Minnesota

‘Large supply gaps’ coming, says No. 2 U.S. turkey processor

Bird flu will have a “meaningful impact” on turkey supplies in coming months, said the head of Hormel Foods, the second-largest turkey processor in the country, on Thursday. Chief executive Jim Snee said Hormel anticipated “large supply gaps” for its Jennie-O Turkey Store operations in the months ahead because of flock losses.

Bird flu spreads in northern Plains, Minnesota hit again

For the first time this year, officials identified highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in domestic flocks in Montana and Colorado. With the discoveries, bird flu has been found in 25 states, from Maine and North Carolina and Texas and Wyoming since early February and at 159 sites totaling 24.65 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, according to USDA data.

Minnesota loses 1 million turkeys in bird flu outbreaks

Turkey farmers in Minnesota, the No. 1 turkey-producing state, lost more than 557,000 turkeys in 12 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this week, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. Total losses since the first outbreak was reported on March 25 are slightly over 1 million turkeys.

Three percent of U.S. egg-laying flock lost to bird flu

Nearly 11.8 million egg-laying hens — three of every 100 in the U.S. flock — have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in less than a month, USDA data released on Tuesday show. The latest losses were 1.46 million hens in Guthrie County in central Iowa.

Bird flu found in flock in No. 1 turkey state

For the first time, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was confirmed in Minnesota, the top turkey-producing state in the nation, said agricultural officials over the weekend. Some 14.6 million birds in domestic flocks have died of HPAI or in culling of infected herds to reduce the spread of the viral disease this year.

Biden administration moves to block copper mine near Boundary Waters

The Biden administration took the first step to quash a proposed copper mine near the popular Boundary Waters wilderness area in northeastern Minnesota on Wednesday with an inter-agency request to block mineral leases in the area for 20 years. It was a change in course from the Trump era, when the government smiled on the proposed Twin Metals mine.

House Ag chair Peterson, a GOP target, runs for re-election

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, announced he would seek re-election in November, saying he was worried rural America is being left behind. President Trump has endorsed a Republican challenger against Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, in a contest that is regarded as a toss-up.

House Ag chairman’s re-election called a toss-up

Rep. Collin Peterson “is a good fit for his district, but outliers like him have become less and less common,” said the political website Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Thursday, listing him as a toss-up for election to a 16th term.

One counselor’s lonely struggle against farm country’s mental health crisis

In Minnesota, one of the country’s top farming states, just one man is responsible for dealing with farmers’ mental health needs. As low crop prices and farm closures weigh heavily on farming families, he is joining state legislators and advocates to push for allocating more resources to the pressing issue. (No paywall)

Big Ag tries to stifle debate on Minnesota mega-dairy expansion

Last week, seven corporate agriculture interest groups sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to halt the extension of a public comment period on a proposed mega-dairy expansion in Winona County, Minnesota. The suit highlights broader efforts by agribusiness to silence opposition from rural residents who speak out against large concentrated animal feeding operations in their communities. (No paywall)

Though outnumbered, the ‘farm vote’ has a lot of friends

Even in the most agricultural districts of America, farmers are hardly thick on the ground, the result of decades of mechanization and consolidation, which has driven down farm numbers, as well as the United States becoming ever more urban. Nonetheless, the “farm vote,” while small in numbers, is a mighty force in U.S. politics.

Minnesota farmers, rural landowners call for crop insurance reform

As congressional debate on the next farm bill gathers steam, farmers in Minnesota are calling for changes to the crop insurance program. A new report from the Land Stewardship Project argues that the current version of the program favors bigger farms and places an undue burden on taxpayers.

Pawlenty won’t run against Senate Ag panelist Smith

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will not run for the Senate this year, “dashing Republican hopes that he would mount a strong bid for Al Franken’s old seat,” said the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Fischer and Smith named to Senate Agriculture Committee

With the 2018 farm bill on the horizon, Senate leaders have re-jiggered membership of the Senate Agriculture Committee, adding Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska and newly appointed Democrat Tina Smith of Minnesota to the panel.

Minnesota is fourth state to set a cut-off date for dicamba on soybeans

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture set a June 20 cut-off date for spraying the weedkiller dicamba on GE soybeans and barred application of the herbicide when temperatures top 85 degrees, said the Associated Press.

North Dakota is fourth state to write tougher dicamba rules

State agriculture commissioner Doug Goehring announced “North Dakota-specific” rules on use of the weedkiller dicamba on GE soybeans in the new crop year. They include a ban on spraying when temperatures top 85 degrees and a total cutoff of dicamba use after June 30.

Minnesota soybean task force suggests a temperature cut-off for dicamba

State officials should set a cut-off date for spraying dicamba on genetically engineered soybeans as well as a temperature cut-off of 85 degrees to reduce greatly the chance of damage to neighboring crops, says a task force of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The state restrictions would be in addition to the more stringent rules recently adopted by the EPA.

Minnesota doubles down on soybean biofuel

Minnesota ruled that biofuels will need to contain a mix of 20 percent soybeans or other renewable fuel sources, cutting the amount of emissions while boosting demand for soybeans, said MPR News. "This is an opportunity to add value to farmers' products," state agriculture commissioner Dave Frederickson said last Thursday, according to the report. "Given the fact that the first B10 mandate actually added about 63 cents per bushel, on every bushel sold, we're hoping to double that as we move into a B20 mandate."

Federal protection of Great Lakes wolves is upheld by appeals court

In the latest court ruling in a 20-year tussle over gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the U.S. Appeals Court for the DC Circuit put the predator back on the endangered species list, says MLive Media Group. The Interior Department delisted the Great Lakes wolves in 2011, saying the wolf population had recovered enough that federal protection was no longer needed and states could take over management of the animals.

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