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Agriculture News

Development, Adoption, and Management of Drought-Tolerant Corn in the United States

USDA | Posted on February 6, 2019

Over one-fifth of U .S . corn acreage was planted with DT corn in 2016 . DT corn accounted for only 2 percent of U.S. planted corn acreage in 2012. By 2016, this share had grown to 22 percent. The pace of adoption is similar to the adoption of herbicide-tolerant corn in the early 2000s. DT corn made up roughly 40 percent of corn acreage in some drought-prone States . In 2016, 42 percent of Nebraska corn acres and 39 percent of Kansas corn acres were planted with DT seed. These and other States with a 25-percent or higher adoption rate, such as South Dakota and Texas, experienced at least one severe-or-worse drought between 2011 and 2015. Northern corn-producing States, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, experienced less-severe droughts during this time period. Adoption rates in 2016 on corn acres in these States were lower, ranging between 14 and 20 percent.

Land O'Lakes Launches Software Platform To Help Farmers Boost Sustainability

Forbes | Posted on February 6, 2019

Truterra works by pulling in data from a number of public sources to create what Weller calls “the mother of all environmental databases.” From there, the program asks the farmer a number of questions, digging into the nitty gritty of the farm’s agricultural practices, everything from nutrient application to water irrigation to cover cropping. Once the analysis is complete, the program provides the farmer with a number of recommendations designed to increase the farm’s sustainability.

Hawaii Dairy Farm cancels plans for pasture based dairy

The Garden Island | Posted on February 6, 2019

Hawaii Dairy Farms announced it was discontinuing plans for a pasture-based dairy farm on Kauai. Instead, it will explore other alternatives for food production on the Grove Farm land in Mahaulepu on the South Side.“It is disappointing we were unable to find a path forward to help bring a more sustainable model of dairy farming to Hawaii,” said Amy Hennessey, director of communications for investor Ulupono Initiative in a statement. She points out the proposal for the farm was based on best-management practices proven around the world “to create a more environmentally sustainable model of dairy farm that utilized active pasture management to minimize runoff and use grass as a low-cost source of feed.”“But rather than incentivizing local food production to meet our state’s food goals, Hawaii’s environmental regulations seem to unfairly place dairies and other similar animal agriculture operations in the same category as wastewater treatment plants,” Hennessey said.

Oregon marijuana regulators fail to meet even basic standards, state audit finds

Oregon Live | Posted on February 6, 2019

 Oregon’s marijuana program has failed to keep up with mandatory inspections, its weak testing system threatens to expose consumers to contaminants and regulators haven’t done enough to address black market diversion, according to an unsparing new audit the Secretary of State released. The audit represents the first detailed examination of Oregon’s regulation of the legal cannabis market since voters said yes to legalization in 2014, when supporters promised that state oversight would rein in an industry that had flourished for decades in the underground market.The audit represents the first detailed examination of Oregon’s regulation of the legal cannabis market since voters said yes to legalization in 2014, when supporters promised that state oversight would rein in an industry that had flourished for decades in the underground market.

A Black Legacy, Wrapped Up in Fur

The New York Times | Posted on February 6, 2019

There is a sense among many black women that cultural disavowal of fur has coincided with our increased ability to purchase it.These days there are plenty of other materials available to cover one’s nakedness, a point that anti-fur activists readily make. The past few decades have seen a humanitarian backlash to animal fur clothing. Major fashion designers, including Gucci, Stella McCartney and, most recently, Chanel, have forsaken it; several cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have banned sales of the material.But there is a sense among many black women that this broader, cultural disavowal of fur has coincided with our increased ability to purchase it. (Or as Paula Marie Seniors, a historian and professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech, reported her mother saying: “As soon as black women could afford to buy mink coats, white society and white women said fur was all wrong, verboten, passé.”) For women like my mother and grandmother, my aunts and my sisters, a fur coat is more than a personal luxury item. It is an important investment.

Gains for animal health in farm bill

AVMA | Posted on February 6, 2019

The new farm bill authorizes funding to create a new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, enhances resources for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and establishes the new National Animal Vaccine and Countermeasures Bank with immediate attention on foot-and-mouth disease. "These programs will provide vital improvements to our national animal disease response capabilities and help protect the livelihoods of ranchers and farmers. This bill is great news for everyone who cares about animal agriculture," said AVMA President John de Jong.The five-year spending law provides $120 million in the first four years for animal health and disease preparedness initiatives. At least $20 million of that will go to the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program. Funding is also allotted for the national animal disease vaccine bank and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Washington hemp bills line up on allowing CBD

Capital Press | Posted on February 6, 2019

House and Senate bills now agree on removing two major barriers to the cultivation of hemp in Washington. The bills would legalize processing hemp into cannabidiol, or CBD, for human consumption, an attractive market now closed to Washington farmers and processors.The bills also would strike down a state Department of Agriculture rule that forces hemp farmers to shut down if a marijuana grower decides to plant within 4 miles. Meant to prevent hemp from cross-pollinating with marijuana, the rule subordinates hemp to recreational marijuana. 

