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Agriculture News

U.S. dairy experts cast doubts on Canadian trade deal ending deep slump for American farmers

Journal Sentinel | Posted on October 11, 2018

U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful that a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt that it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk. The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said.  The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Under the terms, still being finalized, Canada would open more of its dairy market to trade and has agreed to drop its quota and pricing system for “Class 7” milk powders  — a move that could help the struggling American dairy industry as it seeks export markets.But it opens only about 3.6 percent of Canada’s market for dairy, poultry and eggs to the U.S., and that’s not much for American farmers.“The impacts will be minimal. Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” Goodman said.Tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement were heightened last year when Canada raised tariffs on ultrafiltered milk used to make cheese and other dairy products.

Happy National 4-H Week

Ag Daily | Posted on October 11, 2018

Millions of 4-H students, parents, and volunteers will celebrate the 76th consecutive National 4-H Week. The festivities run from Oct. 7 through 13; you can find the 4-H youth and alumni sharing the theme, Inspire Kids to Do. This year’s theme hopes to inspire the youth to take advantage of opportunities, empower them with the skills they need to succeed in life and their future career. 4-H gives today’s youth the tools to pursue their passion while creating their own course. It was founded on the belief that the youth can develop their own, unique skills, to allow them to grow and take shape in order to be the leaders of tomorrow in their communities.  Research has shown that the young people involved in 4-H are nearly four times as likely to contribute to their communities and twice as like to engage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. 

Farm Bureau study finds livestock farms environmentally sustainable

Journal Star | Posted on October 11, 2018

Livestock operations in Illinois are environmentally sustainable economic engines that keep young people from fleeing the state. Those broad pronouncements represent the main findings of what agriculture and trade group officials call the first-ever comprehensive review of livestock farms in Illinois and how they operate within the state’s regulatory framework.Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources at the Illinois Farm Bureau, co-authored the Illinois Livestock Farms 2018 report in response to “undue criticism by a vocal minority.”“We need to keep people in Illinois, that’s our main goal,” Lurkins said. “We want people to know we have a robust regulatory environment and it’s effective.”Environmental and conservation groups, as well as individuals who have opposed specific livestock operations, have claimed that current regulations allow hazardous conditions that threaten the environment and neighbors of some livestock farms.

'Buy local' dairy campaign sparked by trade deal that allows more U.S. milk into Canada

CBC | Posted on October 11, 2018

The latest trade deal allowing more U.S. milk to pour into Canada has sparked a rallying cry to buy Canadian dairy. The message comes not only from dairy farmers upset over losing market share but also from many Canadian consumers pledging their support on social media."My heart hurts for the local industry," said software engineer Erum Tanvir in Winnipeg. Last week, she posted a Facebook message to buy Canadian milk.Tanvir says she'll choose Canadian over U.S. dairy products — even if they're more expensive.

Bayer lifted by likely new trial in $250 million weedkiller case

Reuters | Posted on October 11, 2018

The prospect of a fresh trial that could overturn $250 million damages against Bayer’s Monsanto unit lifted the German company’s shares, after an August ruling that it failed to warn users of the alleged cancer risks of its weedkillers.The original verdict wiped 10 percent off the value of the company and marked the first such decision against Monsanto and its glyphosate-containing weedkillers Roundup and Ranger Pro.Bayer, which bought Monsanto this year for $63 billion, faces more than 8,000 similar lawsuits in the United States.

Cleanup delayed at Oregon's Lost Valley Farm megadairy

Statesman Journal | Posted on October 11, 2018

Little progress has been made over the past month cleaning up an environmental mess at Oregon’s second-largest dairy. In fact, manure lagoons are fuller than they previously were and continue to overflow, the Oregon Department Justice told a Multnomah County judge Friday.“As of today there are still some pretty serious concerns,” state lawyer Nina Englander said.On Aug. 24, Judge Kelly Skye found Lost Valley Farm owner Greg te Velde in contempt of court for not complying with a legal settlement meant to stop the environmental violations.She ordered the Oregon Department of Justice to work with te Velde to come up with a plan by Friday for curing the problems.

