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Agriculture News

Milk protein prices drop to 16-year low

edairynews | Posted on September 14, 2017

At $1.2248 per pound, protein fell to the lowest levels, as calculated by the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, since December 2000. Milkfat is back, however. That is welcomed news to struggling dairy farmers.At $2.9456 per pound, butter is now driving milk checks. With the August 2 federal order announcement, milkfat prices came close to previous highs posted in November 2015 ($3.1830 per pound) and September 2014 ($3.2467 per pound). A more in-depth review of butterfat prices also can be found at Understanding Dairy Markets.

How John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment For A More Sustainable Future

Fast Company | Posted on September 14, 2017

On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for making tractors has a gleaming new Silicon Valley office. But inside, instead of building the latest app, John Deere is focused on how to use artificial intelligence to make farming equipment that can meet modern sustainability and food production challenges.John Deere Labs, which opened its doors in the spring, made its first major deal on September 6. The company spent $305 million to acquire Blue River Technology, a startup with computer vision and machine learning technology that can identify weeds–making it possible to spray herbicides only where they’re needed. The technology reduces chemical use by about 95%, while also improving yield.

Merrill to retire as NH agriculture commissioner

Seacoast online | Posted on September 14, 2017

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill of Stratham has announced her retirement from the post. “It has been a real privilege to serve the people of New Hampshire as commissioner of Agriculture,” Merrill said. “These 10 years have brought challenges, but also opportunities, and renewed awareness of the importance of local farms and foods for our communities and our state. I will especially miss the dedicated, hard-working team of professionals I have had the honor of serving with at the Department of Agriculture.”

Perdue seeks publc input on USDA reorganization | Posted on September 14, 2017

Building on a controversial USDA reorganization rolled out in May, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced further steps to realign “a number of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to improve customer service and maximize efficiency.”Among several steps, the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will be merged into the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Currently, both GIPSA and AMS carry out grading activities and work to ensure fair trade practices, the USDA said. Grain inspection activities will become a separate area within AMS; the Packers and Stockyards Program will be merged into a new structure that is part of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.  The National Grain and Feed Association, along with the North American Export Grain Association, applauded moving the grain inspection service into AMS. “We strongly support this much-needed realignment … which we believe will help the agency better fulfill its statutory obligation to provide reliable, accurate, timely, impartial, and cost-effective services,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon and NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin. To comment on the proposed reorganization review the guidelines for public comments at the federal register, comments are due October 7.

Ways to help latest wildfire, hurricane victims

Ag Daily | Posted on September 14, 2017

Whether they’re part of the mainstream media’s 24-hour news cycle or not, disasters are hitting multiple parts of the United States right now. States in the Pacific Northwest are fighting scores of wildfires, while Hurricane Irma’s rise through Florida has drawn most of the attention over the weekend. And though Harvey itself may no longer be an acute threat to Texans, there’s is plenty of relief that needs to be done there. We’ve brought together many of the major ways you can help our brothers and sisters in agriculture in these devastated regions. If there are others that you know of, we invite you to include them in the comments to help raise awareness for any organization or fund that’s hoping to help people, as well as reaching all of those in need of help.If you are considering donating to a group you haven’t heard of before or to a fund that isn’t administered by a reliable source, please check out the list of legitimate charities on Charity Navigator or GuideStar to make sure that you’re not getting scammed.

Online Tool Helps Residue-Seeking Livestock Producers Hook Up with Crop Farmers

DTN | Posted on September 14, 2017

Call it Tinder for grazing. A new online tool helps cattle producers seeking feed for their livestock hook up with crop farmers who have fields of crop residue to offer. Created by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension, the Crop Residue Exchange  is designed to assist both crop and livestock producers with crop residue needs.The service works like this: Farmers set up a log-in account and list cropland available for grazing by entering basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability and dates available as well as contact information. Those with land to graze can even draw out the plot of land using an interactive map. Livestock producers then log into the tool and can search the database for cropland available for grazing with an established radius of a given location.

Animal-Rights Activist Keynoting Zoos Convention Dumbfounds Critics | Posted on September 14, 2017

Wayne Pacelle, the author of those few, strange words, does not officiate over a pitbull-fighting ring or binge-watch cartoons of Jerry torturing Tom. Pacelle delivers the keynote at the annual conference of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) later this week in Indianapolis. “We invited Wayne because AZA’s reputation and the reputation of our 230 members is dependent upon the public confidence that they provide exceptional care to the animals in aquariums and zoos,” Dan Ashe, president and chief executive officer of the AZA, tells Breitbart News. “Animal welfare and care is a foundational issue. We believe it’s important that they hear from the leading voices in the animal-welfare community.”

When it matters most, the industry pulls together to help pet owners and their pets through disaster.

Pet Food Industry | Posted on September 14, 2017

“Pet store and veterinary hospital groups, manufacturers and distributors, and associations and organizations within the pet industry are pooling their resources and working with lead disaster and shelter officials to coordinate the logistics of providing much-needed supplies, including sharing warehouses, facilities and distribution centers for storage until affected areas can be accessed,” said the Pet Leadership Council. “They are also tapping resources to help provide vehicles and helicopters to assist with evacuations and providing financial assistance to rescue organizations.”

Dairy Processors Stretched by Milk Production Gains

edairynews | Posted on September 14, 2017

Every year, U.S. dairy farmers produce 3 billion more pounds of milk than the year before. For the past few years, production growth has outpaced processing capacity growth and dairy processors are struggling to keep pace. As a result, “Dairy processors are faced with the challenge of handling an ever-growing milk supply, while anticipating the right product mix to meet consumer demand,” said Ben Laine, senior dairy economist at CoBank. “An additional 27 billion pounds of U.S. milk processing capacity will be needed over the next 10 years if current trends persist.”Numerous new plants and plant expansion projects are underway or recently completed, but available capacity remains a challenge at times — especially in the Northeast and Mideast areas — and has strained the ability of dairy cooperatives to fill the role of market balancers. Since these co-ops largely bear the brunt of the near-term oversupply of milk, they are increasingly looking for ways to discourage producers from expanding production.

NAFTA talks spark deep divide in American agriculture

CNN | Posted on September 13, 2017

A group of mostly southeastern U.S. farmers want a major change to NAFTA, which they say has hurt them. But a separate coalition of farmers and industry leaders are vehemently opposed to the agriculture overhaul, saying it's bad for business. The thorny debate illustrates how NAFTA's winners and losers have been defined along fine lines, from one farm to another. The key issue for some U.S. farmers is proving whether Mexican or Canadian growers are selling tomatoes, blueberries, avocados and other products at a price well below the average price tag. A group of mostly southeastern U.S. farmers want a major change to NAFTA, which they say has hurt them. But a separate coalition of farmers and industry leaders are vehemently opposed to the agriculture overhaul, saying it's bad for business.The thorny debate illustrates how NAFTA's winners and losers have been defined along fine lines, from one farm to another.