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Agriculture News

State Restrictions on Federal Pesticide Labels Under Scrutiny

DTN | Posted on November 5, 2018

EPA's announcement of new dicamba regulations comes at a time when states' ability to restrict this kind of federal pesticide label may be under threat. In the past, states have used section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), to pass more restrictive state regulations on federal pesticide labels. For example, the state of Tennessee used Section 24(c) to limit the use of three dicamba herbicides to 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the state in 2018 -- even though the federal dicamba label only limited use from sunrise to sunset.That practice may no longer be routine, because EPA is worried that the FIFRA language does not actually support it, state pesticide regulators told DTN."What we've heard is that the purpose of Section 24(c) is to allow additional uses of a federal pesticide, as opposed to restrict uses," said Leo Reed, American Association of Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) board director from Indiana. "And states have been using it to restrict federal labels, and EPA is leery of continuing that process."

California’s dairy farmers were struggling to regain profitability. Then came the trade wars

The Virginia Pilot | Posted on November 1, 2018

For Gioletti and other members of California Dairies Inc., the state’s largest dairy cooperative and the second-largest in the U.S., the trade war with China has had a direct effect: “We no longer sell any products into China since the middle of this year,” says Rob Vandenheuvel, the co-op’s vice president of industry and member relations. That means the loss of 6 percent to 9 percent of its sales of milk powder. “We’re down to zero there.”Agriculture faces untold challenges all over the state, but dairy farmers arguably have a tougher time of it. Livestock has to be cared for more intensively than field crops. On top of the environmental restrictions confronting all farmers, dairies must deal with regulations governing methane, a greenhouse gas produced by cow digestion and bubbling up from the manure spread into pits to be dried for fertilizer. New state rules will regulate how much groundwater farmers can extract, posing another potential limitation on their business.Labor has gotten scarce. Even though Gioletti’s workforce is mostly foreign-born, it’s not immigration enforcement that’s causing the scarcity, he says, but demand from a surging construction sector that’s outbidding him. (He says he pays an average of $12 an hour, which doesn’t include benefits such as health coverage but does include free housing.)

Dicamba Registration Extended To 2020, Additional Restrictions Apply

Ag Web | Posted on November 1, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would extend over-the-top use of dicamba in cotton and soybeans until Dec. 20, 2020. The agency said it considered several different sources of input before making this decision.

In defence of Canada’s dairy farmers

The Conversation | Posted on November 1, 2018

Other studies suggest that countries that have transitioned away from supply management, such as Australia, have seen an initial spike in dairy production, then a steady reduction in production, farms and farmers. Many producers have been forced to exit the industry due to soft market conditions.You cannot separate farming from the fabric of rural Canada. The families, animals and land are fully integrated into the community and landscape. The survival of rural Atlantic Canada, in particular, is dependent on this, and it is something we must keep in mind during all of our trade negotiations.

FDA Announces Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan

FDA | Posted on November 1, 2018

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan to outline the key priorities the agency will pursue to support innovation in plant and animal biotechnology while advancing the agency’s public health mission. The overall goal of the action plan is to ensure the safety of plant and animal products of biotechnology while avoiding unnecessary barriers to future innovation.The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is launching a pilot of this program today to offer intensive technical and programmatic assistance to developers of certain innovative veterinary products, including animal biotechnology products. VIP includes a set of tools to guide sponsors through the regulatory process, options to develop alternative strategies for generating necessary evidence, pre-submission reviews of data packages, and cross-disciplinary and coordinated FDA review.CVM, along with representatives from FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), will host a live-cast webinar on Dec. 3, 2018 to discuss FDA’s flexible, risk-based regulatory approach and current scientific evidence and regulatory science questions that are important for the agency’s decision-making for genome editing in animals.

Oregon hemp farming sees "explosive growth"

Oregon Business | Posted on November 1, 2018

The Oregon hemp industry is like a raging river, restrained by a dam that might soon break and allow products to flood an array of new markets. A provision in the 2018 Farm Bill before Congress would strike cannabidiol from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule 1 drugs, those the agency deems to have the highest potential for abuse. Nationally, hemp sales topped $820 million in 2017. The market is expected to reach $1 billion in 2018.In the roller-coaster cannabis industry, hemp enjoys a smoother ride than recreational marijuana. Oregon marijuana growers have produced heaping piles of weed far in excess of what consumers can smoke and ingest. Federal law prohibits growers from shipping outside the state, restricting demand in the legal market. Many growers are now fleeing to the more promising hemp trade.

Women farmers earn about $58,000 a year—but they still outearn their male counterparts

CNBC | Posted on November 1, 2018

According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the most recent data available, women make up 30 percent of all farm operators in the United States. While the number of principal farm owners decreased slightly from the 2007 to 2012 census, the trend has gone up over the last decade, driven by a few key shifts in farming. More women today are in leadership positions in farming and agriculture. In addition, there has been a surge of women starting their own small farms, which has likely tipped the scale in women's favor when it comes to compensation. "It's a catch-up of the past but it's also this new movement of fresh farm entrepreneurs," Lisa Kivirist, a farmer, entrepreneur and the author of "Soil Sisters, a Toolkit for Women Farmers," tells CNBC Make It. Much of the growth is in organics, small-scale localized farming that doesn't fit into traditional agriculture boxes, she says."Women embrace diversification on a higher level, I would say, than a male traditional farmer," says Kivirist. Women farmers are also creative, optimizing every inch of their farms, which is good for business.


Perdue says no plan to extend farm aid to offset tariffs

Reuters | Posted on November 1, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not planning to extend an up to $12 billion aid package for farmers into 2019, Secretary Sonny Perdue said, to mitigate farmer losses due to the imposition of tariffs on American exports. “Farmers are very resilient and adept in making their planning and marketing decisions based on the current market,” Perdue told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington.

CDC warns of poultry plant worker illnesses

Meat & Poultry | Posted on November 1, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 13 cases of psittacosis among poultry plant workers at two processing plants in Virginia and Georgia that are owned by the same company. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, the type of bacteria that causes psittacosis, which causes mild illness in people. Common symptoms include fever and chills, headache, muscle aches and a dry cough. The most common vector of infection is by breathing in dust containing dried secretions from infected birds. The bacteria are not spread by preparing or eating chicken, the agency noted.

In the Midwest, injured agriculture workers are telling their stories to help others avoid the same fate.

US News | Posted on November 1, 2018

It's been eight years since Jason Fevold almost died while working on a farm. Fevold had been spending long hours in October 2010 pumping liquid manure out of the pit in a swine building and spreading it onto a nearby field. It was dangerous work that included the risk of exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas, but Fevold was confident and committed: He'd been working on farms since doing chores for his grandparents as a kid. During one of the trips back to the hog confinement building, Jason went inside to use the restroom, but didn't come back out. When Roxanne saw manure splashing out of a tank, she knew something was wrong.She ran inside and found Jason passed out, foam coming from his mouth. She flagged down his co-worker, and the two of them pulled her 200-pound husband away from the pit opening.If Roxanne had not been close by, Jason might not have been found until later. That would have been enough time for the gas he'd inhaled to kill him, rather than send him to the cardiac intensive care unit at a hospital in Des Moines.The experience, although frightening, was not enough to get Fevold to consider leaving farming.After receiving funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the project began focusing on collecting stories like Fevold's, told using the voice of the farmer and packaged for use in media articles as well as curricula for colleges, 4-H programs or the National FFA Organization, formerly the Future Farmers of America. The Fevolds' story is one of eight now featured on the project website.