• The privileges of being a farmer in Switzerland

    No other profession in Switzerland has such a strong political lobby. And it pays off. The agricultural sector is protected through import restrictions and state subsidies, and farmers receive a number of other privileges too. One litre of petrol or diesel costs a farmer about 60 centimes less than other road users. Farmers can submit a request for a refund of the mineral oil tax surcharge and mineral oil tax. Depending on the size of the business, they also benefit from a certain amount of discounted fuel. (According to the Federal Customs Administration, a total of CHF65 million was refunded to farmers in 2015.)
  • USAID chief outlines vision for agriculture, food security

    For U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, investments in agriculture are something of a no brainer — in part because he has seen what it’s like for the U.S. to operate in countries without a clear strategy on agriculture and food security. As ambassador to Tanzania, he experienced operating in the absence of Feed the Future, USAID’s flagship agriculture and food security program, he told Devex in an interview on Thursday. It meant that there were no agriculture officers — and as a result, the work of the U.S. government wasn’t relevant to large parts of the country, he said.
  • World Bank approves K121bn to transform Malawi’s irrigated agriculture

    The World Bank has approved $166 million (about K121.8 billion at current exchange rate) to transform Malawi’s agricultural productivity through irrigation, lay the foundations for commercialization, and improve management of natural resources in the Shire Valley. The financing, approved Thursday October 19th, 2017 by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors is for the first phase of the Shire Valley Transformation Program (SVTP-I).
  • Department of Agriculture assesses damage in aftermath of Ophelia

    The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD has indicated that safety is still a priority in the aftermath of ex-hurricane Ophelia. Speaking on Wednesday, the Minister said that immediate priority included safety and reiterating the message to the public that dealing with fallen trees and debris should not be undertaken without specialist expertise. “I would like to remind everyone to remain vigilant and have due regard for personal safety and the safety of others during the cleanup period.,” he added.
  • AfDB to invest $24 billion in agriculture in 10 years – Adesina

    The African Development Bank, AfDB, has said it will invest $24 billion in agriculture over the next 10 years to help unlock its potential and assure food security in Africa. Akinwunmi Adesina, AfDB president, said this at a side event of the ongoing Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, USA on Wednesday. Mr. Adesina said there was the need for supportive public policies and significant investments in infrastructure, especially for roads, irrigation, storage, warehousing and agro-processing.
  • Invasive stink bug pest devastates Georgia’s agriculture

    The South Caucasus republic of Georgia is struggling with a plague of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB), or Halyomorpha halys. Originally native to East Asia, the BMSB is an agricultural pest that can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops, particularly when present in an environment devoid of its natural predators. Recent outbreaks have also occurred in Switzerland, in 2008, and in the United States, where, at its height in 2010, the devastation of various crops, such as peaches, apples, pears, green beans, soybeans, corn and berries, was estimated at $21 billion (Accent.com.ge, October 14). The BMSB is believed to have migrated to western Georgia in 2015, from Russia’s Sochi region and Abkhazia.
  • Italian farmers learn about agriculture in Canada

    There was an international flavour to the gathering at T. Scherman Acres south of Battleford last Wednesday. That was provided by a group of 18 farmers from Italy who had come as part of a tour of farms throughout western Canada. The group had just come in from Lloydminster and they planned to head to more farms to the east, including around Wynyard, in the following days. It was through social media that they found out about the Scherman farm, run by Trevor Scherman and his father Pat. Trevor has an active presence on Twitter posting about farm-related topics, and that caught the attention of those organizing the tour’s itinerary.
  • Agriculture fair held in Afghanistan to promote production, investment

    Hundreds of people have visited the agriculture fair held at Badam Bagh, the biggest agricultural products and handicrafts farm in the Afghan capital. The farm, with non-asphalted pathways and sidewalks and located on the outskirts of the city, has installed a total of 240 booths full of agricultural products, handicrafts and machinery. "This is the 19th Kabul Agricultural Exhibition, inaugurated by the ministry of agriculture and livestock in the Kabul Badam Bagh, where farmers, private entrepreneurs, owners of domestic companies and producers from 34 provinces of the country, are invited to exhibit their products and handicrafts," Lutfullah Rashid, spokesman of the ministry told Xinhua Wednesday at the opening ceremony.
  • Farmer sues over cow trauma, fireworks case backfires

    A Freeport farmer sought more than $60,000 in damages after she says fireworks set off nearby traumatized her cows and all but destroyed her farm operation — but now she’s the one on the hook for her opponents’ costs. Judy Smith has owned Pinecrest Farms on County Line Road in the village of Freeport for about 30 years. She successfully raised cows for dairy and beef as part of her business, she said. Smith said everything changed in September 2010 when the village allowed a special fireworks show near her property. She said the explosions caused her cows to stampede.
  • Farmer in heart-breaking retelling of electrocution of cattle during Ophelia

