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Human activity helps drive wildfires

Wildfire predictions do not accurately account for anthropogenic factors.  A new study examining wildfires in California found that human activity explains as much about their frequency and location as climate influences. The researchers systematically looked at human (anthropogenic) behaviors and climate change together, which is unique and rarely attempted on an area of land this large.

Recent Developments with Right-to-Farm Laws

Webinar on April 4, 2016 covering recent developments with right-to-farm laws. Webinar features Tiffany Lashmet with Texas A&M and Ashley Ellixson and Paul Goeringer with University of Maryland.

2 Conditions improve, but farmers not optimistic

Farmers and ranchers are enjoying better conditions these days, but many aren't optimistic the changes will significantly help them soon, according to a survey released Tuesday by Purdue University and futures market operatorCME Group. The Ag Economy Barometer, a nationwide measure of the health of U.S. agriculture, rose 21 points in April to 106 as higher prices for corn, soybeans and wheat and good weather for crop plantings boosted producer sentiment. Still, 76% of the 400 respondents said they expect the next 12 months to be challenging financially.

Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector

Global pesticides, seeds and fertilizer companies may be forced to re-engineer their business models as farmers adopt specialist technology that helps maximize harvests while reducing the use of crop chemicals. New businesses are springing up that promise to tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilize or pick crops based on algorithms using data from their own fields. Their emphasis on reducing the use of chemicals and minerals known as farming inputs is a further challenge for an industry already struggling with weak agricultural markets worldwide.

Prestage Farm plant turned down by Mason City, IA

In a stunning turn of events, the City Council early Wednesday rejected Prestage Foods of Iowa’s proposal to build a $240 million pork processing plant in Mason City. Its plan was to hire more than 1,700 workers over the next four years but it met with protests from citizens concerned about environmental and quality-of life issues.The vote was a 3-3 tie with council members Travis Hickey, Janet Solberg and Brett Schoneman voting in favor of a development agreement with the company and Alex Kuhn, Bill Schickel and John Lee voting against. A tie vote on a motion represents a loss.

Animal rights activists next goal - slow-growth chicken

Companies like Whole Foods are betting customers will pay more for unhurried maturing of birds.The U.S. chicken industry has spent decades figuring out how to grow its birds fast. Now, some of its customers are looking for producers willing to slow things down.A typical commercial chicken has been bred to grow to twice the size of birds from 50 years ago, in around half the time. The faster pace has meant big savings and fatter profits for the meatpackers that raise them. But companies such as Whole Foods Market Inc. and Starbucks Corp.

AgClips

AgClips

Agclips for the week ending January 16, 2018

Livestock, Dairy and Egg Sectors in Trouble

A new report by AgriBank projects livestock, dairy, and egg sector margins to continue adjusting downward from record levels set in 2014. The report on 15 Midwest states called the egg industry “the largest percentage loser” due to bird flu and record high prices. However, the report says the turkey industry is rebounding as flocks are rebuilt, and prices remain high. AThe report did say weather remains a wildcard as the transition to La Niña from the historically strong El Niño could bring major drought conditions across the Corn Belt region late in the coming growing season.

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