Tag Archives: agriculture

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Panelists at a discussion in Lincoln will cover strategies for increasing agricultural production to meet global demand.

The discussion is part of the Heuermann Lecture series sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

The discussion will be followed by a showing of a documentary film, “Follow the Water.”

Experts say ag production must increase more than 70% by 2050 to meet the worldwide demand for food, fuel, feed and fiber.

Hip hip, hooray! It’s the American Farm Bureau’s 100th birthday!

Join Alex and Rebel on this week’s edition of Friday Five, as they discuss trade with China, a major hit to the dairy industry, and more. 

 

Stories:

5- Farm Bureau turns 100

4- The Scoop on Ben & Jerry’s 

3- China Hog Herd: Five Year to Bounce Back 

2- China Lifts Five-Year Ban on U.S. Poultry

1- Largest Milk Producer Files Bankruptcy 

 

 

The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results are out this week, showing that over 231,400 farms irrigated 55.9 million acres. That included 83.4 million acre-feet of water in the United States.

By way of comparison, the 2013 survey showed there were just over 229,230 farms that irrigated 55.3 million acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that even though the number of farms irrigating, and the amount of land increased slightly over those five years, the total amount of water used to irrigate land actually declined.

The 83.4 million acre-feet of water used to irrigate land in 2018 represent a 5.8 percent drop from 2013. The average acre-feet applied to land was 1.5, which is lower than the 1.6 in 2013. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.

The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the U.S. was dedicated to cropland, including grains and oilseeds, vegetables, nurseries, greenhouses, as well as hay crops. The survey also shows that more acres are irrigated with sprinkler systems than with gravity irrigation.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is hoping that a third round of trade aid payments to farmers will be unnecessary in 2020 because of a new trade deal with China.

The Hagstrom Report says Perdue spoke with reporters last week shortly after returning from a “successful” trade mission to Mexico. Farmers “would rather have trade than aid,” Perdue says. At the same time, he did say the second round of 2019 trade aid is approved and will be heading to farmers soon. “We have just gotten authorization on the second tranche,” he said. “I expect payments to be out to farmers by late November or early December.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was one of the big topics of conversation on the trip to Mexico.

Perdue says Mexican officials are hoping Congress will sign off on the agreement as soon as possible. “They’ve done their work, as you know, and they’re anxious for us to complete our task as well,” Perdue says. Immigration was another topic of conversation with Mexican officials. Perdue is hopeful that the Mexican government will begin a program to “pre-certify” workers southeast Mexico for the H-2A Program. Southeast Mexico is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.

The October Ag Economy Barometer improved to a reading of 136 in October, up 15 points compared to September. The monthly measure of the farm economy saw an increase in the assessment of current and future conditions by farmers.

The Current Conditions Index rose from 100 in September to 115 in October, and the Futures Expectations Index also rose 15 points to a reading of 146. The results are based upon a nationwide telephone survey of 400 U.S. crop and livestock producers. Organizers say farmers in October were more inclined to think now is a good time to make large investments in their farming operations, and more farmers said they expect farmland values to rise, than in September.

Although three-fourths of farmers in this month’s survey said they expect the soybean trade dispute with China to be resolved favorably to U.S. agriculture, 62 percent of producers said they expect to receive another round of trade aid payments for the 2020 crop year.

Vice President Mike Pence again called on the House of Representatives to bring the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to a vote. Speaking at an event in Virginia over the weekend, Pence says Democrats in the House “are spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment.”

Pence told the event, “The time has come for your congressmen and every Democrat from Virginia to put politics aside and pass USMCA.” House Democrats maintain the impeachment process will not impede progress on the trade agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week hinted she was optimistic they could reach a deal with the White House.

Few days remain on the legislative calendar to pass the agreement this year, and the House is on recess this week. Pelosi told reporters last week, “hopefully we can do it sooner,” but she wouldn’t rule out the process stretching into next year. The U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to the accord now more than a year ago, and Mexico ratified the agreement this summer.

If an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) were to occur in the U.S. is the pork industry ready? Many parties are working to make sure it’s as ready as possible, but there may be more questions than answers. Dr. Sarah Tomlinson, Associate Deputy Administrator of the Strategy and Policy Unit within USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services, gave an update on the four ASF exercises that have been conducted this year to help the industry prepare. She spoke during a meeting of state veterinary officials, held in conjunction with the 2019 U.S. Animal Health Association annual meeting, in Providence, Rhode Island, this week.

The exercises involved veterinary officials from 14 pork-producing states, APHIS, state and national pork associations and private sector companies. Each exercise built upon the previous, to provide successive levels of preparedness.

The goal of the final exercise was to conduct a combination of functional exercises and drills over a four- day period with participation from federal, state and local agencies along with industry representatives. It took place in September and focused on the following major activities:

Day 1: Conduct a foreign animal disease (FAD) investigation and subsequent communication, coordination and engagement of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and the appropriate laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Day 2: Respond to and support a state, regional, or national movement standstill, depending on the pig population infected.

