Sluggish start to corn planting

Corn planting continues at a sluggish pace in Indiana.  According to USDA’s latest weekly Crop and Weather report, just 3 percent of the corn crop is planted, well behind the 5 year average of 26 percent. Central Indiana farmer Brian Scott says they’ve only been able to plant one field so far this year.  “We… Read more »

Comment period on ACEP rule extended

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is extending the public comment period for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) interim rule until May 28th.  The original deadline was Tuesday, April 28th. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP, a voluntary program designed to help landowners protect working agricultural lands and… Read more »

Dry weather allows South Dakota planting to progress

It’s dry in South Dakota. Outside of a little precipitation in the western third and southeast corner, most of the week was fit for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture 74 percent short to adequate.  There is no surplus moisture. But it put corn planting ahead.  It’s 16 percent done. Winter wheat 67 fair to good.  Eighty-four percent… Read more »

Missouri corn planting still behind

Missouri corn planting was limited in some areas by cool, wet conditions; however, statewide planting progressed to 20 percent complete, a jump of 12 percentage points over the past week. But normally by this time, corn planting would be 44 percent complete. The winter wheat crop is 90 percent fair to good. Missouri’s topsoil moisture… Read more »

Illinois corn planting progress jumps 16 points

Corn planting in Illinois was limited in some areas by cool, wet conditions; however, statewide planting progressed to 31 percent complete.  That’s a jump of 16 percentage points over the past week.  Winter wheat is 2 percent headed, and the condition of the crop is 86 percent fair to good. Seventy-eight percent of the oats… Read more »

Senator Donnelly urges continued support of CRP

A bipartisan group of Senators are encouraging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to emphasize continued support for the Conservation Reserve Program to Congress.  Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly and South Dakota Senator John Thune are leading the effort. Senator Donnelly says the Conservation Reserve Program is vital to American agriculture.  “It does terrific things for our… Read more »

MSU increases green energy

Since 2009, Michigan State University has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent. This month the MSU power plant announced plans to stop burning coal by the end of 2016, relying instead on natural gas and biofuels. MSU plans to be 100 percent reliant on renewable energy, utilizing the university’s anaerobic digester which transforms campus… Read more »

USDA addresses climate change

USDA announced new incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration and increase renewable energy. USDA will utilize existing programs and initiatives to focus on soil health, nutrient management and forest conservation. The department will also improve efforts to develop renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and build agricultural and forestry systems. “In order to… Read more »

Senate ag committee focuses on Cuba

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week on expanding agricultural trade with Cuba.  Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the committee wants to improve agricultural trade opportunities. Stabenow says there is potential for billions of dollars in trade.  She says Cuba can benefit from U.S. commodities and agricultural equipment just 91 miles from their… Read more »

House panel advances Trade Promotion Authority bill

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The House Ways and Means Committee has passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill.  The bill provides for trade agreements to be considered by Congress with an up or down vote, but without amendments.  It’s thought that extending TPA to President Obama may ease the way for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal now being… Read more »