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  • Food companies, others still moving toward renewable energy | The Progressive Farmer

    On the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the Clean Power Plan, the world's largest beer company announced it would buy 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. Anheuser-Busch InBev will start renewable energy shifts in Mexico, which is home to the company's largest brewery. The company will be buying power from a major wind and solar project being built in Mexico. AB InBev has joined RE100, a group of major global businesses committed to converting to 100% renewable energy. AB InBev estimates its renewable-power conversion will reduce the company's carbon footprint by roughly 30%. Rescinding the Clean Power Plan likely will still require a long legal battle once the rulemaking process begins at EPA. If successful, it also likely means the U.S. doesn't have a plan for showing reduction in carbon emissions agreed to by the Obama administration in the Paris climate agreement in 2015. The U.S. had committed to reduce emissions by at least 26% from 2005 levels by 2025. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association along with 39 rural power cooperatives petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2015 to reject the Clean Power Plan, leading to the current legal stay of the power rule by the Supreme Court.

    Post date: Thu, 03/30/2017 - 14:05
  • Labels, restrictions proposed for neonicotinoid pesticides | Capital Press

    Neonicotinoid pesticides would be subject to new restrictions and labeling rules under two bills proposed in Oregon. Labels would be required for pesticides containing neonicotinoids, as well as seeds and raw crops treated with the chemicals, under Senate Bill 928. The entire class of neonicotinoid insecticides would be restricted under Senate Bill 929 to only be available to licensed pesticide applicators, farmers and veterinarians. An exemption in SB 929 allows farmers to use the insecticides but doesn’t explain who meets that description. Raw agricultural and horticultural commodities would be labeled under SB 928 as being treated with neonicotinoids even if they contain no residue of the chemicals. Paul Jepson, director of Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center.Jepson said he’s neutral on the bill but asked lawmakers to consider the trade-offs of the legislation.Without access to neonicotinoids, many backyard gardeners would probably substitute organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides that also kill insects but are more toxic to humans, he said, “I urge you to consider the consequences of using a blanket approach,” Jepson said.

    Post date: Thu, 03/30/2017 - 06:18
  • Minnesota launches new cropland grazing exchange | The Land on Line

    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has just launched the Cropland Grazing Exchange. The new online tool seeks to connect crop farmers and livestock farmers to improve soil health.  Livestock are an integral part of achieving optimal soil health. They convert forages to more available forms of nutrients and help break up residue material and stimulate soil microbial activity. As crop production has become more specialized, the lack of livestock impact has become evident in declining soil health.  “The Cropland Grazing Exchange is a simple solution to a sometimes complex issue,” said MDA Program Administrator Kelly Anderson. “Modern agricultural tools like portable watering systems, temporary fencing, and remote solar energizers make it possible for livestock producers to graze their herds on a short-term basis. That gives livestock farmers more grazing options, and it also helps stimulate soil health for crop farmers. It’s a win-win.”

    Post date: Thu, 03/30/2017 - 06:13
  • Colorado Agriculture Department set to study using industrial hemp in animal feed | The Denver Post

    Colorado livestock could be eating hemp as early as next year, thanks to a bill directing the Colorado Department of Agriculture to study the use of industrial hemp in animal feed. Mike Sullivan, the owner of Johnstown-based Hemp Farm Colorado, said the inclusion of hemp in animal feed could solve one of the biggest problems hemp farmers face. “One of the real big problems with the hemp industry is there’s hardly any processors out there that are buying materials straight from the farmer. This would be a great leap forward,” he said. The use of hemp in animal feed is forbidden because the Food and Drug Administration considers hemp an adulterating substance. State Sen. Kerry Donovan wrote and sponsored the bill, which passed the Legislature unanimously and awaits the governor’s signature. The study would be headed by the commissioner of agriculture and would result in a recommendation by the end of the year. The bill initially intended to allow hemp in livestock feed without a study, but Donovan said a study could help avoid further complications with the FDA. The Congressional Research Service identified 25,000 uses for industrial hemp in a report released this year.

    Post date: Thu, 03/30/2017 - 06:11
  • Syngenta updates public on its sustainable farming goals | FG Insight

    The company’s six global commitments, known collectively as the Good Growth Plan, are to make crops more efficient, rescue more farmland from degradation, help biodiversity to flourish, empower smallholders, keep agricultural workers safe and provide fair employment in the sector.  They have been designed to line up with the United Nations sustainable development goals. It works with 3,700 farms across the world – 1,000 of which are ‘reference farms’ where Syngenta protocols are in place, and 2,700 of which are ‘benchmark farms’ to use as a comparator. In 2016, the reference farms outperformed the benchmark farms by 4 per cent.10 million hectares of land have also been targeted to improve fertility. Here, Syngenta works with farmers to improve soil health, offering them agronomy advice and access to other services in partnership with other actors such as local universities and banks.

    Post date: Thu, 03/30/2017 - 06:01

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Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  


Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.