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Agriculture News

Oklahoma wildfires kill thousands of pigs at Smithfield, Seaboard farms

Reuters | Posted on March 19, 2017

Wildfires devastated a Smithfield Foods Inc hog farm in Laverne, Oklahoma, killing at least several thousand pigs, company and local officials said on Friday.  The exact number of swine killed in the Oklahoma fire, which began on Monday, was not immediately known. Smithfield did not say how many died in the blaze, but said no workers were harmed. The Smithfield farm housed about 45,000 sows, according to the company's website.Luke Kanclerz, spokesman for the Oklahoma Forestry Services, said on Friday that several thousand hogs "were lost.""Such a large area was impacted by these fires, it's taking time to collect information," he said. "There are no accurate numbers yet."Kanclerz said state officials were at the Smithfield farm on Friday, collecting information on how many animals had died and other data.

Third case of avian influenza in southern Tennessee

Watt Ag Net | Posted on March 19, 2017

A third case of avian influenza has struck southern Tennessee, confirmed the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on March 16. The highly pathogenic H7N9 infection occurred in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee, where the state’s first 2017 case occurred. 

Plains Wildfire Update

DTN | Posted on March 18, 2017

The enormous damage wrought by the wildfires that tore across the Southern Plains last week has spurred an outpouring of donations and aid from farmers and ranchers across the country. "We've been overwhelmed by the love of the ag community," said David Clawson, president of the Kansas Livestock Association and a rancher and farmer himself. "The hay started rolling in before the fires were even out," he told DTN. In a matter of minutes and hours, the fires destroyed homes, farms and ranching operations that some producers had spent decades building in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. An estimated 1.5 million acres were affected there, and fires also burned in Nebraska and Colorado. The most pressing needs for livestock that survived the fires are hay and fencing. Clawson said enough hay has been donated in his area to last a week, but grass won't show up for another 45 to 60 days -- and that's only if the region receives rain.Clawson said ranchers continue to monitor their cattle. Some cattle are turning up blind and singed and must be euthanized."Hats off to those ranchers and vets who had to euthanize cattle last week" Clawson said. "We had to get them (cattle) out of their misery."

Another case of H7N9 High Path Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a Tennessee

NTF | Posted on March 16, 2017

There is confirmation that a second case of H7N9 HPAI has been detected in a commercial broiler breeder flock in Tennessee. This flock was located one mile from the index case reported early last week. On Tuesday, March 14th, 144 birds were dead and yesterday 200 more perished. A sample was sent to NVSL yesterday and depopulation of the flock began.

Glyphosate not carcinogenic, European chem agency says

Agri-Pulse | Posted on March 16, 2017

Glyphosate is not a carcinogen, the European Chemicals Agency has concluded, setting the stage for the chemical – the active ingredient in Roundup – to receive long-term approval in Europe. ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) found that “the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction,” ECHA said in a news release. The RAC said, however, that the chemical causes “serious eye damage” and is “toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.”

Bayer, Monsanto start $2.5 bln asset sale to get merger clearance - sources

Reuters | Posted on March 15, 2017

German drug and crop chemical maker Bayer and U.S. seeds company Monsanto are launching asset sales worth roughly $2.5 billion as they seek regulatory clearance for their $66 billion merger, people close to the matter said. To kick off an auction process, Bayer's advisors will send out information packages next week to prospective bidders for the businesses, which have been divided into three bundles of assets, the people said. Bayer and Monsanto have said in the past that they expect to divest activities with combined sales of up to $1.6 billion.

Amid Trump’s immigration crackdown, there’s fear on farms

Boston Globe | Posted on March 15, 2017

The demands of 3,800 heifers at CY Farms dictate the rhythm of labor. Farm workers deliver feed down a central aisle of a massive barn. They scrape away manure with tractors. They inject the cows with vitamin B. On a rainy day, the din on the huge metal roof drowns out the moos.  But beyond the usual problems with tractor repairs and feed prices, this season has brought a new worry: the serious threat that farm workers will be deported as part of President Trump’s immigration crackdown.Migrant labor has long been essential to the dairy farmers in the rolling fields of Western New York. Now, those farmers are arriving at work every day wondering how many of their employees will still be there.Migrant workers, especially those who are undocumented, also worry; they are afraid to leave their employers’ farms to shop because they fear being apprehended by authorities and deported. Reports of workers being picked off farms throughout the country have only added to the atmosphere of fear hanging over the idyllic farming community.


Farm pads keep livestock above flood water

King 5 | Posted on March 13, 2017

Flooding is a chronic problem for livestock farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley. As rising water has worsened over the last few years, a King County program that protects cattle during floods is also rising in popularity.  K-T Cattle beef cows spend their entire lives on the same farm, but their home is about to move closer to the Snoqualmie River."In order to move the operation up here in order to scale it, the whole thing goes under water. We have to be able to get them out of the water," explained owner Jim Haack. "It looks like a lake with the tops of the trees sticking out."Like most livestock farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley, flooding is an annual challenge. It's why his new elevated barn sitting atop a "farm pad" will literally save lives. It will also help feed lives, keeping beef local year round but also dry. The King County farm pad program helps farmers secure funding and engineering work. Since the program started in 2008, 30 farm pads have risen in the Snoqualmie Valley. According to the program's website, it gives "technical assistance for flood modeling; engineering and design assistance; logistical support for construction of farm pads, such as facilitating the movement of material from our capital project sites in the vicinity to the farm pad site; and assess alternative means of mitigating flood risks without placing fill material in the floodplain."Haack has a 2-year waiting list for his beef. His cows may not know they're in such high demand, but they do know they prefer walking over swimming.

Planned dairy in Hawaii withdraws impact statement

Capital Press | Posted on March 13, 2017

A planned dairy farm in Hawaii has taken a step back by withdrawing parts of its application to allow more time for discussion of its likely environmental impact. Kauai’s Hawaii Dairy Farms withdrew its Final Environmental Impact Statement from state consideration on Tuesday, reported The Garden Island. Spokeswoman Amy Hennessey said in a release that the dairy wants to allow time for additional responses to comments on its plan to keep a minimum of 699 dairy cows on a 557-acre site in Kauai’s Mahaulepu Valley. Opponents of the dairy see a chance to stop its construction

California growers assess damage amid storms, flooding

Capital Press | Posted on March 13, 2017

Storms in California combined with already high river and creek levels and saturated ground to cause widespread flooding, waterlogging field crops and interfering with the almond blossom. Farmers are still taking stock of the damage from this week’s heavy storms that flooded fields, blew trees over and caused havoc with the almond blossom.Standing water was still in farm fields in the Sacramento Valley a week after heavy rain forced the evacuation of Maxwell, Calif., Colusa County agricultural officials said.In the Salinas Valley, the artichoke and cauliflower fields that weren’t under water after nearly 3 inches of weekend rainfall were so muddy that workers couldn’t get to them. The conditions slowed harvest and caused delays in planting.