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Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC Recalls Raw Ground Turkey Products due to Possible Salmonella Reading Contamination

WASHINGTON– Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, a Barron, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be associated with an illness outbreak of Salmonella Reading, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSI...

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Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC Recalls Raw Ground Turkey Products due to Possible Salmonella Reading Contamination

WASHINGTON– Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, a Barron, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be associated with an illness outbreak of Salmonella Reading, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSI...

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Trump says will name EPA's acting chief to post permanently

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he will name the Environmental Protection Agency's acting head, Andrew Wheeler, to the post permanently. Trump made the announcement almost in passing Friday at a White House ceremony for Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees. The president sing...

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(Video) Friday Five - Thanksgiving Special (November 16, 2018)

Hannah Borg and Alex Voichoskie are especially excited for the upcoming holiday! (So much so, they feature TWO stories this week link Thanksgiving  to agriculture.) In the Thanksgiving edition of Friday Five, learn more about UNL's Beef Industry Summit, traceable turkeys, the U.S. Capitol tree t...

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Animal Welfare Institute Sues USDA over Label Claims

The Animal Welfare Institute is suing the Department of Agriculture for what it calls “unreasonable delay in responding” to a 2014 petition. AWI asked the agency in 2014 to require independent certification of certain animal raising label claims. The Administrative Procedure Act requires fede...

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(Video) Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12. “Since 2015,...

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Crops

GE corn may help offset effects of climate change

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Count Kansas State University agricultural economist Jesse Tack among those who recognize unique challenges created by the world’s rising demand for food and changing climates across the globe. Tack and Ariel Ortiz-Bobea of Cornell University recently published a study in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, looking at the impact of climate change on corn yields in eight Midwestern states. The study shows pretty clearly that corn varieties improved by modern technology have an upside for overcoming emerging climate-change concerns. The researchers paired 35 years of climatic data with United States producers’ adoption of genetically engineered (GE) corn to find out if incorporating a new technology can offset the effects of higher temperatures and other weather impacts. These and other technologies “may be a fruitful strategy for counter-balancing climate change,” according to the researchers. Recently developed genetic engineering techniques, such as CRISPR, are likely to play a large role moving forward. Tack said there is more work to be done to understand potential effects with other agricultural crops and in countries where GE crops are accepted. “The hope is that this is not just a one-time, one-shot technological gain,” Tack said. “We think we can continue to press the envelope and continue to innovate and improve crop yields.” GE corn is thought to produce higher yields, and in 1996 – when U.S corn producers were first adopting varieties with these improved traits – that certainly held true. Tack said the study showed yield trends increased by nearly 70 percent during the rapid adoption period, from approximate gains of 0.94 percent per year prior to 1996 to 1.6 percent afterward. “It’s really convenient when you have (a crop) that is highly produced in the U.S. across a wide range of locations and been produced for a long time,” Tack said. “That gives us a big enough data set that we can make estimates that we can feel comfortable with. And if that coincidentally is a crop that is pretty important from a global standpoint, you kind of have a nice mixture of this being something that is worth studying and you have the data to do it.” Tack noted the study looked at corn yields from 1981 through 2015 in eight states and 500 counties. Then, looking at climatic conditions for those same years, the researchers built trend lines that gave them a better idea of how weather conditions affected yields before and after adoption of GE corn. “The reason it got interesting is because if you had a string of good-weather events coinciding with the adoption of the GE crop, and you didn’t control for those factors in your analysis, you might end up saying, GE is just gangbusters,” Tack said. On the other hand, “you might have really bad weather that coincided with GE adoption,” which could skew the impacts in the other direction, he said. “You have a big debate in the research literature about whether GE adoption is even associated with yield gains,” Tack said. “Previous work that I was part of with Jayson Lusk at Purdue University and Nathan Hendricks at K-State suggested that if you don’t control for weather, you get that answer really wrong.” Tack noted the current study assumes average weather during the growing season and  acknowledged that technology alone is not the answer to increasing yields in changing climates. Producers tend to adjust their management strategies based on weather or other climatic factors. “We are not saying anything about increased probabilities of very severe droughts nor extreme events,” he said. “We’re always talking about an average growing season in terms of temperature and precipitation over the last 20-25 years, and then we’ve got these climate change models that will tell us how the temperature and the precipitation will change for an average growing season.” The full study is available online at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aae9b8.

