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  • Roberts, Stabenow question econ reorganization, ERS, NIFA moves | High Plains Journal

    Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Sept. 7 raising concerns about the Trump administration’s plans to place the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s economics functions under the Office of the Secretary and to move most of the employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington. At the same time, USDA announced an extension of the deadline for communities to express an interest in housing the agencies until Oct. 15.In their letter, Roberts and Stabenow wrote how one of the concerns raised by stakeholders is that a large number of employees will be unable to relocate, causing a sharp loss of knowledgeable staff. “Additionally, stakeholders are concerned that relocating experts outside of the National Capitol Region will erode critical partnerships with other federal agencies who are engaged in interdisciplinary research important for preventing of infectious disease, improving bioenergy efficiency, and dealing with emerging threats like Zika and Ebola,” the senators’ letter said.

    Post date: Thu, 09/20/2018 - 16:47
  • SARL VP's farm wins 2018 Grower Achievement Award | Growing Produce

    Autryville, NC-based Jackson Farming Company is the 2018 winner of American Vegetable Grower's prestigious Grower Achievement Award. First generation growers Brent and Debbie Jackson and their son Rodney Jackson demonstrate what can be accomplished when you’re willing to aim for long-term success.The Jackson Family will receive the American Vegetable Grower Grower Achievement Award in Washington, D.C., on September 24, 2018, during the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Conference. United Fresh partners with American Vegetable Grower in selecting and celebrating the Grower Achievement Award winner. The Jackson’s achievements over the past 37 years impressed the judges. Many in the industry think only multi-generation operations can reach the heights Jackson Farming Company has reached. The parents-and-son team of Brent and Debbie Jackson, along with second-generation grower Rodney, show their blend of risk-taking and a long-term focus on sustainability can let you reach great heights.” Senator Brent Jackson serves as SARL's 2nd Vice President.

    Post date: Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:56
  • SARL member Manitoba Minister Ralph Eichler signs MOU with Indiana | Cass Network

    Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler and members of the Indiana agricultural delegation met with officials from Canada’s Manitoba Province today to discuss opportunities to grow both regions’ agricultural sectors. Through a signed memorandum of understanding, the Indiana and Manitoba departments of agriculture agreed to facilitate cooperation in several areas including agricultural research and development, youth education and leadership, and trade investment – all for the purpose of mutual economic growth. The agricultural sector has been a key driver of trade and economic growth in both Manitoba and Indiana. Through the MOU, the two regions will encourage stronger partnerships between researchers, innovation leaders, businesses, and young farmers, and will share information and best practices to help each jurisdiction make the most of new opportunities to drive growth and innovation in agriculture and related sectors.“Indiana and Manitoba share common priorities and strengths in the agricultural sector that provide excellent opportunities for more collaboration and information sharing,” said Ralph Eichler, Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture.

    Post date: Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:51
  • FAPRI Update: U.S. Net Farm Income Projected to Decline | Illinois Farm Policy News

    FAPRI indicated that, “Large crops and trade disputes put downward pressure on U.S. farm commodity prices and farm income. Even considering the initial round of market facilitation program (MFP) payments, U.S. net farm income is projected to decline slightly in 2018 and again in 2019.” For background, the baseline update explained that, “The farm income projections incorporate the initial round of MFP payments, announced on August 27, 2018, that provide compensation for losses incurred because of trade disputes. We assume $4.0 billion in MFP payments will be made in calendar year 2018 and another $0.7 billion in 2019. No additional MFP payments are assumed, even though it is possible that a second round will be announced later this year.“Two important caveats: First, these estimates do not reflect any commodity market developments since August 2018, such as changes in the estimated size of the 2018 crop. Second, while MFP payments are included in these farm income estimates, they were not considered in the commodity market projections which were prepared before the payments were announced. In future baseline projections, we will consider possible com- modity supply and price effects of MFP payments.” After analyzing these variables, the FAPRI update noted that, “Net farm income declines by $3 billion in 2018, as the effect of higher production costs more than offsets the increases in cash receipts and payments.”

    Post date: Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:49
  • Resiliency in the face of hurricanes makes the case for renewables even stronger | Quartz

    People of the Carolinas are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Florence, the wettest tropical cyclone on record.  Solar-power installations were largely able to escape without harm.Before the storm hit, Duke Energy’s 40 solar-power sites were “de-energized” and set up horizontally to minimize wind damage. Although it’s too soon say what, if any, damage occurred, the signs are good. Soon after the storm passed, all the installations had begun producing power. Rooftop solar installations fared well too. Only six out of 800 customers of Yes Solar Solutions reported that there was a problem with their system.That said, modern renewables form only a fraction of the total electricity produced in the Carolinas. Duke Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant was shut ahead of the storm and remains offline. The plant is safe but remains inaccessible because of flooding. Natural gas and coal power plants haven’t suffered any problems, but the flooding coal-ash fields are likely to cause environmental problems.

    Post date: Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:48

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Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.