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  • Farm Economy Softens Further | Kansas CIty Fed

    A prolonged downturn in the agricultural economy continued in the second quarter of 2017, but recent data suggest conditions in the farm sector may be stabilizing. Although farm income and farm real estate values continued to decline, and credit conditions weakened further, the pace of deterioration has slowed. With the fall harvest approaching, agricultural lenders and borrowers remain concerned about prospects for the farm economy in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District, particularly in regions with limited potential for high crop yields. However, bankers were generally less pessimistic about economic conditions in the farm sector in the second quarter than in each of the past two years.

    Post date: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:39
  • Is Vegan Farming the Next Plant-Based Phenomenon? | Civil eats

    But there’s a new contender looking for members, offering something unique, something more than just its cheeky name: Lazy Millennial Farms. The founders of the Salinas-based farm believe it is the only farm in the Bay Area that’s growing crops veganically. That means no animal fertilizers, fish emulsions, blood or bone meal (dried animal bones and blood that is processed from the remains at slaughterhouses) that are relied upon so heavily in organic farming. Matthew and Brittany Loisel started their farm because they felt that the little steps many eco-conscious people take, like recycling, just wasn’t going to have enough impact.“I was the kind of vegetarian that hated vegans,” said Matthew. “I said many times ‘I will never be vegan,’ among other pejorative statements about vegans. But halfway through ‘Cowspiracy,’ I was sure I was going to have to go vegan for environmental reasons.” Once they began to consider not using animal byproducts, “I was in a panic as I hadn’t heard of veganics, and my initial concern was that soil microbes would suffer without organic matter to feed them,” said Matthew.So he did what he’s done often in his life, he said; he asked someone more knowledgeable than himself on the subject.Matthew reached out to an expert who had spoken to their class.“His answer was that soil microbes are much more resilient than you give them credit for,” he said.While the veganic movement is so small most haven’t heard of it, it is growing, said Mona Seymour, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Director of Environmental Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.Seymour said she believes there are about 50 farms in the United States doing so, but because there’s no official body, it’s very hard to track.

    Post date: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:28
  • Texas investigates brucellosis, warns against K-Bar raw milk | Food Safety News

    Texas officials say all raw milk and other unpasteurized products from K-Bar Dairy should not be consumed and should immediately be discarded because the dairy has been linked to an antibiotic-resistant strain of Brucella bacteria that has hospitalized at least one person. “At this time, it is uncertain how long Brucella (bacteria) may have been present in the raw milk from this dairy. Testing is ongoing in an attempt to answer that question,” according to the Monday alert from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

    Post date: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:25
  • U.S. produce growers deeply divided over NAFTA | Politico

    The produce industry is at war with itself over a protectionist proposal the Trump administration is preparing to submit in the NAFTA talks that exposes a deep regional fault line among growers. Southeastern produce growers struggling to compete with cheaper Mexican imports have long lobbied for relief under NAFTA, with little to show for it. Now, with few agricultural groups calling for significant changes to the pact, the “America First” Trump administration has seized on the plight of southeastern produce growers, putting their concerns at the forefront of the national trade agenda.U.S. trade negotiators had been expected to come to the table during the first negotiating round with a proposal that would make it easier for American growers to make the case that Mexico is selling produce at unfairly low prices when crops like blueberries or tomatoes are in season in a particular region. Growers would be able to bring anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases by domestic region and draw on seasonal data, a departure from current trade law, which requires a majority of the industry nationwide to wield at least three years of annual data to prove injury.



    Post date: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 13:36
  • Can anyone, even Walmart, stem the heat-trapping flood of nitrogen on farms? | NPR

    The Environmental Defense Fund opened an office near Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., 10 years ago. It was part of a carefully plotted strategy to persuade the giant retailer that going green could be good for business. If it worked, it certainly could be good for the planet — Walmart's revenues are bigger than the entire economy of most countries. "We really saw that working with companies could be transformative at a scale that was pretty unmatched," says Suzy Friedman, a senior director at EDF. If you're looking for evidence that the strategy is working, there's this: Last year, Walmart unveiled Project Gigaton, a plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by a billion tons of carbon between now and 2030. That's almost as much carbon as what's released from the country's entire fleet of passenger cars and trucks in a year. The cuts will come from the company's suppliers: the vast galaxy of companies that make the products it sells. Even before unveiling that pledge, Walmart had been calculating the climate price tags of those products, estimating the greenhouse gases that are released in the process of making each one. Laura Phillips, Walmart's senior vice president for sustainability, was startled to see the climate price of simple food items, like baked goods, that don't seem like they'd require burning a lot of fossil fuels.

    Post date: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 13:26

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


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.