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Agriculture News

Monsanto now offering (legally required) free training for dicamba

Modern Farmer | Posted on February 5, 2018

Back in October, the Environmental Protection Agency placed dicamba on its list of restricted use pesticides, which means it now has to address some specific requirements. Among those are that dicamba may not be applied except either by the manufacturer of the product or by someone trained to use it correctly. (Monsanto has long claimed that any drifting, and destruction caused thereof, is the fault of those applying it incorrectly. Farmers have replied that the instructions for applying dicamba are incredibly difficult to follow.)  As part of those requirements, Monsanto has set up a schedule of free training sessions across the country, which anyone wishing to apply dicamba legally must attend. Those sessions last about 90 minutes, according to Successful Farming. It seven of the states where dicamba is legal—Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee—trainings have to be done by the state, but in the other 26 states that allow it, Monsanto is running the sessions.

China launches probe over U.S. sorghum imports

Wall Street Journal | Posted on February 5, 2018

China’s Commerce Ministry said Sunday that it initiated an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation after preliminarily finding that heavy volumes and low prices of American exports of sorghum, bolstered by U.S. government subsidies, hurt Chinese growers. In announcing the action, the Commerce Ministry didn’t mention the Trump administration’s recent ruling to place tariffs on imports of Chinese solar panels. Chinese officials have told representatives of U.S. businesses that Beijing is preparing tit-for-tat measures to retaliate if trade is affected by President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.The U.S. is also in the midst of studies and processes that would impose penalties involving China on intellectual property and trade in steel and aluminum.

Equipment Manufacturer, Dealer Coalitions Pledge Right to Repair Transparency by 2021

Precision Ag | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) joined the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) on Thursday in making a joint industry commitment to provide comprehensive service information tools to end users of farm equipment for tractors and combines in model year 2021. EDA and AEM’s Ag Sector Board debuted a Statement of Principles that affirms the industry’s joint commitment to providing the tools farmers and ranchers need to minimize downtime and maximize productivity of farm equipment.The Statement of Principles makes so-called “Right to Repair”legislation sought by special interest groups unnecessary.Manufacturers will make available through authorized dealers the following diagnostic and repair information beginning with tractors and combines put into service on or after Jan. 1, 2021:Manuals (Operator, Parts, Service), Product Guides, Product Service Demonstrations, Training, Seminars, or Clinics, Fleet Management Information, On-Board Diagnostics via diagnostics port or wireless interface, Electronic Field Diagnostic Service Tools, and training on how to use them, Other publications with information on service, parts, operation, and safety

Washington state legislators introduce bill to provide help to suicidal farmers

The New Food Economy | Posted on February 1, 2018

House Bill (H.B.) 2671, which he introduced last week. Its aim? To improve “the behavioral health of people in the agricultural industry.”If Wilcox’s bill is passed, which seems a good possibility given its strong bipartisan support, it will establish a task force to study the factors that lead to high rates of suicide and substance abuse, and then establish free resources aimed at increasing mental health support services and suicide prevention outreach.But who exactly will these services be for?As the bill is written now, the task force will convene representatives from the healthcare industry and various agricultural associations. But what about a representative for migrant workers or other vulnerable populations?There’s no specific language in the bill pertaining to those populations. But it does promise a free resource that must meet the following requirements: be publicly available online or via phone call; provide community-based training resources in suicide risk recognition and referral skills; and contain marketing guidelines to promote behavioral health in the agricultural industry.

Tax overhaul gives break to farmers who sell to co-ops.

Farm and Dairy | Posted on February 1, 2018

The background to this new tax law is an example of what is wrong with Washington. At the last minute, concerned that the new tax law would eliminate a benefit that co-ops had been using in previous law, two senators got language inserted that they now appear to regret. The language gives a 20 percent deduction of the net proceeds for any commodities sold by farmers. That is huge. It gives a 20 percent deduction of the gross proceeds for any commodities sold by farmers to a co-op. That is gigantic.Just do the math. Farmers are not making a 20 percent margin at current prices. Thus, this law makes farming tax-free for those selling to co-ops and gives a huge break to those selling to other types of companies.

Health Insurance and National Farm Policy

Choices magazine | Posted on February 1, 2018

Using a mixed-methods approach, we conducted in-depth interviews with up to 10 families in each case study state in 2015–2016 and surveyed randomly sampled producer households in these states in 2017, yielding 1,062 responses. Mixed-methods research that includes both qualitative and quantitative methods offers better crosschecking and triangulation of data (Guba and Lincoln, 1981) and ensures the reliability and validity of analysis (Janesick, 1994). Survey and interview questions focused on healthcare and health insurance access, off-farm work, farm finances and economics, and farm labor. To ensure that our sample was representative of the national farm population, we weighted the sample on reported sales data to match sales proportions reported in the 2012 Census of Agriculture for the national farm population (Table 1). We present both the quantitative and qualitative data and include quotes that reflect common themes expressed by farmers in both the interviews and written survey comments.

UW ag experts expect 2018 to be tough year

Wisconsin Agriculturalist | Posted on February 1, 2018

According to ag economists at the annual Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum, dairy and crop farmers will be hit the hardest in the coming year.

TPP trade agreement passes with 11 member states

ZD net | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP 11) trade agreement has passed with its 11 remaining member nations despite the withdrawal of the United States a year ago, and will be signed in Chile in March, according to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "We stuck with the TPP. There have been some hills and hollows and some twists and turns along the way since the APEC meeting in Lima in 2016, after it was known that President Trump would pull out," Turnbull told media. "A quarter of our exports go to the countries of the TPP 11, including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, and others. It is a big deal. A big trade deal at a time when many people said it couldn't be done, after the United States pulled out.

New California program to develop 5 dairy digester RNG projects

Biomass Magazine | Posted on February 1, 2018

In mid-December, the California Public Utilities Commission established a new program that aims to reduce methane emissions from manure generated at dairies. The CPUC said the pilot program will incentivize at least five projects where dairy digesters produce renewable natural gas (RNG) from manure. The program was adopted pursuant to SB 1383, which established a goal to reduce California’s methane emissions 40 percent by 2030. As part of this goal, the bill authorizes funding of the dairy biomethane pilot projects to demonstrate interconnection to the gas pipeline system. The pipeline infrastructure is needed to inject RNG into the utilities’ natural gas distribution system.

Missouri Senate bill preempts regulation of working animals

Missouri Senate | Posted on February 1, 2018

SB 918 - Under this act, the General Assembly preempts the control and regulation of working animals to the exclusion of any order, ordinance, policy, or regulation by any political subdivision. For purposes of this act, "working animal" means the use of any animal for the purpose of performing a specific duty or function in business, commerce, or service, including but not limited to, animals in entertainment.