High Plains Public Radio

agriculture

Eric Gregory / Journal Star

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2016 Farm numbers were released last week. As Farm Futures reports, farm income for 2016 is forecast to drop by almost 15% from last year’s levels. This is the third straight year net cash farm income has dropped. Most of the income decrease can be attributed to a drop in income from livestock and animal products.  

Aphis

The last few decades have witnessed an unprecedented explosion of wild pigs in the continental U.S. Over the last 30 years, feral swine populations have ballooned to spread across 39 states.

As AgWeb reports, it’s now estimated that there are as many as 11 million pigs living wild in America. And these animals just seem to keep proliferating, no matter what ag operations try. USDA pig expert Jack Mayer says setting pigs loose on virgin land is akin to pouring water on gremlins.

AP photo

The Hutchinson News has published a different kind of Christmas list. This one comes from a farmer in Stanton County, Kansas, and it wasn’t written to Santa Claus. Instead, it’s addressed to Donald Trump.

Here are some of the requests of farmer Jim Sipes.

First, he wants the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass. Sipes says the TPP would be “very good for nearly all aspects of U.S. agriculture.”

Andy Sacks / Getty Images/MSNBC

Donald Trump won almost every farm state in this year’s presidential election. The electoral map is a wide swath of red, stretching from the Carolinas through much of the Midwest and into the Plains.

And, now that their man has won, farm groups say they’re hoping to change the president-elect’s mind about the economic importance of agricultural exports.

Southwest Kansas farmers develop dual disc cutter

Nov 21, 2016
Kopper Kutter, LLC

A Cimarron farmer, a custom cutter and a Manhattan agriculture consultant have designed, built, patented and distributed a new type of dual disc cutter that converts corn heads to harvest sorghum, sunflowers and cellulose, and other row crops.

theenergycollective.com

When Americans think of reducing emissions, our first thought usually has to do with factories pumping out black smoke. But, as the Energy Collective notes, agriculture is actually responsible for between 14 and 18 percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

And here on the High Plains, farmers and ranchers can all do their part to reduce America’s carbon footprint.

farmanddairy.com

In the past, HPPR has done separate stories on where the two major-party presidential candidates stand on agriculture. FarmandDairy.com has published a side-by-side comparison.

agri-pulse.com

Agriculture hasn’t exactly been the focus of this year’s presidential campaign.

Agri-pulse did their part to make up for that omission this week by reporting on how Hillary Clinton would approach agriculture policy in the event that she’s elected.

Keith Bishop / Rural Blog

Representatives for the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns recently clashed at a forum on agriculture and food issues, The Rural Blog reports.

Clinton was represented by Kathleen Merrigan, a former depuity agriculture secretary, while Trump was represented by Sam Clovis, a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Last Friday Abe Hubert Elementary School in Garden City hosted its first Ag Day. As reported in The Garden City Telegram, the event had several activities based around a common theme: agriculture.

Steve Gooch / The Oklahoman

The debate over a controversial agricultural ballot measure in Oklahoma is growing more heated, reports The Oklahoman.

SQ 777 is a constitutional amendment that would prevent Oklahoma lawmakers from passing legislation to regulate agriculture unless it has a “compelling state interest.” Rep. Scott Biggs said he authored the measure to limit the power of groups like the Humane Society.

Gabriela Pinto / Flickr Creative Commons

Working Mother magazine has released a list of the top 100 companies in the United States for working moms.

Suchat Pederson / Suchat Pederson, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal

Since December, six major agriculture companies have agreed to merge, including Dow and Dupont. The agriculture industry has since come under criticism for the “tsunami” of huge corporate mergers.

High Plains Journal

Kansas farmers are looking to build a relationship with Cuba, reports The High-Plains/Midwest Ag Journal.

agweb.com

As the ag industry continues to consolidate into larger and larger corporations, reactions from farmers and farm-groups have been decidedly mixed.

Joe Amon / The Denver Post

The United States has unseated Germany to become the top producer of hops in the world—thanks in large part to the efforts of Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, the U.S. has regained the title of world hop leader for the first time in decades. Over the last two years, Colorado has experienced an estimated 166 percent increase in total acres of hops planted. The acreage serves to support the state’s more than 300 craft breweries.

