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Agriculture News

Record High Temperatures Cause Major Runoff In Pacific Northwest

Growing Produce | Posted on May 15, 2016

The entire Pacific Northwest experienced record high temperatures throughout April, causing much of the remaining snowpack to melt and runoff. More than 80% of all Snowpack Telemetry sites with at least 15 years of data set all new melt rate records for April. During two separate high-pressure weather systems in April, sites experienced minimum daily temperatures exceeding 20 degrees above normal. Due to the rapid snowmelt, runoff was above normal and Washington State’s rivers and streams were able to contain it without flooding.

The Effects of Demographic Change on Forest Cover in New England and New York

Carsey | Posted on May 15, 2016

The New England states and New York are more than 50 percent forested, a rate well above the national average. Economies in this heavily forested region have historically relied on forest-based industries, and human population has clustered along coastal regions and major waterways, though recent trends suggest widespread in-migration to amenity-rich rural areas. Over the last decade, all states in this region have experienced notable declines in forest cover. In urban and suburban areas like southern New Hampshire, this loss of forest cover is likely related to increased demand for housing and services. It is also likely to be a permanent transition, since developed land rarely reverts to forest cover. Much of the forest cover loss in rural northern New England is due to commercial timber harvesting and is likely temporary, but in other portions of northern New England forest cover has declined consistently since 2001, and it is unclear whether this shift is the result of development or forest harvesting.

Expecting labor help, farmers get inspections instead

Atlantic Journal Constitution | Posted on May 15, 2016

Federal inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor are conducting spot inspections of farms across south Georgia, a week after many farmers complained the agency has failed to properly process visa applications for migrant workers.

“Wage and hour agent teams are in multiple locations across south Georgia today,” Georgia Agriculture Commission Gary Black told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The agents inspect payroll and personnel records to ensure workers are fairly paid and that the workers are here legally.

Farmer Co-ops Feeling Growing Pressures to Merge

Ag Web | Posted on May 15, 2016

American farm co-ops are coming under pressure to merge from global competition, falling farm incomes, ag industry consolidation and a growing need for specialized talent, according to co-op leaders. Farmer-owned cooperatives historically have bought grain from farmers, storing it in elevators until it was loaded for shipment. But today, many co-ops do much more than store grain and sell fuel, fertilizer and pesticides.

Co-op executives say their businesses are being affected by the same economic pressures and opportunities facing other businesses, from globalization to economies of scale. As farm operations have increased in size and scale, co-ops have had to do the same, according to Ludwig. “We’re competing against big multinationals--ADM, Cargill--that are doing $100 billion in sales. We have to compete against that.”

Crop Prices Rally as Report Points to Easing of Glut

Wall Street Journal | Posted on May 13, 2016

U.S. crop prices surged Tuesday, extending an unexpected run in agricultural prices that has drawn in big investors like hedge funds.  The gains promise much needed relief for a farm economy battered by the slump in prices for major row crops over the past three years.  The catalyst was a closely watched government report that said rising exports would eat into the glut in farm commodities by next year. The big surprise was a projection that U.S. soybean inventories would fall by a steep 24%.

Delmarva poultry wants to separate facts from fiction | Posted on May 13, 2016

Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. is embarking on a new public relations effort to educate consumers about the poultry industry. “We recognize we have not done a good job of getting our messages out,” said Bill Satterfield, the longtime executive director of DPI, an 1,800-member trade association. “We are embarking on a major effort to share factual messages about the poultry industry.”  he biggest perception issues faced by poultry farmers are environmental issues and concerns over zoning, setbacks and other land use issues.  Other issues, such as persistent misconceptions about the use of steroids or hormones, are national issues that go well beyond Delmarva.

Illinois River water quality improvement linked to more efficient corn production

EurekaAlert | Posted on May 13, 2016

Good news - the quality of water in the Illinois River has improved in one important aspect. A new study from the University of Illinois reports that nitrate load in the Illinois River from 2010 to 2014 was 10 percent less than the average load in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Reducing the nitrate and phosphorus loads in the Mississippi River by 45 percent is the US EPA's ultimate recommendation. This will serve to reduce the size of the seasonal hypoxic area, or "dead zone," created in the Gulf of Mexico when nitrate in tributaries like the Illinois River flows into the Mississippi River and down to the Gulf.

Record corn crop coming, USDA says; soybean production may fall

Agri-Pulse | Posted on May 13, 2016

USDA on Tuesday projected a record corn crop of 14.4 billion bushels, up 829 million from last year and 214 million bushels more than the previous high in 2014.

2016 US Summer Forecast

Accuweather | Posted on May 11, 2016

As a strong El Niño fades, the weather across the country will slowly change. In much of the eastern United States, a hot summer is in store.

Rain and thunderstorms will dominate the pattern in the central and southern Plains, while the opposite occurs in California and the Northwest, and scarce rainfall leads to severe drought conditions.

Heat will come on strong in June for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, including in New York City, Boston, and Hartford, Connecticut. However, severe weather in July could turn the warm pattern on its head.

"July is a tricky month where there may be a few cooldowns from thunderstorms and back door fronts, but other than that I think June, July and August, you'll see your series of heat waves," AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Dryness and heat will be another common theme in the Midwest and northern Plains states.

Heat will develop late spring and early summer across these areas and tighten its grip throughout the season.

Farmers may need to consider applying sulfur in the future

Science Daily | Posted on May 11, 2016

With the move from burning coal to natural gas and low-sulfur coal and an increase in the use of scrubbers, only about 25 percent as much atmospheric sulfur is available today, compared to 40 years ago. Sulfur balances in agricultural fields are now negative, with more removed each year in crop harvests and leaching than is added from fertilizers and deposition, scientists have found, suggesting that farmers may need to apply sulfur fertilizer at some point in the future, particularly on fields with less soil organic matter.