agriculture

Austin Price / The Texas Tribune

Funding for crucial safety net programs for thousands of Texas farmers expires Sept. 30. Congress has four working days to act.

From The Texas Tribune:

WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders are just days away from a deadline to work out a compromise on a massive farm bill or risk a lapse in funding for crucial safety net programs used by thousands of Texas farmers.

Kansas Wheat Yields Vary As Harvest Wraps Up

Jul 11, 2018
AGRILIFE TODAY / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Wheat harvest is close to wrapping up in Kansas and overall production is down from last year due to dry weather in some areas and hail damage in others. 

In northwest Kansas, as much as 1 million bushels of wheat were lost to hail.

Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag LLC in Colby, told Kansas Wheat that the area was hit with another hailstorm on Saturday.

“We have had five hail events since June 19, and fields that were missed from the previous storms got hit this time. Overall, the crop has good quality; unfortunately, we lost fields due to the hail storms."

H2O Radio

By H2O Radio:

"Dryland" farmers on the high plains of Colorado grow their crops with whatever falls from the sky—no irrigation, no pumped groundwater—just what Mother Nature delivers. In recent years some have been trying to innovate to protect their soils and conserve water to prepare for climate change. But they're getting pushback—not only from their neighbors and their own families—but also from the government.

The "Dirty Thirties"

Wheat producers in Kansas are worried about the potential for freeze damage after temperatures stayed below freezing for much of the weekend.

While it’s not unusual for Kansas to see spring freezes, the frigid temperatures and blowing wind over the weekend likely caused some damage to the state's wheat crop.

Big cities in the Midwest are gaining ground on the rural communities that, for many decades, have thrived on the edges of urban development.

It was an appropriate week for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade expert to address a gaggle of Nebraska farmers — even if their responses tended toward frustration.

Ted McKinney arrived in Omaha on Wednesday, the day China threatened to impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products including major exports like soybeans, beef and corn. China’s move came after the Trump administration’s attempt to reign in China’s abuse of intellectual property rules by proposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

If the proposals become reality they could undermine a stagnant farm economy, and not just in Nebraska. “We have bills to pay and debts we must settle and cannot afford to lose any market,” Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts said in a statement.

China has announced its intent to add additional tariffs to 106 U.S. products, including several of Kansas’ top agricultural exports.

Meant to fund the federal government through early September, the $1.3 trillion bill signed by President Donald Trump last week also includes money and changes for ag-related programs beyond the “grain-glitch” fix.

USDA

Farmers are going to attempt to appeal to President Donald Trump about his trade policies via television.

As Politico reports, the 30-second ad is sponsored by  Farmers for Free Trade, an advocacy group that wanted to make the case that foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and other pending trade restrictions will have a potentially devastating impact on their exports, if China and other trading powers decide to boost tariffs on soybeans, wheat and other farm goods.

Derek Klingenberg of Peabody, Kansas is kind of a farmer celebrity. His Youtube channel which has over 70,000 subscribers, features everything from ag-themed pop-music parodies to trombone covers, but what really caught our attention was his cow art.

Tuesday, Klingenberg took his cow art to the next level, when he posted a video where he herded his cows to spell out the word “Hi,” and took a snapshot from outer space. 

When a man places 40 dozen eggs on the conveyor in the check-out line at the grocery store, it begs the question: What’s he going to do with all of them?

No matter how far fruits or vegetables travel, whether they’re grown organically or conventionally, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutrients. The men and women in the fields try to grow foods with an eye to boosting the health factor, but researchers say it’s hard to measure the precise impact.

Partisan politics may meet its match in the 2018 farm bill.

The massive legislation, versions of which will be introduced this spring in the U.S. House and Senate, is shaping up to be less about political affiliations and more about finding common ground.

When Texans – mostly farmers and ranchers – sat down to write the state Constitution in the 1800s, they didn’t see the need for an elected agriculture commissioner.

That oversight was quickly remedied.

The latest drought report shows that all of Kansas is drying out, with the southern parts of the state now being considered in extreme drought.

But what impact could this weather pattern have if it sticks around?

More than 50 percent of the state is currently seeing drought conditions, up from only 1.5 percent three months ago. And assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp says the outlook for the next three months isn't much better.