Lower Income Continues to Pressure Farm Finances

Farm income and credit conditions continued to deteriorate in the third quarter of 2018, according to a Federal Reserve Bank survey. The Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions shows more than half of bankers reported lower farm income compared to a year ago, and the decline in farm income was sharpest in states with higher concentrations in corn and soybeans. The district includes seven Midwest and Plains states in the Western Corn Belt. The survey found prices for most major commodities remained lower than a year ago amid elevated supply expectations and ongoing trade disruptions. The prolonged period of depressed farm income has placed more pressure on borrower balance sheets. According to bankers across the region, many crop producers in 2018 had a modest deterioration in working capital. For the fifth straight year, a majority of bankers reported having borrowers with some depletion of short-term operating funds. Stress on farm finances also contributed to an increase in the expected sale of mid- to long-term assets in 2018.

Living Soil Film Documents Soil Health Movement

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released a 60-minute documentary that captures the history – and significance – of the soil health movement. “Never have I seen, among farmers, such a broad quest for (soil health) knowledge as I’m seeing now,” says Barry Fisher, United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service.  “And this interest in soil health extends far beyond the farm gate,” adds Bill Buckner, President of the Noble Research Institute and Chair of the Board of SHI. “Consumer packaged goods companies, environmental groups, financial investors, and many others are recognizing the importance and value of improving soil health.” Living Soil captures the background of the current soil health movement and its momentum, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitions to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health. The film features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, selling everything from corn to bouquets, united by their care for the soil. The documentary is directed by Chelsea Myers, founder of Tiny Attic, a video production company located in Columbia, Missouri that specializes in documenting real moments and real people. Myers has evolved as a visual storyteller for a diverse range of projects as a director, producer, editor, illustrator, cinematographer, and animator. With a fiercely creative spirit, Myers and her Tiny Attic crew pursue meaningful work regionally and around the world. “This is a film for everyone who cares about our natural resources,” says Wayne Honeycutt, President & CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “The innovative farmers in this documentary are showing us the way to grow our food in concert with the environment.” The documentary is available online. To download the documentary, visit https://livingsoilfilm.com.  For information on SHI, to become involved in the soil health movement, and to subscribe to SHI communications, visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org.

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Livestock

American Farmland Trust Partners with Smithfield Brand, Farmland to Save the Land that Sustains Us

Today, American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, announces its partnership with Farmland, maker of high-quality, popular consumer goods such as bacon and sausage, to save farmland and ranchland. Now through Dec. 31, 2019, Farmland has pledged to protect one square foot of American farmland for every Pure Farmland item purchased, by donating funds from these products to AFT to further its mission. The loss of America’s farmland is an urgent issue. AFT’s “Farms Under Threat” report--  the most comprehensive report ever released on the loss of farmland and ranchland in the U.S -- revealed we are losing farmland at an alarming rate: 31 million acres lost between 1992 and 2012, 175 acres per hour, 3 acres per minute,  lost forever. Land no longer available to produce the food, fuel and fiber that sustains our society. “Our future depends on having enough farmland to both feed us and restore our planet. And this requires a holistic vision of the future: one that acknowledges farmland as irreplaceable infrastructure we cannot afford to lose; that sees farming practices that improve soil health as necessary for that land to serve us in perpetuity; and that views farmers as the stewards of that land, worthy of our fervent support –because at heart, what these farmers do is for all of us,” says John Piotti, president and CEO, AFT. He continues, “This partnership will help consumers understand the threats to American farmland and further AFT’s mission of protecting the nation’s farmland and ranchland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. We are grateful for Farmland’s support.” Farmland has a long-standing dedication to working farmers and offers products that people can feel good about serving to their family. For every package sold in its new product line, Pure Farmland, Farmland will donate the cost of protecting one square foot of farmland, up to $140,000. These donations will help AFT continue to further its mission of not only protecting the nation’s farmland and ranchland, but also promoting sound farming practices and supporting farmers. “For nearly 60 years, Farmland has relied on the tireless work of farmers to offer our loyal consumers products that they can trust,” said Megan Thomas, senior brand manager for Smithfield Foods. “As we enter this next chapter for our brand, we’re honored to partner with American Farmland Trust to further showcase the fundamental role our nation’s rich farmland plays in offering our consumers a wholesome protein option for every meal.” For more information on Farmland and how to give back to American Farmland Trust, visitFarmlandFoods.comFacebook.com/FarmlandFoods, or @FarmlandFoods. Farmland is a brand of Smithfield Foods.

