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Agriculture News

Ag Startups Get Boost from Big Firms

New York Times | Posted on May 9, 2016

New technologies are opening up new opportunities and investment in early stage agricultural companies is springing to life.  One sign is a new "accelerator" to assist fledgling agricultural companies. Its backers include Bayer and Syngenta and some venture capital firms that typically focus on pharmceuticals, not farms.

Mechanism discovered for plants to regulate their flowering in a warming world

Science Daily | Posted on May 9, 2016

A new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures has been discovered by researchers. The finding could potentially lead to the development of technology allowing us to control the physiological response of plants and mitigate the impacts of warming temperatures.

Ohio House committee hears CAUV bill testimony

Farm and Dairy | Posted on May 6, 2016

Farmers, landowners and farm policy makers voiced their concerns for increased land values and high tax rates at a time when farmers are facing historically low farm incomes. The Government Accountability and Oversight Committee heard eight testimonies and received an additional five written testimonies in favor of reform of the Current Agricultuire Use Value (CAUV) formula during a second hearing of House Bill 398

Purdue professor talks GMOs

Agri-news | Posted on May 6, 2016

The image of a mad scientist injecting corn with a syringe full of DNA does not accurately portray the use of genetically modified organisms. Most transgenic work takes place in a laboratory with intensive attention to detail, says a professor at Purdue University. Peter Goldsbrough, professor of botany and plant pathology, talked about GMOs during an Extension event in Martinsville. “There’s a lot of misinformation and lack of knowledge about GMOs,” he said. “My goal is to try and help explain and answer questions and see where we’re going next. “Genetically modified organisms are a branch of biotechnology. We’ve been using biotechnology for a long time. Things like making bread, brewing beer and making wine are using biotechnologies like yeast to improve the product.”

Biotechnology extends beyond the food arena. In sewage treatment facilities, microorganisms are used to break down materials. In the medical field, biotechnology is used to make new drugs that treat diseases, or vaccines that prevent disease. In 1983, the first genetically modified plant using modern gene transfer methods was made. “Understanding DNA was just in the beginning stages,” Goldsbrough said. “We could take genes, modify them and move them to a plant. The idea is that you can take DNA from any organism, from a microbe or animal or another plant, and take useful genes and move them to another plant. “I think in the future we’ll be making our own genes — designer genes — to do useful things. We will be able to design new genes with functions we don’t know how to do at the moment.”

Recent Developments with Right-to-Farm Laws

Ag Law Education Initiative | Posted on May 6, 2016

Webinar on April 4, 2016 covering recent developments with right-to-farm laws. Webinar features Tiffany Lashmet with Texas A&M and Ashley Ellixson and Paul Goeringer with University of Maryland.

Prestage Farm plant turned down by Mason City, IA

Globe Gazette | Posted on May 6, 2016

In a stunning turn of events, the City Council early Wednesday rejected Prestage Foods of Iowa’s proposal to build a $240 million pork processing plant in Mason City. Its plan was to hire more than 1,700 workers over the next four years but it met with protests from citizens concerned about environmental and quality-of life issues.The vote was a 3-3 tie with council members Travis Hickey, Janet Solberg and Brett Schoneman voting in favor of a development agreement with the company and Alex Kuhn, Bill Schickel and John Lee voting against. A tie vote on a motion represents a loss. Prestage, headquartered in Clinton, North Carolina, issued a statement Wednesday morning saying, “While we are disappointed, we believe in a bright future for agriculture and wish the people of Mason City all the best.”

Livestock, Dairy and Egg Sectors in Trouble

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on May 5, 2016

A new report by AgriBank projects livestock, dairy, and egg sector margins to continue adjusting downward from record levels set in 2014. The report on 15 Midwest states called the egg industry “the largest percentage loser” due to bird flu and record high prices. However, the report says the turkey industry is rebounding as flocks are rebuilt, and prices remain high. AThe report did say weather remains a wildcard as the transition to La Niña from the historically strong El Niño could bring major drought conditions across the Corn Belt region late in the coming growing season.

Turkey flock destroyed after avian flu reported in Jasper County, Missouri

Joplin Globe | Posted on May 4, 2016

A commercial flock of about 39,000 turkeys in Jasper County was destroyed after some of the birds tested positive for avian flu, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

The H5N1 virus that was found is low pathogenic, or less able to produce disease, unlike the strains of avian flu that sickened turkey flocks in Missouri and other states last year, Sarah Alsager, with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, wrote in an email to the Globe. About 48 million turkeys and chickens died in that outbreak, the worst in U.S. history. It affected 15 states, including Missouri.

Legume Bloat Problems Killing Cattle in SW Missouri

Missouri Extension | Posted on May 2, 2016

There has been an unusually high number of bloat problems among cattle in southwest Missouri.

"Some of those cattle deaths were posted by veterinarians, and frothy bloat was found to be the cause," said Cole.

Clover is very evident in most pastures this year. This follows a tremendous amount of common white or ladino clover in 2015.

"Some farmers report the clover is so dense it is crowding out their fescue, ryegrass, and orchardgrass," said Cole.

Legumes such as ladino are great to blend in cool season grass pastures especially those based on toxic Kentucky 31 fescue. Clover helps dilute the toxin intake and provides valuable nitrogen for the grass when it is about 25 to 30 percent of the stand.

Some farmers and extension specialists estimate this year the percent of ladino and white clover approaches 50 percent, even up to 75 percent or more.

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Improvement

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture | Posted on May 2, 2016

The 2016 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which show another year of growth in the stock of the Chesapeake Bay crab population and bodes well for a better harvest this year. The survey indicates a bay-wide crab population of 553 million, a 35-percent increase over last year. This is the fourth highest level in two decades, and builds on last year’s 38-percent boost in abundance.

“Due to a milder winter, favorable currents and tides, and wise bay-wide management measures, the Maryland crab population continues to rebound and strengthen,” Fisheries Service Director Dave Blazer said. “With an increase in abundance and steady recruitment, we fully anticipate a robust crab season this year.”

Improvements were seen in all age groups of male and female crabs. The spawning female stock nearly doubled from 101 to 194 million and the adult male stock more than doubled from 44 to 91 million – the second highest levels since 1995.