While the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) remains in winter hibernation, the rest of the river system is overflowing with excess water from snowmelt and recent rains. The flooding is preventing barges from moving grain and fertilizer for spring planting.
On January 17, more than 30 organic dairy farmers—most of whom sell their milk to Organic Valley or Maple Hill—gathered at a farm near Syracuse, New York. The “emergency meeting” was called without the processors’ knowledge, and attendees discussed who had lost contracts, who had seen trucks from Texas hauling in cheap organic milk, and falling prices. “The reason we had it was just to keep each other informed,” said Dave Nichols, a grassfed organic dairy farmer who sells to Maple Hill. “None of us really knew what was going on on the other side of the fence. The biggest thing we came away with was a new list of names, phone numbers, and addresses.”
A national animal rights group will ask millions of its supporters to boycott vacationing in Iowa to protest the state's new "ag gag" law. "People who care about animal rights, who don't want abusers protected, won't be visiting Iowa," said David Matulewicz-Crowley, legal advocacy counsel for Mercy For Animals.Animal welfare groups say the law prevents exposure of abuses, such as slamming piglets into concrete floors and confining animals in small cages.Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new "ag gag" law Thursday that makes it a crime for journalists and advocacy groups to go undercover at meatpacking plants, livestock facilities and other ag operations to investigate working conditions, animal welfare, food safety and other concerns.Lawmakers said the bill is needed to help protect pig, cattle and other livestock operations from biosecurity threats.
A tornado in New Mexico that damaged homes and injured people also hit several dairies, forcing at least one farm to euthanize more than 150 cattle.
Much like a canary in a coal mine, Florida chickens have warned researchers of a rare but deadly mosquito-borne virus in their midst. These sentinels have revealed that eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) originates in the state's panhandle and then spreads as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada, the new study found.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles announced today that sales of Kentucky hemp products in 2018 were more than 3½ times higher than the previous year and that the amount that farmers were paid for their harvests more than doubled.“When I became Commissioner of Agriculture, I promised to make Kentucky the epicenter of hemp production in the United States,” Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Look at us now. We are building the critical mass of growers, processors, and researchers that will ensure the hemp industry’s success in Kentucky for years to come.”Hemp processors reported $57.75 million in gross product sales last year, according to a Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) review of 2018 hemp licensed processor reports. That compares with $16.7 million in gross product sales in 2017. Processors paid Kentucky farmers $17.75 million for harvested hemp materials in 2018, up from $7.5 million the year before. Hemp processors spent $23.4 million in capital improvements and employed a total of 459 people in 2018, according to the processor reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources. On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image.APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources.
February Survey Results at a Glance: • Overall index moves above growth neutral for the 11th time in past 12 months. • Bank CEOs project a 6.1 percent decline in farm equipment sales over the next year. Last February, bankers expected a 6.9 percent reduction. • Weak farm income has pushed almost two-thirds of banks have increased collateral requirements on farm loans. • Almost one-third of banks have increased the farm loan rejection rate due to anemic farm income.
The likelihood of more prolonged flooding along the Missouri River increased Thursday night when the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to increase water releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota to 90,000 cubic feet per second because of inflows from the Niobrara River and other watersheds, the Corps stated. Releases from Gavins Point quickly spiked from 17,000 cfs just a few days ago to 37,000 cfs on Thursday morning. By Thursday evening, the Corps had nearly tripled the release levels. Corps officials anticipate they will be able to scale back water releases from the dam once inflow from the Niobrara River begins to slow.In Nebraska, major flooding remains along several larger tributaries into the Missouri River. It was a similar situation in western Iowa where the town of Hornick, south of Sioux City, was evacuated because a levee breach and tributaries in southwest Iowa such as the Boyer and Nishnabotna Rivers were significantly flooded.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamationfor 15 counties hit by the latest catastrophic flooding in the Midwest, Reynolds announced in a news release. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an emergency declaration on Tuesday ahead of the storm that raced through the Midwest this week. As of Thursday, South Dakota Gov. Krisi Noem was preparing an emergency declaration for damage from the blizzard