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Agriculture News

Indiana Trial Court Applies Right-toFarm Act

Indiana Ag Law | Posted on April 19, 2018

The Hendricks County Superior Court ruled in favor of a group of hog farmers and their cooperative when it dismissed a lawsuit against them. The Lawsuit was filed by neighbors who argued that the hog farm was a nuisance, that the farm's location was rhe result of negligent siting and that the farm would release odors which would trespass on neighbor's property.  The plaintiffs argued the farm itself had been negligently sited, so the RTFA should not apply. There was no evidence the plaintiffs’ alleged damage had been caused by any negligent operations, and the negligent siting theory impeded on the county’s right to grant zoning permission to locate a farm within the county. The plaintiffs have 30 days to appeal.

Drought Returns to Huge Swaths of U.S., Fueling Fears of a Thirsty Future

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on April 18, 2018

 Less than eight months after Hurricane Harvey pelted the Texas Gulf Coast with torrential rainfall, drought has returned to Texas and other parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast, rekindling old worries for residents who dealt with earlier waves of dry spells and once again forcing state governments to reckon with how to keep the water flowing. Nearly a third of the continental United States was in drought as of April 10, more than three times the coverage of a year ago. And the specter of a drought-ridden summer has focused renewed urgency on state and local conservation efforts, some of which would fundamentally alter Americans’ behavior in how they use water.

Doing well, doing good in Canada

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on April 18, 2018

A meat-cutting school on the Sandy Bay First Nation reserve on the western shore of Lake Manitoba is training workers for jobs at the area’s HyLife pork processing plant and beyond. The first-of-its-kind partnership brings together a Canadian meat processor, an indigenous community and the federal government, The Western Producer reported. HyLife Ltd. recently completed a $176 million expansion of its pork processing facility in Neepawa, Manitoba, that added 165 jobs and is expected to help the company boost exports of fresh chilled pork.The idea for the meat-cutting school was hatched two years ago as an effort to involve more women in particular in the trades, the publication said. Sandy Bay leaders were looking for a way to launch more young people into the workforce, and Canada’s meat processing industry, as in the U.S., deals with a severe and chronic shortage of labor.

400,000+ Acres Burned In Rhea Wildfire

Ag Web | Posted on April 18, 2018

Since the Rhea Wildfire began more than 400,000 acres have burned in western Oklahoma. Drought conditions paired with wind gusts of up to 40 mph are helping the fire spread. According to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, two people have died because of injuries. As of Monday, the fire is roughly 3 percent contained, according to Oklahoma Forestry Services. Ranchers are caught in the crosshairs as the state catches fire.

Canadian Milk Protein Imports Declining

USDA | Posted on April 18, 2018

Canadian imports of milk protein substances (MPS) declined in 2017, after reaching a peak in 2016. Canada’s cheese production, which has used increasing volumes of MPS, and cheese consumption have grown twenty percent over the past five years, reaching approximately 475,000 metric tons in 2017. In February 2017, Canada introduced class 7, a milk price class that provides Canadian manufacturers access to milk for ingredient processing.

Carrot vs. stick: How should Minnesota get to cleaner water?

MPR news | Posted on April 18, 2018

Water has been a major focus of Dayton's tenure in office. He pushed for Minnesota's first buffer law and held town hall meetings across the state to talk about how to improve water quality. But finding agreement on solutions hasn't been easy.The governor set an ambitious goal of improving Minnesota's water quality 25 percent by 2025. But consensus on how to achieve that goal has been elusive."I think the 25 by 25 initiative is a great example of how people's desires and their intentions are not yet matched up," said John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Stine said during Dayton's town hall meetings, it was clear Minnesotans agree on the importance of water, but not on policies to protect it. Part of that trick is finding the right balance between the carrot and the stick — voluntary programs that encourage landowners to take action, and regulations that force them to. Dayton has tried both approaches. His administration proposed rules for applying nitrogen fertilizer aimed at cutting nitrates in drinking water supplies. He also started a voluntary certification program for farmers who take steps to protect water quality.

Missouri Attorney General defends states’ sovereign, economic interests

Farm Futures | Posted on April 18, 2018

California imposes its poultry cage rules on states hoping to sell to California consumers. In requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to accept its complaint in the California cage size case, Missouri’s Attorney General states, “Unless this Court acts, California will continue to impose new agricultural regulations on other states in violation of federal law and those States’ sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and economic interests…”. The Attorneys General from Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin state they have “…a claim of seriousness and dignity between Sovereign States over which this Court [U.S. Supreme Court] has exclusive jurisdiction.” The complaining states are requesting the Court to hear this case between them and the state of California. The complaining States make it clear California has a history of ignoring federal statutes.

Tackling cage-free layer housing air quality challenges

Watt Ag Net | Posted on April 18, 2018

Giving laying hens access to a litter area for dustbathing, scratching and foraging helps minimize aggressive behavior, but it can result in dust and ammonia problems. Dust, which can serve as a carrier of microorganisms and endotoxins, is a significant health risk for both farm workers and the birds as fine particulate matter can enter into the respiratory system. Ammonia, likewise, can cause respiratory tract irritation or damage. Recent studies have shown that cage-free housing results in six to nine times higher dust in the house environment than cage systems with manure belts. Researchers in Europe and the U.S. have explored many potential approaches to controlling dust including ionization with electrical charges using metal wires on the ceiling. Other studies have focused on spraying litter with treatments including tap water, acidic water, soybean, canola or rapeseed oil and combinations of water and oil.

Do engagements, natural environments help broiler welfare? | Posted on April 18, 2018

Conventional thinking surrounding animal welfare suggests creating an environment more similar to the nature leads to happier birds and better performance. But are the environmental enrichments and changes currently used in the broiler industry really helping?  hepard said he was optimistic about the use of engagements at Wayne Farms. Ninety percent of what the company does in the name of animal welfare – including the engagements – comes back in the form of profits. The other 10 percent, he said, is done because it’s the right thing for the bird. In 2017, Wayne Farms started raising some birds under the welfare standards established by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) welfare rating system. In September 2017, it launched a line of products – Naked Truth – rated GAP Step 2, meaning the birds live in an enriched environment. GAP’s highest rank, of six in total, is Step 5+, where the birds spend their entire lives on the farm and are raised in an animal-centered and pastured environment.

HSUS Abandons Arizona Campaign

Humane Watch | Posted on April 18, 2018

HSUS’s front group, Arizonans for Wildlife, quietly put out a statement that it is suspending its campaign this year to place a measure on the ballot in Arizona to ban hunting of predators such as mountain lions. The measure likely would have faced significant opposition from professional wildlife biologists. Hunting is an important tool for managing wildlife populations, and HSUS doesn’t offer any realistic alternative to managed hunting. (HSUS has suggested the use of birth control darts to control wildlife populations—a highly expensive and unrealistic proposition.) A similar situation played out in Maine in 2014 when HSUS attempted to restrict the hunting of bears via the ballot. Wildlife biologists spoke out against HSUS’s measure, and despite HSUS pouring in millions of dollars, good wildlife management defeated HSUS by a 6-point margin.