‘Dead zone’ in Gulf is eighth-largest on record

The fish-killing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico this summer covers 6,952 square miles, midway in size between Connecticut and New Jersey, said researchers on Thursday. It is the eighth-largest dead zone in 33 years of keeping records.

In Iowa, ag-gag is reborn. What does that mean for other states?

In January, Iowa became the latest state to have its ag-gag law overturned by the courts, a victory for free speech and animal-rights advocates. But the victory was short-lived. This month the state’s legislators revived ag-gag with a new law that targets undercover investigations into livestock farms — and it comes as ag-gag supporters across the country are looking to craft laws that will survive constitutional challenges.(No paywall)

In Maryland, poultry industry monitoring initiative restarts debate

In recent years, agribusiness groups have fought legislation that would require large-scale livestock farms to report what pollutants they discharge into the air. But this week, a Maryland poultry industry group announced a partnership with the state’s environmental regulators to monitor those emissions. (No paywall)

North Carolina offers to buy out floodplain hog farms

A month after Hurricane Florence swamped southern North Carolina with up to 40 inches of rain, state officials offered on Thursday to buy out hog farms that have a high risk of flooding in severe storms.

North Carolina ag losses from Florence soar to $2.4 billion

Gov. Roy Cooper earmarked $235 million for agriculture out of a proposed $1.5 billion in state spending for recovery from Hurricane Florence “and future storm resiliency” on Wednesday.

Ag losses in North Carolina top $1.1 billion, says state

Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina at harvest time and caused agricultural losses of $1.1 billion, almost all of it in row crops, said the state Agriculture Department on Wednesday.

Farm leaders urge federal shield against lawsuits

Two national farm leaders called for federal protection from lawsuits that hold farmers liable for the noise and foul odors of increasingly large-scale agricultural production. "It is time for our elected leaders to step up and stop this madness," said Howard Hill, speaking for U.S. hog farmers and taking aim at lawsuits that allege North Carolina hog farms are nuisances to their neighbors. "The regulations need to be on the trial lawyers," said president Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Community near Kansas City wins stay against cattle farm

Residents of Lone Jack, Missouri, won a stay last week against the planned expansion of a local cattle farm, which had applied for a permit to grow its herd from 600 to 6,999 cows. After much public debate, a state commission issued the stay on July 26.

Top meat and dairy companies emit more than ExxonMobil and Shell, report finds

The world’s top five meat and dairy companies — JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, and Fonterra — emit more greenhouse gases between them than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP, according to a new report from the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy and GRAIN.

The next wave in animal welfare: Fish

Mercy for Animals, a U.S.-based animal welfare group, is launching a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of fish in industrial aquaculture. The groups key concerns include “too many fish routinely crammed into pens and tanks, fish being raised in dirty water, high disease and mortality rates,” writes Clare Leschin-Hoar in FERN’s latest story with NPR’s The Salt.