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Agriculture News

Farming rated as one of most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

High Plains Public Radio | Posted on January 13, 2017

Farming is one of the most dangerous professions in the nation.

As High Plains Journal reports, the pitfalls and hazards of farming are so many and varied that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls it one of the most dangerous professions in the U.S.

Sammy Sadaka, extension engineer with the University of Arkansas, said that each year, there are more deaths in the farming industry than any other - accounting for 25.4 deaths per 100,000 workers - twice the number of deaths in mining, transportation and warehousing.

Ready for Ag's Reset?

DTN | Posted on January 13, 2017

Agriculture is in the midst of an economic reset that will thin the ranks of some of the largest farm operators but offer growth opportunities for those who have patiently held on to cash. That was the counsel from Dave Kohl, a professor emeritus in ag economics from Virginia Tech who spoke to the 2017 The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) class in Austin this week.  "Most lenders haven't seen their customers' financials for a year, but when they do, some will be saying 'Oh my God,'" Kohl said. Jan. 15 through April 15 will be a critical time for lending renewals, he added, with more and more stress appearing not just for farmers, but for suppliers like machinery dealers and cooperatives. The ag finance expert likened the situation to inning four to six of a baseball game. After experiencing cash flow issues and serious profit margin declines in 2013 to 2015, farmers are "calling in their working capital" as their relief pitcher and draining much of their liquid assets. If losses continued in 2016, operators will need to dig deep into their core equity and use their farmland wealth to stay in good standing for their next credit renewal.

The Nutrient Stewardship (4 -R) Summit to be in Minneapolis June 12

Nutrient Stewardship | Posted on January 13, 2017

The 2017 4R Summit will be held June 12-13, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minn. The 4R Summit will be held at the Radisson Blu in downtown Minneapolis. The Summit provides opportunities for those interested in nutrient management and stewardship to learn more about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and hear how stakeholders across the country are implementing the 4R principles.

AFBF optimistic despite challenging political, economic landscape

Capital Press | Posted on January 13, 2017

The Farm Bureau’s director of market intelligence, John Newton, flatly told delegates, “The Golden Age of ag income is over.”  Net farm income is projected to decline for the third consecutive year, and exporters’ biggest markets — China, Canada, Mexico and Japan — aren’t expanding. Newton said producers need to look at markets that are projected to grow, such as Africa. The world population is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050, and that provides opportunities for American’s farmers, Newton said.  “We are the breadbasket of the world, everybody knows that,” he said. Newton was part of a three-person AFBF economic team presentation. Economist Veronica Nigh said producers should borrow the Uber ride-share company’s slogan and “Get your side hustle on” to develop other revenue streams. She suggested farmers open their property to hunting and outfitting operations, develop a private fishing lake, offer motor home and boat storage rentals, operate a CSA or look for export options. Producers can find export help from various trade associations, Nigh said. “You don’t have to come up with that brochure in Mandarin all by yourself,” she said. Economist Katelyn McCullock said farmers can cope with stagnant prices by becoming more efficient, principally through genetics and technology. On the latter, automatic feeders and robots can reduce labor. “I’ve never met a farmer that said they want to manage more people,” she said.

Minnesota farmers need property tax relief now

Southern Minnesota | Posted on January 12, 2017

Minnesota farm communities are being hit by the perfect storm: low commodity prices, high land values, and aging schools. It is not fair to stick farmers with big property tax bills, or leave students with outdated classrooms. That is why we are proposing a tax credit to provide Minnesota farmers immediate relief from rising agricultural property taxes. Minnesota students need the best possible schools. However, state school funding has not kept up with the needs of our students over the last 15 years. The deficit has forced many rural school districts to pass local property tax levies to fund basic needs like building improvements and classroom technology. And school district levies have fallen disproportionately on farmers in communities without significant high-value land.For family farmers, like David Kragnes, the cost of levies has been significant. David, his mother, and three sisters raise soybeans and corn on a 1,300 acre farm in Felton. In 2015, voters in the Moorhead School District passed a $78 million levy to pay for new school construction. Afterwards, David said, his property taxes increased roughly $4 an acre or an additional $2,600 a year for the acreage within the Moorhead district.

Sustainability and agriculture

Capital Press | Posted on January 12, 2017

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said producers need to speak up and tell the public how they are producing more food with less water, less pesticides and less plowing.

“We need to take back the concept of sustainability, because nobody works harder on sustainability than the American farmer and rancher,” he said.

He says agriculture has never been more sustainable.

ChemChina, Syngenta submit minor concessions to EU watchdog

Reuters | Posted on January 12, 2017

China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) [CNNCC.UL] and Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta AG (SYNN.S) have proposed minor concessions to the EU's competition watchdog to address concerns over their $43 billion merger plan, sources told Reuters.  One person close to the deal said it was unlikely ChemChina would have to sell its Adama Agricultural Solutions Ltd (ADAM.N) unit. Discussions were focusing on remedying concerns with respect to specific products, some of which Adama may own.  This person said the overall divestments would be less than $500 million.  "It's about individual products where competition is scarce," this person said, adding that some of these products were only worth tens of millions of dollars.

China hikes anti-dumping duties on U.S. animal feed in final ruling

Reuters | Posted on January 12, 2017

China has increased punitive tariffs on imports of a U.S. animal feed ingredient known as distillers' dried grains (DDGS) from levels first proposed last year, potentially escalating a trade spat between the world's two largest economies.  The ruling is a major victory for China's fledgling ethanol industry, which had complained the U.S. industry was unfairly benefiting from subsidies, and followed a year-long government probe. It also deals a blow to U.S. ethanol manufacturers already bracing for Beijing's higher import taxes on their main product. DDGS are a byproduct of the corn-based biofuel that have become a key contributor to profits. The industry is pumping out record volumes of biofuel and is facing domestic political uncertainty as they wait for President-elect Donald Trump to take office. In a final ruling, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday that anti-dumping duties would range from 42.2 percent to 53.7 percent, up from 33.8 percent in its preliminary decision in September. Anti-subsidy tariffs will range from 11.2 percent to 12 percent, up from 10 percent to 10.7 percent.

Monsanto agreement with Broad for CRISPR system

Farm and Dairy | Posted on January 12, 2017

Monsanto Company announced recently that it has reached a new global licensing agreement with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for the use of the novel CRISPR-Cpf1 genome-editing technology in agriculture.  The CRISPR-Cpf1 system represents an exciting advance in genome-editing technology, because it has potential to be a simpler and more precise tool for making targeted improvements in a cell’s DNA when compared to the CRISPR-Cas9 system.  Researchers believe that the CRISPR-Cpf1 system may offer an expanded set of benefits for advancing and delivering improved agricultural products than the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

Michigan may best N.Y. as second-biggest apple producer

Capital Press | Posted on January 12, 2017

ith its large crop this season, the Michigan apple industry set new shipment records from mid-October through Christmas and is claiming the title of second-largest apple producer away from New York. Michigan may have beaten New York this season in apple production, but it might be just temporary. Both states are upping their game in competition with Washington.