It has been said that organizations are best defined by what they oppose versus what they support. That seems too cynical a view of the world. I want to talk about what we stand for.Canadian agriculture stands for science-based regulations and rules of trade. Farmers across this country depend on access to international markets for their livelihood.Farmers in Mortlach, Sask., must have access to Japan, Indonesia, Algeria and about 100 other countries to ensure their farms are economically viable. If countries are permitted to set up trade barriers with no evidence-based health or safety concerns, then our friends farming in Mortlach will find themselves without markets to sell into. But what is this science that Canadian agriculture stands for? It is the science behind Canada’s regulatory approval process for pesticides. Pesticides registered for use in Canada have been tested and found to be safe for human health, safe for animal feed and safe for the environment. This applies even to pesticides like glyphosate that the self-professed “experts” on the internet might not like. This assessment of safety is built upon rigorous research, scientific peer review and studies that have been replicated around the world.Modern Canadian agriculture also stands for sustainability. Modern agriculture makes use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, is often large in scale and makes use of cutting-edge technology to deliver new plant varieties that give higher yields, are more resistant to disease and have superior quality. Modern farmers use GPS and satellite imagery and gather and apply digital information to precisely place seeds and crop nutrients.Many people might think words like “modern,” “large scale,” “pesticides” and “chemical fertilizer” do not belong next to “sustainability.” But these words do belong together.
Sixth District- Atlanta– “Agriculture conditions across the District were mixed. Drought conditions improved in much of the District although light frosts in March affected some crops. Agricultural exporters indicated that the weaker dollar was having a favorable impact. On a year-over-year basis, prices paid to farmers in February were up for rice, beef, broilers, and eggs and down for corn, cotton, and soybeans. Seventh District- Chicago– “Income prospects for the agricultural sector improved a bit during the reporting period, in spite of concerns about the impact of Chinese tariffs. Eighth District- St. Louis– “District agriculture conditions were unchanged from the previous reporting period and the same as a year earlier. District corn acreage for 2018 is expected to decrease 2 percent from last year. Planned soybean acreage is about the same as 2017 acreage. Cotton and rice acreages are expected to increase 2 percent and 16 percent, respectively, due to expectations of improved profitability. Overall, District acreage for the four major crops is expected to be roughly the same as in 2017.”
The early rounds of the 2018 row crop season have some notable similarities to 2014. Winter temperatures were the lowest since that year in many northern and central areas, punctuated by a harsh cold wave in the first three weeks of April. Much of the Midwest and the Northern Plains had the coldest April 1-18 stretch on record. The cold, along with several occurrences of heavy and record-breaking snow, have led to fieldwork getting off to a very slow start. Even preliminary tasks, like fertilizer application, have been close to impossible to accomplish.As for corn planting itself, only 5% of the U.S. corn crop was assessed as being planted as of April 22, only one-third of the five-year average of 15%.
Industrial-scale hog producers knew for decades that noxious smells from open-air sewage pits tormented neighbors but didn't change their livestock-raising methods to keep production costs low, the lawyer for farm neighbors told jurors in a federal lawsuit. The first in a series of federal suits raising accusations of nauseating hog operations in eastern North Carolina headed to a 10-member jury after attorneys summarized the evidence presented at a three-week civil trial. The test case involved 10 neighbors of one, 15,000-hog operation producing an estimated 76 tons of waste per day. More than 500 neighbors in nearly two dozen lawsuits contend they have suffered for decades from open-air cesspools that afflict them with intense, putrid smells that can't even be removed from clothing. The lawsuits targeted the hog-production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, which uses strict contracts to dictate how farm operators raise livestock that Smithfield owns. Smithfield was bought in 2013 by China's WH Group, the world's largest pork producer.
Many large employers in South Dakota are facing a longstanding, critical issue. State Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dave Owen says employers will need to look to immigration for workers. He says the state has a long tradition in doing just that.“All through the history of South Dakota, that workforce has come from not only out of state, but out of the country, with legal immigrants and legal refugees,” Owen said. “We see that as a cultural enhancing experience, and we support that.”Owen says there are people and groups using immigration as a fear tactic.“We specifically oppose the kind of things people want to create by highlighting crimes and cultural differences,” Owen said. “Trying to come up with simple answers, like, ‘don’t let them in.’ That’s a disservice to this country and a disservice to public discourse.”Owen says the lack of skilled workers is the number one issue he hears about from his members.
Ongoing drought and wildfires have cattle ranchers in at least five Southwestern U.S. states scrambling for hay or pastureland, while others are selling off some of their herds. Extreme and exceptional drought conditions have contributed to wildfires in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, delaying the growth of or destroying grass and wheat used to feed cattle in spring.
Monsanto Co is launching the first product that deactivates a controversial weed killer inside spraying equipment after it is used, the company said, its latest attempt to prevent unintended crop damage associated with the herbicide.
For a herd of animals that’s ultimately headed for the slaughterhouse, the bison on Roam Ranch are part of a remarkably warm and fuzzy fairytale. Less than a year ago, the 450 acres of Texas land that comprise the ranch were all but dead after a century of over-tilling and inadequate recovery time between crop rotations. Rain would fall, but it would simply run off; the dirt was too damaged to absorb even the littlest bits of water. Many of the paddocks were bare, and what few patches of grass did exist were failing to grow and multiply. Today, this piece of Texas Hill Country is in recovery—all thanks to the bison, which have been reintroduced to the area as part of an agricultural experiment spearheaded by Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins, the millennial founders of meat-bar company EPICProvisions. The couple purchased the land last spring (through Epic and its parent company General Mills, and they see it as a living, breathing laboratory for not only their brand, but regenerative agriculture projects around the country. “Land in this condition is often deemed ‘unsalvageable,’” they wrote in a blog postannouncing Roam last June, “and in many circumstances further degenerates with rest—but we are going to prove otherwise.”
Cargill has donated $150,000 to build a state-of-the-art poultry health lab, focused on antibiotic alternatives, at the University of Arkansas, according to a news release from the school. The 4,200-square-foot facility will be located on the university’s Division of Agriculture farm north of the Fayetteville campus. The facility will be named the Cargill Poultry Research Center.
Pennsylvania farmers, who use high tunnels to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, will no longer face the burden of having to meet state regulations intended for commercial and residential development now that Governor Wolf has signed House Bill 1486. The new law, which was a priority issue for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) in 2018, prevents municipalities from requiring farmers to submit stormwater management plans on high tunnel structures that meet the law’s commonsense and easily understood guidelines. “The overall cost of putting together a stormwater management plan for a high tunnel structure would have likely eliminated or significantly negated the profitability of using the high tunnel in the first place,” added Ebert. “The new law should remove those obstacles and benefit local consumers.”