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Agriculture News

Farmed Seafood and Livestock Stack Up Differently Using Alternate Feed Efficiency Measure

Center for a Livable Future | Posted on February 8, 2018

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future found that, contrary to widely held assumptions, farmed fish and shrimp convert protein and calories in feed to edible seafood at rates similar to livestock (i.e., cattle, pigs, and chickens). The study contributes new insights into what is known as feed conversion efficiency – that is, the efficiency of the process by which feed is turned into meat – across species, and uses a new analysis to assess this efficiency. Researchers found that average protein and calorie retention across nine types of farmed fish and shrimp are lower than chickens and similar to pig and cattle production. They estimate that 19 percent of protein and 10 percent of calories in feed for aquatic species are ultimately made available in the human food supply. The similarity to livestock when using these efficiency measures is the opposite of the expected result based on weight-based feed conversion ratios. Comparing all terrestrial and aquatic animals in the study, chickens are most efficient for protein retention, followed by Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, whiteleg shrimp and pigs.


The USDA predicts a 12 year low in farm profits

Pacific Standard | Posted on February 8, 2018

Lackluster crop prices and signs of stress for agriculture have continued in 2018, as the United States Department of Agriculture predicts net U.S. farm profits to hit a 12-year low, according to a new report. The first USDA Farm Income Forecast of 2018, released on Wednesday, predicts a 6.7 percent decline in net farm income, in addition to the lowest average of net cash farm income since 2011. The 2018 net farm income is predicted to reach $59.5 billion, a $4.3 billion decrease from 2017. That figure would mark the lowest since 2006, and a 50-plus percent decrease from the 2013 net income of $123.8 billion.


Amid Low Prices For Farmers, Agri-Mark Sends Suicide Hotline Info With Milk Checks

Maine Public | Posted on February 8, 2018

For dairy farms in New England, the outlook for milk prices is not good this year. The stress has been tied to suicides among dairy farmers. One effort to get them help is sparking some criticism.Will Rogers and his girlfriend, Heather, run a 75-cow dairy farm in Warren, Massachusetts. It's just the two of them, and sometimes, short-term, part-time workers."Other than that, it's seven days, 365, 14, 16 hours a day that we're at it," Rogers said."Financially, mentally, physically -- [it's] very very draining," he said. Rogers said it was all the more draining on Monday, when he opened his twice-monthly check from Agri-Mark, his milk co-op, which also owns the Cabot Creamery cheese company."You know, you got a milk check that ain't worth much of nothing," he said.That check comes with a letter. This week, it was all about the stresses on farm families, and contained a list of suicide and mental health hotlines.


Court sides with Humane Society in pork case

The Fence Post | Posted on February 7, 2018

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today ruled that the National Pork Board must cease further payments to the National Pork Producers Council for purchase of the slogan, "Pork: The Other White Meat," but did not agree with all the plaintiffs' arguments in the case. The case had been filed by the Humane Society of the United States, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Harvey Dillenburg, an independent pig farmer, against the Agriculture Department, which oversees checkoff programs.


Empty barns: Prolonged low milk prices pressuring dairy farms to fold

InForum | Posted on February 7, 2018

There wasn't really a last straw that made Billy Euerle walk away from his Garfield dairy farm last year.Things had been bad for several years.He trudged through his days, milking Hot Chocolate and Caroline and Brooke and all the others, barely sleeping. Facing terrible milk prices and crushing debt, he struggled to find motivation. Every chore seemed to take twice as long, and his whole family was feeling the stress. To top it off, severe storms in 2017 ravaged several farm buildings."You just had to fool yourself every day that you were going to make it," said Euerle, a father of four. "As a farmer, your mentality is that things will get better, but it didn't."Dairy farms around the region are struggling with prolonged low prices. While the market often takes dairy prices for a joy ride, the peaks and valleys typically come quickly. This time, however, farmers are entering their fourth year of low prices.


Australian farmland to be offered to local buyers first under new rules introduced by Federal Government

ABC Australia | Posted on February 7, 2018

New rules overseeing the sale of Australian farmland to foreign investors will force real estate agents to show they have given local investors the chance to purchase the land first. Treasurer Scott Morrison'new 30-day advertising clause will become part of the guidelines the Foreign Investment Review Board considers when assessing the sale of farmland.Sellers will have to demonstrate they have undertaken an open and transparent process.


A Kingdom from Dust

California Sunday | Posted on February 7, 2018

Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in the United States, a fact he has tried to keep hidden while he has shaped what we eat, transformed California’s landscape, and ruled entire towns. But the one thing he can’t control is what he’s most dependent on — water. A little farmworker town in a far corner of Kern County called Lost Hills. This is where the biggest irrigated farmer in the world — the one whose mad plantings of almonds and pistachios have triggered California’s nut rush — keeps on growing, no matter drought or flood. He doesn’t live in Lost Hills. He lives in Beverly Hills. How has he managed to outwit nature for so long? The farmer corralled the snowmelt and erased the valley, its desert and marsh. He leveled its hog wallows, denuded its salt brush, and killed the last of its mustang, antelope, and tule elk. He emptied the sky of tens of millions of geese and drained the 800 square miles of Tulare Lake dry.He did this first in the name of wheat and then beef, milk, raisins, cotton, and nuts. Once he finished grabbing the flow of the five rivers that ran across the plain, he used his turbine pumps to seize the water beneath the ground. As he bled the aquifer dry, he called on the government to bring him an even mightier river from afar.  Down the great aqueduct, by freight of politics and gravity, came the excess waters of the Sacramento River. The farmer moved the rain. The more water he got, the more crops he planted, and the more crops he planted, the more water he needed to plant more crops, and on and on. One million acres of the valley floor, greater than the size of Rhode Island, are now covered in almond trees.


Horse farm blames tainted feed for killing 6 horses

KXAN | Posted on February 7, 2018

The owners of a boarding barn in Cuba, New York are blaming tainted horse feed for the deaths of six horses there. The barn and training facility houses 31 horses. All of them will likely eventually die from being exposed to the poisonous feed.


Mexican Farm Town Says It's Kicked Out Cartels

NPR | Posted on February 7, 2018

Avocados have rapidly become a staple in many U.S. diets, with Americans consuming on average 7 pounds a year. To satisfy that surging popularity, imports from Mexico have skyrocketed. That's made a lot of farmers rich — but it's also drawn the attention of organized crime gangs. One town in Mexico has been able to fight off the gangs and keep the peace, and wealth, at home. It's Tancitaro, a small farming town of about 30,000 in western Michoacan state. Super Bowl Sunday is a big deal here. But not because of the sport."We know when it's Super Bowl time," says Hugo Naranjo, the manager at Frutas Finas packing plant. "Our production jumps." That's not something a lot of mayors in Michoacan can say. The state, long a key center for some of Mexico's most vicious organized crime gangs, was just slapped with the U.S. State Department's highest advisorywarning travelers to not go there.Mayor Olivera says his town was once very dangerous. As avocado production grew, drug cartels moved in realizing they could make good money extorting growers and packers.


The Farm Bowl: The Most Minnesotan Event of Super Bowl Week

Daily Norseman | Posted on February 7, 2018

A star-studded affair with tractors, drones, milk pipe puzzles, and hay bales. Welcome to the Land O’ Lakes Farm Bowl.So what exactly is the Farm Bowl? Think of it like American Ninja Warrior except with farm equipment. Or maybe MTV’s The Challenge with agricultural education instead of drunken hookups. Six NFL athletes were paired with real life farmers to compete in four different stations in what has to be the world’s most unlikely pro-am ever. Especially since the pro athletes were the amateurs in this case.


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