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Agriculture News

ICE raids, rhetoric make America view farmworkers 'as criminals again

Times Union | Posted on July 26, 2017

Crackdowns by federal immigration agents have made communities more hostile towards minority farm workers, according to a new report. Farm owners, meanwhile, fear they'll soon be unable to fill labor-intensive farming jobs that  Americans no longer want. The report, from two Cornell University agriculture and labor experts, draws on surveys with New York dairy farmers beginning in late February, and largely mirrors concerns voiced by farm owners, economists, and agriculture and workers' rights groups about the detrimental effects the Trump administration's immigration policies would have on rural communities.Farmers "do not really know what to expect from the Trump administration, as well as from Congress regarding enforcement," the report reads. "This level of unpredictability is causing a sense of fear and nervousness for farm employers, workers and the community at large."

US needs FMD vaccine bank to protect food

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 26, 2017

Citing economic, food and national security concerns, a coalition of more than 100 agricultural organizations and allied industries groups urged Congress to include in the next Farm Bill language establishing and funding a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank. FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world.In a letter sent today to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House agriculture committees, the coalition pointed out that “an outbreak of FMD will have a devastating effect on all of agriculture – not just livestock producers – and will have long-lasting ramifications for the viability of U.S. agriculture, the maintenance of food security and affordability … and overall national security.”

Farm distilleries get new options under beverage law changes

Times Union | Posted on July 26, 2017

recently passed bill will allow farm distilleries to sell New York state-labeled beer, wine and cider on their premises. Such facilities were previously only allowed to sell spirits on their properties, unlike breweries, cideries and wineries. The new bill amends a section of the state's alcohol laws to change that.

Funding for federal agricultural research facilities falls far short of needs

Ag Policy | Posted on July 26, 2017

In discussing the agricultural budget, it is easy to focus in on commodity support, nutrition, and environmental programs and ignore the cost of maintaining the agricultural research facilities that are at the heart of the work of the USDA. When farmers go to their local extension agent with a problem, the agent’s answer is probably dependent on work that has been conducted with money and in facilities supported by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Land Grant Universities, which receive a portion of their funding from the Federal Government.Currently, the ARS owns and operates facilities that are valued at nearly $3.7 billion and carries out research on everything from citrus greening disease (a problem for Florida citrus growers) to highly pathogenic avian influenza (a disease that resulted in the destruction of over 50 million birds in 211 commercial and 21 backyard flocks from the fall of 2014 through mid-June 2015).From field to table, ARS scientists find solutions to technical problems that affect agricultural producers and American consumers every day. In conjunction with the Land Grant System, the ARS conducts research that benefits the public. Much of this research does not have the profit potential that would attract investment by commercial firms. They need a payback period that is much shorter than the type of basic research conducted by ARS provides.The ARS focuses on areas of research most crucial to US agriculture where federal research is inherently suited to make innovative contributions.

Some States Look to Allow Noneconomic Damages Against Veterinarians

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on July 26, 2017

hode Island is considering a bill recently rejected by Maine that would allow owners the right to pursue noneconomic damages in civil lawsuits involving the inadvertent injury or death of a pet through medical care, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. This could mean the state's veterinarians could be liable for damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship and punitive damages. "Allowing for recovery of noneconomic damages would place an enormous burden on veterinarians by raising the costs of veterinary insurance, which all veterinarians need to have," wrote the AVMA in a statement. "Many veterinary clinics are small businesses with limited resources, and veterinarians can't absorb these significant cost increases. There's no doubt that higher insurance costs would have to be passed along to consumers through increased medical expenses for pets. These higher costs would hurt pets and their owners."Other states also are considering permitting noneconomic damages; nine bills related to noneconomic damages have cropped up in state legislatures around the country this spring.

Animal rights activists, NRA use similar tactics

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 26, 2017

Sara Lilygren, former Tyson Foods vice president of corporate affairs, says animal rights activists and the National Rifle Association use similar tactics to implement change. When it comes to implementing change, two distinctly different causes take similar avenues. Both camps have an agenda they are pushing to implement change, and both have used the same tactics in order to initiate change.While policy changes, whether related to animal agriculture or gun issues, should be made with the input of the general public considered, that isn’t always what happens.Lilygren said the animal rights lobby went straight to decision-makers rather than the consumers who buy the eggs and/or pork products.“This is what was interesting to me. Consumers weren’t the audience,” said Lilygren. “It was policymakers who didn’t want to be shamed in one way or another or blackmailed, or embarrassed. Or in some cases, it was big retail and foodservice companies who didn’t want to be shamed or blackmailed or embarrassed.”Lilygren said in the case of gestation crates: “Consumers didn’t know what it was or didn’t even care about it.” But retailers who sell those products do, and for a lot of different reasons.

Maryland County Considers Ban on Wild Animals Used in Shows

US News and World Report | Posted on July 26, 2017

 The use of elephants, primates, snakes and other wild animals by businesses that profit from their exhibition could be banned in a Maryland county outside Washington, D.C.WTOP-FM reports the Montgomery County Council held the first hearing on Tuesday about a proposal to ban the use of animals in circuses or other business that "exhibit or financially benefit" from them. The bill wouldn't apply to agricultural fairs where livestock is displayed.Humane Society of the United States vice president Nicole Paquette says the bill would focus on prohibiting the use of wildlife in traveling shows. She says the public doesn't see most of how animals are coerced with abusive training.According to the county council, the bill will be heard in a public safety committee work session on Sept. 9.

Black vulture attacks on the rise

Farm and Dairy | Posted on July 26, 2017

Predator concerns are rising for sheep producers all over the state. Along with coyotes, producers from across Ohio are experiencing black vulture attacks.

Bank CEOs Expect Another Three Percent Decline in Farmland Prices

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on July 26, 2017

The overall index slipped slightly to growth neutral. More than three-fourths of bank CEOsreport a shortage of qualified or skilled workers as having a nega-tive impact on economic growth. On average, bankers project that farmland prices will decline by another three percent over the next 12 months. Due to weak farm income, almost one fourth of bankers reported rejecting a higher percentage of farmer loan applications and approximately 60.9 percent reported boosting collateral on farm loans.

U.S. Economy Rebounds, But Wages & Salaries Do Not: 10 of 23 Occupations Lost Ground

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on July 26, 2017

The U.S. economy exited the 2007-09 recession in July 2009. Despite consistent, but slow gross domes-tic product (GDP) growth since then, wages and salaries of American workers, adjusted for inflation, have actually declined for 10 of 23 occupations examined. Furthermore since the recession ended, U.S. workers have, on aver-age, increased their inflationadjusted salaries by only $1,000, or slightly less than 2%.