of the All Together Better initiative is a three-part documentary series called In Their Words, produced by The Female Farmer Project, which chronicles the personal stories of some of these Land O'Lakes farmers. With women comprising approximately one-third of all U.S. farmers, In Their Words was created to celebrate these fearless females and create a dialogue around the importance of their role in the food chain, according to Land O’Lakes.

A look at the future of dairies

Indiana Gazette | Posted on August 29, 2018

A group of agriculture experts from around the world recently published a Journal of Dairy Science article sharing their vision for what dairy production and consumption will look like in 2067.It is expected that the demand for dairy products will grow, for two main reasons. First, per capita income worldwide will be higher and allow the average person to purchase more animal products. Second, dairy products meet human nutritional requirements while requiring less land per unit of edible protein than many other food products. It is projected that climate change will cause a significant shift in the location of U.S. dairy cows. Right now, approximately 42 percent of U.S. milk is produced in states that are expected to have severe water shortages by 2067. Expansion will likely trend towards areas with more adequate water resources — the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes region and the central provinces of Canada.The authors proposed a model of how dairy enterprises might be organized. Several milk cow facilities with similar design will be located in close proximity to each other, where cows will be milked with robotic systems. All animals not milking (calves, heifers, steers and dry cows) will be managed in separate, specialized, shared facilities. Feed will be stored and mixed at feed centers serving multiple locations.There will continue to be some smaller, independent dairy farms. They will likely have targeted niche markets, such as grass-fed milk, local food or proprietary products.Cows will be managed with precision, thanks to sensors, robots, and other automated technologies.

New course trains veterinary students to protect pollinators

Cornell | Posted on August 29, 2018

New federal regulations require veterinarians around the country to examine and treat honeybee colonies, and training for this new job is needed. That’s why Cornell veterinarian Dr. Robin Radcliffe partnered with Cornell faculty members to offer the first honeybee health course at Cornell for veterinary students.Beyond the fact that bees are invertebrates and possess many different physiological systems compared with vertebrates, honeybee care is “more herd health, and has a lot of parallels to population medicine and public health. Our patient is not the single bee, but the whole colony – biologically the complex communication and cooperation among bees known as the ‘superorganism.’”Radcliffe teaches students what normal “brood” looks like – the eggs and developing pupae – so they will recognize signs of the America foulbrood, a bacteria that will kill larvae and easily spread from hive to hive. Students are also schooled in the honeybee’s greatest foe, the varroa mite. These invasive parasites from China arrived in New York in 1995. They feed off adult bees and their brood, causing the entire colony to weaken and, if left untreated, collapse.

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

USDA | Posted on August 29, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service announced today a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics. Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy  outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.  “On my trip to California this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level.” A key component of the new strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments in direct coordination with states using the most advanced science tools. This allows the USFS to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests.The Omnibus Bill also includes a long-term “fire funding fix,” starting in FY 2020, that will stop the rise of the 10-year average cost of fighting wildland fire and reduce the likelihood of the disruptive practice of transferring funds from Forest Service non-fire programs to cover firefighting costs. The product of more than a decade of hard work, this bipartisan solution will ultimately stabilize the agency’s operating environment.

Judge rules case against withdrawal of organic animal welfare rule can proceed

Agri-Pulse | Posted on August 25, 2018

A District Court judge in California has ruled that a group of organic stakeholders has the legal standing to challenge USDA’s withdrawal of organic animal welfare language earlier this year.

Pfizer stops sales of injectable opioids to veterinary market

Veterinary News | Posted on August 25, 2018

Pfizer, a human biopharmaceutical company whose products are frequently used off-label by veterinarians, halted sales of injectable opioids to the veterinary market in the second quarter of 2018, a company spokesman says. It is instead prioritizing the drugs to human hospital and surgical customers. "Pfizer Injectables has been experiencing a production delay in the manufacturing of opioid products. Pfizer has temporarily halted sales and shipments of opioids to animal/veterinarian clinics during this time of shortage," says Steve Danehy, director of corporate affairs and global media relations for Pfizer. "We value all customers and understand the importance of these medications and regret the current need to prioritize shipments to hospital and surgical trading partners."Danehy says the company is making efforts to restock the market in ways that are equitable, efficient and compliant, and though production of their opioid has resumed, it doesn't expect to fully recover and resume selling to the full market until the second quarter of 2019.

FBI Agent Points to Need for Protecting Intellectual Property From Theft

DTN | Posted on August 25, 2018

In an era of tremendous change in agricultural technology, it's more important than ever that agribusinesses, research universities and farmers protect themselves against the risks of intellectual theft.The theft of trade secrets is getting more traction among federal authorities and in court. But, if a legal battle over a trade secret goes to court, company and university officials are likely going to be asked why a product or research is proprietary. And, if so, then what practices were being done to protect that secret."Document how you are protecting your stuff, because this is where it is becoming important, because we have to define how it was a trade secret," Nichols said. "Make sure you document what you have done for your company or university to protect that claim."Agriculture has seen its share of high-profile thefts, some coming out of labs, while others come right out of cornfields. Nichols pointed to the case of Mo Hailong, who was sentenced in 2016 to three years in federal prison for stealing biotech corn seeds from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto in the Midwest.

Independent Seed Companies Weigh in on Dicamba Controversy

DTN | Posted on August 25, 2018

Like most independent seed sellers in the U.S., Sonny Beck sells Xtend soybean seed, designed to be tolerant of over-the-top dicamba applications. But the CEO of Beck's Hybrids, the fourth-largest seed company in the U.S., would like to sell other herbicide-tolerant traits, too -- such as LibertyLink (glufosinate-tolerant), Enlist (2,4-D-tolerant), LibertyLink-GT27 (glufosinate- and HPPD-tolerant), Roundup Ready and non-GMO soybeans.So when Beck's customers reported widespread issues with dicamba damaging non-Xtend soybeans this summer, Beck took action.His company sent a survey to thousands of Midwest growers and learned that 48% wanted to see the current dicamba labels changed or canceled. Beck recently sent a letter to EPA recommending that the dicamba label for XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia "be modified to restrict dicamba in its current formulations to pre-plant only."

Judge Puts the Squeeze on WOTUS Delay

Growing Produce | Posted on August 25, 2018

U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled the Trump administration Executive Order did not properly seek public input when it suspended the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) RuleThis ruling in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina impacts 26 states, with reviews pending in an additional 24 states. States impacted by this injunction include California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Cannabis Is Creating A Boom For Biological Pesticides

Forbes | Posted on August 22, 2018

As legal cannabis farms take the spotlight, safer methods of pest control are also taking root in more 'mainstream' agriculture. With more states enacting medicinal and adult recreational cannabis laws each year, health officials have increasingly warned about the potential hazards of products made from crops treated with certain chemicals. In particular, chemical pesticides have been identified as a threat to cannabis consumers' health, with potential risks that can vary depending on whether products are eaten, smoked, vaped, or topically applied.