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Agriculture News

Recreational marijuana is now on sale in Massachusetts

CNN | Posted on November 21, 2018

Recreational marijuana is now for sale on the East Coast.Massachusetts became the first state east of the Mississippi to legally sell recreational weed Tuesday as two marijuana dispensaries opened to the public more than two years after voters approved its use.The two dispensaries are Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and New England Treatment Access in Northampton, located in the central and western parts of the state, respectively."To get here, licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections, and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety as this new industry gets up and running," Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said.

Activist video targets Amick Farms, line speeds

Watt AgNet | Posted on November 21, 2018

Animal rights group Compassion Over Killing (COK) is using an undercover video that was apparently filmed at the Amick Farms poultry processing plant in Hurlock, Maryland, as a platform to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lower the maximum allowable line speeds at U.S. poultry plants. The video was filmed by an animal rights activist who obtained employment at the plant.In the video, some scenes of animal mistreatment are shown. In words printed near the bottom of the video screen, COK stated “As our investigator saw, increased kill line speeds could mean more abuse, more suffering …

Mexico authorizes 26 Brazilian meat plants to export chicken

Reuters | Posted on November 21, 2018

Mexico has authorized 26 Brazilian meat plants to export chicken products into the country, Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said on Monday, as the two nations seek to strengthen commercial ties amid a realignment of global trade partnerships.

Dairy Cow Prices Drop

Drovers | Posted on November 21, 2018

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service surveys producers on dairy cow prices quarterly (published in their Agricultural Prices report). The latest release was for the third quarter. Data are collected only for cows sold to be used as dairy herd replacement purposes, the national number is calculated by weighting state values by cow inventory. Nationally, for the quarter ending October 1, 2018, the average cow price was $1230.00, a drop from the prior quarter of $90.00 (down 7%). Yearover-year the decline was $380.00 per cow (fell by 24%). That price adjustment reflects what producers see as the drop in the income earning potential of a purchased cow due to weak farm-level milk prices. The latest reported price was the lowest since October 1998.


Technical assistance grant money available for Climate Smart Ag programs | Posted on November 21, 2018

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is soliciting applications for technical assistance grants for Climate Smart Agriculture programss.The grants are for organizations that can provide assistance to applicants to the CSA programs.Nonprofit organizations, California academic institutions and California Resource Conservation Districts are eligible to apply.The three CSA programs are: State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), Healthy Soils Program (HSP), and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). The programs are designed to boost climate resiliency through water conservation, soil health improvement and water quality protections.“There is a significant need for technical assistance to support our Climate Smart Agriculture activities,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a news release. “I am pleased to offer another solicitation so our farmers and ranchers can get the technical help they need in calculating the required greenhouse gases and water savings.”Applicants may receive up to $60,000, depending on the number of programs and funding cycles. Applications must be submitted by email to later than Nov. 30. Grants will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis.

Judge blocks Trump administration from denying asylum claims to immigrants who cross border illegally

CNN | Posted on November 21, 2018

In an order laced with language accusing President Donald Trump of attempting to rewrite immigration laws, a federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government late Monday night from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry.Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that a policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point '"irreconcilably conflicts" with immigration law and the "expressed intent of Congress.""Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," Tigar wrote, adding that asylum seekers would be put at "increased risk of violence and other harms at the border" if the administration's rule is allowed to go into effect.The temporary restraining order is effective nationwide and will remain in effect until December 19, when the judge has scheduled another hearing, or further order of the court.

Farmers Are Seeking More Temporary H-2A Workers, And Keeping Them Longer

Nebraska Public Radio | Posted on November 21, 2018

The high-desert town of Palisade, Colorado, is synonymous with fresh, locally grown peaches. Years ago, thousands of migrant workers would flock here each year in October to harvest the fuzzy fruit. But today, on its narrow dirt roads, Bruce Talbott drives a truck loaded down with 9 tons of wine grapes.For more than 100 years and five generations, Talbott’s family has grown mostly peaches. But he’s diversified, he said, because in the early 2000s, that pool of labor began drying up. Now, he grows peaches, grapes, cherries and pears, all of which ripen at different points in the season.“There’s not a labor pool that would allow us to pick that volume of fruit all at once,” he said.Across the country, farmers have voiced concerns over what they say is a growing labor shortage. While there are about 2.7 million agricultural workers in the U.S. — about half undocumented immigrants — farmers say finding reliable local workers has become increasingly difficult, especially for hand-picked fruit and vegetable crops.That’s why an increasing number are turning to the federal H-2A visa program, which allows farmers to bring in workers temporarily from foreign countries. In the 2018 fiscal year, more than 240,000 H-2A visas were granted: a record and a 21 percent increase from about a year ago.

Farm Bureaus set up California disaster relief funds

Capital Press | Posted on November 21, 2018

The California Farm Bureau Federation, Butte County Farm Bureau and Butte Ag Foundation are accepting donations to help farms, ranches and rural communities damaged by wildfires, floods and natural disasters.

Wisconsin:More cattle found infected with TB

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on November 21, 2018

A series of whole-herd tests have found several more cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis in a Dane County herd. The animal health incident began in late September when a cow at slaughter had lesions in its lungs consistent with TB.The incident is unusual since Wisconsin has had TB-free status since 1980 and staff at her branch of the agency have no experience dealing with this kind of incident – although they have regular drills to rehearse what to do in cases like this.The genetic testing of the organism isolated from that first cow, which was diagnosed with the disease at slaughter, showed that it matched the DNA of a tuberculosis organism isolated from a worker who had been diagnosed with the disease when he was employed at the farm briefly in 2015.

Bankers Expect Farmland Prices to Continue Decline

Creighton University | Posted on November 21, 2018

For a ninth straight month, the overall index rose above growth neutral. On average, bankers estimated that farmland prices declined by 4.0 percent over the past 12 months and expect farmland prices to fall by another 3.2 percent over the next 12 months. Approximately one-fifth of bank CEOs expect low farm income and falling farmland prices to present the greatest challenge to banking operations over the next 5 years. Loan demand by farmers remains strong.