The recent election was very controversial. No, I am not talking about the Presidential election, but the measure that was passed in Massachusetts to prevent confinement rearing of several species including table-egg hens. This measure is estimated to increase the food bill of each resident of that state by $45 per year. I wish that we could somehow communicate more effectively how many advancements have been made in animal welfare in the last 15 years. It has been a meteoric change in housing, audits to verify animal care, record keeping and handling. We all appreciated how many changes Temple Grandin has been able to accomplish in the design of slaughter plants. The move to move sows to group housing and chickens out of cages has happened very fast. Maybe too fast. Now we are seeing pressure to make some serious changes on the way broilers are raised. Chipotle has teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States and Compassion for World Farming USA to influence how chickens destined for burritos will be raised. These changes are reported to be: changes in genetics to encourage slower growth, changes in density that limit the number of birds in each house, changes in lighting, and a switch to controlled atmosphere killing at processing. The push for slow growing birds may have some appeal at first look, but as with most quick decisions, there are unanticipated consequences.
New deboning facility to employ 1,100 people and provide opportunity for 100 contract growers.Sanderson Farms has opened a new $155 million poultry processing plantand wastewater treatment facility in St. Pauls, North Carolina.This new 180,000-square-foot plant will accompany the existing 65,000-square-foot hatchery located in Lumberton, North Carolina, as well as a feed mill in Kinston, North Carolina., making it the company’s eleventh fully integrated poultry processing facility nationwide.
Unable to find enough workers to carry out the painstaking tasks of milk production, dairy producers in South Dakota hope to tap into a different labor force: unemployed residents of Puerto Rico. It could be a tonic both for dairy operators and Puerto Rico, where the jobless rate stands at 12 percent but workers are far freer to travel to the U.S. for jobs than immigrants due to the island's status as a U.S. territory. South Dakota dairy farms produced 209 million pounds of milk in 2016, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. That's far less than the more commonly known milk-producing states of California and Wisconsin, but the state's pilot project to find another labor source is gaining attention. The proposal from a team of agriculture experts to recruit a labor force from the Caribbean island to work on South Dakota's dairies would eliminate the need for a visa because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Experts from the South Dakota State University Extension hope to bring about 20 workers by September.
A coalition of health and environmental groups is asking Oregon officials to investigate construction of a mega-dairy in Morrow County. It's unclear whether state agencies will sign off on the controversial 30,000-cow dairy farm. It hasn't been determined whether Lost Valley Ranch broke the law by breaking ground long before it secured the necessary permits.
As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels. Tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast, such as mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt flats, face survival challenges as sea levels rise rapidly and development along coastlines continues to grow. But, a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study shows there is hope for some of these at-risk Gulf coast wetlands. In the study, which was conducted from 2012 – 2015, the authors considered the potential for landward movement of coastal wetlands under different sea-level rise scenarios. They also considered the impact of barriers to wetland migration due to current and future urbanization and examined how existing conservation lands, such as parks and refuges, might accommodate expected landward migration.
Thanks to a class action settlement, Oregon residents who has purchased milk or milk products since 2003 may be entitled to a payment. The $52 million settlement over price-fixing of milk and milk products includes Oregon, 14 other states, and the District of Columbia. While the payment amounts will vary depending on the number of products and the number of submitted claims, a website for the settlements says consumers may receive up to $70. No proof of purchase is needed to be eligible. In order to be eligible, you must have purchased milk or milk products from a grocery store.
Last month, in its third-quarter 2016 Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis indicated that, “Following a trend from recent quarterly surveys, land prices and cash rents retreated from historic highs. The average value for nonirrigated cropland in the district fell by more than 3 percent from a year earlier, according to survey respondents. Irrigated land values fell 1 percent, while ranch- and pastureland values fell 5 percent, perhaps reflecting the more recent downturn in livestock prices.” The Fed report also pointed out that, “Declining land prices were widespread across the region, with the exception of Montana where nonirrigated cropland prices increased 2 percent from a year earlier.
Powdered gloves will no longer be permitted for use in veterinary medicine beginning January 18, under a rule issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For veterinarians who already use non-powdered gloves, the rule will have no impact. In fact, the FDA indicated that Global Industry Analysts projected the share of powdered disposable medical gloves sales to decrease to only 2 percent in 2015, so many medical providers likely won’t feel an effect from the rule. Although veterinarians who do use powdered gloves may find themselves with unusable inventory after January 18, the good news is that the FDA’s economic analysis indicates the cost of non-powdered gloves should be similar to the cost of powdered ones. Additionally, as of early January, we are aware of at least one manufacturer offering replacement of unexpired powdered gloves with non-powdered alternatives.
More than one-third of farmland in Iowa is owned by people 75 and older, and increasing land prices can make it difficult to pass the torch to the next generation of farmers. A social impact company is working in Iowa to help make these transfers possible. Through financing from Iroquois Valley Farms, fourth-generation farmer Jim Peterson of Knoxville purchased 320 acres from elderly owners whose family had owned the land since 1903. Peterson says it will be used for organic grains, cattle and sheep production, perhaps for many years to come. "I'm hoping that I can pass it down to several more generations and it will help with our children," he said. "And it will be farmed organically. I'm a firm believer in trying to get away from chemicals as much as possible."
Iroquois Valley Farms supports organic land management, providing land access opportunities to family farmers and creating values-based agriculture investment opportunities. This is the company's first investment in Iowa.
Practical Farmers of Iowa assisted in the transaction by connecting the sellers to Iroquois Valley Farms. And PFI's director of farm transfers Teresa Opheim says it's a good example of the type of creative financing options that are needed to help preserve Iowa's farming heritage.
Quick, accurate access to state import requirements for livestock.