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Agriculture News

Washington lawmakers loosen truck weight rules during harvest

Capital Press | Posted on April 18, 2019

Truck drivers hauling crops will have some leeway before getting a ticket for exceeding weight limits, according to a bill passed Monday by the state House. Senate Bill 5883 will let drivers carrying crops exceed weight limits by up to 5% twice in a calendar year. Farm lobbyists said that rain can make crops heavier than expected.The bill's sponsor, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, said at a hearing this session the legislation will help growers during harvest season."This is about farmers getting their product out of the field," he said. "It's nigh impossible for that truck to be weighed so that the farm knows exactly what the weight is."The version of the bill passed by the Senate gave drivers four warnings instead of two. The Senate will have to OK the revisions. King accepts the House changes to his bill, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Midwest Farmers Suffer After Floods: ‘I Got My Life in This Ground’

Pew Trust | Posted on April 18, 2019

From the top of a lookout point on a clear day here, Joe Keithley could see the Missouri River spill over its banks into three states: Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Underwater farmland stretched to the horizon in all directions. He used binoculars to zoom in on 1,700 acres of his family farm in Missouri. “Looks like one of our grain bins is tipped over,” said Keithley, 57. “Damn it,” he muttered under his breath.Midwestern states have been battered with intensive flooding since mid-March. Rain and warm temperatures melted the snow from an unseasonably cold and snowy winter in some areas, but the frozen ground couldn’t soak up the water.The wet weather overwhelmed the Missouri River and its tributaries that run like vines through the Midwest and Plains. Levies cracked open, and bloated waterways pushed out into the river bottoms.Blocks of ice bigger than pickup trucks jammed the downstream system, cutting up roads and the approaches to bridges. Similar conditions caused flooding from Minnesota down to Louisiana along the Mississippi River.And as farmers and rural residents worried, lawmakers in statehouses around the Midwest began to wrestle, again, with funding and policies to address the disaster. Intensive flooding will continue to happen, and states will have to figure out what to do about it. 

University of Arizona trying to open the state's first public veterinary school in Oro Valley

Arizona Central | Posted on April 18, 2019

Arizona students could have a public university option to study veterinary medicine as soon as next year, if the University of Arizona's plan for a new program is approved by accreditors.  A new college for veterinary medicine would open and begin enrolling students by fall 2020 under the university's plan.UA has worked to open a veterinary-medicine program for several years, but so far hasn't convinced the accrediting body, the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education, to bless it.

Vaccines do not cause autism in pets

KREM | Posted on April 18, 2019

The anti-vaccine movement has come for pets.  In fact, the spreading fear of side effects from pet vaccines led the British Veterinary Association to issue a statement that dogs cannot develop autism from them.

Ag census shows ag of the middle continues to shrink

Bee Culture | Posted on April 18, 2019

“The 2017 Census of Agriculture puts hard data behind what American farmers and farmer advocates have known for some time – if we don’t invest in beginning farmers and the advancement of our family farms, and if we don’t put checks on increasing consolidation in agriculture, we’re going to be at risk of losing the ag of the middle entirely,” said Juli Obudzinski, NSAC Interim Policy Director.  “Seventy five percent of all agricultural sales are now coming from just five percent of operations. The total number of farms is down nationwide, while the average size of farms continues to increase. We can’t sit idly by while the middle falls out of American agriculture. If we’re going to reverse these trends, we need to focus on programs and policies – beginning farmer and rancher programs, local and organic agriculture, and farmer-driven research to name a few – that help our family farmers thrive, not just survive.”

Farmland Values Currently Steady Economic Concerns- But Potential for Declines Exist

Farm Policy News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Recent news items from the Corn Belt point to several economic challenges facing producers as spring planting approaches.  Nonetheless, relatively steady farmland values continue to be a bright spot.  But a recent update from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City noted that: “If farmland sales continue to increase in 2019 alongside persistently low agricultural commodity prices and higher interest rates, farmland values could decline further.”

EU says it is ready to launch U.S. trade talks, but without agriculture

Reuters | Posted on April 18, 2019

The European Union is ready to start talks on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before year-end, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said. The EU approved two areas for negotiation, opposed by France with an abstention from Belgium. But agriculture was not included, leaving the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

Reviewing US dairy supply management efforts

Edairy News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Farm Bureau grassroots leaders debated this issue in 2019 and ultimately decided to oppose a mandatory quota system with the willingness to consider a flexible supply management system that is administered through the marketplace and not through the federal government, i.e., milk processors and cooperatives alongside individual dairy farmers. Milk supply management programs, which provide incentives or penalties to limit perceived over-production, have been used previously in the U.S. with mixed results. These programs included a USDA-administered milk diversion program, government-administered and industry-funded herd buyout programs, and base-excess plans, i.e., two-tiered pricing. In addition, a milk supply management program was heavily debated during the 2014 farm bill. Today’s Market Intel article reviews these previous attempts to manage the U.S. milk supply.

Washington brand bill passes over dairy objections

Capital Press | Posted on April 18, 2019

Washington lawmakers have raised fees to save the Department of Agriculture's brand program, settling for now an issue that divided the cattle industry for two years. While beef cattlemen's groups endorse the new fees, the outcome disappointed the Washington State Dairy Federation.The fee for inspecting branded cattle to verify ownership will increase by 10% to $1.21 per head.The fee for inspecting cows that haven't been branded or fitted with a certain type of electronic tag will increase by 150% to $4 per head. So-called "unidentified" cows are common on dairies.The higher fee presumably will motivate dairy farmers to identify their cows, a goal of animal-health officials.Dairy federation policy director Jay Gordon said that's OK, but the fees aren't going to help trace diseases. Instead, the money will support an asset-protection program "our guys don't want, don't need, don't use," he said Friday.

Ohio has lost a quarter of its dairy farms

Edairy News | Posted on April 18, 2019

"I've got to make $16 (per 100 pounds, or 11.6 gallons of milk) just to break even,” Dwight Raber said, as he turned the pages on a printed report that details daily production of the farm’s 235 cows. “Right now, I’m at $13.89, and it’s been that way for two years.” In Raber’s younger days, a cow that produced 100 pounds of milk a day was a herd superstar. These days, that’s almost the average. Large-scale dairy farms and low milk prices have forced Raber to find new ways to keep the bills paid and their farms operating.Raber added beef cattle to the farm to supplement the dairy portion. But even so, he has come to the conclusion that he just can’t make a living at it anymore.So, at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Raber will sell his herd of dairy cows and much of the equipment he has accumulated through the years.