Second bird flu outbreak in Missouri in two days
Just one day after officials reported bird flu on a turkey farm in Missouri’s Jasper County, they confirmed another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a poultry farm in neighboring Lawrence County. The discovery increased the toll of “high path” bird flu among U.S. domestic flocks since Feb. 8 to 3.04 million birds, almost all of them chickens or turkeys.
Bird flu again hits Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri
Some 3 million birds, almost all of them chickens and turkeys, have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since the first confirmation of the disease in domestic flocks on Feb. 8, said a USDA agency on Wednesday. The latest outbreaks involved 442,000 chickens and turkeys on farms in Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri.
House Ag panelist among lawmakers benefiting from PPP
For fifth-term Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, a loan she and her husband received from the Payroll Protection Program for their small businesses has become a small issue in her campaign for re-election. She says “American workers deserve the certainty of their job,” and that’s why she and her …
Jury orders Monsanto, BASF to pay peach farmer $250 million in punitive damages
A federal jury determined that German agribusiness giants Bayer and BASF will have to pay $250 million in punitive damages to Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in Missouri, for damage caused by their dicamba-related products. The verdict comes at the end of a three-week trial of a case where Bader Farms alleges it is going out of business because of damage incurred by the companies' dicamba herbicides moving off of neighboring fields and harming their 1,000 acres of peach orchards.
Missouri peach farmer testifies about alleged dicamba damage
In the early 2000s, Bader Farms was the largest peach farm in Missouri, with annual yields averaging about 160,000 bushels. Fifteen years later, yields had dropped by more than 90 percent. Bill Bader blames dicamba, and now he’s suing its makers for millions of dollars in damages.(No paywall)
Monsanto officials limited dicamba weedkiller testing, court testimony shows
Knowing federal regulators were paying attention to the new weedkiller's potential to contaminate other fields, Monsanto decided to “pull back” on testing to allow dicamba, according to testimony in the federal trial over the weedkiller. Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in the state, alleges that dicamba damaged their orchard.
Majority want more oversight of CAFOs, poll finds
A majority of Americans say they want more stringent oversight of large scale livestock operations, according to a national poll by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future released Tuesday. The polling follows a recent recommendation from the nation’s leading public health association to temporarily halt the creation of new concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and increase their oversight and regulation.
A battle brews in rural Wisconsin over factory farms
A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse. The issue …
GOP hoots ‘elitist’ as Democrats question USDA’s plan to relocate researchers
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.
Missouri bill that would end local control of CAFOs heads to governor’s desk
A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.
In Missouri, lawmakers are poised to eliminate local regulation of CAFOs
Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)
Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to California animal welfare laws
The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear Missouri's challenge to California's expanded animal welfare laws, ending the legal dispute over the Golden State's rigorous humane animal standards. The decision follows a December recommendation from the Department of Justice that the highest court not hear the case and others like it.
DoJ’s stance on California egg law could bode well for other states
In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.
FERN/Reveal investigation shows EPA ignored decades of science on dicamba drift
A new investigation by FERN and Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Journalism, shows that the EPA "ignored scientists’ warnings and extensive research that showed dicamba would evaporate into the air and ruin crops miles away, according to documents obtained through public records requests and lawsuits. Instead, the EPA’s approval was based on studies by the companies that manufacture dicamba, which independent scientists say were seriously flawed." (No paywall)
The bidding war begins for ERS and NIFA
Kansas City should be the new home of two agencies that USDA plans to move out of Washington, say three Missouri lawmakers, joining the expected bidding war for the 620 high-paying jobs that constitute the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. While the boost to a local economy is alluring, some researchers wonder if the relocation is part of a plan to slash the size and funding of the research agencies.
Class-action suit targets dicamba, Monsanto and BASF
A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in St. Louis says Monsanto and BASF genetically engineered dicamba-resistant crops knowing the weedkiller was likely to harm neighboring crops, and that "everything they did and failed to do increased the risk," reports Harvest Public Media.
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.
Growing pains where urban meets rural
Central Iowa’s Dallas County is growing rapidly as the Des Moines metropolitan area spreads westward, says Harvest Public Media in a look at life in two midwestern counties where rural is meeting urban.
Trump taps Missouri co-op official to run USDA rural utilities agency
The president of a rural electric cooperative in central Missouri is President Trump’s choice to head the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. The agency oversees programs that range from water and sewer facilities to electrical lines and telecommunications.