A district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of a tax reimbursement credit that was passed in 2014 with the support of Idaho farm groups. The tax incentive has already helped Idaho land Amy’s Kitchen, an organic convenience food maker, and facilitated an $82 million expansion by Glanbia Foods, a cheese manufacturer. The tax credit will be used by a food product manufacturing company that plans to make a $15 million capital investment in Boise that will result in 80 new jobs. Idaho Department of Commerce officials have not released the name of that company yet due to a confidentiality agreement. IDC Director Megan Ronk praised the court ruling and noted the tax incentive has resulted in 4,737 new jobs and an estimated $2.1 billion in new payroll.
Baltimore-based Holly Poultry is building a brand-new, USDA-inspected poultry processing plant that will bring 100 new jobs to that city once the facility is operational in January 2017. The 37,500-square-foot plant will allow Holly — a further processor of poultry products and a wholesale distributor of poultry, pork, beef and other refrigerated products — to separate its processing business from its wholesale commodity business.
Stevens County ranchers are using billboards to raise awareness about public lands issues. The Stevens County Cattlemen are advertising with a billboard on Highway 395 south of Colville, Wash. The billboard depicts the message “Public Lands: Log it, graze it or watch it burn.” A billboard featuring the message “Wilderness: public land of no use — no logging, chainsaws, grazing, mining, bikes, wheelchairs and ATVs,” was located on the highway in Arden, Wash., earlier this year. The group first used the billboards in 2015. “Much of the policy being set for public lands emphasizes conservation and recreation, but shuns good management like grazing and logging,” said Jamie Henneman, spokesperson for the group. “The best management uses holistic tools like grazing and timber harvest to keep wildfire fuel loads down in the forests.” The county wants to see public lands be sustainable and healthy for the benefit of all, Henneman said.
PETA wants to erect a stone to memorialize chickens that were lost in a highway crash. To me, the thought of putting up a roadside stone monument to memorialize chickens is more than absurd. It’s downright insensitive and offensive, and I would hope that most people who have lost someone they cared about in an automobile accident agree.
Agricultural officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and USDA, in cooperation with county agricultural commissioners, have declared the European grapevine moth (EGVM) eradicated from California and have lifted quarantine restrictions. EGVM was first detected in Napa County in 2009 with subsequent detections and quarantines in the counties of Fresno, Mendocino, Merced, Nevada, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Joaquin, Solano, and Sonoma in 2010, 2011, and 2012. No EGVM have been detected in California since June 25, 2014. “It is no easy feat to eradicate an invasive species, especially one like the European grapevine moth when it gains a foothold in a place as hospitable as California’s prime winegrape growing region,” said Karen Ross, CDFA Secretary.
A new and interactive tool released by FAO allows farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and eggs production as well as greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and more climate-friendly. GLEAM-I the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Modelinteractive, provides answers to a wide range of questions. For example, as a small livestock keeper or a pastoralist, how can you get your animals to produce more milk, meat or eggs? If you're a policy maker, what practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock should you support? It includes variables such as countries and regions, the number and types of livestock - dairy or meat sheep, backyard or industrial pigs, grazing or mixed systems - feed materials, manure management as well as the specific conditions under which the animals are kept.
Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility that includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling and, when necessary, humane euthanasia. Seems straightforward, right? In reality, animal welfare assessment may be much more complex and challenging to assess; real-life situations may present advantages in one area and disadvantages in another, and an assessment often depends on weighing which elements of welfare are most important to the animals. Even well-respected animal welfare experts may disagree. Take the quiz, which is based on a llama welfare assessment scenario from the 2015 intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging Assessment contest, to get a sense of the contest scenarios and assess your own animal-welfare assessment skills.
If our new friends in the eat-no-meat movement are to be believed, then which on-farm practice is the next target? While I have no inside track on the strategies of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and its cohorts, I’m guessing the next target will be the broiler industry specifically and poultry production of all varieties broadly, if only because we raise and kill more than 9 billion birds a year for food. The list of shortcomings in the chicken industry as catalogued by HSUS and others is long. It starts with ending genetic selection for growth, replacing birds which reach slaughter weight in five to six weeks with varieties which hit that mark at something closer to the 16 weeks it took a broiler to reach market weight in 1920. Once the genetics of the bird are reversed, stocking densities in the “warehouse-like sheds” in which they’re housed must be addressed, as in fewer birds in bigger houses, preferably with outside access. This would also to a large extent solve the air quality issues animal rightists contend affect every bird barn in the country. Then artificial “24-hour” lighting must be done away with in favor of lighting that does not wreak havoc on the bird’s natural circadian rhythms or artificially stimulate its appetite.
Scientists have genetically modified a common soil bacteria to create electrical wires that not only conduct electricity, but are thousands of times thinner than a human hair.
As Pennsylvania continues its push to reduce the loading of farm nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay, the state is now calling on the 41 county conservation districts in the bay watershed to conduct on-farm inspections. It’s a decision that was announced in May, as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s “Bay Reboot” strategy, that would shift conservation district staff from conducting 100 educational farm visits, to conducting 50 farm inspections a year. The goal is to inspect 10 percent of the state’s farms each year — eventually inspecting all the farms in the watershed.