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Agriculture News

U.S. looking to expert panel to predict future GM products

Science | Posted on April 22, 2016

The U.S. government is hoping an expert panel will be the next best thing to a crystal ball in helping predict what the future of biotechnology holds. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) in Washington, D.C., yesterday held the first public meeting of a new committee of academic and industry researchers, tasked with forecasting what biotechnologies will emerge in the next 5 to 10 years, and what new types of risk they might pose to the environment or human health.

The effort comes as U.S. regulatory agencies prepare to update the legal framework for evaluating biotechnology products.


Phosphorus losses in surface runoff

Michigan State University Extension | Posted on April 22, 2016

Merrin Macrae, Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada opened a conference sponsored by the Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and Michigan State University Extension in East Lansing on March 4, A Matter of Balance: Systems Approaches to Managing the Great Lakes Landscapes. Her presentation, “Phosphorus Losses in Surface Runoff and Tile Drainage from Agricultural Fields Using Multiple Conservation Strategies for Phosphorus Management”, summarized the results of work with farmers in southern Ontario in tracking nutrient cycling and water quality impacts from surface runoff and tile drained lands to Lake Erie tributaries.

Compared to tile drainage, surface runoff was a much ‘hotter’ source of P. At one site, surface runoff was only a minor contributor to the total runoff volume, but it was a major contributor to dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loss. Tile drainage contributed most of the total runoff but overland flow carried most of the nutrients. Most of the total annual P loss was particulate P carried by sediment in runoff during snowmelt. The timing of nutrient application and soil test P was important. When commercial P or poultry litter was applied in the fall autumn rains led to spikes in tile drainage P. Late fall and all applications on the frozen ground should be avoided. Very early fall or spring applications carry less risk, particularly subsurface or banded applications. 


Farmers Reap New Tools From Their Own High-Tech Tinkering

Wall Street Journal | Posted on April 21, 2016

The green tractor trundling across a Manitoba field with an empty cab looks like it’s on a collision course with Matt Reimer’s combine—until it neatly turns to pull alongside so he can pour freshly harvested wheat into its trailer. The robot tractor isn’t a prototype or top-of-the-line showpiece. It’s an eight-year-old John Deere that the 30-year-old Mr. Reimer modified with drone parts, open-source software and a Microsoft Corp. tablet. All told, those items cost him around $8,000. He said that’s about how much he saved on wages for drivers helping with last year’s harvest.


S. Kidman and Co enters deal for a foreign takeover of the majority of the iconic Australian cattle company

ABC | Posted on April 21, 2016

S. Kidman and Co has named a new Chinese-Australian consortium as the preferred buyer for most of its iconic cattle station holdings.  The sale cannot proceed without the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the Treasurer Scott Morrison, who has extended the time available for his consideration of the sale beyond the expected July election. South Australia's Anna Creek Station, which is adjacent to the rocket testing range at Woomera, is not included in the sale. The value of the deal is $370.7 million. In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Kidman announced it has entered into an agreement with a consortium lead by Dakang Australia Holdings and the ASX-listed Australian Rural Capital (ARC). Under the proposal, Dakang would take an 80 per cent stake in the sale, with ARC taking 20 per cent.


N.Y. companies partner to build new meat plant

Democrat and Chronicle | Posted on April 21, 2016

Headwater Food Hub and McCann's Local Meats are teaming up to establish a new United States Department of Agriculture-inspected butchering facility, which they expect to open at Headwater's headquarters in Ontario, Wayne County, early next year. It is expected to create five to eight new jobs.


Protect the Harvest Sues to Stop Massachusetts Ballot Initiative

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on April 20, 2016

Massachusetts farmer James Dunn joined with local anti-poverty activist Diane Sullivan in a lawsuit asking the courts to toss a proposed 2016 animal rights ballot measure. The proposed initiative petition (no. 15-11) would create strict new regulations on farmers and place new restrictions on interstate commerce. Experts warn that the proposed rules will actually harm animals while driving up the cost of food for Massachusetts families. Diane Sullivan, the policy director for a Boston-based advocacy organization, and herself one of more than 450,000 Massachusetts households who participates in the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), warns of the unintended consequences hidden in the ballot measure.


Animal ag feeding U.S. economy

Feedstuffs | Posted on April 20, 2016

The analysis shows that animal agriculture increased gross national product by $123 billion in economic output, improved household earnings by more than $21 billion and added 645,629 jobs from 2004 to 2014.
According to the "Economic Analysis of Animal Agriculture," during 2014 alone, U.S. animal agriculture’s support of the national economy included $440.7 billion in economic output, $76.7 billion in earnings and $19.6 billion in income taxes. 


Georgia Agriculture chief pushing Georgia Grown branding

The Albany Herald | Posted on April 6, 2016

any Georgians are surprised to learn that agriculture contributes approximately $75.35 billion to the state’s economy, according to University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness, which is the state’s top industry.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was in Albany Tuesday to deliver an address to the Dougherty County Rotary Club about the plight of the state’s farmers and a new program called “Georgia Grown.”


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