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Agriculture News

Farmers’ Grain Bounty, Crop Exports Buoy U.S. Railroads

Wall Street Journal | Posted on November 30, 2016

Rail traffic is still recovering from years of steep declines in coal, oil shipments. Shipments of grain and soybeans are up around 6.5% this year, and set a record of over 26,000 carloads a week during the peak of the harvest in October, according to the Association of American Railroads, a trade group. Leasing company GATX Corp. said every one of its grain cars was in use during the third quarter. CSX Corp., the third-largest U.S. railroad, said grain shipments shot up 27% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, helping fuel a rally in the company’s stock.


Arkansas Proposes Stringent Rules on Dicamba-Based Herbicides

DTN | Posted on November 30, 2016

Many eyes were on the Arkansas state pesticide board Nov. 21 as officials that oversee pesticide regulations wrestled with decisions on dicamba herbicide. At the end of a packed, three-hour public meeting, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to push measures toward that state's governor that would ban some forms of the herbicide and limit how and when newer dicamba formulations are used in the state.  The situation has been brewing for months after cotton and soybean seeds engineered to tolerate dicamba were released in 2015 and 2016 without the special herbicides designed for those seeds. Some farmers who planted the Xtend-brand seeds later reached for existing dicamba herbicides, despite warnings from companies and state officials that those applications would be illegal.


Study: Barriers between producers, buyers hinder local food movement

Capital Press | Posted on November 30, 2016

The local food movement may be growing in popularity, but barriers exist between buyers and producers that make locally grown food harder to find, a pair of experts says.  Producers have difficulty finding local buyers to purchase a large portion of their crops, while buyers such as schools, restaurants, catering companies and stores complain they can’t get sufficient volume locally to meet their needs.  Those were the findings of a survey by California State University-Chico professor Jake Brimlow and Golden State Farm Credit marketing and outreach director Noelle Ferdon, who are a married couple.


Special Use Valuation in Texas: Wildlife Management Use

Texas Ag Law | Posted on November 30, 2016

Land in WMUV is valued based upon its appraised value prior to conversion to Wildlife Management Use.  For example, if prior to conversion, land was valuated under Open Space Valuation as native pasture, it would remain to be valued based upon native pasture calculation


Canada's Chicken Farmers Welcome Government Work on Illegal Imports

The Poultry Site | Posted on November 30, 2016

Canada's chicken farmers operate under the country's supply management system, which limits domestic production and imports to ensure level prices for farmers.  However, some importers are getting around the rules by importing broiler chicken meat labelled as spent fowl meat (meat producing from old laying hens). Chicken coming into Canada is subject to import controls, and spent fowl is not – there is no limit on how much can be imported.  The Duties Relief Program enables qualified companies to import goods without paying duties, as long as they later export the goods. Chicken Farmers of Canada says these border rules do not provide adequate safeguards to address the potential for diversion into the domestic market that is presented when chicken is imported into Canada for further processing and subsequent re-export.


Farmers Push Back Against Animal Welfare Laws

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on November 30, 2016

The restrictive laws have taken hold so far in states that have relatively small agriculture industries for animals and animal products and fewer large-scale farming operations. But producers in big farming states see the writing on the wall. Backed by state farm bureaus, large-scale industrial farmers are pushing for changes that would make it harder for states to further regulate the way they do business.  North Dakota and Missouri adopted amendments in the last few years that enshrined into their constitutions the right of farmers and ranchers to use current practices and technology. Legislatures in many states, including Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and West Virginia, considered proposed amendments this year. And Oklahoma voters this month rejected a similar amendment sent to them by the Legislature.  Farmers acknowledge that some people who do not spend much time on farms may object to some of their practices. But they say that they do not abuse animals and that their practices are the most efficient and safest way to keep up with demand for food. And, they say, complying with restrictions on raising poultry and livestock like those approved in Massachusetts are costly for them and for consumers.


Gov. Hickenlooper debuts “aggressive” new efforts to battle homelessness with marijuana tax dollars

The Denver Post | Posted on November 30, 2016

Gov. John Hickenlooper is proposing “aggressive” new efforts to address homelessness in Colorado, returning to an issue that helped launch his political career. The governor’s budget request for fiscal year 2017-2018 asks lawmakers to put $12.3 million in annual marijuana tax revenues toward building new housing units for people who experience chronic and episodic homelessness. His plan also includes another $6 million a year for housing for low-income residents and others with behavioral health needs.


Chicken producers asked for affidavits confirming price data

Bloomberg | Posted on November 29, 2016

U.S. chicken producers including Tyson Foods Inc. and Sanderson Farms Inc. are being asked by the Georgia Department of Agriculture to meet new requirements for a price index as the agency makes changes amid concerns about the reliability of the benchmark.  The department is asking the companies and their representatives to submit affidavits and attestations declaring the price data they supply for the weekly so-called Georgia Dock index is accurate. The documents are due Tuesday, agency spokeswoman Julie McPeake said Monday. Companies that don’t meet the new requirements won’t be able to participate in the index.  Tyson, the largest U.S. chicken producer, continues to provide pricing data to the department but is considering whether to submit the affidavit, company spokesman Worth Sparkman said by telephone Monday. Sanderson said last week it’s also considering signing the affidavit.  "We’ve used it for 40 years and everybody’s always had a lot of confidence in it,” Sanderson Chief Financial Officer Mike Cockrell said of the index in a Nov. 23 telephone interview. “I hope they get this right because as I say, we’ve used it so long.”


Horse Industry Takes The Reins In Georgia’s Economy

WABE 90.1 | Posted on November 28, 2016

Georgia’s equine industry is anything but a pony show — it has a $2.5 billion annual impact on the state’s economy, according to the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Equine.  Further, horses are the No. 9 commodity in the state with a value of more than $333 million, or about $279.8 million more than those famous Georgia peaches. That’s according to the 2014 Farm Gate Value Reports from the University of Georgia. While more than $750 million is generated from the breeding and care of the 74,000 horses in Georgia today, according to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, the state’s equine industry has two tales to tell. Some breeders and competitors say property taxes and land costs are causing them to move south of Atlanta.


Study says Maryland horse industry is rebounding, 'still healing'

Baltimore Sun | Posted on November 28, 2016

Maryland's horse industry hasn't recovered fully from years of decline but has regained its footing and is generating more than $1 billion a year — 23 percent more than in 2010, a study released Monday found.  The study, conducted by the Sage Policy Group, said the industry's nascent rebound appears to be accelerating.  "The last five years have represented a stark contrast from the prior three decades when Maryland's horse industry was in decline," said the study, paid for by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and a dozen other industry partners.  The study, released at Goucher College — which is building a new equestrian facility that soon will be the new home of the breeders association — quantified the extent of the industry's recovery and its ripple effect on the state's economy.


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