Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
American dairy farmers say their product often is misunderstood, in many cases because of what they claim is deceptive advertising. Now they've launched a "tongue-in-cheek" video as the newest installment in their Peel Back the Label campaign.
GRAND FORKS—A new report reinforces what most everyone in U.S. food production already knows: Development is irreversibly diminishing the limited supply of U.S. farmland, raising serious food-production, economic and environmental concerns. But the report from American Farmland Trust also finds that the loss of farmland is much greater than was generally known. Almost 31 million acres, double the amount previously documented, were lost to development from 1992 to 2012, according to "Farms Under Threat: The State of America's Farmland."
RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — Minnesota farmers are good at growing wheat; they've been doing it since the early 1850s. But there's always more to learn, and Minnesota Wheat is helping farmers do so. "We hear from growers about their concerns and gear our trials to that," Lauren Prouix says. She and Melissa Geiszler are the Minnesota Wheat On-Farm Research Network's on-farm research coordinators
CROOKSTON, Minn. — Tim Dufault knows and likes wheat. Always has, always will. The fourth-generation Crookston, Minn., farmer expects to plant half of his farm to wheat and half to soybeans this spring — provided the weather cooperates. "I'd sure like to get in all the wheat I planned to. And it's still possible I can. But for that to happen, we'll have to really start moving on the planting," he said.
WASHINGTON — Rural electrification — which in the 1930s brought electricity to huge chunks of rural America — was straightforward and clearcut. Rural broadband is not, a communications industry executive says. With rural electrification, "When the lights went on, you knew you had it. It's a little different when you have multiple ways to deliver the product (broadband service)," said Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association.
Concern about farmer suicide is growing, and agriculturalists and people living in rural communities have a vital role in addressing the problem, a farm stress expert says. "Be a good neighbor. Be aware of how your neighbors are doing — physically, mentally and socially. And if they show any warning signs, help connect them with the resources that can help," said Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University Extension Service family science specialist. His areas of interest include family stress and rural life.
Wheat — which has long been losing ground, literally, to corn and soybeans — will stage a small comeback this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. Both U.S. and Upper Midwest farmers will plant a little more wheat and a little less corn and soybeans this spring, according to projections in the annual Prospective Plantings report, released Thursday, March 29, by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The three key sets of statistics: • Corn planted for all purposes is pegged at 88 million acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.
Two conservation-minded farm organizations are applauding a bipartisan bill that would maintain funding and acreage levels for the farm bill's three largest conservation programs. "We're excited to see this bipartisan support for conservation in the farm bill," Anna Johnson, policy analyst with the Center for Rural Affairs, told Forum News Service.
Critics often raise concern that genetically engineered crops might harm the environment or people who eat them. But now a new study finds that farmers who plant Bt corn reduce crop damage and insecticide use in nearby fields of non-genetically engineered crops such as peppers and green beans. The Bt corn brings "positive impacts to growers, including organic producers," according to the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Excuse me," I told the supermarket cashier. "You rang up that squash at $1.99 a pound. The sign said $1.29." "This is organic. It's $1.99," she said. "Then somebody stocked it in the conventional section," I said. "Well, I'm not paying 70 cents more for organic. I'm not paying anything more for organic." Please, don't send irate emails if you're an organic supporter. Though I won't spend extra for organic, I'm not anti-organic. Not at all.