Rich / Creative Commons

A new study finds that, on average, Nebraska counties that receive a certain livestock-friendly designation gain more cattle farms and lose fewer hog farms than counties without it, reports The Sioux City Journal.

The designation is part of a program created by the Nebraska Legislature over ten years ago. Some rural counties are give0n the designation, and this often leads to more business.

WBAY

The total number of farms in the U.S. is decreasing. But the number of women-led farms has increased, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As WBAY reports, the percentage of primary farm operators who are women has doubled in the past 20 years. The share of farms owned by women is up to 14 percent now, according to the last census by the USDA.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In November Oklahoma voters will decide on State Question 777. Supporters are calling the ballot initiative a “right-to-farm” bill, but opponents prefer the term “right-to-harm.”

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, right-to-farm is a divisive national issue that’s made its way to Oklahoma. The question has pitted pro-agriculture activists against environmentalists and animal-rights activists in a statewide battle for votes.

Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald-Leader

A program in Kentucky could be used as a template for how to improve rural health care costs nationwide, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

A new initiative by the University of Kentucky has found that offering employees a share in a local farm harvest could impact health care costs.

Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post

At one time Colorado was one of the nation’s biggest apple producers, on par with Washington state. Colorado’s apple farmers even won gold medals at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, back in 1904.

Public Domain

A new report predicts that construction will be the fastest growing sector of Nebraska’s economy through 2018, says Net Nebraska. The study predicts that construction employment in Nebraska will reach a record level this year and continue to grow. The sector is expected to expand by almost 10 percent over 2007 levels. Much of the construction growth will be due to state tax dollars for roads projects.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

There’s a debate raging in Oklahoma ag circles about something known simply as “Question 777,” reports NewsOK.com. State Question 777 is a constitutional amendment that would prevent Oklahoma lawmakers from regulating agriculture in many cases. Legislators would only be able to act if the Oklahoma had a “compelling state interest” to change the laws. Voters will go to the polls in November to decide this “right to farm” question.

Travis Morrisse / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

Kansas net farm income in 2015 hit a 30-year low, reaching a level not seen since the 1980s farm crisis.

Accrual net farm income across 1,159 Kansas Farm Management Association farms averaged $4,568, drastically down from a five-year average of $120,000.

USDA.gov

The US Department of Agriculture has launched a new fund that will invest millions in rural agriculture businesses, reports The Rural Blog. The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund has the potential to pour as much as $100 million into rural food and agriculture. The fund also has high growth potential, the USDA said in a press release.

Calvin Mattheis / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

It is evident from the sweeping acres of sorghum, wheat and pastures of cattle, the irrigated circles that can be seen from the sky, and from the scenic overlook at Dodge City where thousands of cattle are fattening:

Kansas’ backbone is agriculture.

Rural Blog

Many High Plains residents are celebrating agriculture today. March 15 is National Ag Day, a holiday that falls right in the middle of National Ag Week, from March 13-19. This is the perfect chance to recognize the importance of local agricultural in your community, says The Rural Blog.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media

The number of farms and ranches in the U.S. is on the decline and the farms that remain are getting bigger, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. has lost nearly 120,000 farms since 2008, and 18,000 last year alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average farm size in the U.S. increased 5 percent over those 7 years, to an average size of 441 acres in 2015.

FHSU Gets More Than $700K Federal Grant for Ag Program

Feb 14, 2016
Fort Hays State University

HAYS – Fort Hay State University has been awarded a grant of more than $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop curricula focused on the use of small unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture, the university announced in February.

The program, under development by FHSU, is expected to enhance and improve the technical and analytical skill sets of future farm managers, technicians and crop advisors. The grant is part of a $4 million award to Non-Land Grant Colleges and Universities, according to a press release.

Allison McCartney / Reveal

A new venture from PRX and the Center for Investigative Reporting called Reveal has been producing shows of great interest to High Plains farmers and ranchers. One recent episode, “The Salmonella Shuffle” shows how the U.S. government still allows companies to sell chicken that is infected with salmonella.

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