Day 3: Implement the planning and resource coordination associated with depopulating and disposing of infected and exposed swine.

Day 4: Implement a system to allow for continuity of business for non-infected operations within a control area. In addition to U.S. government and industry representatives, interested parties from Australia, Denmark, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also took part.

Action items identified

Participants learned a great deal by going through the exercises. As a result of the final exercise, several conclusions became evident.

National movement standstill

Many states and pig companies support a national-movement standstill at the start of an ASF outbreak if the disease is detected in commercial pigs in order to determine where the disease is and control immediate spread. Participants recognized the need for updates to the existing “Initial Movement

Standstill” guidance to include the start/stop time criteria, the grace period for pigs in transit and those

in livestock markets. APHIS will be working on this request with the stakeholders and will also determine the appropriate regulatory mechanism for a national movement standstill, should it be needed.

Indemnity policy

Compensation for animals that are depopulated during an outbreak is an important issue. States and the private sector have requested 100% fair market value payment for ASF-infected or exposed swine that are depopulated in order to prevent and control ASF spread. Currently, regulations allow for 50% of fair market value for animals and materials that are destroyed/depopulated, with the Secretary of Agriculture having the discretion to authorize up to 100%, Tomlinson said. APHIS supports the 100% fair market value; however, stakeholders acknowledge the fair market value for pigs may change rapidly in an outbreak situation. APHIS has committed to clarify what indemnity payment percentage is available, and what, if any, actions are needed at the start of an outbreak to implement it.

Rapid depopulation

ASF is a disease that moves very quickly – and can affect many pigs in a short amount of time. Stopping the spread of the disease involves depopulating affected and exposed animals. “During the exercise, some our state and industry partners asked us to provide guidance on what methods of rapid depopulation APHIS will support and how that would vary during the outbreak – whether APHIS would only support rapid depopulation at the start of an outbreak or throughout its duration,” Tomlinson said. “APHIS has committed to review the available information and make a decision to share with the states and industry.”

National surveillance and diagnostics

The ability to accurately detect the presence and absence of a disease is essential. In the event of an ASF detection, the states and the private sector want assurances their companies and networks are uninfected from ASF and may request wide-scale surveillance and pre-movement testing by company, network, or jurisdiction at the start of an ASF outbreak. APHIS is working with states and industry to further develop surveillance capabilities, including validation of multiple sample types (e.g., pooled whole blood, oral fluids) for use in an outbreak and prioritization criteria for testing samples to have ready for immediate implementation at the start of an outbreak.

Virus elimination

During any animal disease outbreak, cleaning and disinfection with the goal of eliminating the virus from infected areas is very important. States, the private sector, and APHIS will work together for better information and knowledge on defining adequate ASF virus elimination in different premises and environments, Tomlinson said. Additionally, APHIS was asked to provide details on how flat-rate virus elimination reimbursement will be calculated. The exercises were valuable, and provided an important foundation for follow-up procedures and mechanisms to help the industry deal with an FAD outbreak.

 

The USAHA addresses topics ranging from zoonotic diseases, to regulations, to specific diseases in cattle, horses, sheep, cervids, poultry and pigs, and much more. Leaders from government, industry and academia gather with producers to find solutions to health issues that help animal agriculture thrive.

Antitrust as defined in the dictionary is; relating to legislation preventing or controlling trusts or other monopolies, with the intention of promoting competition in business.

The word may invoke thoughts of Standard Oil and the Rockefeller family at the turn of the twentieth century. For agriculture producers monopoly may hit  a little closer to home with large mergers and acquisitions continuing to happen in the chemical and seed industries. Livestock producers for generations have known a concentrated packing industry. Yet is it on the tipping point of becoming an antitrust issue?

We explore that question and many others around antitrust and agriculture with Aaron Got, Bonalaw PC. Click below to listen in.

 

Representatives Zoe Lofgren of California and Dan Newhouse of Washington introduced comprehensive legislation that attempts to overhaul the nation’s agricultural labor programs. Politico says the legislation will attempt to “thread the needle” between agriculture and labor groups that have long butted heads over the issue.

The bill, called the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, would provide a way to legal status for undocumented farmworkers who’ve been working at least two years on their jobs and are planning to continue. The bill would also put into place a mandatory E-Verify system nationwide for farmers, something that would give conservatives incentive to support the bill. It will simplify the H-2A application process, cap wages for farmworkers, and it will raise funding for USDA programs that support housing for laborers.

It also attempts to meet the needs of dairy farmers and others who need year-round labor. The bill offers 40,000 extra green cards for agricultural labor and creates a capped program to grant three-year visas for workers in certain sectors, including dairy. Politico says it’s the latest attempt to bring together labor and ag groups, as well as convince both Republicans and Democrats to pass major reform to the farm labor system. It’s something that has failed multiple times in the past.

The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.

Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.

The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.

In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.