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AgClips

  • US winter wheat forecast down amid drought, surplus | Capital Press

    U.S. farmers are expected to harvest their smallest winter wheat crop in more than a decade amid an ongoing drought that has devastated fields across the nation’s breadbasket and a global surplus of the grain that has depressed prices, according to government report. The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast the size of the nation’s 2018 wheat crop at 1.19 billion bushels. If realized, that would be down 6 percent from the previous year. The last time the nation’s farmers harvested such a small wheat crop was in 2002, when U.S. production fell to 1.137 billion bushels,

    Post date: Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:11
  • A Green Approach to Making Ammonia Could Help Feed the World | University of Central Florida

    UCF research team with collaborators at Virginia Tech have developed a new “green” approach to making ammonia that may help make feeding the rising world population more sustainable. “This new approach can facilitate ammonia production using renewable energy, such as electricity generated from solar or wind,” said physics Assistant Professor Xiaofeng Feng. “Basically, this new approach can help advance a sustainable development of our human society.”Ammonia, a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, is essential to all life on the planet and is a vital ingredient in most fertilizers used for food production. Since World War I, the ammonia in fertilizer has been primarily produced using the Haber-Bosch method, which is energy and fossil-fuel intensive. There have been substantial obstacles to improving the process, until now.The research team’s new approach is documented in the Nature Communications Journal. The biggest obstacle to ammonia synthesis is the high energy barrier to activate nitrogen molecules. In order for the chemical process to hit a high reaction rate, nitrogen and hydrogen molecules must be heated to a temperature of 662 to 1,022 oF under a pressure of 2,200−5,100 pounds per square inch with the presence of iron-based catalysts. Translation: The chemical reaction only happens under very high temperature and pressure conditions.

    Post date: Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:10
  • Americans want more clean energy. Here's what they're actually willing to do to get it | CNBC

    Consumers are growing more concerned about climate change and their carbon footprint, according to an annual survey from Deloitte. The gap between environmental concern and consumer action is poised to shrink as tech-minded millennials make green choices in their daily lives. Interest is growing in home battery systems paired with solar panels and time-of-use rates, but privacy concerns could hold back adoption of smart home devices.

    Post date: Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:09
  • Will Battle Between 'Big Corn' And 'Big Oil' Stall Next Generation Biofuels? | Investors Business Daily

    Currently, almost every gallon of gasoline contains 10% ethanol made from corn and 90% petroleum gasoline refined from crude oil as a result of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. (RFS). However, declining gasoline use is intensifying the existing fight between big oil companies and the corn ethanol industry (or Big Corn) over how much of the shrinking transportation fuel pie each gets. The most immediate impact of the RFS wars is to focus attention on corn ethanol and petroleum gasoline at the detriment of second-generation biofuels. These fuels — produced from the inedible parts of plants with much lower greenhouse gas emissions than corn ethanol — can also be blended with gasoline. Adding them to the fuel mix would lessen transportation-caused emissions considerably because they emit vastly less carbon than corn ethanol or petroleum gasoline.While commercialization of second-generation biofuel has been very slow up to now, with only negligible volumes produced in 2017, recent innovations by American companies provide some hope. Today, several firms are producing cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber, which would otherwise not be used productively. o Big Oil, EPA has secretly given compliance exemptions from using ethanol to several large and profitable firms that own small refineries. While EPA has the authority to exempt small refineries that suffer "disproportionate economic hardship" from complying with the statute, it has not demonstrated such hardship in these cases. Continuing these covert exemptions would be a back-door way to reduce the RFS mandate, and a reading of the law suggests it would be illegal. To placate the corn ethanol industry, the White House has proposed to allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15% ethanol, up from the current 10%. However, because ethanol increases ozone levels, this violates current air quality standards specified in the Clean Air Act. Furthermore, EPA had previously determined that it could not legally make the change.

    Post date: Thu, 05/17/2018 - 08:05
  • The line between food and medicine is blurrier than ever — and the FDA needs to step up its game | The Verge

    Is tea medicine? What about special Collagen Beautèa that promises to support your bones? The Wall Street Journal reported on the growing popularity of foods and beverages enhanced with collagen, an ingredient used in wrinkle cream that hasn’t really been proven to be helpful when you eat it. The line between “food” and “medicine” has always been blurry, and, traditionally, the US Food and Drug Administration only regulates the latter. But as people start chasing foods with more fanciful health promises, it’s time that the FDA takes a closer look before we waste our dollars and endanger our health. Though collagen is a protein found in bones, it is most commonly known for being an ingredient in skin cream, often to prevent wrinkles. But why stop at skin? Last year, 281 new food and supplement products featuring collagen were introduced in the US, the WSJ reported, citing Innova Market Insights. And while there’s little evidence that eating collagen will harm you, there is also no solid research suggesting that eating collagen will help either.

    Post date: Thu, 05/17/2018 - 08:04

Ag and Rural Leaders

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is dedicated to promoting and fostering cooperation, leadership and educational opportunities among and for state and provincial legislators that are passionate about agriculture and rural communities.

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, to provide and promote educational opportunities for state officials and others on technology, policy, processes and issues that are of concern to agrculture and rural communities.

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS produces the national agriculture and rural enewsletter - Ag Clips, webinars, white papers and the annual Legislative Ag Chairs Summit.

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is managed by an elected board of state and provincial legislators.

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is where state leaders find the answers they need on agriculture and rural policy issues.

Gleanings

Talk to your governor about the Opportunity Zones in your state

30 January, 2018

Qualified Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017

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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.”  

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Farm

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. 

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