From Texas Standard:

A lot of Texans will be paying close attention Monday to the words and tone of President Donald Trump as he addresses farmers and ranchers at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville. At a time when Texas is growing in population,  becoming less rural and more urban than it was 10 years ago, advocates say rural issues are no less important than they once were. And that's the message Trump aims to send during his Farm Bureau speech. But what do Texans want to hear, especially on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA?

After pushing for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump earlier this year kicked off negotiations among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Any major changes to the agreement could have a big impact on Kansas.

Kansas Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have said they’re open to updates but emphasize that the agreement needs to preserve or expand export opportunities.

Kansas City Federal Reserve

As the Omaha World Herald reports, with corn prices at around $3.50 per bushel, grain farmers in Nebraska are increasingly exhausting their cash supplies and taking out loans.

Brad Bauer, a senior vice president at Pinnacle Bank, told the Herald that the demand for operating loans for farmers in Nebraska has increased because many producers have exhausted their cash reserves.

CCO Creative Commons

Suicide rates among farmers are at a higher rate than other occupation in the United States.

As The Guardian reports, last year, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people working in agriculture – including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, fishers, and lumber harvesters – take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation.

The farm economy is showing some stability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, but the upswing doesn’t extend to all agricultural sectors.

Over the last three years, farm earnings have plummeted, eliciting concerns that the farm economy could tumble toward another farm crisis like the 1980s. For 2018, the USDA expects net farm income to rebound by a modest 3 percent nationwide, to $63 billion.

AlexCovarrubias / Wikimedia Commons

As the fifth round of NAFTA talks came to a close Tuesday in Mexico, the agriculture industry tried to convey the damage that would be done to the industry if a trade deal that is helping struggling sectors survive is terminated.

CCO Creative Commons

INMAN - It was over a bowl of popcorn on a winter evening last year that McPherson County farmer Dwight Baldwin began thinking of an alternative.

He had recently sifted through one of his latest farm publications, which touted alternative crops. However, like most of his neighbors, he and his son, Adam, have grown wheat, milo, soybeans and corn on their ground near Inman. Yet the farm economy centered around those traditional crops was struggling.

CCO Creative Commons

Overall corn production is expected to decrease slightly in Kansas but increase in Colorado.

According to Kansas Corn, in its October crop production estimate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is projecting Kansas corn production at 697 million bushels, down slightly from last year’s record harvest of 699 million bushels. NASS is predicting more harvested acres and a slightly higher yield.

CCO Creative Commons

It’s a blue-sky day as hired hand Mike Apfel sits in the cab of a combine, gliding through 12 rows at a time in big field near South Hutchinson.

If all goes well this last field of corn of the season might be done by nightfall - well before thunderstorms halt machinery this week.

Not that there isn’t plenty to do in autumn on the farm.

It’s October. While corn is done, the marathon of autumn continues.

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is one step closer to a new post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Northey appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. He answered questions about a variety of farm-support and conservation programs he would oversee as undersecretary from the farm and foreign agricultural services.

Survey: Cover Crops Improve Yields

Sep 28, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture

According to a recent survey, farmers are seeing a number of benefits of using cover crops, including better yields.

As High Plains Journal reports, based on a 2017 Cover Crop Survey - conducted by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and the Conservation Technology Information Center -  of just over 2,000 farmers, corn yields increased 2 to 3 bushels per acre, wheat yields increased 1.9 bushels per acre and soybean yields increased 2.1 bushels per acre.

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

There are a lot of players in farm bill discussions nowadays, and as Politico reports, all of them - in one way or another - are related.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Elise Golan, sustainable development director at the USDA, said the farm bill is flawed in that it segregates by topics such as nutrition, trade, conservation and horticulture.

Wikipedia / National Science Foundation

Five Kansas universities will collaborate on an agricultural research project examining the role that microorganisms play in the environment.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University and Haskell Indian Nations University will cooperate on the $20 million research project, being funded by the National Science Foundation.

Local Farmers Cash In On Corn Tortillas

Sep 12, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Many in the High Plains region regularly enjoy the tortilla chips – an item more local than what might think - that, along with a bowl of salsa, typically precede Mexican meals.

As The High Plains Journal reports, Leon and Nancy Winfrey of Plains, Kansas own Southwest Tortillas – made with food grade white corn grown on their farm. The family sells fresh corn tortillas to restaurants in Kansas and Oklahoma.

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