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Agriculture News

Michigan House votes to reject Whitmer's environmental executive order

Detroit Free Press | Posted on February 10, 2019

The state House voted 58-51 on Wednesday to reject a sweeping environmental executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a move Whitmer denounced as an irresponsible vote against clean drinking water. The party-line vote in the House followed an earlier 3-2 vote in the Government Operations Committee.The resolution now moves to the Senate, if the Senate also votes to reject the order, that would kill it. The action by the House is a sign that talk about a bipartisan working relationship between Michigan's new Democratic governor and the Republican Legislature is quickly evaporating. The executive order the House rejected was the first nonemergency order Whitmer issued. Her first executive order declared a state of emergency as a result of dangerously cold temperatures last week.

Oklahoma board to consider new poultry house location rules

San Francisco Chronicle | Posted on February 10, 2019

The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture is set to consider measures Tuesday that would establish regulations for the location of poultry operations. Most important among the new proposals is one that requires poultry houses with more than 30,000 birds to be at least a quarter-mile (0.4-kilometers) from any home, The Tulsa World reported. Operations with 30,000 or fewer birds would have a 1,000-foot (300-meter) setback.

Trade barriers take growing toll on pork exports

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 10, 2019

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Mexico caused declines in U.S. pork exports to steepen in November, according to USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November pork exports totaled 206,852 metric tons, down 8 percent year over year, while value fell 12 percent to $538.7 million. For January through November, exports were steady with 2017’s record pace at 2.23 million metric tons, and value was down 1 percent to $5.86 billion.USMEF’s September data, by comparison, showed pork export volume down 2 percent from September 2017 and export value falling 7 percent. 

Montana pitches COOL bill

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 10, 2019

A new bill seeking country-of-origin-labeling on meat products has been introduced in the Montana legislature.  Senate Bill 206 generally would require COOL placarding on beef and pork at Montana supermarkets.Specifically, the bill would require retailers to differentiate between 1) meat that is born, raised and processed in the United States, 2) meat that is processed outside of the U.S., and 3) meat that is only processed in the U.S.

The greatest conservation program no one has ever heard of

Pocono Record | Posted on February 10, 2019

When it comes to awe-inspiring public lands, Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s best hidden gems. Millions of acres of federal, state, and local public lands provide Pennsylvanians with a superior quality of life and enhance our economy. In fact, Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation economy is the fifth largest in the nation. Continued, sustained investment in these outdoor assets is needed to assure that they remain ready to enjoy. The recently-ended federal shutdown – the longest of its kind in U.S. history – has shone a bright spotlight on America’s national park system and the important role of federal oversight and stewardship needed to protect the nation’s most iconic outdoor places.Yet the reality is that our national parks have been in dire need of more funding, greater maintenance, and heightened protection even when the government is open.That’s because even before the government shutdown occurred, programs that protected our parks were on the chopping block. Last September, despite broad partisan support, Congress failed to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF. For more than 50 years, the LWCF has preserved and improved federal, state, and local parks and open spaces.Incredibly, the LWCF has supported projects in every state and nearly every county in the U.S., from iconic sites like the Gettysburg National Park, the Appalachian Trail and the Flight 93 Memorial to Pennsylvania’s state parks and local trails, pools and playgrounds.

EU to cash $70bn in from trade war, Brazil to benefit $10bn: UN

Agricensus (free registration required) | Posted on February 9, 2019

The European Union will profit the most from changes in global trade due to the US-China trade war, with Brazil cashing in $10.5 billion annually if the world’s two largest economies expand the trade war, a UN report published this week showed. The study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows that the EU will benefit from $70 billion worth of increased trade, equivalent to 0.9% of the bloc’s total exports.Of that headline figure, $50 billion will replace Chinese exports to the US, with $20 billion capturing US exports to China.President Trump has warned that if no deal is reached by March 1, the additional tax rates on Chinese goods will increase from 10% to 25% with China to react reciprocally.The UN estimates that of the $250 billion of Chinese exports taxed by the US, 82% will be snatched up by firms in third countries, with 12% to be retained by Chinese firms and just 6% by US companies.Conversely, of the $110 billion of US exports taxed by China, 85% will go to other countries, with US firms holding on to 10%, and Chinese companies only seeing a 5% increase.Brazil, who became China’s number one soybean supplier in 2018 following the trade war, will benefit to the tune of $10.5 billion, equivalent to a 3.8% increase in annual exports and making it the eight largest beneficiary from the trade war.Yet, only 20% of that increase is due to Chinese tariffs on US goods, meaning that the largest benefits for Brazil are to be reaped from additional trade with the US, such as metals and machinery, rather than additional soybean sales to China.

Company sues Louisiana agriculture agency over pot testing

WAFB | Posted on February 7, 2019

A New Orleans-based company is suing the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry over the agency's testing of medical marijuana.The Advocate reports Reactwell LLC's lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge claims its bid to test the crop as an independent laboratory was improperly rejected last year.Marijuana grown by Louisiana's two approved producers is supposed to be tested by an independent laboratory to ensure the crop's safety, but the agency says no laboratories were qualified. The lawsuit argues the company was qualified.

Technology’s Impact on Farming and the Rural Midwest

Chicago Federal Reserve | Posted on February 7, 2019

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held a conference to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies to farms and rural areas in the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. Experts from academia, industry, and policy institutions gathered to discuss how technological advances have reshaped the rural economy and how they may affect its future. The goals of the conference included understanding technological change and its impact on farming and rural communities; examining policies that affect the availability (and adoption) of technological innovations in the countryside; analyzing the primary influences of new technologies on the rural Midwest, especially on its employers, health care systems, and educational institutions; and considering potential ways to fund rural broadband and agricultural innovations, particularly given lower farm profits in recent years.

Aquaculture comes to the rescue in Maine

Aquaculture North America | Posted on February 7, 2019

Maine ticks all the boxes as an ideal incubator of aquaculture enterprises: it has a culture around marine food production, a working waterfront, and a world-renowned reputation for premium quality seafood. Why is it just a bit player in the aquaculture industry is perhaps understandable: its lobster fishery contributes $1 billion to the state’s economy annually and generates 4,000 jobs. By comparison, aquaculture (includes farmed salmon, shellfish and seaweed) has a direct economic impact of $73.4 million in output, 571 in employment, and $35.7 million in labor income, according to a January 2017 Aquaculture Economic Impact Report from the University of Maine.

New York:Fewer farms using revised mega-farm manure permits

The Times Union | Posted on February 7, 2019

After a judge last year ordered the state to tighten up permits aimed at keeping manure at dairy and livestock mega-farms across the state from fouling streams, rivers and lakes, hundreds of farmers switched over to a less-strict state permit instead. Nearly 230 farms that had federal  CWA permits prior to the court ruling have since changed over to less-stringent state Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) permits that cover manure systems specifically design to avoid manure discharge into nearby bodies of water.