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Agriculture News

Medical marijuana plants growing in Maryland

ABC News 2 | Posted on September 7, 2017

The first legal crop of marijuana has started to grow in Maryland. And industry officials say products should be available in medical marijuana dispensaries by 2018.

Tyson to build new chicken plant in Kansas

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 7, 2017

In response to strong consumer demand for chicken, Tyson Foods announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex in eastern Kansas. The company will construct a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill near the city of Tonganoxie, in Leavenworth County, Kansas, which will employ about 1,600 people and contract with northeast Kansas farmers and ranchers to raise chickens. The operation, scheduled to begin production in mid-2019, will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide.

Money-for-water programs work — but for how long?

High Country News | Posted on September 7, 2017

When Freddie Botur, 45, whose ranch spans 72,000 acres outside of Pinedale, Wyoming, first heard about a program that was paying ranchers to let water run down the river instead of irrigating with it, he was skeptical. But Nick Walrath, a project coordinator for Trout Unlimited, told him he’d receive about $200 for every acre-foot of water saved by not watering hay on his Cottonwood Ranch.  For Botur, it would mean over $240,00 for fallowing just over 1,700 acres of hay fields for the latter half of the summer of 2015, letting 1,202 acre-feet of water run past his headgate on Cottonwood and Muddy Creeks, tributaries of the Green River, instead of to his fields. “Oh my god,” he thought, “this is insane.” Botour, talkative and athletic, was wearing mirrored sunglasses and a cowboy hat when we met in June outside a cluster of old homestead buildings on the family ranch that he operates at the foot of the lofty peaks of the Wyoming Range. For Wyoming ranchers, he explained, the kind of money he received for not growing hay represented as much as a third of their annual revenue. The money-for-water program that Botur signed up for was a pilot program, launched in 2014 by the four largest municipal water providers in the Colorado River basin along with the Bureau of Reclamation. The goal: see how complicated it would be to pay ranchers to use less water on their fields and instead let the water flow down the Green, Colorado and San Juan rivers to Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two biggest water storage buckets in the Colorado River system. The result: After three years, the initiative, known as the “System Conservation Pilot Program,” proved popular with skeptical ranchers like Botur, but water officials called a halt to the program after this year until they work out some big challenges. Their task will not be easy. But as climate change alters the hydrology of the Colorado River basin, water planners are searching for ways to adapt a system of century-old water laws to a new reality. If they’re successful, a revamped “system conservation program” could be one way to reshape water management for a hotter drier West.

Texas:Landowners Leasing Property for Hunting Required to Obtain License from the State

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on September 7, 2017

With the fall comes opening day of several popular hunting seasons across the state.  For Texas landowners, this often means entering into hunting lease agreements that generate added income for the operation.  Under Texas law, a landowner leasing private property for hunting in return for any type of compensation is required to obtain a Hunting Lease License from Texas Parks and Wildlife  (“TPW”).  Note, this is separate from a hunting license that the hunter must possess.

Finances key to new farmers

The Daily News | Posted on September 7, 2017

New York has dedicated millions in recent years to support a younger agricultural generation, and to promote the growth of niche crops such as hops. But they leave gaps that Maxwell and other groups said prevent them from being useful in common situations. The state knows it doesn’t have all the answers now, but Vallejo said the “one-stop shop” being developed at her department and its website is developing the path to find them.“The priority is at least getting all the resources in one place so they can get help,” said Vallejo after Wednesday’s panel — and an open forum that was broadcast to The Daily News Facebook page. “Our one-stop shop is intended to be a starting palce for those conversations.As the discussion hit the two-hour mark, Megan Burley of Warsaw was one of the last attendees remaining. She was one of a handful of millennial farmers at the session, and wanted to voice the challenges she and her husband Steve face.

In a blow to Monsanto, France to vote against license renewal for weedkiller glyphosate

St Louis Post Dispatch | Posted on September 7, 2017

France will vote against renewing the European license for weedkiller glyphosate, an official at the environment ministry said Wednesday, adding to uncertainty over the future of widely-used products such as Monsanto's Roundup in the European Union. Concerns over glyphosate's risk to human health have prompted investigations by U.S. congressional committees and delayed a relicensing decision in the EU."France will vote against the re-authorization of glyphosate due to the doubts that remain about its dangerousness," a ministry official said.The European Commission, the EU executive, has proposed extending approval for glyphosate by 10 years after the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said in a study in March it should not be classified as a cancer-causing substance.






