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Agriculture News

Career in Farming Brings High Stress-Levels

KXNET | Posted on February 6, 2019

Suicide rates among farmers are alarmingly high. Much of it has to do with isolation and stress level. We spoke with Minnesota's Department of Agriculture's Mental Health Director who was here for the Local Foods Conference.He says farming is a job that includes one stressor after the next.For example, this year we saw a late planting season, and prices for crops being set lower than in the past few years. Then negotiations over a new farm bill and the trade conflict with China.He says because farming today includes these extra stressors, farmers, more than ever, have to focus on the things they can change, and not what they can't control.

Unexpected deaths of livestock reported in areas impacted by Hurricane Michael

WSFA | Posted on February 6, 2019

 Farmers are still monitoring the impact of Hurricane Michael on their livestock. There have been reports of unexpected animal deaths in areas impacted by the storm - including southeast Alabama, Georgia and Florida.veterinarians who serve the Wiregrass also reported receiving calls about animal loss since the storm.Dr. William Terry of Hartford Veterinary Services and Supply says he’s had about 20 producers contact him about their livestock getting ill - particularly their stocker cows.“It could be anything, that’s the thing. It’s not going to be one thing,” Syfrett said. “Some of this they’re not going to see the full effect until months to years down the road.”Ivey agrees the causes are varied. He says other possible reasons could be pneumonia from the cattle standing in wet, muddy rain soaked fields or eating bad hay.

Fish help fuel bumper cannabis crops for Canadian producer

Reuters | Posted on February 6, 2019

 The unlikely combination of freshwater fish and cannabis is producing outsized medical marijuana crops that Green Relief Inc aims to capitalize on, as the Canadian company plots a stock market listing and global expansion.In an underground southern Ontario facility surrounded by farmland, Green Relief operates a cutting-edge aquaponic farm, using filtered fish waste to fertilize cannabis plants, which in turn clean the water for the fish.The company says it is the world’s only licensed producer to grow medical marijuana this way, a pesticide-free process that took 2-1/2 years to fine tune. The only signs of this operation, which is built into a hill and insulated by some three feet of dirt and grass, is above-ground ventilation equipment sticking out of the ground.

University specialist: Glyphosate link to cancer unfounded

Capital Press | Posted on February 6, 2019

While glyphosate has lower toxicity than many pesticides — it's rated zero risk for homeowner use — the news and social media are laden with its purported health risks to humans, especially cancer.But those claims are out of step with scientific risk assessments related to exposure, Ronda Hirnyck, University of Idaho pesticide coordinator, said during a pesticide seminar at this year’s Agri-Action.Part of the issue with glyphosate or Roundup —a Monsanto product used to treat weeds in some GMO crops — is that everybody’s heard about it. And there are a lot of people who don’t like GMOs or Monsanto, she said.Glyphosate binds tightly to soil, and it’s not volatile in the environment. It doesn’t percolate soil to get into groundwater. It inhibits an enzyme that builds proteins a plant needs, and animals and humans don’t produce that enzyme, she said.Studies have shown there’s little to no absorption through the skin, no inhalation risk and no neurotoxicity, she said.Studies in animals and extrapolated to humans show very, very low toxicity to either, she said. The level of acute oral toxicity in mice is 10,000 parts per million. In rabbits, the only animal to show any reaction, that level was 2,000 ppm, she said.

Development, Adoption, and Management of Drought-Tolerant Corn in the United States

USDA | Posted on February 6, 2019

Over one-fifth of U .S . corn acreage was planted with DT corn in 2016 . DT corn accounted for only 2 percent of U.S. planted corn acreage in 2012. By 2016, this share had grown to 22 percent. The pace of adoption is similar to the adoption of herbicide-tolerant corn in the early 2000s. DT corn made up roughly 40 percent of corn acreage in some drought-prone States . In 2016, 42 percent of Nebraska corn acres and 39 percent of Kansas corn acres were planted with DT seed. These and other States with a 25-percent or higher adoption rate, such as South Dakota and Texas, experienced at least one severe-or-worse drought between 2011 and 2015. Northern corn-producing States, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, experienced less-severe droughts during this time period. Adoption rates in 2016 on corn acres in these States were lower, ranging between 14 and 20 percent.

