• Zimbabwe secures $478 million funding for agriculture-state newspaper

    Zimbabwe's government has signed a $478 million agreement with an energy company and three banks to finance the 2017/18 summer farming season in a push to improve food security, a state-owned newspaper said on Monday. The southern African nation has since 2001 relied on imports and foreign donors to meet demand for the staple maize. Drought, lack of financing and President Robert Mugabe's seizures of land from white farmers that hit commercial agriculture have been blamed for low grain production over the years. The Herald newspaper reported that the government and local energy company Sakunda Holdings had signed an agreement that would see three banks provide the capital to mainly fund production of maize and soya.
  • Agricultural leaders unveil 10-year agriculture strategic plan

    Indiana officials say the next decade of agriculture in the Hoosier state will be defined by seven priorities, including educating young people to prepare them to work in agriculture. Leaders from Indiana’s agricultural community gathered Monday for an event to unveil a 10-year Indiana Agriculture Strategic Plan. The plan is a result of nearly 18 months of collaboration between a committee of representatives from Indiana agricultural boards, universities and government organizations. “Indiana agriculture is special and I mean that,” says Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Ted McKinney. “I’ve had the chance to work with other states and the collaboration and the ability to get along by the different entities in Indiana Ag is
  • More than a crown: Miss USA Agriculture advocates for ag

    Miss United States Agriculture is not your typical dresses and crowns pageant. Miss United States Agriculture is a new national pageant within its first few years of competition. In this year's pageant, 34 states are participating and that number grows every year. Miss United States Agriculture focuses on the platform of what each contestant does to promote agriculture. Jennifer Mueller is South Dakota's Miss Agriculture 2017, who will compete in the 2017 Miss United States Agriculture pageant. Mueller is pursuing an agricultural education degree from South Dakota State University, and her campaign focuses on youth education.
  • Food Prize Laureate: Future of African youth lies in agriculture, not Europe

    Making agriculture profitable and "cool" for young people in Africa is key to lifting millions out of poverty and stemming migration to Europe, said the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Akinwumi Adesina was named the winner of this year's World Food Prize on Monday for his decades-long work to boost food production in his native Nigeria, increase access to credit for small farmers across Africa and transform the continent's agriculture. Kenneth Quinn, president of the Des Moines, Iowa-based World Food Prize Foundation, said the $250,000 award reflected Adesina's "breakthrough achievements" as Nigeria's minister of agriculture and his critical role in the development of the nonprofit Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Adesina, 57, told Reuters he was
  • Ethiopia warns above-average rainfall to impact crops

    The Ethiopian Meteorology Agency on Monday warned farmers across the country over the prospect of above-average rainfall in the coming days which could affect crops. The announcement came amid Ethiopia's battle with the ongoing drought that hits parts of the east African country affecting 7.8 million Ethiopians in need of emergency food aid. The agency through its announcement indicated that the above-average rainfall would threaten the safety of agricultural crops in some cereal producing regions of the country during the upcoming five days. As the country is still facing below-average rainfall, the Ethiopian Meteorology Agency recommended farmers and institutions to take water-saving measures during the coming days so as to combat the long-term impact of the drought.
  • After heavy rains damage crops, Toronto farmers hope for clear skies

    Farmers in the Holland Marsh area of Toronto spent the weekend scrambling to pump water off their fields and save their crops after heavy rainfall. The rain reached its peak on Friday when a storm unleashed a total of 36.2 mm of precipitation in the region. Fields were drowned by flash floods. Farmer Avia Eek said that by 6 a.m. that day, her normally dry plots of carrots and onions were flooded. "There was water between the rows. And you look at that, and you go, 'Uh oh,'" she said.
  • Syngenta ordered to pay farmers over $200m

    A federal jury has ordered Swiss giant Syngenta to pay $217.7 million to Kansas farmers after a verdict was announced this week at a trial in Kansas City. The class action lawsuit was brought because of the Viptera line of corn seed Syngenta began selling to farmers in 2011. At the time, Sygenta hadn’t received Chinese approval of the trait (MIR162) within the seed that gave it insect resistance. China began rejecting U.S. grain shipments in 2013 because it detected the unapproved trait in corn. China would go on to approve the trait in 2014 but farmers contended the damage had been done because of lower corn prices and lost sales.
  • U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

