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Agriculture News

Financial aid sought for flood-stricken poultry farmers

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 8, 2016

While the USDA indemnity programs may help compensate North Carolina poultry farmers for the birds they lost in flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew in October, those programs will not cover property damages.  Bob Etheridge, North Carolina state director for the USDA Farm Service Agency, noted that some farmers may not have had insurance on buildings and equipment damaged or lost to flooding, which adds to their difficulties. There are also significant expenses involved in storm clean-up and decontamination procedures. Presently, the USDA does not have any programs available for such losses, but Etheridge said he hopes that will change soon. “We’re working on it. Hopefully we’ll find some way, because if we don’t some of these people are going to have a real tough time making it,” Etheridge said in a USDA Radio News interview. Officials are still trying to assess the losses the North Carolina poultry industry suffered, but Etheridge said on November 2 that he knows a minimum of 2 million birds drowned in the flooding. That number is up from the 1.9 million birds confirmed dead on October 19, but there has been speculation that as many as 5 million birds had been lost.

Des Moines Water Works lawsuit: Nitrate facts for farmers

Farm Futures | Posted on November 8, 2016

armers, start arming your selves with the facts regarding nitrates. Right now agriculture is losing the battle on the issue of the impact of nitrates and their impact on the public.  For example, on May 1 the Des Moines Water Works advised Iowa citizens that it is "…tapping reserve storage wells to lower nitrate levels in the water it supplies to central Iowa customers." DMWW said it had readings of 14-16.25 parts per liter which translates to 14-16.25 parts per million (ppm) of nitrates in the water. Scary stuff!

Congressional Committee bombshell: Report attacks EPA on water rule

Farm Futures | Posted on November 8, 2016

Another blockbuster for agriculture was the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report on “Politicization of the Waters of the United States Rulemaking.”  It, unlike Mr. Comey’s  letter, is supported by an investigation and facts.  The report claims EPA director Gina McCarthy and EPA have not been telling the truth as to the impact the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule would have on agriculture. A subsequent quote proves EPA and Ms. McCarthy simply have lied to farmers. EPA’s final rule stated: ”In this final rule, the agencies clarify the scope of ‘waters of the United States’ that are protected under the Clean Water Act based on the text of the statute, Supreme Court decisions, the best available peer-reviewed science, public input, and the agencies’ technical expertise in implement [sic] the statute.”  The Committee states specifically that ”None of this was true.” The Report states, “Documents and testimony obtained by the committee show the rulemaking process, and the outcome it produced, were deeply flawed because of numerous shortcuts and process violations. Chief among those complaints was that the process was politicized, and not driven by science or economics.”

Governor Wolf Signs House Bill 2303, Reinstating Breeding Fund Payments

Growing Pennsylvania | Posted on November 8, 2016

More than 300 thoroughbred horse breeders who have been awaiting award payments since February will soon see those payments restored after Governor Tom Wolf signed reforms to the state’s Breeding Fund, according to Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.  Among other things, House Bill 2303, now Act 115, which was sponsored by state Representative Martin Causer, fixes an unintended consequence of the equine racing industry reforms enacted in February 2016 that changed the criteria for payments under the state Breeding Fund award program.

Farm Taxes: Special Use Valuation in Texas

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on November 8, 2016

Most Texas landowners are aware of the special use valuation methods available to agricultural landowners that allow property taxes to be calculated based on productive agricultural value, as opposed to market value of the land.  Importantly, this is not a “tax exemption,” for agricultural landowners, but instead is an alternative way to calculate property taxes owed. This blog series will address the basic concept of special use valuation, and will then walk through the three valuation methods available to agricultural landowners: agricultural use valuation; open space valuation; and wildlife valuation.

Model predicts elimination of GMO crops would cause hike in greenhouse gas emissions

Purdue | Posted on November 8, 2016

A global ban on genetically modified crops would raise food prices and add the equivalent of nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, a study by researchers from Purdue University shows.  Using a model to assess the economic and environmental value of GMO crops, agricultural economists found that replacing GMO corn, soybeans and cotton with conventionally bred varieties worldwide would cause a 0.27 to 2.2 percent increase in food costs, depending on the region, with poorer countries hit hardest. According to the study, published Oct. 27 in the Journal ofEnvironmental Protection, a ban on GMOs would also trigger negative environmental consequences: The conversion of pastures and forests to cropland - to compensate for conventional crops' lower productivity - would release substantial amounts of stored carbon to the atmosphere.

Farmers expected to reach magical 300 number for corn yields

Chippewa Herald | Posted on November 8, 2016

It wasn’t long ago when a Wisconsin farmer stood a better chance of rolling a 300, or perfect, game in bowling than producing a corn crop with a yield of 300 bushels per acre. The odds have changed in favor of the 300-bushel yield this year, thanks to a near-perfect growing season that has experts predicting record corn and soybean yields throughout much of the state, including Dane County. “I would imagine we’ll get to 300 this year by somebody around here, and I think it’s that good that we’ll get it. That’s the number farmers dream of,” said Heidi Johnson, UW-Extension’s Dane County agricultural agent.

Ultra-modern hog barn opens in Iowa

Feedstuffs | Posted on November 8, 2016

A Chickasaw County, Iowa, pig farmer has erected what could be the most energy-efficient and environmentally sound hog building in Iowa. Dale Reicks of Reicks View Farms has built a unique hog building that doesn't look like most other modern hog barns, and what's inside confirms that it isn’t. The facility is equipped with all of the newest technology available in pig farming and is uniquely designed to be animal friendly, environmentally friendly and neighbor friendly. The Reicks family recently hosted 120 people during an open house to show off the facility's many environmental amenities. The finishing barn is incorporating new odor reduction technology with state-of-the-art air scrubber and air filtration, the latest feed delivery system, climate control features and more. To facilitate good ventilation, all air will come through a cool cell system, using evaporation to give the pigs the ideal growing environment.

If Batman drove a farm tractor, this would be it

USA Today | Posted on November 8, 2016

If Batman switched from fighting crime to growing corn, this would be his tractor.   Racine-based Case IH will showcase its autonomous, or driverless, tractor concept, with a curvy body that’s packed with technology, the tractor takes some cues from the Batmobile. But there’s no steering wheel or driver’s seat. Instead, the tractor uses satellites, radar, cameras and other digital gear to navigate the fields and take orders from a remote operator’s computer or tablet.

Poll shows strong urban support for Idaho agriculture

Capital Press | Posted on November 8, 2016

A Boise State University poll shows that residents in Idaho’s largest urban area consider agriculture to be the Treasure Valley’s most important economic sector.  The poll results come as somewhat of a welcome surprise considering the Treasure Valley area of southwestern Idaho is dominated by the Boise area, where the majority of people are assumed by many farmers to not have a strong understanding or appreciation of agriculture.  But the poll shows otherwise.  When asked which sector is most important to the Treasure Valley economy, 24.8 percent said agriculture, which ranked first, ahead of small business (18 percent) and hi-tech (17.2 percent).  “I was a little bit surprised by the results,” said Corey Cook, dean of BSU’s School of Public Policy, which conducted 1,000 phone interviews with Treasure Valley residents on a variety of subjects. “I think most of us would have thought tech would have come in first.”