Bird flu found in 16th state; Indiana and Kentucky remove some controls
“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.
Significant progress toward 30 by 30 goal, says White House
In a progress report, the Biden administration said on Monday that it has "made significant progress to support effective and enduring conservation strategies" en route to conserving 30 percent of U.S. land and waters by 2030. The "30 by 30" plan relies on locally led and voluntary stewardship but has been met in some regions with suspicion of a hidden federal motive.
Three Farm Belt states get a quarter of coronavirus relief money
Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, strung across the Farm Belt from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains, have collected one-fourth of USDA’s coronavirus relief payments, said a weekly update on Monday. Some $5.36 billion has been disbursed, at an average $14,684 per producer, from the $16 …
As meat plants reopen, Iowa, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Nebraska are coronavirus leaders
As many as 18 percent of workers in meat and poultry plants are infected with the coronavirus in Iowa and South Dakota, while Pennsylvania and Nebraska account for one-quarter of the Covid-19 cases nationwide, said CDC scientists and state public health officials. The CDC released the report as Smithfield Foods, one of the giants of the meat industry, began to reopen a hog plant that was a coronavirus hot spot three weeks ago.(No paywall)
First increase in Nebraska farmland values in six years
Farmland in Nebraska is worth 3 percent more than it was a year ago, an average of $2,730 an acre, said an annual report by the University of Nebraska on Wednesday. It was the first increase in agricultural land values in the state since they peaked in 2014.
Across the country, a call grows for moratoriums on huge livestock farms
As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. (No paywall)
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 …
In Nebraska, fight over Costco chicken farms escalates
As Nebraska's brand-new Costco chicken processing plant begins sending birds down the line, residents are escalating their protest against the company by pushing for a statewide moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).(No paywall)
With Costco chicken plant set to open, Nebraskans want more oversight of poultry farms
The arrival of a Costco chicken processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska, spurred the introduction of the state’s first industrial chicken farms in 2018. With the plant set to begin operations after Labor Day, some residents are pushing for stronger — or any — oversight of large poultry farms in the state.(No paywall)
For the second time, Nebraska has top U.S. farm district
Stretching from Wyoming to Iowa and larger in area than New York State, Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district is again the No. 1 farm district in the nation, with $16.6 billion in crop and livestock production, says the new edition of the Census of Agriculture.
Difficult choices when crop insurance, disaster aid and Trump’s bailout intersect
The farm safety net offers many strands of support to farmers swamped by a historically slow planting season, but the strands pull in different directions, says associate professor Bradley Lubben, of the University of Nebraska. "The complexity for producer decision-making is compounded," he said, when potential Trump tariff payments and disaster aid are woven into traditional crop subsidies and crop insurance.
The farm industry is pushing for tighter right-to-farm laws across the country. What does that mean for farm neighbors?
Every state has a “right-to-farm” law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and sounds created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.
Senate clears way for disaster aid to agriculture
In a test vote, senators overwhelmingly supported a $13.5 billion disaster bill on Tuesday that includes flood aid for the Northern Plains and Western Corn Belt. "People back home are counting on us to get this done," said sponsor Sen. David Perdue, after speaking against proposals to boost funding for Puerto Rico beyond $600 million allotted for food stamps.
Reimbursement for grain lost in flooding may be question for Congress
The government has an indemnity program for livestock killed by storms and flood, but nothing to compensate growers for grain lost to flooding. The issue took center stage Monday at an agriculture roundtable confronting the blizzard and flooding losses in Nebraska, a leading corn, cattle and …
Trump declares flood disaster in Nebraska
Federal disaster assistance is available for recovery efforts in Nebraska following President Trump’s declaration of a major disaster in the state, said the White House on Thursday. The USDA said farmers and ranchers should contact their local USDA office to see if they qualify for assistance.
After Nebraska governor steps in, community board OKs a Costco-linked CAFO
Last week, a Nebraska county board reversed its decision to block a poultry CAFO from coming to a small town. The reversal came soon after Gov. Pete Ricketts had expressed his support for such operations and challenged the county to better serve farmers. It also arrives as a new piece of right-to-farm legislation aims to restrict lawsuits against farming operations. (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.
A much-debated Costco plant draws more ire from Nebraskans
When the plan for a new Costco chicken-processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska, was announced in 2016, it drew angry local protests. Now large-scale chicken farms that will supply the plant are popping up across the state, causing a new round of protests amid concerns about environmental and health effects.
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.