    All imports of fresh beef from Brazil have been halted because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Thursday. The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory. The action comes three months after a major scandal erupted in Brazil over allegedly corrupt inspectors at slaughter and processing facilities. Brazilian officials said then that meat companies paid inspectors to overlook violations and certify tainted or rotten meat or not make inspections at all. However, before the crackdown, rotten meat was distributed in Brazil and exported to Europe. Since March, USDA’s Food
  • Argentina's taste for veal complicates beef exporting ambition

    Argentina's taste for beef from young calves - viewed as the most tender - is discouraging producers from raising the heavier cattle needed to restore the country's position as a top global beef exporter. With per capita consumption at nearly 58 kilograms (128 lbs) per year, barbecue-loving Argentines are among the most carnivorous people in the world. Despite the high consumption level, the number of heavy cattle - the type most demanded by international markets - sent to slaughter houses is relatively low. "I prefer small animals, not the big ones because their meat is harder," said Rosa Dimonica, a customer at a butcher shop in the old-fashioned San Telmo Market in Buenos Aires.
  • China drone king sees agriculture as area of growth

    Drone maker DJI is betting on flying machines that shoot pesticide instead of photos to fend off growing competition in the global market for remote-controlled aircraft. The world leader in the civilian drones sector is switching its focus from leisure photography to more professional uses for its unmanned aerial vehicles - and it sees agriculture as the future for the industry. DJI's campus lies in a high-tech park in the southern city of Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, where its showroom features a wide array of drones. Half the space is dedicated to recreational machines such as those in the Phantom series; the other half shows off "enterprise" drones for agriculture, public safety or professional photography. Propelled by rotors, the tiny crop-dusting aircraft can carry a
  • Dairy farmers not about to let land be milked dry

    There's been a change in dairy farmer mindsets as they move away from production at any cost, to leading the way in caring for the environment, Fonterra's Anna Reddish says. "There's a move away from using every inch of land to make milk," Anna, Fonterra's sustainable dairying adviser, told the Dannevirke News. "Farmers want to be stewards of the land." About 35 farmers attended a Fonterra riparian-planting field day at Lisa and Paul Charmley's Te Rehunga dairy farm last week, keen to learn how they, too, could work with their environment. "We even have a couple of sheep and beef farmers here keen to see what's happening in the dairy industry," Anna said.
  • The prize-winning tech helping Ghana’s farmers to grow

    Agyei Douglas is a farmer who grows vegetables near Kumasi in Ghana’s central Ashanti region. He used to struggle to access markets and capital. The information he needed was broadcast on the radio but often it wasn’t specific enough to improve his yield of lettuce, spring onions, cabbage and chilli pepper. Two years ago, the 43-year-old began using Farmerline, which delivers weather updates, the latest market prices and other details to his second generation mobile phone. “It has helped us improve on our productions through the information we get from them, it has made things easier for us as compared to our previous system,” he told AFP. The Ghanaian tech company behind Farmerline is one of a number of start-ups in the West African country working to
  • US agriculture unhappy with Cuba announcement

    U.S. agriculture is not happy with President Trump’s announcement on placing new restrictions on Cuban travel and business. The new policies will ban U.S. companies from doing business with Cuban companies that are controlled by Cuba’s military or intelligence agencies and will limit some tourism. The Cuban military is known to control a significant amount of the Cuban economy, especially hotels, tour bus companies and supermarkets.
  • Foreign investment in US farmland rising

    In 2013, the Chinese firm Shuanghui received wide public attention when it purchased U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods for a record $4.7 billion. In an overlooked part of the deal, Shuanghui also acquired more than 146,000 acres of farmland across the United States, worth more than $500 million, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The deal made Shuanghui, now the WH Group Limited, into one of the biggest foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land, according to an analysis of that same data. That purchase was just a part of a continuing surge in foreign investment in American farmland and food that has raised concerns in Congress and among rural advocacy groups.
  • How American farmers can avoid another economic slump

