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Agriculture News

Pennsylvania Launches Community Clean Water Toolbox to Expand Local Engagement in Reducing Pollution

Gant News | Posted on April 19, 2018

 About 200 leaders from municipal governments, county conservation districts, agriculture, environmental groups, water companies, and other entities participated Tuesday in a meeting hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to expand local engagement in Phase 3 of the state plan for improving water quality in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The toolbox presents a draft set of local data, resource, engagement, planning and tracking tools available to counties for developing and implementing action plans to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment from streams and rivers.It quantifies the amount of pollutants reduced so far, current pollutant levels and further reductions needed for each county.“Rather than a regulatory requirement, the aim is to have counties use these numbers to define their pollutant reduction goals and identify existing and proposed local initiatives that can help meet them,” said McDonnell. The goals are measurable and trackable to ensure progress.

VSU ag center director named Virginia's new agriculture commissioner

The News & Advance | Posted on April 19, 2018

The executive director of Virginia State University’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement and Outreach has been appointed the state’s agriculture commissioner. Jewel Bronaugh was named to the post by Gov. Ralph Northam.

First Amendment: Skim Milk Labeling Leads Maryland Dairy to Sue FDA

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on April 19, 2018

A Maryland dairy farm with its own milk bottling business is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the labeling of skim milk and if it violates the First Amendment. A lawsuit was filed by the non-profit group the Institute for Justice with Randy and Karen Sowers, owners of South Mountain Creamery near Frederick, Maryland, on April 5 against the FDA. At issue is South Mountain Creamery’s labeling of skim milk. The dairy milks 550 cows and bottles milk on-farm selling to about 5,000 customers. South Mountain Creamery is attempting to sell pasteurized, all-natural skim milk in Pennsylvania. However, the FDA wants the milk to be labeled as “imitation skim milk” or “imitation milk product” because it does not contain added vitamins.

Trump to put biofuel reform push on ice, for now

Reuters | Posted on April 19, 2018

The Trump administration will delay any moves to reform the nation’s biofuel policy for about three months, according to three sources briefed on the matter - a decision one of the sources said was meant to shield farmers worried about a potential trade war with China. The decision comes after President Donald Trump failed to broker a deal between Big Oil and Big Corn during meetings over months about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a law broadly supported in the U.S. heartland that requires oil refiners to add biofuels like ethanol to the nation’s gasoline.

Nebraska Craft Brewery Board seeks grant proposals by April 30

high Plains Journal | Posted on April 19, 2018

By encouraging Nebraskans to “Grow local. Brew local, and Buy local,” the Nebraska Craft Brewery Board hopes to enhance the state’s hop and craft brewery industry. Every year the Craft Brewery Board awards grants to fund research, development and marketing projects related to the industry. This year, the Board has approximately $90,000 available for innovative projects from growers, industry organizations, state and local agencies, educational groups and other eligible stakeholders. 

Gene Editing for Good

Foreign Affairrs | Posted on April 19, 2018

But ultimately, eliminating the most persistent diseases and causes of poverty will require scientific discovery and technological innovations. That includes CRISPR and other technologies for targeted gene editing. Over the next decade, gene editing could help humanity overcome some of the biggest and most persistent challenges in global health and development. The technology is making it much easier for scientists to discover better diagnostics, treatments, and other tools to fight diseases that still kill and disable millions of people every year, primarily the poor. It is also accelerating research that could help end extreme poverty by enabling millions of farmers in the developing world to grow crops and raise livestock that are more productive, more nutritious, and hardier. New technologies are often met with skepticism. But if the world is to continue the remarkable progress of the past few decades, it is vital that scientists, subject to safety and ethics guidelines, be encouraged to continue taking advantage of such promising tools as CRISPR.

Did the changes to veterinary feed directive regulations affect your farm?

Michigan State University | Posted on April 19, 2018

Starting January 1st, 2017 the distribution of antibiotics in animal agriculture went through a major overhaul. These changes affected livestock farmers of all sizes and farms needed to incorporate changes to help them adapt to the new rules and regulations. Focusing on the one-health concept of combating antibiotic resistance, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put into effect regulations that helped promote the judicious use of humanly medically important antibiotics. These changes include eliminating the growth promotion use of human medically important antibiotics and expanding the list of feed-grade antibiotics classified as Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drugs. Understanding how these changes have affected livestock production is a goal of Michigan State University Extension and other land grand universities in the United States. These universities have developed an electronic survey that poses questions regarding the financial and management impacts of VFD regulations. Farmers, of any size, that raise food production animals are being asked to respond to this nationwide survey regarding the implementation of VFD regulation. This online survey is completely anonymous and can be accessed through this link.

Supreme Court punts on egg case

Farm Futures | Posted on April 19, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court held a conference on April 13, 2018, to decide if Indiana and Missouri can bring legal actions (Bill of Original Complaint) against California and Massachusetts. This case will have an important impact on agriculture. The Supreme Court punted on April 16, and asked for the views of the DOJ’s Solicitor General on the two cases.

Farm share of U.S. food dollar declined again in 2016

USDA | Posted on April 19, 2018

On average, U.S. farmers received 14.8 cents for farm commodity sales from each dollar spent on domestically-produced food in 2016, down from 15.5 cents in 2015. Known as the farm share, this amount is at its lowest level for the period 1993 to 2016, and coincides with a steep drop in 2016 average prices received by U.S. farmers, as measured by the Producer Price Index for farm products. 2016 was the fifth consecutive year that the farm share has declined, though the 4.5-percent drop in 2016 was below 2015’s 9.9-percent fall. The drop in farm share also coincides with five consecutive years of increases in the share of food dollars paying for services provided by the foodservice industry. Since farmers receive a smaller share from eating out dollars, due to the added costs for preparing and serving meals, more food-away-from-home spending will also drive down the farm share. 

Pushing Back On Despair Among Western Wisconsin's Dairy Farmer

Wiscontext | Posted on April 19, 2018

An Increase In Bankruptcies Compounds Economic And Emotional Woes.  As the dairy industry struggles with low prices in the face of a long-mounting milk glut, more farmers are finding that their woes are escalating. Over the spring of 2017, a pricing dispute with Canada, Wisconsin's large export market, along with ongoing fears of additional trade issues, have helped crystallize what is turning out to be a serious crisis in dairyland.Cow-feed suppliers can offer a measure of how dairy farmers are holding up. Viewed through the experiences of Olson Feed Service in Crawford County, the picture is grim, as Wisconsin Public Television's Here & Now found in a March 16, 2018 report. The company often mixes up custom blends of food tailored for specific farmers' herds, but lately customers are asking for cheaper products or trying to get by on a smaller amount of feed overall, explained owner Tammy Olson, who couldn't help but notice a growing despair among the farmers she serves. Chapter 12 bankruptcies in the district have been increasing over the past several years, with 2017 filings approaching those during the height of the Great Recession.