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Agriculture News

Tyson: Chicken mishandling led to workers’ dismissal

Watt Ag Net | Posted on August 10, 2016

Two workers at Tyson Foods contract broiler farms have been terminated while other workers have been suspended.  In addition, other contract farm employees have been placed on suspension, pending the outcome of a full investigation of the alleged animal mistreatment incidents.

Pesticides used by beekeepers may harm bees' gut microbiota

UPI | Posted on August 10, 2016

Beekeepers use a variety of other types of pesticides thought to help bees by ridding their hives of parasites and associated pathogens.  A new study suggests these seemingly beneficial pesticides may be harming bees' gut microbiota, the community of microbes that help bees and their digestive system metabolize sugars and peptides. "Our research suggests that pesticides could specifically impact the microbes that are crucial to honey bee nutrition and health," lead study author Mark Williams, an associate professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech.

Massachusetts - State helicopters will drop cover crop seeds

Sentinel and Enterprise | Posted on August 8, 2016

A helicopter will start making flights across the state this month, hovering over farms to drop seed in the hopes of producing a "cover crop" to protect soil through winter.  The chopper is from the state Department of Agriculture and is depositing the winter ryegrass seed onto cornfields so that when the main crop is harvested, the cover crop will already be established in the dirt. "It gives the seed a start that it wouldn't probably have," said Jim Lattanzi, owner of Hollis Hill farm in Fitchburg. "By cover cropping now, in August, the seed gets started, we go in and chop corn, but the grass is already started."

Report: Immigration boosts S.D. economy

Argus Leader | Posted on August 8, 2016

Immigrants in South Dakota bolster the tax base and the workforce, a new report says, and more welcoming laws could help foreign-born workers respond to the state’s labor shortage.  The report on South Dakota is one of 51 on the economic benefits of immigration from the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Pushing Immigration Reform

DTN | Posted on August 8, 2016

Business and agricultural groups that have struggled in recent years to get congressional action on immigration reform are counting on 2017 being different once the embers of the 2016 presidential election begin to cool.  Presidents from the American Farm Bureau Federation and Western Growers helped launch the "Reason for Reform" campaign on Wednesday with new reports showcasing the role of immigrants, documented or otherwise, across the country in areas ranging from agriculture and construction to startup businesses. The business groups believe local stories and data will help "push the needle on immigration reform," said John Feinblatt, chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy.  The business leaders said the goal to push congressional action next year needs to start now because immigration is a central issue in the election.

Florida State Preserves Nearly 4,000 Acres of Economically, Environmentally Sensitive Working Land

Fresh From Florida | Posted on August 8, 2016

The Governor and Cabinet today unanimously approved the preservation of nearly 4,000 acres of sensitive agricultural lands in Hardee, DeSoto, Dixie and Indian River counties, while allowing the land and agriculture operations to continue to contribute to Florida's economy. The purchases are a part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which partners with Florida's farmers and ranchers to preserve active agricultural operations and their immense economic and environmental benefits through cost-effective conservation easements.

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Funding for Agriculture, Forestry Export Promotion Efforts

| Posted on August 8, 2016

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia will invest $850,000 over the biennial budget to expand its international trade initiatives promoting Virginia’s agriculture and forestry products around the world.  With these new funds, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will open two new trade representative offices in Southeast Asia and the Middle East/Northern Africa (MENA) region, as well as create a new Richmond-based position to support the newly enhanced global trade network.  The investment also will promote VDACS-led reverse trade missions to Virginia and promotional events supporting the export of Virginia agricultural and forestry products.  - See more at:

Activists say: Broiler houses would threaten endangered species | Posted on August 8, 2016

Activist groups in Arkansas have filed a notice of intent to sue three federal agencies, claiming they failed to identify the impact of a proposed poultry operation on seven animal and plant species. The Arkansas Rights Koalition and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Farm Service Agency and the Small Business Administration over the environmental impact on endangered or threatened mussels, bats and plants, the article said.  The activists are taking aim at six new broiler chicken houses planned near Evening Shade, Ark., in the northern part of the state that are among hundreds of such operations being developed

Idaho organic dairies growing rapidly

Capital Press | Posted on August 8, 2016

Ben Pulsipher was managing a 2,000-cow conventional dairy in Raft River when he decided it was time to start his own operation.  With conventional dairies struggling to cope with low milk prices, Pulsipher reasoned the organic price premium would make it economical for him to start with a small herd and gradually grow.  A few months since entering the organic industry, Pulsipher said his contract still justifies the extra hassle, but he’s begun to worry too many other Idaho producers have reached the same conclusion and may be gradually flooding the niche market.  He and his partner, Evan Israelson, sell milk to Sorrento Lactalis in Nampa for organic string cheese production, operating as Anhder Organic Family Dairy, LLC. They bought their dairy, which switched to organic production under the previous owner last November, in May and milk 200 cows.

Wisconsin scales back manure rules after industry complaints

Capital Press | Posted on August 8, 2016

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has scaled back proposed rules regulating factory farms’ manure spreading amid complaints from the dairy industry.  The DNR last month completed scope statements to update manure spreading regulations for factory farms statewide, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Monday. Scope statements are broad summaries of agency proposals for regulations. Under a 2011 state law, the governor must sign off on the scope statements before the agency can start drawing up the rules.  The manure scope statements were designed to update spreading rules in light of widespread drinking water contamination in Kewaunee County, research on the hazards of airborne manure spraying and complying with other related state and federal regulations. The plans laid out reasons for changing standards on factory farm manure spreading.  They called for defining sensitive areas where shallow soil and porous bedrock leave groundwater especially vulnerable to manure contamination and setting up extra precautions for such areas. Public notification would have been required when manure-spreading plans significantly change.