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Agriculture News

The sad story of dairy's decline: Problem is obvious, solutions are not

AgWeek | Posted on April 11, 2019

All farmers and livestock producers are important. All the crops and animals they raise are important. That said, there's something special about the dairy industry, especially the people who operate dairy farms. Their skill and dedication reflect what's best and noblest in production agriculture.So the ongoing slump in the U.S. dairy industry is distressing. Beset with a multi-year stretch of poor milk prices and limited profitability, far too many dairy producers have shut down or are in imminent danger of doing so. From 2017 to 2018 alone, 6.5 percent of U.S. dairy farms went out of business, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.That's a big economic hit to the communities, often small, rural ones, where they operate. It's a huge emotional loss for families who put so much of themselves, sometimes over several generations, into their dairy business.

Hemp gains ground among farmers

Capital Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

Farmer Greg Willison and his son grew hemp for the first time last year near Coos Bay, Ore., and made money despite the many risks of raising a new crop. “People need to keep in mind this is something you want to approach on small acreage, maybe 5 to 10,” said Willison, who is retired and lives in New Plymouth, Idaho.Current and prospective growers of industrial hemp face many challenges in raising and marketing the controversial and high-priced new crop, which the 2018 Farm Bill authorized with the condition that states develop plans for managing it.Even producers and researchers in states such as Oregon that studied the crop under pilot programs allowed under the previous Farm Bill say there are plenty of lessons yet to be learned.

Midwest flood issues: Financial survival intheshort-run, improved flood readiness in the longer-run

Ag Policy | Posted on April 11, 2019

As farmers in the affected areas plan to build back and farmers elsewhere have building plans in place, elevation is an important concept. Identifying high spots for the placement of grain storage facilities and making them even higher may be a wise investment as we enter an era of more extreme weather events. It may be easy to think that a 500-year flood event is a remote possibility in your area, but such an event is likely to take place somewhere in the next decade or two. A bit of caution now could prevent a disastrous situation in the future. None of us should avoid long-term planning that takes more extreme weather events into account. Just this spring, flooding in Knoxville, left Harwood with only two long routes out of his area of town and a nearby road built only 5 years ago was under water for nearly two weeks. Whether one lives in the hills of East Tennessee, the prairie pothole region of Iowa, or the prairies of Nebraska, when it comes to the future it may be better to be safe than sorry.

Canada issues order to guard against ASF

Watt Ag Net (free registration required) | Posted on April 11, 2019

The Inspector of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has imposed an order imposing conditions in relation to secondary control zones to guard against African swine fever (ASF).  ASF has not been detected in North America, but has been spreading across Asia and Europe since last summer. Although ASF does not affect humans, it is highly contagious and deadly among pigs, cannot be cured and has no vaccine.

Family exemplifies Klamath water uncertainty

Capital Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

The biological opinion is a guiding document that Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office uses to ensure the Endangered Species Act is followed, as is required by law. Along with that, the bureau is tasked with delivering water to irrigators in the Klamath Project in accordance with this document. The document will also allow it to issue a concrete water allocation and operations plan for the year.Paul Crawford spoke up about his concerns about the new biological opinion — known to some in the Basin as ‘BiOp’ — at a March 22 meeting hosted by Reclamation, and attended by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.“In 2019, I plan on planting some permanent crops,” he said during the meeting. “With the new biological opinion, how likely am I going to be able to irrigate those crops in the future years?”Bureau officials are not unsympathetic.

Report shows how ag research funding can supercharge U.S. industry

Feedstuffs | Posted on April 11, 2019

A newly released report shows how U.S. farmers — facing a surge of weather events and disease outbreaks — can increase production and revenues with innovations produced by federally funded agricultural research but warns that more investment in agricultural research is needed to prevent falling further behind China. According to the report issued by the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation and 20 FedByScience research institutions, agricultural research and development (R&D) funding has an estimated return on investment of 20 to 1. While other federal research investments have grown, however, the report said U.S. agricultural research funding has stagnated. China, on the hand, invests nearly twice as much as the U.S. in agricultural science.

Canadian Producers Increase Reliance on Wheat Sales

DTN | Posted on April 11, 2019

Both May spring wheat and December spring wheat futures reached fresh contract lows Thursday's session. A look at the action in the May/July and December/March futures spreads shows a sudden change in commercial sentiment since March 25, with the old-crop spread moving from a 3 1/2 cent inverse on March 25 to a 9 1/4 cent carry as of the April 4 close. This move -- which saw the nearby May contract fall from a high of $5.76 3/4/bu on March 22 to Thursday's close of $5.27 1/4/bu, a move of 49 1/2 cents -- is viewed as perplexing on a year when United States wheat acres are estimated to be the lowest on record and soft red winter prices could find support from more rain in the Midwest forecast.

Follow the Rules When Seeking FSA Disaster Aid

DTN | Posted on April 11, 2019

Nebraska farmers affected by the devastating effects of recent floods and blizzards can use USDA Farm Service Agency cost-sharing programs to help recover financially. However, there are several rules and regulations producers must follow to receive aid. The majority of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the Emergency Conservation Program. County Executive Director for the Dodge-Sarpy/Douglas FSA Bryan Ralston told the crowd the program provides cost-share to producers who have had severe damage to farmland and pastures due to a natural disaster.The program pays up to 75% of the actual cost to repair land and the cost-share cannot exceed 50% of the agricultural market value of the affected land.Practices available to producers to address the damage include debris removal from crop and pasture land, fence restoration, grading, shaping and leveling land, conservation structure restoration and shelterbelt restoration.The requirements of ECP stipulate the damage to fields must be of such magnitude that it would be too costly for the producer to rehabilitate without federal assistance, he said. The minimum qualifying cost of restoration is $1,000 per participant.

Report Details Risks of U.S. Hemp Industry

Rabo Agrifinance | Posted on April 11, 2019

The U.S. hemp industry is poised for growth, but there are serious financial, regulatory and agronomic risks that farmers must understand. A report by Rabo AgriFinance says the market is “highly fragmented,” and there is no reliable source for pricing and production data. The report notes that the 2018 Farm Bill set off a process to completely overhaul hemp industry regulations, including the legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products. USDA plans to release its new rules in the fall, but new regulations won’t take effect until the 2020 planting season, and hemp production is not legal in all 50 states.

AVMA releases first-ever animal depopulation guidelines

Feedstuffs | Posted on April 11, 2019

Guidelines are important tool to help veterinarians make humane decisions in the most-dire situations, including natural disasters, hazardous disease outbreaks or terrorist incidents.