This spring is delivering a grim message to many farmers this year. "It seems like both the weather and the markets are telling us not to plant any of the big three cash crops this year," said Dan Petker, a farmer from Ontario, Canada. "Personally, if it stops raining today, we'd still be waiting at least 10 days before we could get started with planting. Ontario doesn't have a prevent plant program like [the U.S.], so a crop will most likely be planted; be it a profitable one or not."In this week's Field Roundup, a group of farmers and ranchers from across the farm belt weighed in on the spring's many challenges so far, from persistent wet and cold conditions to volatile commodity markets.
Weather patterns across the central U.S. show no easing of heavy rain potential going into the final two weeks of May, especially west of the Great Lakes. That means the continued chance for many acres of crops to not get planted in the 2019 growing season. It also means that river basin flooding, which began in mid-March, will either remain or even re-strengthen, possibly for another six weeks. "Wet weather in the Midwest during the next seven days will disrupt and delay corn planting already well behind normal in most areas," DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Mike Palmerino noted on Friday. "Cold, unsettled weather in the Northern Plains during the next seven days will delay planting of spring wheat and corn. Wet weather in the Southern Plains next week will increase disease pressure on wheat."The cause for this ongoing wet forecast is a weather pattern that has not changed for almost three full months. "We basically have the same pattern as we did in March," said Ohio Basin River Forecast Center Hydrologist Jim Noel. "There has just been a parade of storm systems coming off Asia toward North America. And, there's nothing to indicate that that's going to change."
Critics and proponents agree that recently passed legislation intended to shield Oregon from federal “rollbacks” of environmental regulations is meant to send a message. While supporters claim House Bill 2250 signifies the state government’s stand against weakening protections for air, soil and water at the federal level, opponents argue it amounts to an expensive but empty political stunt.The bill was approved by the Senate 16-12 on May 14 after passing the House two months earlier. It’s all but assured of being signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, who requested the legislation's introduction.Under House Bill 2250, the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Environmental Quality can take or recommend actions to ensure “significantly less protective” federal environmental standards don’t undermine protections at the state level.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture within weeks will begin testing sick and dead pigs for a hog virus that has killed herds across Asia in an effort to minimize devastation if the disease enters the United States, the agency said.
The economic disruption of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics could steal jobs and wealth from American communities. To make sure more than just a few people prosper from the change, we need a technology training program like the Extension Service to give communities more control of their own economic future.Robots and AI threaten to shatter the link between wealth and broad prosperity: new industries may not create enough good jobs. But if we can put everyday people in the driver’s seat, if we can train millions of adults from Harlem to Harlan County to become developers and designers, they can capture a big enough slice of emerging tech’s wealth to help revitalize our communities.
While city officials investigate, a consultant for Joyful Farm denies the operation is harming anyone's health. Residents of southwestern Hemet are looking for answers and relief and they struggle with health issues and pest problems they allege are due to the farming practices of Joyful Farm, a vegetable grower near the city’s Cottonwood community. Aidy Young, a consultant for the farm who sells organic soil enhancer to the business, denied the farm is using harmful substances or damaging residents’ health.“It’s a normal farming operation,” he said in an interview. “We don’t use illegal stuff.”Young added that the farm only uses green waste, not cow or chicken manure. He said Joyful uses pesticides that are certified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and that issues with flies are seasonal.Joyful Farm, which cultivates Asian vegetables, sits on a 450-acre property that abuts residences in southwestern Hemet.
One of Campo Lindo’s most defining qualities is a personal note included in every carton of eggs that leaves the farm. Carol writes those notes every two week; she began doing it when the farm started selling its eggs through grocery stores. “I just missed the communication that I had with our customers,” Carol says. “So I was like, ‘Well, I'll just start putting a little note, at least it's one-way communication,' but what's turned out really cool is a lot of times people take the time, they'll send a little email or phone call. … I'm not just selling something that we have a relationship with our customers, which is so cool.”While Campo Lindo has grown over the years, it’s still a small, 285-acre family farm where nearly every task is still done by hand. Jay said this makes it difficult for the farm to grow past its current level of output and productivity.
Many fresh produce growers have heard of the new Food Safety Modernization Act(FSMA) but they may be unsure how it applies to them. Growers who have already attended a Produce Safety Alliance Produce training now have an overview of what the Produce Safety Rule is about, but many are wondering how to apply what they learned to their specific farming operation. In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of FSMA, Cooperative Extension and State Departments of Agriculture have teamed up with Conservation Districts to develop an On-Farm Readiness Review. This review will allow a fresh produce grower and a team of trained professionals the opportunity to walk through their operation, step by step, to see what things they’re doing right and what they need to improve and problem solve. This walk-through will help growers gauge how ready they are for an inspection and give them ideas about how to make inexpensive changes, if necessary, to meet the new food safety requirements. This is a voluntary and confidential service, so what happens on the farm, stays on the farm. Best of all, it is free to growers.
The city is mulling a plan to outlaw the sale of farmed fur items and forbid making products with trapped fur. With New York a center of the fashion world, a fur ban would be a major blow to the industry.A similar measure is under consideration at the state level as well.The fur industry fears the loss of 1,100 jobs in New York City alone if the ban passes.
“We’re not suing them for the fact that their product causes cancer. We’re suing them because they didn’t tell people that it causes cancer.”Annually, for weeks at a time over his more than 30 years of farming, John Barton would spray a thousand gallons of Roundup every day to kill the weeds springing up among his cotton crop outside Bakersfield, California.Barton, now 70, retired from farming in 2010 and planned to move to northern Idaho with his wife. But then he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015, and he soon concluded that the miracle herbicide that he depended on for decades had caused the swollen lymph nodes that have since derailed his life.He is now a litigant alongside 40 other plaintiffs in just one of the approximately 11,000 pending cases against Bayer AG relating to glyphosate. A federal judge in California has ordered the company to engage in mediation to try to settle the cases, and Monsanto has consistently defended the safety of the product. Since Bayer purchased Monsanto in June of last year, however, the German firm’s stock price has plunged to nearly half its value due, in part, to picking up Monsanto’s numerous legal challenges.