AVMA: Antibiotics policies should be based on evidence

Watt AgNet | Posted on October 11, 2018

The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) Chief Economist Matthew J. Salois, PhD, calls for nuanced and evidence-based antibiotic policies that consider a holistic view of antibiotics' impacts on animal welfare, the environment and economics. In recent years, some companies and consumers have embraced raising animals without antibiotics. Today, nearly half of all broiler chickens are raised without antibiotics.While many consumers have hailed these changes, Dr. Salois cautions that reduced use of antibiotics in farm animals can have negative implications for animal welfare and the overall sustainability of animal agriculture, if not accompanied by appropriate changes in management practices.For instance, Dr. Salois notes the average mortality rate for broiler chickens raised without antibiotics can be 25 to 50 percent higher than for conventionally raised broiler chickens. Additionally, birds raised without antibiotics are much more likely to suffer from painful medical conditions – such as being more than three times as likely to experience ammonia burns in their eyes.The higher incidences of disease and mortality for birds raised without antibiotics, coupled with slower growth, means that more than 680 million additional birds will need to be raised annually to meet poultry demand in the United States. This increase consumes significant environmental resources, including more than 1.9 billion additional gallons of water and more than 5.4 million additional tons of feed per year.

Airlines shouldn't give in to radical animal rights.

Town Hall | Posted on October 11, 2018

There is a raging debate taking place in America about animal travel and airlines.  And it’s not whether passengers can fly with their therapy peacock.  The issue is whether airlines will continue to allow the transportation of research animals on their airlines or will they “virtue signal” to radicals on the left. While not nearly as sexy to cover as passengers seeking to carry hamsters and pigs to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, this story is much more important and it could effect medical research and development as well as the ability of the US to maintain its status as the home of medical innovation.Animal research is a critical key to unlocking wonder drugs and developing medical devices that save both human and animal lives, as well as provide new treatments for serious ailments, and treatments that may prevent disease outbreaks.  Moreover, under federal law, and due to medical protocols, animal research is required by the FDA before new medicines and life saving treatments can be approved for use in humans.

Texas Appellate Courts Analyze Fence Law Cases

Texas A&M | Posted on October 10, 2018

Today, we will focus on an opinion from the San Antonio Court of Appeals in Garcia v. Pruski, a case involving a motorist colliding with a bull on the highway.Plaintiff, Mr. Garcia, was injured when his vehicle struck a bull on State Highway 123 in Wilson County.  Mr. Pruski (“Defendant”) owned property abutting the road that was enclosed by a six-strand barbed wire fence.  He also owned the bull that escaped, wandered onto the highway, and was hit by Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Defendant claiming that he was negligent in permitting the bull to run at large.  The San Antonio Court of Appeals begins by explaining that in cases involving animals struck by motorists, there is no common law duty for landowners to control or restrict the movement of their livestock.  The only way such duty arises, then, is by statute.Analyzing the facts here, the court found that the Plaintiff did not offer sufficient evidence that Defendant knowingly permitted the bull to run at large.  Despite having cattle escape once before and failing to lock the gate, the court found that Defendant was not aware his bull would break the latch and enter the highway. 

Details on New NAFTA: USMCA

DTN | Posted on October 10, 2018

U.S. farmers will have more certainty in Canada and Mexico with the rebranding of NAFTA, including potentially more dairy access in Canada and more equal treatment of wheat products shipped north as well. The deal, announced late Sunday by the Trump administration, will be called the "United States Mexico Canada Agreement," replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement.President Donald Trump, speaking at the White House on Monday, touted the benefits of the trade deal for agriculture, saying, "The agreement will give our farmers and ranchers far greater access to sell American-grown produce in Mexico and Canada."North American trade between the three countries was valued at just under $1.2 trillion last year, though the U.S. ended with a $71 billion trade deficit with Mexico and a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. Canadian officials maintain the U.S. has a trade surplus with it.Canada is the largest U.S. export market for agriculture, valued at $20.5 billion in exports in 2017. Mexico is the No. 3 overall U.S. market, valued at $18.6 billion last year.Much of the agricultural sections are split between agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, and the U.S. and Canada. For instance, the U.S. and Mexico have special language on preferential tariff-rate quotas on sugar and sugar-related items. The U.S and Canada have detailed provisions related to dairy.