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Agriculture News

Federal report shows farm income on the decline

KWQC | Posted on November 21, 2018

A report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank says farm income is continuing to decline within its district. The Fed says the third-quarter report released this week was the 19th straight survey in which most bankers indicated that farm income was on the decline. Bankers also were slightly less optimistic looking ahead, citing concerns over low prices for crops.Soybean prices have dropped significantly since July, when the Chinese government imposed tariffs on imports of soybeans.Bankers reported a 2.5 percent increase in crop land prices. They cited a 1.5 percent increase for pasture or ranch land.The Fed's St. Louis district includes Arkansas and parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Iowa site eyed for new beef packing plant

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on November 21, 2018

Local chamber of commerce members reportedly are working with an unidentified, out-of-state developer on a project that would create about 70 jobs. The city council’s action returns the land now owned by Crystal Distribution Services to the zoning in place when Rath Packing Co. operated a pork plant there. Rath went bankrupt in 1985.

Pa.’s Hunters Sharing the Harvest sets record for donations

PennLive | Posted on November 21, 2018

Now in its 27th season, the non-profit charity Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) helps to coordinate the donation, processing, and distribution of venison to Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity. According to a press release, HSH has donated 1,356,281 pounds of venison to the hungry since 1991. The Department of Agriculture partners with HSH to cover some of the costs of processing the meat, with the department increasing its share of financial support over the last two years due to increased deer donations. With continued support from Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Redding, legislative caucuses, businesses, sponsors and individuals, Pennsylvania hunters can donate their deer cost-free.

Recreational marijuana is now on sale in Massachusetts

CNN | Posted on November 21, 2018

Recreational marijuana is now for sale on the East Coast.Massachusetts became the first state east of the Mississippi to legally sell recreational weed Tuesday as two marijuana dispensaries opened to the public more than two years after voters approved its use.The two dispensaries are Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton, located in the central and western parts of the state, respectively."To get here, licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections, and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety as this new industry gets up and running," Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said.

Activist video targets Amick Farms, line speeds

Watt AgNet | Posted on November 21, 2018

Animal rights group Compassion Over Killing (COK) is using an undercover video that was apparently filmed at the Amick Farms poultry processing plant in Hurlock, Maryland, as a platform to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lower the maximum allowable line speeds at U.S. poultry plants. The video was filmed by an animal rights activist who obtained employment at the plant.In the video, some scenes of animal mistreatment are shown. In words printed near the bottom of the video screen, COK stated “As our investigator saw, increased kill line speeds could mean more abuse, more suffering …

Mexico authorizes 26 Brazilian meat plants to export chicken

Reuters | Posted on November 21, 2018

Mexico has authorized 26 Brazilian meat plants to export chicken products into the country, Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said on Monday, as the two nations seek to strengthen commercial ties amid a realignment of global trade partnerships.

Dairy Cow Prices Drop

Drovers | Posted on November 21, 2018

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service surveys producers on dairy cow prices quarterly (published in their Agricultural Prices report). The latest release was for the third quarter. Data are collected only for cows sold to be used as dairy herd replacement purposes, the national number is calculated by weighting state values by cow inventory. Nationally, for the quarter ending October 1, 2018, the average cow price was $1230.00, a drop from the prior quarter of $90.00 (down 7%). Yearover-year the decline was $380.00 per cow (fell by 24%). That price adjustment reflects what producers see as the drop in the income earning potential of a purchased cow due to weak farm-level milk prices. The latest reported price was the lowest since October 1998.


Technical assistance grant money available for Climate Smart Ag programs | Posted on November 21, 2018

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is soliciting applications for technical assistance grants for Climate Smart Agriculture programss.The grants are for organizations that can provide assistance to applicants to the CSA programs.Nonprofit organizations, California academic institutions and California Resource Conservation Districts are eligible to apply.The three CSA programs are: State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), Healthy Soils Program (HSP), and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). The programs are designed to boost climate resiliency through water conservation, soil health improvement and water quality protections.“There is a significant need for technical assistance to support our Climate Smart Agriculture activities,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a news release. “I am pleased to offer another solicitation so our farmers and ranchers can get the technical help they need in calculating the required greenhouse gases and water savings.”Applicants may receive up to $60,000, depending on the number of programs and funding cycles. Applications must be submitted by email to later than Nov. 30. Grants will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis.

Judge blocks Trump administration from denying asylum claims to immigrants who cross border illegally

CNN | Posted on November 21, 2018

In an order laced with language accusing President Donald Trump of attempting to rewrite immigration laws, a federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government late Monday night from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry.Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that a policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point '"irreconcilably conflicts" with immigration law and the "expressed intent of Congress.""Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," Tigar wrote, adding that asylum seekers would be put at "increased risk of violence and other harms at the border" if the administration's rule is allowed to go into effect.The temporary restraining order is effective nationwide and will remain in effect until December 19, when the judge has scheduled another hearing, or further order of the court.

Farmers Are Seeking More Temporary H-2A Workers, And Keeping Them Longer

Nebraska Public Radio | Posted on November 21, 2018

The high-desert town of Palisade, Colorado, is synonymous with fresh, locally grown peaches. Years ago, thousands of migrant workers would flock here each year in October to harvest the fuzzy fruit. But today, on its narrow dirt roads, Bruce Talbott drives a truck loaded down with 9 tons of wine grapes.For more than 100 years and five generations, Talbott’s family has grown mostly peaches. But he’s diversified, he said, because in the early 2000s, that pool of labor began drying up. Now, he grows peaches, grapes, cherries and pears, all of which ripen at different points in the season.“There’s not a labor pool that would allow us to pick that volume of fruit all at once,” he said.Across the country, farmers have voiced concerns over what they say is a growing labor shortage. While there are about 2.7 million agricultural workers in the U.S. — about half undocumented immigrants — farmers say finding reliable local workers has become increasingly difficult, especially for hand-picked fruit and vegetable crops.That’s why an increasing number are turning to the federal H-2A visa program, which allows farmers to bring in workers temporarily from foreign countries. In the 2018 fiscal year, more than 240,000 H-2A visas were granted: a record and a 21 percent increase from about a year ago.