(Video) Friday Five - Thanksgiving Special (November 16, 2018)

Hannah Borg and Alex Voichoskie are especially excited for the upcoming holiday! (So much so, they feature TWO stories this week link Thanksgiving  to agriculture.) In the Thanksgiving edition of Friday Five, learn more about UNL's Beef Industry Summit, traceable turkeys, the U.S. Capitol tree tour and more! STORIES: 5) UNL Beef Industry Summit 4) GROW at FarmHer 3) Trace Your Turkey Back to its Farm 2) U.S. Capitol Tree to Make Stops in Gering, Scottsbluff, Nebraska City 1) Turkey Day TipsTid-Bits

(Video) Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12. “Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. The featured food on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – cost slightly less than last year, coming in at $21.71 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.36 per pound, down 3 percent from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2014. “Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well,” Newton said.    Credit: AFBF    The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers. Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey were a gallon of milk, $2.92; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.39; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.47; and a dozen rolls, $2.25. Several items saw modest price increases this year including cranberries, pumpkin pie mix and stuffing. A 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was $2.65; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.33; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing was $2.87; two nine-inch pie shells came in at $2.47 and a 1-pound veggie tray was $.75. A group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) was also up slightly, to $3.01. There was no change in price for a half-pint of whipping cream at $2.08.    Credit: National Turkey Federation    The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.1 percent increase over the past year (available online at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm) the Farm Bureau survey shows a decline of less than 1 percent. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the most affordable in more than a decade. New this year, to capture the diversity in Thanksgiving meals across the U.S., American Farm Bureau also checked prices on a 4-pound bone-in ham, 5 pounds of Russet potatoes and 1-pound of frozen green beans. “Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $61.72 or about $6 per person,” said Newton. A total of 166 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 37 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Farm Bureau also surveyed the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. This revealed that the convenience of food delivery does have a larger price tag. A 16-pound turkey was nearly 50 percent more expensive at nearly $2 per pound when purchased from a food delivery service. Nearly every individual item was more expensive compared to the Farm Bureau average and the total cost of the dinner was about 60 percent higher at about $8 per person. The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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Technology

Urban Meets Ag: Lincoln Students Experience and Explore Agriculture

LINCOLN, NE -- Agriculture is not just farming and ranching. That was the focus of "Ag Day" at Lincoln Southeast High School on Monday Nov. 5. The Career Academy (TCA) and Southeast Community College joined forces to host the second annual "Ag Day" in an effort to bring agriculture education and awareness to the middle of Lincoln. Roughly 500 freshmen and sophomore biology students at Lincoln Southeast High School had the opportunity to engage in hands-on agriculture activities and explore agriculture careers. SCC agriculture students managed three stations: a horticulture station, a precision agriculture station and an animal science station. TCA students explained their program and involvement in the agriculture and biosciences pathway. Click here to listen to students and presenters. Audio with Annie Erichsen, SCC Agriculture Program Chair Isaiah Knuth, senior TCA student Emily Clark, Lincoln Southeast sophomore [gallery order="DESC" ids="345873,345872,345871"]

Fixed 5G Wireless Not Likely to Bridge Urban-Rural Divide

Fixed 5G wireless is an unlikely candidate to solve rural America’s broadband challenges, according to a new report by CoBank. Rural telecommunication providers have identified 5G fixed wireless as a potential option. However, the report says high costs, competition, spectrum propagation and ecosystem headwinds stand in the way. Verizon is implementing 5G in urban markets, but a CoBank spokesperson says “they are facing operational and technical issues that will limit the scale of its 5G fixed wireless deployments.” Because of the technical issues, CoBank says “we don't see the use of millimeter-wave spectrum in fixed wireless networks extending to rural markets.” There are measures underway that will open opportunities for some rural network deployments. However, uncertainties related to the cost of acquiring licensed rights could be problematic. Further, the report says that Verizon, the leader in 5G fixed wireless, faces stiff competition from cable operators in urban and suburban areas, which presents a challenge to offer a competitively priced product while maintaining profitability.

