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Agriculture News

Farmers, local and statewide, criticize “farm-killing” state Senate pesticide bill

KGMI | Posted on February 1, 2018

 A bill in the state Senate that would impose more restrictions on farmers’ application of pesticides drew harsh criticism from major commodity commissions and small organic farmers alike, including farmers in Whatcom County. The bill would require, among other things, that farmers tell the Department of Health four business days in advance of plans to use pesticides.Capital Press reports local berry farmer Rob Dhaliwal argued Thursday a delay like that in addressing a bug or disease outbreak would devastate crops since many of these outbreaks can get out of hand in much less time.The Department of Agriculture and Labor and Industries already regulate the use of pesticides.

Colorado COOL measure rejected

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 1, 2018

Colorado legislators this week rejected a bill proposing the “Product of the USA” label be reserved in the state’s grocery stores only for beef derived exclusively from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. The Colorado General Assembly’s House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources heard testimony from cattle ranchers and consumers stating that multinational meatpackers and retailers were deceptively applying “Product of the USA” labels on foreign beef sold in Colorado grocery stores, according to a news release by R-CALF.

EPA Sends WOTUS Delay Rule to White House

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent a final rule to the White House that would prevent the Waters of the U.S. Rule from taking effect. The EPA rushed the rule to the White House because of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling placing the legal jurisdiction of the rule in federal district courts, not federal appeals courts, where a stay was issued against the original rule. The Supreme Court ruling will lift that delay, allowing WOTUS to go into effect in 37 states.

How changing crops, moving to no till agriculture and lightening infrastructure can reduce extreme temperatures.

Science Daily | Posted on February 1, 2018

New research has found that climate engineering that modifies the properties of the land surface in highly populated areas and agricultural areas over North American, Europe and Asia could reduce extreme temperatures there by up to 2 to 3 degrees C.

Michigan offers grants to county fairgrounds

The Detroit News | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering grants to help improve buildings and other facilities at county fairgrounds. Also available are grants for groups hosting other fairs or expositions where livestock and commodities are shown. Those awards would support premiums or promotional activities.

Vermont offers producer growers food safety improvement grants

Vermont Food and Market Agency | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to offer a two-roud grant opportunity to improve on-farm produce safety. Approximately $74,000 in funding will be available in each round. This grant is to assist Vermont produce growers to make improvements that help prevent or reduce known produce safety risks on their farms. Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR), and have average annual produce sales of greater than $25,000 over the past three years.* Successful projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants until all funds in the round have been allocated. 

'Lancaster County is not going to be the same': Large numbers of dairy farmers may sell cows within next 6 months

Montrose Press | Posted on February 1, 2018

The long, proud tradition of Lancaster County as the state’s dairy capital may take a hit in the next six months as milk farmers like Elmer K. King reluctantly empty their barn stalls. The Ronks-area dairyman recently began shopping for a buyer for his 48 milking cows, an unwilling step to exit the dairy business forced by a three-year-downward spiral in milk prices and a new projection that 2018 might be the worst yet.“I’d rather keep on going,” the longtime dairyman says, “but I don’t see any milk futures as being profitable, so there’s no sense in keeping cows. It’s not profitable. Local agriculture lenders, ag leaders and politicians fear the next six months may bring an unprecedented selloff of dairy herds in Lancaster County.The exits are expected to be mainly by younger dairy farmers and those renting farms who don’t have the equity built up to weather the storm any longer.

Western Wisconsin Led Nation In Farm Bankruptcies In 2017

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Western District had 28 Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases filed in 2017, a chapter specifically for family farmers or fishermen. The district includes 44 counties and covers more than half of the geographic area of the state. The Eastern District of Wisconsin had 17 cases and the Minnesota District had 19 cases. There are 94 federal court districts in the United States."The increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies is certainly an anomaly when you compare it to the other types of bankruptcies," said Christopher Seelen, an Eau Claire attorney who represents creditors in bankruptcy court. "People seem to have jobs, and the economy seems to be going well for most folks. Unfortunately for some of these farmers who are suffering through these low grain prices, the economy is not going as well for them."Low commodity prices for corn, soybeans and milk mean Wisconsin farmers are earning less, while input costs have remained steady or increased.

Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don't Help The Environment

NPR | Posted on February 1, 2018

Honeybees are amazing and adorable, and they suffer when people spray pesticides or mow down wildflowers. We've heard plenty in recent years about collapsing bee colonies. So Jonas Geldmann, at the University of Cambridge, says he understands how the honeybee became a symbol of environmental conservation.But he still doesn't like it."Lots of conservation organizations are promoting local honey, and even promoting sponsorships of honeybees and that kind of stuff, and that increasingly annoyed me," he says. It annoyed him because the honeybee is perhaps the one type of bee that we should worry about the least. Honeybee hives aren't natural, and they don't help the environment. In fact, they may harm it.There are thousands of bee species. Almost all of them live in the wild, hiding away in the ground or in odd cavities, like hollow plant stems. They play a vital role in the ecosystem, pollinating flowering plants. Many are in peril; some species have disappeared.

Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society

Politico | Posted on February 1, 2018

A couple of days later, she and five other women met with two human resources representatives, detailing a pattern of behavior they had witnessed over the preceding six years. The women said Shapiro, the vice president of Farm Animal Protection, asked them to have sex and told lewd jokes in the office, according to a POLITICO investigation based on new interviews with seven current and former employees, including four of the women who filed the complaint. According to interviews, emails and an internal document reviewed by POLITICO, Shapiro suggested a female employee should “take one for the team” by having sex with a donor, sent pornography and lewd emails to male employees and discussed with colleagues his sexual philosophies, such as having as many sexual partners as possible. His alleged behavior, staffers say, led to the resignations of no fewer than five employees from 2015 to late 2017.