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Agriculture News

California to ban controversial pesticide blamed for harming child brain development

CBS News | Posted on May 8, 2019

The nation's most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used toxic pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said. The move would outlaw chlorpyrifos after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought. State Environmental Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said it's the first time the state has sought to ban a pesticide and the move was overdue."This pesticide is a neurotoxin and it was first put on the market in 1965," Blumenfeld said. "So it's been on the shelf a long time and it's past its sell-by date."

For Flood-Hit Farmers on Missouri River, Sand Is the Next Big Challenge

Wall Street Journal | Posted on May 7, 2019

In areas where floodwaters have receded, farmers are left to deal with piles of sand, debris on their fields

Some horse advocates buck at new plan to save wild mustangs

Capital Press | Posted on May 7, 2019

Animal welfare groups have reached a milestone agreement with ranching interests they say would save wild  mustangs from slaughter but the compromise has opened a nasty split among horse protection advocates.The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say their proposal backed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation would eliminate the threat of slaughter for thousands of free-roaming horses primarily by spending millions of dollars on expanding fertility controls on the range.As part of the deal presented to the Bureau of Land Management, they're willing to drop long-held opposition to controversial roundups of the horses — fighting words for the largest mustang advocacy groups that have been in court for years defending the animals' ability to forage with cattle and sheep in 10 western states.

'Forever Chemicals' Ruin Dairies

DTN | Posted on May 7, 2019

Food may be the next frontier in research on a wide array of potentially toxic chemicals increasingly showing up in drinking water and groundwater nationally. Art Schaap and Fred Stone milk dairy cows more than 2,000 miles from each other, but right now, neither one of them can sell their milk. Both farmers have been dumping their milk for months, and their cows also might never become beef, depending on how federal agencies determine safe or low-risk levels of chemicals in their cows.Their farms are in limbo because of contamination from a collection of roughly 5,000 chemicals in the environment that were made to use in a broad array of products, ranging from non-stick pans to foam used to fight fires. The family of synthetic chemicals, known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as "PFAS" chemicals, have been around since the 1940s. But only in recent years have they been dubbed as "emerging contaminants" because these fluorochemicals -- also called PFOA or PFOS -- are not only toxic, but they just don't go away. PFAS chemicals will move with water and remain in it. They are sometimes called "forever chemicals."

Farmers are milking an appetite for American hay

Heated Medium | Posted on May 2, 2019

Today, China accounts for almost half of Oregon Hay’s sales, with manager Vic Follen traveling to China three to six times a year for the company that exports for 50 or more U.S. hay farmers.Follen, who quit his construction job after the 2008 economic downturn to join the family business, says the hay sales are the result of the uptick in Chinese dairy consumption which includes milk powders and yogurts in addition to just plain milk.Follen is one of many American hay merchants turning their sights to Asia, as Chinese dairy farms, eager to satisfy the Westernized tastes of a booming middle class, have ramped up orders for American hay, specifically dried and cut alfalfa, the cream of the hay crop.They are taking advantage of the lower shipping costs afforded by all the empty containers heading back to Asia following deliveries of iPhones, sneakers, and furniture to the U.S. Last April, the hay business was so high profile it made the list of goods Beijing chose for retaliatory tariffs in its trade war with President Donald Trump.

Grassley warns Trump that tariffs on Mexico and Canada will kill his NAFTA replacement

Washington Examiner | Posted on May 1, 2019

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has warned President Trump that his U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement on trade can't pass Congress if he retains steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. "If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place," Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said

Trump administration eyes more aid to farmers if necessary: White House aide

Reuters | Posted on May 1, 2019

The Trump administration is ready to provide more federal aid to farmers if required, a White House adviser said on Monday, after rolling out up to $12 billion since last year to offset agricultural losses from the trade dispute with China. “We have allocated $12 billion, some such, to farm assistance. And we stand ready to do more if necessary,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters.The U.S. Department of Agriculture had previously ruled out a new round of aid for 2019. As of March, more than $8 billion was paid out as part of last year’s program. On Monday, the department said it had extended the deadline to apply to Ma

Farmers go organic in search of millennial dollars

Bloomberg | Posted on May 1, 2019

Organic farm product value doubles from 2012 to 2017: USDA Turn to organic comes as overall number of farms declines

CAFO foes fight bill to limit inspection power

Columbia Daily Tribune | Posted on May 1, 2019

Opponents of a House bill that would limit authority to inspect animal farming operations say local control is necessary, while supporters say it would protect farmers from animal rights activists and other entities want to put them out of business. The bill allows the state departments of agriculture and natural resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “and any other federal or Missouri state agency with statutory or regulatory authority” to inspect operations with livestock, poultry, dairy, egg production or dog breeding. The only local authority with inspection power would be the county sheriff, which Haden added as an amendment after introducing the bill.The bill is one of several in the legislature that would limit local authority over concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit local health agencies from imposing regulations stricter than state or federal rules. The Senate debated the bill earlier this month but has not voted on it.

Partisan Bickering Over Puerto Rico Aid Strands Farmers Devastated by Extreme Weather

The New York Times | Posted on May 1, 2019

If Rob Cohen knew that aid was on its way from Washington, circumstances would be different on his devastated pecan farms, which once spanned five counties and 1,400 acres. He and his brother would not have purchased an excavator and a bulldozer, expensive equipment they most likely will not need again to harvest pecans. Instead of laboring for six months on their own to clear away the thousands of trees knocked over by hurricane winds, they would have hired contractors to do it in three weeks.But with billions of dollars in relief for homes, farms and businesses stalled in Congress — and little movement over the past two weeks of spring recess — Mr. Cohen, 45, is instead three months behind in planting and wondering if help will ever arrive. Debris from Hurricane Michael — the remains of trees older than Mr. Cohen — still smoldered in his fields this past week as he burned away a generation of pecan groves felled by the storm this fall.