Truckers hauling livestock have received a 90-day waiver from the Electronic Logging Device, or ELD, mandate, but the industry is hoping for a longer-term solution.The rule went into effect on Dec. 18 for most operators, but the U.S. Department of Transportation delayed the regulation for those transporting livestock until mid-March.The new regulations require certain drivers to install Electronic Logging Devices on their trucks. Also included are hours of service restrictions on truckers, limiting them to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 hours off duty. Plus, the ELD rules restrict truckers on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes non-driving time.
The synthetic pesticide ban recently approved by the Portland City Council may create an “organic” city, but it won’t create a green city or a beautiful city. The people of Portland may like ticks, mosquitoes and flies. They are excellent food for birds and fish. Rather than tidy green lawns and colorful gardens, yards can be paved or gravel. They won’t need synthetic pesticides, but you can’t paint them green because you’ll need synthetic paint!As a scientist, I find it disappointing that the City Council voted based upon emotion and scare tactics by activists rather than scientific data. Synthetic pesticides have all been extensively tested under strict protocol, whereas many natural products have not.When the City Council decided to ban synthetic pesticides and only allow natural products, I am sure that they were aware that arsenic is a natural product. Is lead synthetic?
The outcomes possible with different types of precision breeding today might have seemed impossible just a few decades ago and these new opportunities have strong implications for both producers and consumers. Consider just a few of the possibilities:A new cassava plant, engineered to be resistant to brown streak disease, could make the difference between small farmers in Africa having a crop to eat and having no crop at all.New breeds of livestock and poultry could be engineered to no longer be susceptible to widespread disease outbreaks, like pigs resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSv), which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually.Cover crops that naturally improve soil health can be developed to grow in more diverse climates, improving environmental sustainability, water quality and animal nutrition.Dairy cows can be bred without horns, removing the need for cows to endure the polling (horn removal) process.Fruits and vegetables could be engineered to resist browning, extending their consumer appeal and reducing food waste.
The short-term dairy outlook for 2018 appears grim as prices are expected to drop during the first quarter before rebounding in the second half of the year.Mark Stephenson, said “The (low) 2018 milk price is going to feel a whole lot like 2016 was,” he said. “It’s one of the longest price cycles we’ve ever had. It’s not brutal in its depth, but brutal in its length.” Stephenson described the situation as a “long scrape” as opposed to a deep cut.
Over the last several years, Wisconsin has seen thousands of dairy farmers leave the industry. New statistics show the state lost more than 500 farms in 2017. Remaining farmers are trying to attract college students to continue the tradition of being America’s Dairyland.“As an industry, we have to figure out how we’re going to be able to have farms of all sizes and allow those farms to be profitable and how we can get the next generation of farmers on our farms,” said Mystic Valley farmer Mitch Breunig.
class-action lawsuit has been filed against Walmart and Cal-Maine Foods, with the plaintiffs claiming the two companies misled consumers about the conditions in which hens that laid Walmart store brand Organic Marketside eggs were raised. According to the legal firm involved in filing the suit, consumers paid high prices for what they were told were eggs laid by hens “free to roam, nest and perch in a protected barn with outdoor access.” However, according to the lawsuit, Walmart and Cal-Maine knew the hens were raised in barns with enclosed porches, and were unable to touch the soil or vegetation surrounding the barns. The suit, seeks reimbursement for consumers who paid premium prices for Walmart’s Organic Marketside store-brand eggs, which were sold as being laid by hens with outdoor access.
The Department of Agriculture released market-shifting reports on Friday, largely showing robust production in 2017 adding to an already solid amount of stocks on hand around the world. The reports noted records in U.S. corn yield and soybean production, all the while pointing to global stocks that don’t show any signs of providing relief for low commodity prices.In the Department’s annual Crop Production report, soybean production and harvested acreage both hit record amounts in 2017, coming in at 4.39 billion bushels and 89.5 million acres. The average yield came in at 49.1 bushels per acre, a dip of about 3 bpa from 2016’s record.
A new report from the USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) summarizes incidence and causes of death loss in U.S. cattle during 2015. The report, titled Death Loss in U.S. Cattle and Calves Due to Predator and Nonpredator Causes, 2015, shows respiratory disease remains the leading cause of death loss in cattle. Death loss due to predation has increased since the last report in 2010, but remains a relatively low percentage of the total. The report lists total death loss in 2015 at about 3.9 million head, down slightly from just under 4 million in 2010. The percentage of adult-cattle and calf-crop inventories lost to all causes has been relatively consistent since 2000.Overall, the report estimates the cost of death loss in cattle and calves in 2015 at $3.87 billion, compared with $2.5 billion in 2010. In 2015, total U.S. inventory of adult cattle (over 500 pounds) was 78 million head, and total calf crop was 34 million head. Those inventory figures are about equal to those reported in 2010. Cattle prices during 2015, however, averaged significantly higher than those in 2010.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Walmart and Cal-Maine Foods, with the plaintiffs claiming the two companies misled consumers about the conditions in which hens that laid Walmart store brand Organic Marketside eggs were raised. According to Hagens Berman, the legal firm involved in filing the suit, consumers paid high prices for what they were told were eggs laid by hens “free to roam, nest and perch in a protected barn with outdoor access.” However, according to the lawsuit, Walmart and Cal-Maine knew the hens were raised in barns with enclosed porches, and were unable to touch the soil or vegetation surrounding the barns.The suit, which was filed on January 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks reimbursement for consumers who paid premium prices for Walmart’s Organic Marketside store-brand eggs, which were sold as being laid by hens with outdoor access. The suit also seeks an injunction from the court to force Walmart and Cal-Maine to end the marketing of Organic Marketside eggs.
U.S. farmers who sought to boost revenues by planting corn used to make tortillas may be forced to sell their crops at a loss to makers of ethanol or animal feed because of a glut of what typically is a human food-grade product. Oversupply of the most common grains such as corn and soybeans has spread to niche markets because so many farmers have switched to planting different strains of seed to diversify and bolster returns after four years of bumper crops cut farm income and pushed down prices for staple grains.White corn, which makes up roughly 1 percent of the 14.6 billion-bushel U.S. corn harvest, can command a premium of as much as $1 per bushel over the commoditized yellow strain. But premiums have shriveled to four-year lows - to as little as 5 cents above Chicago Board of Trade corn futures.Too many farmers planted white corn in states such as Illinois, Illinois, Kentucky and Nebraska. Corn prices in 2017 declined for the fifth straight year and record-large U.S. stocks pushed growers to look for potentially higher-value alternatives.