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Robotic harvesting technology passes on-farm testing.

An Iowa-based company is marketing one of agriculture’s first driverless systems for tractors. Smart Ag, an ag technology firm in Ames, has successfully tested the system that allows existing farm equipment to become autonomous. Smart Ag is taking orders and will sell a limited number of the systems in 2018. Smart Ag’s technology was demonstrated at a field day on a farm near Plainfield in northeast Iowa in November. MBS Family Farms hosted the event to help introduce AutoCart, a software program.

Conservation needs strong support in next farm bill

Use of precision agriculture allows us to monitor and apply water and nutrients where needed. We recently converted some irrigated acres to a buried drip system, which reduces water use and lowers impact on the soil. With the addition of rotations that integrate cover crops, weed pressure goes down, and water and nutrients stay in the soil and not in the streams.  These are just a few changes in technology and management that support an agriculture that is both productive and environmentally responsible.

NMPF Tells State, Federal Regulators: Enforcement Action Needed Against Doubly Deceptive Kite Hill “Almond Milk Yogurt”

The National Milk Producers Federation urged state and federal regulators today to take enforcement action against a plant-based food company whose imitation “yogurt” violates the federal definition for dairy foods and fails to provide the same nutrition as real yogurt.  NMPF called out Hayward, California-based Kite Hill for illegally labeling its line of products and implying the nut-based foods are suitable substitutes for the real dairy foods it attempts to mimic.

Will 2018 Be the Year of Protectionism?

The Trump administration will soon face several major trade decisions that will determine whether the White House adopts the type of protectionist barriers that President Trump campaigned on but that were largely absent during his first year in office.In 2018, Mr. Trump will have several opportunities to punish foreign rivals as the final decider in a series of unusual trade cases that were initiated last year.

Soaring popularity of grass-fed beef may hit roadblock: less nutritious grass

What he's found is a trend in the nutritional quality of grasses that grass-fed cattle (and young cattle destined for grain-heavy feedlots) are eating. Since the mid-90s, levels of crude protein in the plants, which cattle need to grow, have dropped by nearly 20 percent.  "If we were still back at the forage quality that we would've had 25 years ago, no less 100 years ago, our animals would be gaining a lot more weight," Craine says. He has a sneaking suspicion that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are contributing as well.

Want to fix agriculture? Stop with the name-calling — and death threats.

What has the world come to when people get death threats for expressing an opinion about agriculture? The toxicity of the debate about farming in general and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in particular is so entrenched that Mark Lynas, a prominent British journalist and environmentalist who publicly changed his mind about genetic modification, wasn’t even surprised by the death threats. “I got very few,” he says. And the name-calling and Internet trolling were just what he expected when he put his head over the parapet to champion GMOs.

Tax overhaul will increase food insecurity in Montana

Congress passed a significant overhaul to our tax system and we in Montana are left wondering what it will mean for us. As members of the Montana Food Security Council, we cannot help but fear the impact on our most vulnerable citizens. We believe that several tenets of the plan will worsen food insecurity in our state. Most low- and middle-income families in the U.S. will see little benefit, with many even experiencing tax increases by the end of the decade.

NC State project develops solar heaters for chicken houses

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a practical solar heater for poultry houses as part of a project partially funded by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation, the organization announced. Sanjay Shah and his colleagues developed and tested the low-cost solar heater that warms the air as it passes through a black plastic housing that has been heated by the sun.

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