A turkey farm in southern Indiana is the site of the first known case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States since 2020, said the USDA on Wednesday. The 29,000-bird flock in Dubois County was being killed to prevent spread of the virus.
“High path” avian influenza was confirmed in a backyard flock in Nebraska, the 16th state with the viral disease in a domestic flock this year, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. Meanwhile, officials in Indiana and Kentucky rolled back quarantine areas in their states after a string of disease-free days.
State officials reported the fifth outbreak of deadly bird flu on turkey farms in Indiana, one of the top turkey-producing states in the nation, on Wednesday. Eleven cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported in domestic flocks in the eastern half of the United States in the past two weeks.
Despite the pandemic, farmland values soared to record highs in Indiana, up by as much as 14 percent this year, according to agricultural professionals surveyed by Purdue University. "Surprisingly, many of the current economic forces put upward pressure on farmland prices," said Purdue on Tuesday.
The average acre of farmland in Iowa, the top corn-growing state, is worth $7,559, an increase of 1.7 percent from 2019, despite the effects of the pandemic and the accompanying economic slowdown, said Iowa State University on Tuesday. It was the second year in a row of modest increases but land values remain $1,157 below their 2013 peak hit during the commodity boom.
Farm managers, land brokers, appraisers, and other professionals attribute a modest decline in Indiana farmland values in the first half of the year, a trend expected to continue into the winter, to disruptions accompanying the coronavirus, said Purdue University on Thursday. (No paywall)
Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.
The finalists in Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's plan to move two research agencies out of Washington include "multiple" undisclosed sites in Indiana, a symbol of complaints of hidden motives and scanty material to support the move. Separately, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, a perennial USDA research partner, said it feared relocation would damage the effectiveness of the grant-making National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
President Trump has selected Indiana mega-farmer Kip Tom, long rumored to be in the running for an administration appointment, to become the U.S. representative to the UN agencies for food and agriculture, the White House said on Wednesday.
Grain prices will run at or near decade lows, keeping farm income in a slump, say Purdue agricultural economists. In the Purdue Agricultural Economics Report 2017, they say the average value of farmland in Indiana was $7,041 an acre, down by 13 percent from the 2013 peak because of weakness in the farm sector.
Indiana farmer Don Villwock says he's a long-time friend of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, reports Agriculture.com, adding that Villwock "wouldn't confirm or deny that he's among those being vetted" for agriculture secretary. A grain farmer from Edwardsport in southwestern Indiana, Villwock was president of the state Farm Bureau for 14 years, ending in January, and was a proponent of free-markets during discussion of U.S. farm and trade policy.
Voters in three cities in California — San Francisco, Oakland and Albany — will vote on soda tax referendums in the Nov. 8 general election, a potential landmark in the campaign against high-calorie sugary beverages. On the same day, Oklahomans will decide whether to add a right-to-farm amendment to their state constitution, as insulation against "deep-pocketed animal rights groups," according to ag groups.
Third-term Rep. Todd Rokita, sponsor of the Republican-backed school lunch bill in the House, abandoned his re-election campaign two weeks ago to vie for the suddenly available GOP nomination in Indiana. Party leaders chose Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb instead, so Rokita will try to get back on the November ballot, said Morning Consult.
With 20,000 acres, Indiana farmer Kip Tom "harvests the staples of modern agriculture: seed corn, feed corn, soybeans and data," says the New York Times.
A Purdue agricultural economist says land prices are likely to fall under the weight of low crop prices and rising interest rates. "We are looking at about a 5-10 percent correction over each of the next three years," says Michael Langemeier in a Purdue news release.
Crop scouts reported strong potential corn yields in southwestern Iowa and the northern half of Illinois as the annual Pro Farmer crop tour headed toward release today of an estimate of the U.S. corn and soybean crops.
The refrain of "The Iowa Corn Song" - " We're from I-o-way, I-o-way, That's where the tall corn grows" - could be rewritten to say, "That's where the corn yields grow."
Slowed by a cold and wet spring, farmers have planted 29 pct of corn land in the 18 major states, 13 points behind the five-year average of 42 pct planted by the first week of May, says the weekly Crop Progress report. A week ago, planting, at 19 pct, was 9 points behind average. If corn is planted after May 20, yields are lower.