Land O'Lakes Launches Software Platform To Help Farmers Boost Sustainability

Forbes | Posted on February 6, 2019

Truterra works by pulling in data from a number of public sources to create what Weller calls “the mother of all environmental databases.” From there, the program asks the farmer a number of questions, digging into the nitty gritty of the farm’s agricultural practices, everything from nutrient application to water irrigation to cover cropping. Once the analysis is complete, the program provides the farmer with a number of recommendations designed to increase the farm’s sustainability.

Hawaii Dairy Farm cancels plans for pasture based dairy

The Garden Island | Posted on February 6, 2019

Hawaii Dairy Farms announced it was discontinuing plans for a pasture-based dairy farm on Kauai. Instead, it will explore other alternatives for food production on the Grove Farm land in Mahaulepu on the South Side.“It is disappointing we were unable to find a path forward to help bring a more sustainable model of dairy farming to Hawaii,” said Amy Hennessey, director of communications for investor Ulupono Initiative in a statement. She points out the proposal for the farm was based on best-management practices proven around the world “to create a more environmentally sustainable model of dairy farm that utilized active pasture management to minimize runoff and use grass as a low-cost source of feed.”“But rather than incentivizing local food production to meet our state’s food goals, Hawaii’s environmental regulations seem to unfairly place dairies and other similar animal agriculture operations in the same category as wastewater treatment plants,” Hennessey said.

Oregon marijuana regulators fail to meet even basic standards, state audit finds

Oregon Live | Posted on February 6, 2019

 Oregon’s marijuana program has failed to keep up with mandatory inspections, its weak testing system threatens to expose consumers to contaminants and regulators haven’t done enough to address black market diversion, according to an unsparing new audit the Secretary of State released. The audit represents the first detailed examination of Oregon’s regulation of the legal cannabis market since voters said yes to legalization in 2014, when supporters promised that state oversight would rein in an industry that had flourished for decades in the underground market.The audit represents the first detailed examination of Oregon’s regulation of the legal cannabis market since voters said yes to legalization in 2014, when supporters promised that state oversight would rein in an industry that had flourished for decades in the underground market.

A Black Legacy, Wrapped Up in Fur

The New York Times | Posted on February 6, 2019

There is a sense among many black women that cultural disavowal of fur has coincided with our increased ability to purchase it.These days there are plenty of other materials available to cover one’s nakedness, a point that anti-fur activists readily make. The past few decades have seen a humanitarian backlash to animal fur clothing. Major fashion designers, including Gucci, Stella McCartney and, most recently, Chanel, have forsaken it; several cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have banned sales of the material.But there is a sense among many black women that this broader, cultural disavowal of fur has coincided with our increased ability to purchase it. (Or as Paula Marie Seniors, a historian and professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech, reported her mother saying: “As soon as black women could afford to buy mink coats, white society and white women said fur was all wrong, verboten, passé.”) For women like my mother and grandmother, my aunts and my sisters, a fur coat is more than a personal luxury item. It is an important investment.

Gains for animal health in farm bill

AVMA | Posted on February 6, 2019

The new farm bill authorizes funding to create a new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, enhances resources for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and establishes the new National Animal Vaccine and Countermeasures Bank with immediate attention on foot-and-mouth disease. "These programs will provide vital improvements to our national animal disease response capabilities and help protect the livelihoods of ranchers and farmers. This bill is great news for everyone who cares about animal agriculture," said AVMA President John de Jong.The five-year spending law provides $120 million in the first four years for animal health and disease preparedness initiatives. At least $20 million of that will go to the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program. Funding is also allotted for the national animal disease vaccine bank and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.