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Agriculture News

U.S. Soy Exports Won't Reach Pre-Trade War Levels for Years

Bloomberg | Posted on February 18, 2019

U.S. soybean exports won’t return to their pre-trade war peak levels until the 2026-2027 season as competitors in South America gain global market share.Demand for American soy has taken a hit after China slapped tariffs on a host of U.S. farm goods as part of the nations’ trade war. At the same time, production has increased in rival producers including Brazil, the world’s largest exporter.

Farmland values stable, but risks to outlook remain

Kansas City Federal Reserve | Posted on February 18, 2019

Farmland values in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District held steady in the fourth quarter of 2018 despite risks to ongoing stability. While demand for farmland remained relatively strong across the District, weaknesses in the crop sector continued to dampen the overall agricultural economy. Risks to the outlook for farmland values in the quarter included slightly higher interest rates and an uptick in the pace of farmland sales in states with higher concentrations of crop production. In addition, continued deterioration in farm finances and credit conditions could put further pressure on values for farm real estate. Looking into 2019, bankers’ expectations for farmland values were slightly weaker than a year ago.


Nebraska’s first dedicated entity for agriculture and rural companies launches

Silicon Prairie News | Posted on February 18, 2019

Roots Venture Group is Nebraska’s first ever 100 percent-focused incubator, accelerator, and venture fund dedicated to launching and growing companies within the agricultural and rural industries, including areas such as tech, non-tech, lifestyle, and tech-enabled businesses and startups. Their focus is to work with founders that are keen on transforming the agriculture sector, rural communities in a sustainable manner and make an impactful societal and systemic change.

Congress approves agriculture appropriations bill - without disaster relief

AM 1100 | Posted on February 18, 2019

The appropriations "minibus," as it has been called because it covers several federal agencies, includes funding for the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But the bill's report section also includes language directing USDA to submit estimates of costs to move employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of the Washington metropolitan area, and says that Congress supports an "indefinite delay" in the Trump administration's plans to move the Economic Research Service to the Office of the Chief Economist. Other items:Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program- $27 million appropriated, representing a 6 percent increase from FY 2018 and the highest funding level in the program's 30-year history. Agriculture Research – $2.775 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), including:Provides $415 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).Maintains formula researchfunding for land-grant universities.Provides a $1 million increase in ARS funding foreach of the following: Pulse Crop Health Initiative; Chronic Wasting Disease; Sugarbeets; Alfalfa Research; Small Grain Genomics. Maintains funding for UAS Precision Agriculture at $3 million and $8.7 million for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.Rural Broadband – Provides $550 million for the rural broadband loan and grant pilot program targeted to areas that currently lack access to broadband service.Rural Water and Wastewater – To help address the $3 billion backlog in infrastructure needs in rural America, the bill provides an additional $75 million for rural water and waste program loans and grants. Combatting Opioid Abuse – The legislation helps to combat the opioid abuse epidemic including:$47 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat the opioid epidemic using regulatory science, enforcement and innovation.$16 million for Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants to help rural communities combat the opioid abuse crisis. $3 million through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for extension and outreach programs in rural communities.

Activist group launches ‘surveillance’ program

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 14, 2019

I’ve written many times previously about the latest happenings of extreme activist group Direct Action Everywhere. While I hate to give them any more of the attention they so desperately seek, I think it is important to keep you informed of their tactics and strategies as they work toward their goal of “total animal liberation.” Earlier this month, one of DXE’s main ‘organizers’ went live on Facebook to announce a new initiative – a “Frontline Surveillance Program.” She described the program as “essentially open rescue but in a different way” – “open rescue” is DXE’s term for when they trespass onto farms or into plants and steal livestock or poultry. The purpose of the new ‘surveillance’ program is to “to accumulate an extensive amount of investigatory footage, evidence, data…and basically all of this is to showcase that criminal animal cruelty is happening all the time, everywhere.”Farmers, plant employees, drivers and anyone else working with livestock should be increasingly vigilant for suspicious activity including drone sightings, suspicious vehicles, strange phone calls/emails, etc. Any suspicious activity should be immediately reported to company contacts, trade associations and the Alliance so we can spread the word.


NY Farmworkers Fight to End 80-Year Ban on Unionizing

COurthouse News Service | Posted on February 14, 2019

Contesting New York’s nearly century-long failure to protect farmworkers from wage theft and other labor abuses, an attorney urged a New York appeals court Monday to bring state law out of the Jim Crow era. “The court ruled that farmworkers do not have a constitutional right to organize, despite the very clear language in the New York Constitution giving all employees the right to organize,” said Erin Harrist, senior staff attorney at the New York City Civil Liberties Union. “Allowing this racist exclusion that continues to leave farmworkers unprotected in New York goes against our values and our laws.”New York’s labor laws are a direct descendant of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which NYCLU argues was altered at the behest of segregationist lawmakers from the South to deny black farmworkers the right to organize. 

Bavarians vote to save bugs and birds—and change farming

National Geographic | Posted on February 14, 2019

A coalition of conservation groups has recently called for the world to adopt a goal of protecting 30 percent of the whole planet by 2030 in order to preserve biodiversity. Bavarian supporters of the petition see themselves as pursuing a similar purpose at home—in a state that is the bastion of German political conservatism. The Christian Social Union, the right-wing party that has dominated Bavarian politics since World War II, and which had opposed the petition, will now be obliged to negotiate with the organizers, starting next week.“In Bavaria there are many people who are actively engaged in protecting nature,” says Hans-Josef Fell, a prominent Green Party politician in Hammelburg who signed the petition but did not help organize the campaign. “They all see that humans are causing a dramatic disappearance of species in the world, the likes of which haven’t occurred on the planet since the extinction of the dinosaurs. They all want to counter that loss of biodiversity.”

South Dakota House OKs industrial hemp bill despite Noem's call for delay

Rapid City Journal | Posted on February 14, 2019

State representatives overwhelmingly advanced legislation to legalize industrial hemp in South Dakota, just days after Republican Gov. Kristi Noem asked lawmakers to shelve the efforts this session.The 65-2 House vote came after Noem said in a statement that South Dakota isn't ready for the production of industrial hemp, contending questions remain about enforcement, taxpayer costs and effects on public safety. But House Majority Leader Lee Qualm urged support and said it's time to move forward with hemp.

More pets getting stoned on marijuana

Metro West | Posted on February 14, 2019

Be careful where you stash your weed brownies. The legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts has come with a surge of edible products, giving an alternative to consumers and patients who don’t necessarily want to smoke, vape or take the drug otherwise.But humans are not the only ones drawn to baked goodies, and veterinarians say there’s been a recent spike in the number of emergency room visits by pets who have consumed marijuana products.“We started seeing it a lot when it was first legalized and even more now,” said Dr. Kiko Bracker, a veterinarian at MSPCA-Angell. “Now, several cases a week will come in.”

Pesticide exposure linked to poor sense of smell

Science Daily | Posted on February 14, 2019

A Michigan State University study is the first to show an association between unusually high pesticide exposure and poor sense of smell among aging farmers.