agriculture

Colorado farm and ranch income has hit its lowest level in 30 years, according University of Colorado Boulder research.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, much of agriculture is suffering in Colorado, which like other parts of the High Plains region is facing low corn, wheat and cattle prices.

Roberts: First farm bill hearing to be held in Kansas

Jan 30, 2017
Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation's first farm bill hearing will take place in Kansas.

Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan announced the hearing on the 2018 farm bill Wednesday.

According to a press release from the committee, the hearing will be Feb. 23 at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.

Wikimedia Commons

Some regulatory freezes instituted by President Donald Trump could be damaging to the country’s farm belt, according to some agricultural groups.

As Reuters reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of this year’s biofuels requirements along with 29 other regulations finalized in the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to a government notice, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay rules affecting livestock.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

Lane County farmer Vance Ehmke calls himself one of those guys who sees a dark cloud in front of every silver lining.

Ehmke, who sells certified seed, harvested the best wheat crop of his lifetime in June. But as a glut of grain piled high at many Kansas elevators, commodity prices collapsed, sending producers into a farm crisis not seen since the 1980s.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media

Update 1/25/2017: The Agricultural Research Service rescinded its initial directive in an email to employees Tuesday evening.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media

Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), received an email from the division’s chief of staff ordering them to stop publicizing their work.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” the email from Sharon Drumm reads, in part. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

Kansas State Research and Extension

The annual Cover Your Acres Winter Conference is taking place tomorrow and Wednesday in Oberlin.

As Kansas Agland reports, agricultural producers, consultants and experts will gather for the 14th annual conference, which is being held at the Gateway Civic Center.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

President Obama’s two-term agriculture secretary will soon slip through one of Washington’s revolving doors and switch from government official to private sector executive eager to push for an industry agenda.  

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group that pushes for access to foreign markets, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Down times in farm country persist, but not yet a ‘crisis’

Jan 17, 2017
Elliot Chapman

Farmers across the Midwest are trying to figure out how to get by at a time when expected prices for commodities from corn, to wheat, to cattle, to hogs mean they’ll be struggling just to break even.

“Prices are low, bins are full, and the dollar is strengthening as we speak and that’s just making the export thing a little more challenging,” says Paul Burgener of Platte Valley Bank in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new U.S. government study claims ethanol is better for the environment than most scientists initially expected, boosting an industry that is a boon to Midwest farmers but challenged by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

Wikimedia Commons

Farming is one of the most dangerous professions in the nation.

As High Plains Journal reports, the pitfalls and hazards of farming are so many and varied that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls it one of the most dangerous professions in the U.S.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Soon-to-be-former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will join team dairy after he leaves his position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As Politico reports, Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal investigation has been launched into the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million by an employee of an obscure state board that promotes the beef industry, money created by a mandatory government program funded by farmers and ranchers.

Watch: Down times have farmers looking to cut costs

Jan 9, 2017
Harvest Public Media

The federal government expected net farm income and farm profits to fall in 2016, the third-straight year of declines. That means farmers and ranchers are taking a closer look at their finances, and many aren’t very optimistic about their prospects for 2017.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering organic producers and handlers federal reimbursement to cover the cost of organic certification.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

President-elect Donald Trump appears to be closing in on a choice to head the Agriculture Department in his administration—and a few Texans are at the top of the list.

As Politico reports, Trump will meet with Former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano today at the president-elect’s Florida resort, known as Mar-a-Lago. Trump also plans to speak tomorrow with controversial Texas ag commissioner Sid Miller.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Controversial federal rules that would change the production of organic meat may not be finalized before President Barack Obama leaves office, leaving open the possibility that they may never go into effect.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Cropland in the Midwest is losing its value as the downturn in the agriculture economy continues, according to a number of surveys by agricultural economists. Record-high crop prices contributed to record-high land values in 2012 and 2013, but now, that party is over.

Brian McGuirk / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Agland is taking a look at the agriculture economy from the perspective of farmers and farm implement dealers, who are finding ways to adapt.

An overabundant supply in wheat, corn and every other crop has pushed the prices of those commodities below what many farmers need to break even.

Chicken farmers hope Trump will back regulation

Dec 13, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Rural voters, many of them farmers, helped get Donald Trump elected last month, and now chicken farmers in particular are hoping that he will get behind Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Adminstration (GIPSA) rules.

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.

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