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Ag Startups Get Boost from Big Firms

New technologies are opening up new opportunities and investment in early stage agricultural companies is springing to life.  One sign is a new "accelerator" to assist fledgling agricultural companies. Its backers include Bayer and Syngenta and some venture capital firms that typically focus on pharmceuticals, not farms.
 

Mechanism discovered for plants to regulate their flowering in a warming world

A new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures has been discovered by researchers. The finding could potentially lead to the development of technology allowing us to control the physiological response of plants and mitigate the impacts of warming temperatures.

Closing Ohio’s prison farms will halt a $9 million project

The proposed closure and sale of Ohio’s 10 prison farms will affect some ongoing construction projects — including a $9 million project to build new dairy and beef facilities at two farms. The state was in the final stages of constructing new cattle facilities at the London and Marion prison farms — and was about to begin installing the milking parlor equipment, when the intent to close and sell was announced.

Ohio House committee hears CAUV bill testimony

Farmers, landowners and farm policy makers voiced their concerns for increased land values and high tax rates at a time when farmers are facing historically low farm incomes. The Government Accountability and Oversight Committee heard eight testimonies and received an additional five written testimonies in favor of reform of the Current Agricultuire Use Value (CAUV) formula during a second hearing of House Bill 398

Purdue professor talks GMOs

The image of a mad scientist injecting corn with a syringe full of DNA does not accurately portray the use of genetically modified organisms. Most transgenic work takes place in a laboratory with intensive attention to detail, says a professor at Purdue University. Peter Goldsbrough, professor of botany and plant pathology, talked about GMOs during an Extension event in Martinsville. “There’s a lot of misinformation and lack of knowledge about GMOs,” he said. “My goal is to try and help explain and answer questions and see where we’re going next.

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.

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