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Agriculture News

Farm Bureaus set up California disaster relief funds

Capital Press | Posted on November 21, 2018

The California Farm Bureau Federation, Butte County Farm Bureau and Butte Ag Foundation are accepting donations to help farms, ranches and rural communities damaged by wildfires, floods and natural disasters.

Wisconsin:More cattle found infected with TB

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on November 21, 2018

A series of whole-herd tests have found several more cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis in a Dane County herd. The animal health incident began in late September when a cow at slaughter had lesions in its lungs consistent with TB.The incident is unusual since Wisconsin has had TB-free status since 1980 and staff at her branch of the agency have no experience dealing with this kind of incident – although they have regular drills to rehearse what to do in cases like this.The genetic testing of the organism isolated from that first cow, which was diagnosed with the disease at slaughter, showed that it matched the DNA of a tuberculosis organism isolated from a worker who had been diagnosed with the disease when he was employed at the farm briefly in 2015.

Bankers Expect Farmland Prices to Continue Decline

Creighton University | Posted on November 21, 2018

For a ninth straight month, the overall index rose above growth neutral. On average, bankers estimated that farmland prices declined by 4.0 percent over the past 12 months and expect farmland prices to fall by another 3.2 percent over the next 12 months. Approximately one-fifth of bank CEOs expect low farm income and falling farmland prices to present the greatest challenge to banking operations over the next 5 years. Loan demand by farmers remains strong. 

USDA and FDA will regulate cell-cultured meat

Brownfield | Posted on November 21, 2018

USDA and FDA have announced they will work together to regulate cell-cultured meat. In a joint statement, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb say FDA will oversee the cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and USDA will regulate cell harvesting, production and labeling of food products.Lia Biando with the United States Cattlemen’s Association tells Brownfield how the beef industry responds to this national conversation will have lasting impacts.  She’s advocating for a truthful and transparent label for consumers that does not include the terms “beef” or “meat”.  “What they are producing is not technically beef or meat and consumers should know that.”

Animal Activists Target Dairy Farmers, Claiming Farms Mistreat Young Calves

CBS | Posted on November 21, 2018

Local dairy farmers say they’re under attack by animal rights activists and have been warned of planned protesters. “We’ve been told that they are planning something or that they could be planning something, so to be vigilant,” said Hank Van Exel of Lodi. Van Exel is a third-generation dairyman, his cows are his life.“That’s my deal. I love cattle,” he said.But over the years he’s been harassed, terrorized, and even threatened. One major reason Exel has been called these names is based on how animal rights activists believe these calves are being treated. The activists have called the cages the calves live in veal huts. “It’s just a lack of education,” Exel added. Hank says that’s the trouble, many of these activists are unaware, keeping these cows alive and happy is what’s best for them and California.“If you take care of them, then they will take care of us. That’s the model we try to live by,” he said.

Wisconsin continues losing dairy farms but not milk production

Brownfield | Posted on November 21, 2018

Wisconsin has lost six-hundred dairy farms in the past twelve months, including 584 since January first. University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability Director Mark Stephenson says we continue to see more efficient larger dairy farms.  “Our attrition rate has been higher than in modern times for sure.  You know, it’s up north of seven percent right now and that’s big.  Usually, it’s between four to maybe five percent, but we aren’t producing any less milk.  We’re losing farms but there’s still a lot of milk production.”

Scientists warned this weedkiller would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway.

| Posted on November 21, 2018

“Everybody brags on my stuff,” said Joyce, 58, a wistful pride crossing his bronzed, weathered face. But now, he has nothing to sell.Joyce leans against the greenhouse he’s building, hands in the pockets of his overalls, peering at the field where he started nearly 800 tomato plants in the spring. It was early August when the telltale signs of trouble emerged. The plants’ broad, flat leaves shriveled and curled, their branches twisted and buckled. Then blossom rot set in. Joyce knew they couldn’t be saved. He climbed onto his tractor and mowed down his bestselling crop — for the third year in a row.The plague that struck Joyce’s farm in Malden, Missouri, was not a natural disaster, but a man-made weedkiller called dicamba. Farmers had applied the drift-prone chemical sparingly for decades. But in the past two years, its use has grown exponentially, and now dicamba is destroying millions of acres of crops worth millions of dollars, pitting farmer against farmer and scientists against manufacturers. As farmers sprayed these crops in 2017 and 2018, scientists estimated that dicamba had damaged nearly 5 million acres of soybeans in 24 states, mostly Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois. (No one tracks damage to specialty crops such as tomatoes or home gardens, trees and wild plants.) Only two crops have been engineered to resist dicamba: soybeans and cotton. Every other broadleaf plant, including non-genetically modified soybeans and cotton, is at risk.

U.S. bankers say lower ag income pressures farm finances

Reuters | Posted on November 21, 2018

Farm incomes and agrarian credit conditions continued to erode in the third quarter of 2018, as economic pressure from the U.S.-China trade war has bankers seeing loan repayment rates fall, according to separate reports released on Thursday by the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City and St. Louis. Expectations for farm income and loan repayment rates were particularly low for areas and operations more concentrated in soybean, corn, hog and dairy production as uncertainties surrounding trade continued, according to the banks’ latest reports on the agricultural economy.Alongside lower loan repayment rates, farmers’ working capital deteriorated moderately while bankers’ loan portfolios in crop-producing states showed slightly higher levels of risk, the reports found.Although farmland values remained stable - or improved slightly in some areas - increasing stress in the farm sector could put downward pressure on farm real estate values moving forward, according to bankers.One key concern for bankers: How much farmland could come up for sale within the coming months, and whether that could negatively impact prices.

Bayer faces billion-dollar losses related to legal claims of deadly Roundup herbicide

Public Radio International | Posted on November 20, 2018

Jurors found that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer in a $66 billion merger, had acted with malice and negligence in failing to warn Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, about the cancer risks associated with Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate. Johnson is now suffering from late-stage non-Hodgkins lymphoma.The German-based company Bayer merged with Monsanto in June 2018, just two months before the California jury ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Johnson. Now, Bayer is on the hook for the $289 million in damages.Carey Gillam, a journalist who has reported extensively on Monsanto, places the blame for Bayer’s predicament on executives who failed to properly warn their shareholders that this potential liability existed.“Investors were stunned by this very large verdict,” Gillam says. "And, of course, there are thousands of other lawsuits making very similar claims that will rely on similar evidence," Gillam says. "We're talking about billions of dollars in potential payouts and damages. At some point, if these things continue to snowball and the plaintiffs continue to win, there will be settlement talks. The numbers that I've already heard tossed around are 3 to 5 billion dollars."

House offers deal, dropping some demands on SNAP

DTN | Posted on November 20, 2018

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., needs to read a joint farm bill offer from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, D-Texas, and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., before commenting on it, a spokeswoman for Roberts said Friday."We'll have to read it first, but it's a good sign," Meghan Cline, Roberts' press secretary, said in an email.Earlier, Politico reported that Conaway and Peterson had come up with a joint offer. A spokeswoman for Conaway confirmed to DTN that an offer had been made to the Senate, but it is unclear if that proposal covered all 12 titles of the legislation.Peterson said the offer addresses the stiffer work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that are in the House bill but not the Senate bill, and that committee Democrats are "100 percent" behind it, according to the Politico report.