Farming and Agriculture News

Japan's 'agri-tech' farming revolution

By Allan Croft

TOKYO — Japan’s high-tech agricultural businesses are to gather at the Agri World trade fair held in Tokyo this week (Oct 12-14) to showcase the industries next generation of technologies such as plant factories, robotic automation and IT systems, claimed as advancing the “fourth industrial revolution” into the sector.

Trump Campaign Announces Agricultural Advisory Committee

“The formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of these individuals’ diverse skill sets and ideas that can improve the lives of those in agricultural communities,” said a campaign press release. “Mr. Trump has received widespread support from voters who understand he is the only candidate with the best interests of the agricultural community at the heart of his policies.”

Urban Farming: Fad Or Futureproof?

Agriculture and urban growth have long been considered unhappy bedfellows, with arable land often sacrificed to build high-rise apartments and new roads. But this may be changing. There is growing trend towards urban agriculture, where otherwise unused space is commandeered to grow vegetables, herbs and other plants. In a sense, urban farms are not new. Allotments stretch across the UK, and in the US, community gardens have been popular for decades. But what is new is the approach being taken by this latest generation of urban farmers. So could this herald the beginnings of a future industry?

What About Agriculture?

Agricultural policy may be one of the least talked about issues in the 2016 presidential race, at least when it comes to the debate stage. Though not as glamorous as discussions of immigration reform or fighting ISIS, it’s still a vitally important issue with significant ramifications for the federal budget and the broader economy. Thus far, it has gained some air time in Iowa, largely because of the state’s significant farming demographic. But even there, candidates largely focused on ethanol mandates, while neglecting the larger issues of a retiring farming workforce and rampant Big Ag cronyism.

New legal tool launched to strengthen contract farming

With supermarket direct sourcing on the rise, a group of intergovernmental organizations has released a legal guide to help farmers and buyers forge more equitable and sustainable contracts.

Spearheaded by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the guide is the result of a process that has taken many years.

Organic farm supporters say GMO contamination needs USDA controls

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - Growing crops free from contamination by genetically modified crops and the pesticides used on those biotech versions is getting more difficult and more costly for U.S. farmers, and new government rules to control contamination are needed, according to report issued on Monday by an environmental organization and an organic food group.

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

By MICHAEL WINES

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

U.S. wholesale inventories fall, hurt by autos and agriculture

Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly fell in December as auto dealers and agricultural suppliers drew down their stocks, a negative signal for economic growth at the end of the year.

The Commerce Department said on Friday wholesale inventories dropped 0.1 percent to $497.65 billion. The department also said inventories grew less than initially estimated in November.

Cotton climbs after USDA report; 1st weekly loss this year

* Cotton jumps 1.6 percent following USDA report

* USDA says more than half world carryover in China

* Fiber posts first weekly loss since start of year

By Chris Prentice

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Cotton prices rose on Friday after the U.S. government forecast the size of China's strategic stockpile would eclipse the surplus elsewhere in the world, feeding hopes that fundamentals may be better than many had feared.

Black: Sustainable farming not all it aims to be

By Baxter Black    

Most of the agricultural community watches the pied pipers of “sustainable farming” the same way grandparents watch their grandkids play with toy trains. We humor them, but don’t try to explain how real trains work. Many sustainable farming proposals are the exact opposite. “Model T farming,” or “third-world farming” or “farming to feed the few” would be more accurate.

USDA Raises Corn Forecast

By OWEN FLETCHER and BILL TOMSON

Corn prices fell 0.2% to a one-month low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture boosted its forecast for domestic supplies of the grain. The USDA, citing weak export demand for U.S. corn, estimated that stockpiles will total 632 million bushels before this year's harvest, a 5% increase over its forecast last month.

$5 beef vs. $5 gasoline

Cattle prices are riding high: Finished steers are making $120+ cwt, for example. Prices like these have been buoyed by strong demand in the last year. Even though the trend has yet to turn lower, there are signs the bullishness may fade this summer, one economist says.

Despite a rise in production, demand -- at home and abroad -- continues to keep the markets surging, says Purdue University Extension livestock economist Chris Hurt. More U.S. consumers are buying more beef, and exports remain at a steady clip, he says.

USDA revamps plant hardiness map

For the first time since 1990, the USDA has revamped the zones in its Plant Hardiness Map. While this is big news for America’s 80 million gardeners, it’s also important for farmers. USDA’s Risk Management Agency uses the zone designations to set some crop insurance standards, and scientists use the plant hardiness zones as a data layer in many research models such as modeling the spread of exotic weeds and insects.

Separate path for farm labor in Senate immigration plan

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Agricultural laborers would be on a separate path to U.S. citizenship than other undocumented workers in the immigration reforms proposed by eight senators on Monday that cited the importance of feeding America.

Many of the 1.5 million farm workers employed in the United States annually - perhaps 500,000 to 900,000 in all - are believed to be in the country illegally.