The U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia have signed an agreement to share foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, should an outbreak occur.
After several boom years while the rest of the economy struggled, farming is entering its third year on the bust side of the cycle. Major crop prices are low, while expenses like seed, fertilizer and land remain high. And that means farmers have to get creative to succeed.
Modern crop farms in the Corn Belt are sophisticated businesses. So put aside your notions of bucolic red barns surrounded by a few cows. And pull out your best business school vocabulary, because crops are commodities.
Bayer wants to buy Monsanto for $62 billion, hooking up the German chemical and drug company with the St. Louis-based producer of seeds and weed-killers. The deal would create a global giant in agriculture technology touching much of global food production through the development of seeds and pesticides. They would combine different regional strengths: Monsanto is big in the United States, while Bayer has a larger presence in Europe and Asia. Bayer says the head office for the combined seed business will be in St. Louis, Missouri, where Monsanto is headquartered. The combined company would control 28% of the world’s market for pesticides and would have a “strong presence” in the U.S. market for corn and soybean seeds. Anti-trust regulators will scrutinize the deal to see whether it means less competition.
Bayer AG, whose $62 billion takeover bid was rejected earlier by Monsanto Co., said it’s confident it can overcome the seed company’s concerns about the regulatory and financing risks related to a deal that would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and crop chemicals. The conciliatory tone from both sides sets the stage for an improved offer from Bayer. While Monsanto has consistently traded at less than the $122-a-share offer price since the companies started discussing a deal, the stock rallied in after-hours trading Tuesday in New York following Bayer’s latest comments, rising as high as $113.49. Shares of Bayer rose 0.4 percent to 88.72 euros as of 9:11 a.m. in Frankfurt trading, after climbing almost 4 percent. The company can afford to pay as much as $140 a share, and the deal would still add to “double-digit” growth in earnings in the mid-term, Jeffrey Holford, an analyst at Jefferies LLC
Though meatpacking plants have long relied on labor by immigrants, particularly Hispanics, major companies have moved to hire Somalis, who have the dual advantage for employers of being legal and relatively cheap. In one slice of a changing low-wage America, these are the new ideal workers. Only a decade earlier, meatpacking jobs went almost exclusively to Hispanics. But now more Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States than coming to work, and the number of unauthorized immigrants is receding after decades of growth. As much as Hispanics had seized upon low-skill industries with their arrival, their gradual departure — fueled by tighter border enforcement and improved prospects back home — is opening up new opportunities at the bottom of the U.S. economy, particularly in industries like meatpacking that had also been stung by a wave of immigration raids. As a result, “Little Somalia” neighborhoods are sprouting up in dozens of towns across the Great Plains, and slaughterhouses are hiring Somali translators for the cutting floors and installing Muslim prayer rooms for employees. For Somalis, the slaughterhouses have emerged as the primary alternative to economic hardship. The poverty rate for Somalis living in the United States — at 57 percent, according to the 2010 Census — towers above those of all other ethnicities or nationalities. They tend to live in inner-city public housing and hold minimum-wage jobs. And their plight in the country — at a time when a record number of refugees globally are fleeing repression and war — shows the lasting disadvantages facing a group escaping a failed state.
Some farm workers are getting back wages and damages, following the settlement of a labor dispute with some Washington blueberry growers. The blueberry growers in Walla Walla County admitted in federal court that they violated the rights of their agricultural workers over a period of three years. That includes failing to pay the minimum wage and overtime in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. The U.S. Department of Labor filed suit, and the consent judgment that ended the case in January requires Walla Walla County growers to pay a total of $385,318 in unpaid wages and damages to pickers and packing shed workers.
An animal rescue farm in Massachusetts is experiencing a goat overload and is seeking the public's help.The goats are an assortment of alpine, pygmy and angora mixes. They were voluntarily turned over by an owner in Montague who couldn't handle the growing herd. Some are nursing kids and pregnant does.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) or drones, are becoming extremely popular in many areas of agriculture. While more often looked at for cropping systems, there are many potential uses for animal ag operations as well. Join us on June 17 to find about more these and get an update on the rules and regulations about drones. June 17 at 1:30 p.m. (central); 2:30 (eastern); 12:30 (mountain);11:30 am (pacific).
Emissions from farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, according to new research. The culprit: fumes from nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal waste combine in the air with combustion emissions to form solid particles, which constitute a major source of disease and death, according to the new study.
A government wildlife researcher has found that rabbits and skunks can become infected with the bird flu virus and shed it enough to infect ducks—offering scientists one more clue about how bird flu may move in the environment and spread between farms.