Drowned Hopes:Disaster strikes the family farm

Texas Farm Bureau | Posted on September 7, 2017

This year was going to be different. The cotton looked good. Unbelievably good. Fat bolls loaded on compact stalks. A sea of white, as far as the eye could see. Matagorda County farmer Robby Reed was hopeful. Until a bad boy named Harvey paid a visit.Some say it’s the hurricane for the decades. For Robby, it’s the storm of a lifetime.He’s 39 years old—a young farmer by most standards. He’s suffered through hard times, but 2017 may be his toughest year yet.More than 20 inches of rain has fallen, and the family farm is completely underwater.Half of Robby’s cotton is still in the fields. Or was. Drenched in the downpours, the cotton absorbed water like a sponge. Some fell off the stalks. Some floated away.He drove by his fields yesterday. Bad news. The potential of a bumper crop swept away after years of low prices.The evenings now are somber. Robby, his wife and son were forced out by rising waters. For the first time ever, water crept into their home.But he wasn’t alone. His parents were in trouble, too. Robby hopped on a jet ski and picked them up before dawn on Monday. Floodwaters breached the levee at their farm near Bay City. Bob and Debbie Reed had been there 40 years and never had water in their barn. Until two days ago. A foot surged through it. And the worse could be yet to come.For Debbie, it’s not the house or the barn that matter. “It’s just stuff,” she said.Seeing her son and other young farmers suffer extreme losses, though, is more than she can bear.“The hardest part is watching my son and daughter-in-law go through this,” she told me, voice cracking with emotion. “As a mom, you hurt for them more than you ever hurt for yourself.”She and Bob have weathered their fair share of storms. They will do so again.This time, they’re a little older. A lot wiser. And maybe just a little crazy—crazy for working long hours, hedging their bets and racing the weather without guarantees.Farming is what they know. It’s what they love. It’s in their blood—a family tradition.But Robby is looking at extreme loss—hundreds of thousands of dollars. A gamble he took on farming. With Mother Nature calling the shots. And her aim was deadly.

Mass production of biodegradable plastic

Science Daily | Posted on September 7, 2017


Fibers of a corn-derived, biodegradable plastic developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nebraska researchers and their colleagues have demonstrated a new technique for improving the properties of bio-plastic that could also streamline its manufacturing, making it more competitive with petroleum-based counterparts. Nebraska's Yiqi Yang and colleagues found that raising the temperature of bio-plastic fibers to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, then slowly allowing them to cool, greatly improved the bio-plastic's normally lackluster resistance to heat and moisture.Its thermal approach also allowed the team to bypass solvents and other expensive, time-consuming techniques typically needed to manufacture a commercially viable bio-plastic, the study reported.Yang said the approach could allow manufacturers of corn-derived plastic -- such as a Cargill plant in Blair, Nebraska -- to continuously produce the biodegradable material on a scale that at least approaches petroleum-based plastic, the industry standard. Recent research estimates that about 90 percent of U.S. plastic goes unrecycled."This clean technology makes possible (the) industrial-scale production of commercializable bio-based plastics," the authors reported.

U.S. Potato Exports, including Processed Products, Reach Record Levels

Potato Business | Posted on September 7, 2017

Exports of all U.S. potatoes and potato products reached a record USD1.7bn for the July 2016 – June 2017 marketing year, and a record volume level of 1,712,364 metric tons (MT), according to Potatoes USA. Fresh potato exports at 491,716 MT were up 9%, potato chip exports up 5% to 52,103 MT and frozen products up 3% to 1,026,429 MT.  

Animal rights activists: Proposition 2 not good enough

Watt Ag Net | Posted on September 7, 2017

Coalition of animal rights groups files ballot language which would require all eggs sold in the state to be from cage-free systems, all pork and veal sold in state to be from farms that don’t use crates.