    Kildare farmer Ann Elliot has spoken of her devastation after four of her cattle were electrocuted by fallen cables during Storm Ophelia. She told listeners to RTE’s Liveline that the cables down on the ground when she arrived on the scene with ESB workers. She said it was "carnage" when she went into the field with ESB workers on Monday and found the four in-calf heifers, after her neighbour alerted her to the disaster on her farm. “The cables were everywhere in the field. There were four cables on the poles, and all four were on the land.
  • Pot farmer's dreams go up in smoke during California wildfires

    Andrew Lopas' plans to bring his marijuana business out of the black market with a legal, profitable and organic pot farm went up in smoke in the wildfires that have scorched Santa Rosa, California. After four decades of growing pot illegally, the 54-year-old saw an opportunity last year to start a legitimate business serving the medical marijuana market.
  • Trump administration withdraws rule aimed at protecting animal farmers, draws 'violent opposition'

    The rule would have made it easier for farmers to sue companies they contract with over unfair, discriminatory or deceptive practices. Called the Farmer Fair Practice Rule, it was rolled out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during President Barack Obama's final days in office but never took effect. The agency under President Donald Trump delayed its April 22 start date for six months, then announced Tuesday that it would not implement the regulation at all. "They're just pandering to big corporations. They aren't interested in the family farmer," Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa farmer, said in an uncharacteristic criticism of the Trump administration. "The USDA is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the U.S. Department of Big Agribusiness."
  • Dutch dairy co-op to install solar panels on 310 farm rooftops

    Dutch dairy co-operative FrieslandCampina is working with an energy company to install 400,000 rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on its members’ farms. The scheme will see 310 farms in the co-op, with roof surfaces greater than 1,000 sq m, rent 416,000 solar panels from energy provider Energiebedrijf GroenLeven, which will handle their connection, monitoring, financing, guarantees and maintenance. The farmers will receive a payment of €3-4 ($3.50-4.70) per panel per year, and once a year will be given the chance to purchase the PV panels and a €10 bonus for each tonne of CO2 emissions they eliminate.
  • Blueberry farming divides NSW communities as tensions rise over land use

    A clash of cultures is occurring on the New South Wales Mid North and North Coast as lifestyle and urban sprawl collide with farming. Agriculture has underpinned the economy of the region for more than a century. But as their populations have exploded, several councils are wrestling with proposed changes to what was previously classified agriculture land. These changes include new buffer zones for farmland, development applications for new farms and limits on types of netting used on crops.
  • Syrian agriculture needs transformation rather than rebuilding

    Syrian agriculture, which has been severely damaged throughout the course of the armed conflict in the country, should be fully transformed, rather than just restored, Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Sputnik Monday. The FAO chief indicated that the FAO prioritizes providing assistance to the Syrian citizens who had returned to their homes and the creation of favorable conditions for farmers in the next few months.
  • South Africa drought could cost agriculture sector R4.9 billion

    The Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says around R4.9 billion will be lost in the agriculture sector if the drought continues to linger. Winde says various issues are affecting the sector including dwindling water resources and Avian influenza. He says the drought will have a devastating effect on jobs with the possibility of around 36,000 people being laid off.
  • Former USDA chiefs predict rising consumer influence on agriculture

    Consumers, not lawmakers and regulators, may drive the debate over water quality and good farm production, according to a former U.S. agriculture secretary visiting Iowa this week. “More and more, the general consumer, with the use of his or her smartphone and ability to communicate, is much more empowered on these issues than you used to see,” Dan Glickman, who ran the federal agriculture agency during the Clinton administration, said during recording earlier this week of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.” Glickman, 72, who was the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary from 1995 to 2001 after representing a Kansas congressional district for 18 years, said the public “often has views and thoughts that may not be necessarily consistent with
  • Researchers in Australia have taken farming automation to a whole new level

    The University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics are pioneers when it comes to robotic farming. Having developed a series of driverless tractors, they give us a sneak peek of how future farms and orchards will operate in the era of mass automation. These robots can line themselves up and drive over crops, get data that they send to the farmer's computer and even perform tasks like spraying, weeding, trimming branches, and harvesting fruits.
  • Thailand Agriculture Dept sows seeds of discontent

    Honoured as the agriculture king, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej strove to develop Thailand's agriculture sector to improve the livelihoods of farmers, especially through rice cultivation methods and farming experiments which are evident in many royally initiated projects. But our own agriculture authorities seem to be doing the opposite with their latest push to revise the law on plant varieties.
  • USDA invests in research on next generation of agricultural technology

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 17 grants for research on the next generation of agricultural technologies and systems to meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber. The grants are funded through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. "Technology is front and center in agricultural production," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "NIFA is investing in research on precision and smart technologies to maximize production efficiencies, including water and fertilizer use, and to produce nutritious food, new biofuels, and bioproducts."

News source: Farming UK