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Agriculture News

USDA suspends pork imports from Poland over African swine fever concerns

Agri-Pulse | Posted on October 19, 2018

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has suspended pork imports from Poland over concerns about export protocols in the country as it deals with an outbreak of African swine fever. According to APHIS, a routine review of ongoing operations revealed one Polish facility exporting pork to the U.S. “has done so in contravention of the stringent requirements in place to prevent the spread of serious diseases of livestock, like ASF.”A second facility is also under review, and APHIS plans to exclude all product from the country until it is complete “to give us time to ensure all Polish facilities that export pork and pork products to the U.S. are acting in accordance with our import requirements.”

Grains slide 2 % as exports disappoint | Posted on October 18, 2018

U.S. soybean futures fell more than 2 percent on Thursday, with the benchmark November contract on track for its largest single-day decline since August, on disappointing weekly export sales and improving U.S. harvest weather, analysts said. Corn and wheat followed the weak tone. November soybeans futures were down 20-1/2 cents at $8.65-1/4 per bushel. CBOT December corn was down 3-3/4 cents at $3.70-1/2 a bushel and December wheat was down 4-3/4 cents at $5.12-3/4 a bushel. Soybeans tumbled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at 295,600 tonnes, below a range of trade expectations. The figure included cancellations of 694,400 tonnes of soybeans sold to unknown destinations. "Today's market is clearly a statement that we have transitioned out of a supply (focus) and into a demand-focused, demand-driven market. This dismal sales number here today sets the tone," said Rich Feltes, vice president for research with R.J. O'Brien. U.S. soybeans are the cheapest in the world, but China, by far the world's biggest soy buyer, is locked in a trade battle with Washington.

How to protect poultry operations from animal activists

Watt AgNet | Posted on October 18, 2018

Animal rights activist groups have and will continue to go to extremes, doing almost anything in their power to end animal agriculture. In spite of the industry’s commitment to animal welfare, these extremist groups view the agriculture industry as “speciest” if they do not share their same views that animals…

Winter ticks killing moose at alarming rate

Science Daily | Posted on October 18, 2018

Researchers have found that the swell of infestations of winter ticks -- which attach themselves to moose during the fall and feed throughout the winter -- is the primary cause of an unprecedented 70 percent death rate of calves over a three-year period.

Organic farming with gene editing: An oxymoron or a tool for sustainable agriculture?

The Conversation | Posted on October 18, 2018

Many organic advocates claim that genetically engineered crops are harmful to human health, the environment, and the farmers who work with them. Biotechnology advocates fire back that genetically engineered crops are safe, reduce insecticide use, and allow farmers in developing countries to produce enough food to feed themselves and their families.Now, sides are being chosen about whether the new gene editing technology, CRISPR, is really just “GMO 2.0” or a helpful new tool to speed up the plant breeding process. In July, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that crops made with CRISPR will be classified as genetically engineered. In the United States, meanwhile, the regulatory system is drawing distinctions between genetic engineering and specific uses of genome editing.

America Is Drowning in Milk Nobody Wants

Bloomberg | Posted on October 18, 2018

Dairy farmers are under siege thanks to low prices and changing tastes. Even a one-week holiday shutdown by yogurt giant Chobani inflicted pain.New York dairy farmers who jumped at the chance to expand their herds five years ago are now wondering whether it was the right move. “We were told we needed to expand,” said Deb Windecker, a dairy and beef farmer in the Mohawk Valley, and a former Chobani supplier. “ ‘Yogurt capital, grow, grow, grow.’ And now everybody’s turned their back on us.”

Wisconsin dairy farmers welcome new trade agreement but expect long-term decline to continue

Collegian | Posted on October 18, 2018

The number of licensed dairy farms in Wisconsin dropped to a new, all-time low of 8,372 as of September 2018, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The new NAFTA – now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or MCA – agreed to this month should help, but dairy-farm organizations expect the downward trend to continue. Wisconsin dairy farmers' profit margins are being squeezed by several factors, said Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative's Director of Government Relations John Holevoet. There's too much milk and dairy being offered on commodities markets, which has been driving prices lower. Operating costs, on the other hand, are rising, which is making it more expensive to operate a dairy farm profitably.

Farmers suing Monsanto, BASF over dicamba urge judge to keep litigation alive

Reuters | Posted on October 18, 2018

Farmers suing over crop damage allegedly caused by Bayer AG unit Monsanto Co and BASF Corp’s dicamba-based seeds and weedkillers urged a federal judge on Monday to reject the companies’ motions to dismiss the cases. In filings opposing the requests for dismissal, lawyers representing the roughly 20 farms told U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, that the companies had ignored facts in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the alleged “ecological disaster” they created.

e-quarters of large U.S. slaughterhouses violate water pollution permits

Environment Texas | Posted on October 17, 2018

Three-quarters of large U.S. meat processing plants that discharge their wastewater directly into streams and rivers violated their pollution control permits over the last two years, with some dumping as much nitrogen pollution as small cities — and facing little or no enforcement. Texas is home to the third-worst polluter in the country — the Pilgrims Pride poultry processing plant in Mount Pleasant. The nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) examined EPA records for 98 large meat-processing plants that released more than 250,000 gallons per day into waterways from January 2016 through June 2018 and found that 74 of the plants had exceeded their permit limits for nitrogen, fecal bacteria, or other pollutants at least once. More than half of the plants (50 of 98) had five violations, and a third (32 of 98) had at least 10 violations, according to the EPA data.

His farm is buried under lava, but he can’t find relief from payments on his state agricultural loan

Hawaii News Now | Posted on October 17, 2018

A Big Island farmer whose fields are buried under lava says the state is still requiring him pay off a $22,000 loan on the land — even though he’s not allowed to step foot on the property.“The state of Hawaii sanctioned me to farm in lava zone 1. They knew I was in lava zone 1. They financed me," said farmer Gregg Adams, who owns Dragon Fruit Farms — about a mile beyond the checkpoint on Highway 132.“They had a vested interest in me. Now they’re saying, ‘Oh well, you still own the money.’”Despite losing everything, Adams says he’s ready to start farming some place new.However, he says a lack of help has made it all but impossible. Adams has gotten a $34,000 from FEMA to help cover the loss of his home, but has gotten nothing to help cover the loss of his farm.“May 26th is when the lava took my farm,” Adams said.“I lost my home. I lost green houses. I lost packing sheds. I lost all my equipment.”