farming

Colorado State University

A Colorado State University crop and soil scientist recently secured funding for sites in northeastern Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska to look at ways diversifying crop rotations and using cover crops can maintain yields, keep soils productive, reduce environmental impacts and address retention of soil carbon and water.

Megan Schipanski, CSU crop and soil scientist, applied for the grant and extension personnel on the High Plains will be assisting in local areas by providing a solid producer base for onsite research

Creative Commons CC0

A western Kansas farming family struggling to keep their fifth-generation farming operation afloat amidst a slump in corn, wheat and other commodity prices is featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the struggling farm economy.

The ongoing slump in corn, wheat and other commodity prices, caused by global oversupply, is putting many farmers in debt and in some cases, resulting in farm closures.

CC0 Public Domain

Options are available to those interested in getting into farming or ranching.

According to the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA), alternative crops and high value markets offer profit potential and lower risk for new farmers.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

TOPEKA – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey are urging government officials to consider that Kansas landowners have implemented efforts to protect the lesser prairie chicken and that a threatened or endangered listing is not warranted.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Perhaps no one is as aware of the climate and its impact on the earth than a farmer.

The New York Times recently featured one such farmer in north central Kansas, Doug Palen, a fourth-generation farmer who the Times reports has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust.

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.

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.

An international study published in the journal, Nature Communications, reports that harvests in the United States are likely to shrink by a between one-fifth to half their current sizes due to rising temperatures over the next century.

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.

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.

Two local farming families from Amarillo and a non-profit organization partnered together to provide weekend snack packs for kids at risk for hunger across the Texas Panhandle and San Antonio a few years ago, and now feeds over 7000 students per week.

More urban farms sprouting with USDA's help

Dec 29, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Farming, a largely rural activity, is moving to the cities, as urban farms continue to grow with help from the federal government.

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.

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.

David McDaniel / The Oklahoman

A new Oklahoma ballot initiative would make it harder to regulate agriculture in the state, reports NewsOK.com.

SQ 777 is a constitutional amendment that would prevent the State of Oklahoma from regulating agriculture unless it has a “compelling state interest.”

artbandito / Creative Commons

Economies are continuing to weaken among ten Western and High Plains states with large rural populations, reports The Columbia Missourian. The info comes from a monthly survey of bankers. Those surveyed hailed from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Rural Blog

In the near future we may see robots replacing workers on farms, reports The Rural Blog.

In the past, the main barrier to replacing human labor with mechanical workers has been price. But now, those costs are lowering, according to a Boston-based firm that studies new technology. Meanwhile, farm wages are rising. When wages overtake the cost to run robots in the fields, humans will be replaced.

USDA / Rural Blog

Many rural areas in America are becoming less reliant on agriculture and more oil and gas dependent, reports The Rural Blog. According to the USDA, over the last ten years the number of farming dependent counties in the US has dropped. In that same period, the number of mining-dependent counties grew by 60 percent.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The 21st century farm has come a long way from a simple matter of sowing and reaping. To keep up with the future, notes NetNebraska, many farmers are employing business school techniques. For example, David Muth of Ames, Iowa, breaks down his farm operation into individual one-acre datasets.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

ST. JOHN – For about two months of the year, Stafford County farmer Jordan Hickel would run his pricey combine through wheat fields in June, followed by fall commodities like corn and soybeans.

Then the machine would sit silent in the shed, awaiting the next harvest season.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

There are mounting concerns about the direction of the farm economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farm income to fall for the third year in a row in 2016. At the same time, farmers are borrowing billions more from banks to get by.

GOP Lawmakers Incensed Over USDA Farmer Surveys

Dec 28, 2015
shfwire.com

Last year the USDA mailed surveys to landowners all over the US. The survey for landowners who farm their own land was 24 pages long. The answered forms were used to generate data on the economic health of the farm sector. But now Republicans in the House of Representatives are calling the surveys invasive and irrelevant, reports The Rural Blog. Many GOP lawmakers took issue with questions on the survey about charitable giving and entertainment expenditures.

Staple Foods See a Drop in Price

Oct 9, 2015
Olle Svensson / Creative Commons

Staple foods have shown a decrease in price this year, reports The Rural Blog. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the total cost of 16 staple food items has dropped by 12 cents over the last year. Whole milk had the biggest drop, down 17 percent. Apples, bacon, cheddar cheese, flour, bagged salad, vegetable oil, Russet potatoes, white bread and chicken also declined in price.

Kansas Ag Network

The president of the Kansas Farm Bureau is concerned about a growing problem: lack of education. According to the Dodge City Daily Globe, Rich Felts believes education is one of the biggest issues facing Kansas farmers. "There is so much about agriculture that isn't being passed on or explained to children," Felts said on Tuesday. The farm bureau president is concerned about the disconnect between the older and younger generations.

Wall Street Investment in Land Concerns US Farmers

Sep 25, 2015
Des Moines Register

Wall Street investors have been buying up farmland across the US, leading some to worry that land prices are growing unustainable. According to The Rural Blog, many American farmers fear the prices are ballooning beyond the point where they can reasonably be expected to turn a profit.

A recent survey found farmland was the second most popular investment among 13 categories, behind only energy. Farmers worry that outside investors lack the close ties and direct knowledge necessary to preserve the land.

Farm Incomes Decline in 2015

Sep 9, 2015
Let Ideas Compete / Flickr Creative Commons

Net farm incomes in 2015 will be down 36 percent from last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That’s the sharpest drop since 1983, notes The Rural Blog.

Farm income hit a record high in 2013. But since then, it’s dropped by 53 percent. Livestock income is also expected to fall 10 percent from last year. The USDA "expects growers to accelerate sales of 2015 crops this year to help generate more cash."

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