Welcome to the new Wisconsin Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast

Manure Advisory System | Posted on February 6, 2019

Beginning Feb. 1, farmers can turn to a new version of Wisconsin's Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast that gives them a much more localized look at the threat of runoff before they plan to spread manure.

‘Big crops, low prices,’ for a long time ahead, says CBO

Food & Environment Reporting Network | Posted on February 5, 2019

Farm-gate prices for corn and soybeans, the two most widely grown crops in the United States, are stuck in a rut for years to come, said the CBO on Monday in its long-term budget outlook. Farmers will grow near-record corn crops to generate revenue while slowly working down a soybean stockpile that is expected to approach a billion bushels this summer, the largest inventory ever. Farm income plummeted with the collapse of a seven-year commodity boom in 2013. The USDA forecast of $66.3 billion in income last year was half of the 2013 peak and a reflection of persistently low commodity prices. The CBO outlook, focused on farm subsidy costs, said corn would stay below $4 a bushel for the decade to come and soybeans would not top $9 a bushel until 2023. The last time corn and soybean prices were that low for an extended period was the early to mid 2000s.By contrast, wheat farmers can expect farm-gate prices of $5.10-$5.15 a bushel in coming years, said CBO. Prices would be better than the the aftermath of the commodity collapse but well below the halcyon levels of the boom, when the season-average price for wheat was a record $7.77 a bushel in 2012/13, boosted by drought in the United States and strong global demand for food. Corn and soybeans also set records in 2012/13 of $6.89 a bushel for corn and $14.40 for soybeans.The trade war with China has driven down U.S. soybean prices while ballooning the soy stockpile to four times its usual size, aided by record-large harvests. Formerly, China bought 1 in 3 bushels of U.S. soybeans. Exports volume has been slow to recover.Farmers will plant far more corn than soybeans this year — 93 million acres vs 83.5 million acres — after a virtual tie at 89.1 million acres in 2018, when China was an eager customer. With normal weather and so-called trend-line yields, the corn crop would be 15.1 billion bushels, the second-largest on record, and soybeans would total 4.15 billion bushels, the fourth-largest ever. The 2019 corn crop would sell for an average $3.75 a bushel, compared to $3.60 a bushel for the 2018 crop. Soybeans would fetch an average $8.23 a bushel during the 2019/20 marketing year, compared to $8.60 this marketing year.

Farmers can heal the environment and prosper with the ‘Green New Deal’

The Kansas City Star | Posted on February 5, 2019

It’s been a tough year for farmers here in Iowa and across much of America. After several years of low commodity prices, President Donald Trump’s tariffs and government shutdown have rocked the markets. Only the largest of operations are making any money. Land prices are down, farm real estate listings are up, younger farmers are looking bankruptcy in the face and older farmers are saying they’ve had enough, and retiring. To share just one significant number, hog operations are losing $18 a hog.A new survey of bankers in 10 Plains and Western states tells us the regional rural economy is shrinking, a casualty of Trump’s “tariffs and low commodity prices.” The one sliver of hope this past harvest season, if you can call it hope, came from an odd place: The Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came out, telling us that we have about 20 years to turn around our pumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The actual consequences of the reports are dire. The opportunity is here, however, for farmers to emerge as leaders and be part of the solution to climate change. They can lead via carbon sequestration, or carbon farming — the process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by biological processes and stored in the soil. However, most commodity farmers haven’t been managing their farms to capture carbon. They have instead, as might be expected, been managing to maximize yields. Carbon farming is not easy work. Farmers need time and resources to develop the complex farming systems that will integrate conservation tillage, extended crop rotations, cover crops and livestock production, especially managed grazing.Think of it: farmers in rural parts of every state working together to help mitigate the catastrophic effects of climate change. Every state has a role to play in food production, and they can all can farm carbon. Coupled with the alternative energy initiatives that rural America is leading, incentives can also stabilize our rural economies, as well as secure our food supply, while slowing the effects of global warming.