Farmers Edge Releases the Industry’s First Automatic Crop Health Change Detection Tool Highlighting the ROI of Daily Satellite Imagery

WINNIPEG, Manitoba--Farmers Edge™ released a ground-breaking, digital tool that automatically scans satellite imagery and notifies growers of changes in their fields. Building upon the release of daily satellite imagery in 2017 and over 70 new features and tools launched this year, new Health Change Maps and Notifications function as an integrated toolset designed to accelerate the speed of decision-making when crop issues emerge. This unique precision digital tool pinpoints potential problems, including pests, disease, nutrient deficiencies, inclement weather, missed application, equipment malfunction, drainage issues, and more. This innovative technology enhances the value of daily imagery by helping growers save time, identify issues quicker, and react to crop stress before yield is impacted. On average, growers spend anywhere from three to six minutes per field checking their imagery and those minutes add up. Growers no longer need to spend an hour or more out of their busy schedules reviewing imagery; their work doesn’t begin until Health Change Maps identify an area of alert and inform the grower through an automatic Notification. “Last year, we solved the challenge of infrequent, inconsistent imagery available to growers with the integration of daily satellite imagery into our platform,” said Wade Barnes, CEO of Farmers Edge. “Now, growers see at least one, if not multiple, field images per day – which is a good problem to have, but it can also be time-consuming. Our growers’ needs drive our commitment to build digital solutions that are simple, fast, and trustworthy, so we developed this revolutionary tool that automatically detects, pulls, and delivers the insights they need.” The power of the tool lies in the proprietary algorithms that detect significant changes in high-frequency, high-resolution satellite imagery that Farmers Edge makes available to customers. These algorithms automatically trigger a notification, outlining positive or negative vegetative changes in the field, delivered to the grower by email. With a simple tap, the grower is directed to Map Manager in FarmCommand – an all-in-one farm management platform – to view the Health Change Map and the exact locations and details of the change. “We understand growers want an effortless and enriching experience when accessing and using their data,” continued Barnes. “People ask us what we do with data and this is a prime example of how we’re delivering on our promise to create a precision digital platform that integrates all aspects of farming to support informed and profitable decision making.” Growers have the option of setting the notification parameters and ability to add other users to receive notifications, making sharing valuable information effortless. This builds on to the list of notifications released earlier this year, including Rainfall and Growth Stage Notifications.

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Ag Policy

Trump says will name EPA's acting chief to post permanently

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he will name the Environmental Protection Agency's acting head, Andrew Wheeler, to the post permanently. Trump made the announcement almost in passing Friday at a White House ceremony for Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees. The president singled out Wheeler in the audience at the ceremony, adding Wheeler "is going to be made permanent" at EPA. Wheeler has served as the EPA's acting head since July, when then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid ethics scandals. A former lobbyist for coal and other industries, Wheeler has a reputation as a lower-profile, methodical steward of the Trump administration's deregulatory mission. Trump said Friday that Wheeler was doing a "fantastic job."

Animal Welfare Institute Sues USDA over Label Claims

The Animal Welfare Institute is suing the Department of Agriculture for what it calls “unreasonable delay in responding” to a 2014 petition. AWI asked the agency in 2014 to require independent certification of certain animal raising label claims. The Administrative Procedure Act requires federal agencies to respond to petitions for rulemaking within a reasonable time. After four and a half years, the organization says it has not received a reply from USDA. The petition specifically asked USDA to require third-party audits to substantiate holistic claims, such as “humane” and “sustainable,” so that consumers know these claims are verified prior to appearing on food labels. According to an October online survey of more than 2,000 consumers commissioned by AWI, 86 percent of meat/poultry/egg/dairy consumers agreed that the government should not allow the use of claims like “humanely raised” on food product labels unless verified by an independent inspection.

Roberts, Conaway, Engaged in Finger-pointing

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel calls passing a farm bill a top priority for the lame duck session, but the conference committee must first come to an agreement. Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts was hopeful for an agreement Thursday, but said House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway refused to come to an agreement, blaming the delay on the Texas Republican. However, Conaway called Roberts comments “finger-pointing” that would not help to bring about a deal, according to Politico. Roberts noted that Conaway was holding out on signing the conference report because he has concerns with at least six titles of the bill, including commodity, nutrition and conservation. Roberts said of the conference committee leadership he is “very troubled by the fact that we have agreement among three, but we can’t get the fourth one.” Conaway says he has “some things” he hasn’t agreed to, but adds that so does Roberts, and Ranking Senate Ag Member Debbie Stabenow and Ranking House Ag Member Collin Peterson. Conway concludes “pick your poison as to who you think is standing in the way.”

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Markets

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