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 »

Troubled times for California agriculture

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California agriculture continues to struggle under the continuing drought.  Steve Maddox has Maddox Farms at Riverdale, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and Sacramento.  Besides the dairy farm, he has 2,300 acres of wine grapes and 1,500 acres of almonds. From the dairy perspective, Maddox says yes, California milk production is running a little behind… Read more »

Poultry don’t live long after onset of flu symptoms

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Poultry with high pathogenic avian influenza do not last long after symptoms of the disease appear, says Dr. John Clifford, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer. “You’re talking hours, at times, for the birds to become very lethargic,” Clifford told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.  “They’ll have a condition that you might see that we… Read more »

Egg industry on high alert after Iowa outbreak

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The discovery of bird flu in a large Iowa egg laying facility has that industry on high alert. The farm in Osceola County in northwest Iowa has a capacity of 5.3 million hens, which represents nearly 10 percent of Iowa’s egg-laying hens and one percent of the nation’s egg layers. While those numbers are significant,… Read more »

9% of U.S. corn planted

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The U.S. corn planting pace improved over the past week, but continues to trail the average pace with a wet start to the growing season in many areas. As of Sunday, the USDA reports 9% of corn is planted, compared to 2% last week and the five year average of 13%. 16% of the winter… Read more »

House votes to repeal federal Estate Tax

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The U.S. House has voted to repeal the federal estate tax.  American Farm Bureau president Bob Stallman says the house passage of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 is one step closer to tax reform that would help farm families invest in the future and pass their farms on to the next generation. Tennessee… Read more »

Trade Promotion Authority bills introduced in Congress

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Bipartisan legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress on Thursday which would grant the President Trade Promotion Authority or “fast track” when negotiating trade deals. The legislation was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chair Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) in the Senate. Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)… Read more »

Two more H5N2 cases in Wisconsin

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the H5N2 virus has been confirmed in a 126,000-turkey flock in Barron County and a backyard flock of 40 mixed birds in Juneau County. The properties were immediately quarantined and neighboring properties with poultry notified.  Remaining birds will be depopulated and will not enter the… Read more »

‘This is a poultry farmer’s worst nightmare’

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It’s every livestock and poultry farmer’s worst nightmare—a deadly disease with the potential to wipe out an entire operation. Turkey growers across Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states are living that nightmare as the highly contagious H5N2 avian influenza virus continues to spread across the region. Turkey grower Katie Olthoff of Stanhope, Iowa says they’re doing… Read more »

IL Soybean likes latest U.S./Cuba step

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The chairman of the Illinois Soybean Growers says they are pleased President Obama has taken another step in easing trade relations with Cuba.  Obama and the State Department have recommended removing Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.  Cuba has been on that list for 33 years. Illinois Soybean Chairman Bill Raben says… Read more »