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Agriculture News

Cattle initiative to beef up New York Southern Tier agriculture

Cornell | Posted on April 25, 2016

Recently awarded a $627,000 programming and research grant from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the $5 million Southern Tier Agriculture Industry Enhancement program, Cornell University plans to bring an emerging livestock market, known as “stocker” beef cattle, to the Southern Tier.

Along with being a good fit for the region’s agricultural landscape, raising stocker cattle is a developing enterprise in New York state. Its low start-up costs are tailor-made for beginning farmers and those who want to diversify their farm holdings. Through the initiative, Cornell will hold regional stocker cattle summits and create a training program geared for success in the industry. It will also provide personnel to assist in grading and marketing, and conduct research to support farmers and agri-service personnel.

Oregon farmers fighting bank to sell radish seed

Capital Press | Posted on April 25, 2016

Several warehouses are caught in the middle of a legal dispute over radish seeds between Oregon farms and an out-of-state bank.  Both the farms and the bank claim to own the radish seeds, which are currently stored at five Oregon warehouses.

Whether those warehouses are acting as “agents” of the farms or the bank will be a key legal question in a lawsuit that’s scheduled to go to trial on June 7.

The lawsuit involves multiple Oregon farms who are fighting for the right to sell off radish seeds they initially grew in 2014 under contract for Cover Crop Solutions, a Pennsylvania company that was unable to pay for the crops due to weather-related demand disruptions. The Oregon farms filed liens to ensure they’d be treated as secured creditors with collateral in the company’s assets if it went bankrupt.

Meanwhile, Northwest Bank of Warren, Pa., also claimed the radish seeds served as collateral for a $7 million loan taken out by Cover Crop Solutions. The dispute prompted the bank to file a lawsuit against numerous Oregon farms in federal court, seeking a declaration that it had a priority security interest in the seed.

As the June 7 trial date approaches, it now appears the role of warehouses used to store the seed will be pivotal in the litigation.

Tightening in the Ag Belt

Pro AG | Posted on April 25, 2016

The record revenue growth of the last few years has given way to tightening in the U.S. agricultural industry, and analysts say these conditions could last a few years.

Many reasons persist for the tightening, such as production outpacing consumption, a strong dollar’s effect on exports, a decrease in commodity prices, and a drop in land values.  

Breakthrough method means CRISPR just got a lot more relevant to human health

The verge | Posted on April 25, 2016

The gene-editing tool CRISPR may one day change the way humans approach medicine — or at least that’s how it’s been portrayed so far. But for all the talk of using CRISPR to eliminate disease, the method was never very good at doing one important thing: altering single letters of DNA. (DNA is made of four chemical units, represented by the letters A, T, G, and C.) Now, scientists at Harvard University say they've modified the CRISPR method so it can be used to effectively reverse mutations involving changes in one letter of the genetic code. That’s important because two-thirds of genetic illness in humans involve mutations where there’s a change in a single letter.

South Dakota's surging dairy

Mitchell Republic | Posted on April 25, 2016

South Dakota has peaked the charts with a 13 percent increase in milk production from the previous year, according to the USDA, which is the single largest jump in any state. former-Gov. Bill Janklow's pushed the dairy industry during his term in office. Even as statewide dairy farm numbers took a dip, Janklow saw an opportunity to boost the South Dakota economy. He began actively recruiting milk processing plants to the state to encourage growth in the dairy industry.

Will removing neonics save the bees?

Farm and Dairy | Posted on April 25, 2016

Scotts Miracle Gro will phase out neonicotinoids in its garden care lineup by 2021.  Study results on the chemical are varied, as far as the severity of its contribution to the decline of the bee population. In fact, many have concluded there is no clear link between neonicotinoids and the honey bee syndrome known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

However, Ortho brand General Manager Tim Martin said, Ortho’s decision to ban the chemical is in response to a growing consumer concern over the chemicals. “This decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats to honey bees and other pollinators,” said Martin. “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on.”

Banking Woes Easing for Legal Pot Businesses

AP | Posted on April 25, 2016

Federal data show that the number of banks and credit unions across the country willing to handle pot money under Treasury Department guidelines issued two years ago has jumped from 51 in March 2014 to 301 last month.

More than three years into Washington's legal pot experiment, a large majority of businesses are paying taxes electronically, a sign of better access to bank accounts. The state is even poised to require electronic payments unless the shops can show a good reason to pay in cash.

Inside the Country's Most Controversial Company

Mother Earth News | Posted on April 23, 2016

The company doesn't seem too keen on old-school GMOs anymore. Fraley accompanied us to the biotechnology wing of the research center, the first stop on our tour. Strikingly, we didn't hear a peep about the GM wonder crops that the industry used to claim were just around the corner: corn that grows well in drought conditions, say, or thrives with minimal amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Instead, we heard vigorous defenses of a trait that Monsanto has been selling since genetically altered crops first hit farm fields in the mid 90s: the insect-killing gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, known as Bt.

Companies get serious about water use | Posted on April 22, 2016

There has been a "sea change in the last five years, led by forward looking companies",particularly in the clothing, food and drink industries.

US team tracks antibiotic resistant gene clusters in swine

Feed Navigator | Posted on April 22, 2016

Use of antibiotics in animal production is leading to clustering of antibiotic-resistant genes says a US research team.