While the economic and human toll wrought by low milk prices have been documented, the factors that determine those prices can feel enigmatic or perhaps even baffling for people outside of the industry — and perhaps for those within as well.Indeed, a dairy processors trade organization referenced the complicated American milk pricing system in a “Milk Pricing 101” lesson for its members: “There is an old joke about a senior-level USDA person testifying to Congress on dairy policy and milk pricing. He said there are only three people that understood it and two of them are lying.”
212 Wisconsin dairy farms went out of business between Jan. 1 and April 1. That means on average, more than two dairy farms sold out each day of the first 90 days of 2019. That’s on top of the 691 dairy farms we lost during 2018. In just 15 months, the Dairy State lost 903 dairy farms, or slightly fewer than two farms per day. That’s more than 10% of Wisconsin’s dairy farms going out of business in just 15 months. The numbers don’t lie — that is painful for the farm families who sold their dairy herds, the communities they live in and the businesses they supported.
For years, scientists at Monsanto Co. worked closely with outside researchers on studies that concluded its Roundup weedkiller was safe. That collaboration is now one of the biggest liabilities for the world’s most widely used herbicide and its new owner, Bayer, which faces mounting lawsuits alleging a cancer link to Roundup.Plaintiffs’ attorneys are putting Monsanto’s ties to the scientific community at the center of a series of high-stakes suits against Bayer. Since the German company acquired Monsanto last June, two juries in California have sided with plaintiffs who have lymphoma and blamed the herbicide for their disease. Bayer’s shares have fallen roughly 35% since the first verdict.In both cases, plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that Monsanto’s influence on outside studies of Roundup’s active ingredient tainted the safety research. The attorneys obtained certain Monsanto emails showing outside scientists asking the company’s scientists to review their manuscript drafts, and Monsanto scientists suggesting edits.
the last four years, farm real estate markets have faced pressure due to low commodity prices and deteriorating farm income. From 2013 to 2018, farm income in the United States declined more than 50 percent, and working capital declined 65 percent. Despite these developments, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions shows farmland values remained relatively stable, declining only modestly in most areas. Indeed, Chart 1 shows that in the Tenth District, cropland values declined only 16 percent from 2013 to 2018. Farmland values in other states across the Midwest and Great Plains declined by similarly modest amounts over this period.Although farm real estate markets have been relatively stable amid significant declines in commodity prices and farm income, risks of further declines in farmland values appear to have increased. A recent increase in farmland sales in some states also suggests a decline in farmland values could be on the horizon.
Vietnam announced this week it is banning the importation of glyphosate. It comes after the most recent glyphosate verdict that went against Bayer in a California court.
Bayer has made its more than 100 glyphosate safety studies public, as several trials against its acquired Monsanto RoundUp glyphosate weed killer are ongoing. Charlotte Morr is Bayer Crop Science data transparency manager, “So it’s no longer speculation about what could be in those studies. By enabling access, we really give the opportunity that people can look and judge for themselves. But, I mean, the message has been the same all over. Glyphosate is a safe product when it’s used according to the instructions.” The Bayer studies are part of its summary submitted to the EU on RoundUp last December of more than 300 studies showing glyphosate is safe.The CDC today released a toxicology report on glyphosate which Bayer officials say they are now reviewing.
Lawyers have failed to reach a settlement in a federal lawsuit claiming a soybean seed company purposely sold faulty seeds to black farmers in Mississippi. A court filing by attorneys for Stine Seed Co. says mediation talks did not lead to an agreement to settle the suit. U.S. District Judge John Fowlkes had set a Friday mediation deadline.
When it’s safe, most tractor drivers pull over and let traffic pass. The problem is that Texas law does not currently include farm equipment in the legal definition of vehicles that may drive on the road shoulder. Bills in the Texas Legislature this session could fix that. Everyone is busy and often impatient these days. It can certainly be annoying to be stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. However, a collision with a tractor could change our perception of busy schedules.
All farmers and livestock producers are important. All the crops and animals they raise are important. That said, there's something special about the dairy industry, especially the people who operate dairy farms. Their skill and dedication reflect what's best and noblest in production agriculture.So the ongoing slump in the U.S. dairy industry is distressing. Beset with a multi-year stretch of poor milk prices and limited profitability, far too many dairy producers have shut down or are in imminent danger of doing so. From 2017 to 2018 alone, 6.5 percent of U.S. dairy farms went out of business, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.That's a big economic hit to the communities, often small, rural ones, where they operate. It's a huge emotional loss for families who put so much of themselves, sometimes over several generations, into their dairy business.
Farmer Greg Willison and his son grew hemp for the first time last year near Coos Bay, Ore., and made money despite the many risks of raising a new crop. “People need to keep in mind this is something you want to approach on small acreage, maybe 5 to 10,” said Willison, who is retired and lives in New Plymouth, Idaho.Current and prospective growers of industrial hemp face many challenges in raising and marketing the controversial and high-priced new crop, which the 2018 Farm Bill authorized with the condition that states develop plans for managing it.Even producers and researchers in states such as Oregon that studied the crop under pilot programs allowed under the previous Farm Bill say there are plenty of lessons yet to be learned.