After consulting growers, researchers and chemical companies, the Missouri Agriculture Department said it will ban use of BASF's dicamba weedkiller on cotton and soybeans after June 1 in 10 southeastern counties and in the rest of the state after July 15 in order to prevent damage to neighboring crops. The state agency said it expects to issue similar limits for Monsanto and DuPont versions of the herbicide.
Farm operator Steve Fincher, who served three terms in the House, including time on the Agriculture Committee, said he is probably going to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker, said the Memphis Daily News. The newspaper quoted Fincher as saying, "We're very close to getting in. We're not 100 percent. But we're very close."
Missouri has tightened its rules for dicamba, permitting use of the herbicide only during the day and if winds are mild, as agriculture officials in the mid-South try to contain crop damage from the weedkiller sprayed on cotton and soybeans. Widespread reports of damage have left some growers feeling forced into buying dicamba-tolerant GE seed.
The USDA confirmed the second case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in southern Tennessee since March 4, in a 55,000-bird broiler-breeder flock less than two miles from the first outbreak in Lincoln County. "Depopulation has begun," a standard step to prevent spread of the bird flu virus that can wipe out an infected flock in two days, said USDA.
The Alabama state veterinarian issued a "stop movement" order affecting poultry because of three suspected cases of bird flu in northern counties that border Tennessee, said the state Department of Agriculture and Industries. The incidents follow the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a broiler-breeder farm in southern Tennessee last week.
Nearly 74,000 chickens were killed and buried on a farm in southern Tennessee in an effort to stem an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, said state officials. The first round of samples from flocks on neighboring farms were free of the disease, said state veterinarian Charlie Hatcher, who cautioned, "We'll be in this thing for a long haul."
Agriculture officials ordered the culling of 73,500 chickens on a Tennessee farm near the border with Alabama, and put 30 nearby poultry farms under quarantine following discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the breeding flock. It was the first case of "high path" bird flu in commercial poultry in the nation this year.
At the same time rainfall is slaking drought in the Pacific Northwest, the southeastern quadrant of the United States faces intensifying drought, with the worst conditions in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and eastern Tennessee. Georgia's state agriculture director, Gary Black, is to take part in a rally to "discuss the drought facing Georgia's agricultural community and to pray for the rain Georgia so desperately needs" on Monday.
1. North Carolina Rep Renee Ellmers won the Republican nomination for a third term on Tuesday in "the one House race where immigration matters," as Politico phrased it. Ellmers, with Tea Party roots, is one of a few Republicans to support legalization of undocumented workers. She beat her opponent, economic commentator Frank Roche, by a 3-to-2 margin, says the State Board of Elections Web site.