    America’s agricultural economics run in cycles — each lasting 30 years since 1900 and including periods of decline in U.S. farm income and agricultural land value. Today, we are in a downturn, with farm income 40 percent off its high and agricultural land value in various degrees of decline nationwide. Economists can merely speculate whether this downturn rebounds (as after World War II), deepens (as in the 1980s) or bottoms out (as in the Great Depression). History may not repeat, but it does rhyme. We have been here before — at a junction of caution and concern, but also hope and opportunity. Amid the uncertainty, farmers can look to the USDA’s Cooperative Extension Service — which has helped sustain, assist and educate agricultural producers since
  • U.S. bans fresh Brazil beef imports over safety concerns

    The United States halted imports of fresh Brazilian beef on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, after a high percentage of shipments failed to pass safety checks. The USDA had "recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market," after increasing tests on Brazilian beef in March, according to a statement. The agency raised scrutiny on Brazilian beef and ready-to-eat products as a precaution following an investigation into corruption involving Brazil's health inspectors that targeted meat companies JBS SA (JBSS3.SA) and BRF SA (BRFS3.SA). JBS, the world's largest meat packer, declined to comment on the U.S. ban. The USDA's action threatens the reputation of meat from Brazil, the world's top exporter of beef and poultry, even
  • French farmer detained again for helping migrants

    A French farmer who became a symbol of the migrant crisis for helping Africans sneak across the border from Italy has been detained again, his lawyer said Thursday. Cedric Herrou, a 37-year-old organic olive farmer, has been hailed as a hero by some and branded irresponsible by others for driving migrants across the border and then giving them accommodation. He was let off with a suspended fine of 3,000 euros ($3,300) in February after going on trial charged with assisting some 200 illegal immigrants, most of them Sudanese and Eritreans. He was unrepentant at the time, saying he would not stop helping people who had come to Europe.
  • Better year expected for dairy farmers

    Australia's dairy farmers can expect a better year ahead as the farmgate milk price partly recovers, seasonal conditions improve and input prices remain affordable, a new report says. Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says a better-than-expected butterfat price supports its forecast for a farmgate milk price of $5.40 to $5.80 per kilogram of milk solids next season. Favourable input prices and better seasonal conditions are expected to boost milk production, Rabobank says in its latest global dairy industry report. Global markets are expected to remain well balanced, with major export regions moving back towards modest growth in milk supply and China expected to be a more substantial buyer.
  • Biggest cattle feeding operation in the US up for sale (980,000 head of cattle)

    Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA revealed plans to sell assets worth $1.8 billion on Tuesday, putting dairy, poultry and cattle feeding units on the block to cut debt after a corruption scandal raised concerns about its financing costs. JBS, whose controlling shareholder recently agreed to pay a massive leniency fine after becoming embroiled in sweeping graft probes that have ensnared politicians and executives, said in a securities filing that its board and state development bank BNDES still had to approve the planned asset sales. The sales, which aim to raise 6 billion reais ($1.8 billion), include a 19.2 percent stake in Brazil-based dairy company Vigor Alimentos SA, along with its Northern Ireland unit Moy Park Ltd and Five Rivers Cattle Feeding in North America. The largest asset
  • East Texas rancher ropes 10-foot alligator threatening his cattle

    Over the years, Hal Conover said he's seen hundreds of alligators on his ranch outside Hawkins. "They've all been small," he said. "They haven't bothered any cattle. I've never had any trouble with them; I've left them alone." The most recent case was different. On June 4, his neighbor spotted a 10 foot, 5 inch long gator in the pen where he was weaning calves. "I haven't seen any that aggressive," said Conover. "He was looking for a meal." As the reptile tried to escape from the pen, Conover moved the calves to safety and called his friend Byron South for back-up. He successfully thew one rope around the gator before South and his son arrived.

News source: Farming UK