El Nino helps alleviate U.S. drought

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The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows the percentage of the country in drought is down to 15 percent. USDA chief meteorologist Brad Rippey says stormy weather in many parts of the country—in part driven by a strong El Nino—has significantly reduced drought coverage since last fall. “Since we reached a late summer-early autumn peak… Read more »

$5.3 million grant will help promote Ill. conservation

A program in Illinois designed to get more farmers engaged in conservation practices has been awarded a $5.3 million grant from the USDA.  The program helps farmers adopt best management practices that protect water quality and prevent nutrient loss. The funding announcement was made at the Illinois Corn Growers office Friday by USDA Undersecretary Robert… Read more »

South Dakota Beef Industry Council to meet in Pierre

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) quarterly meeting is February 29, at the Red Rossa Italian Grille in Pierre.  In addition to the organization’s full board of directors’ quarterly meeting, separate committee meetings will also be held, according to a news release issued by the SDBIC. The council’s Promotion Committee and Research Committee will… Read more »

Cottonseed debate continues

The struggling cotton industry wants Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make cottonseed eligible for the main safety net programs that crops like corn and soybeans have. Vilsack says he wants to help, but he doesn’t have the authority.  He told a Congressional budget panel this week that his decision is based partly on a 2013… Read more »

Proposed boost to Michigan Department of Ag budget

The Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture says Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget recommendations include a $5 million increase for agriculture. Jamie Clover Adams tells Brownfield the Governor has recommended almost $1.2 million to be earmarked for technical education and outreach on the Food Safety Modernization Act.  “We will be working with MSU Extension,… Read more »

Ohio Farmers Union outline policy priorities

The president of the Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) says proposed farmland tax reform is one of the top policy priorities for the group this year. Joe Logan tells Brownfield they support bills in the Ohio House and Senate that would update the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) formula. “Our members across the state have received… Read more »

Chicago Fed survey reflects tightening farm economy

Farmland values in the Seventh Federal Reserve District—the Chicago district—dropped another one percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and were off three percent for the year. The Chicago Fed’s quarterly survey of bankers shows that, in the fourth quarter, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa all experienced declines in agricultural land values, whereas Wisconsin and Michigan each… Read more »

WOTUS continues to be a challenge

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says lawmakers are keeping a close eye on the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, to make sure it isn’t twisted to harm America’s farmers and ranchers. “There’s a court decision that has put a hold on WOTUS,” he says.  “And on the Senate side we’re working constantly with our colleagues to get them to… Read more »

Talking ag issues with state legislators

Indiana’s corn and soybean farmers had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with state legislators about some of the biggest issues facing agriculture during the organization’s legislative breakfast. Jeanette Merritt, a director with the Indiana Soybean Alliance and a Miami county farmer says finding a fix for the state’s crumbling infrastructure is one of the key… Read more »

Water issues challenge young farmers in the West

A new report from the National Young Farmers Coalition says young farmers are conservation minded, but face major water scarcity barriers. Western water program director Kate Greenberg tells Brownfield water scarcity, climate change and drought are top concerns of young farmers in the West.  “If we want young farmers to be able to farm and ranch… Read more »