Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
Kirby Hettver is pleased that the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule was released on April 24. But the DeGraff, Minn., farmer and president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association needs time to evaluate the 400-page proposal. "Minnesota's farmers are happy the Groundwater Protection Rule is finally available for review, and we appreciate the work of Minnesota Department of Agriculture staff to get the rule released with an 80-day comment period," Hettver said.
Upper Midwest farmers have watched the snow melt in their fields. Now they're waiting, with as much patience they can muster, for fields to dry sufficiently for them to begin planting their 2018 crops. Farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana overall made virtually no planting progress in the week ending April 22, according to the weekly planting progress report released April 23 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rural electrification — which in the 1930s brought electricity to huge chunks of rural America — was straightforward and clearcut. Rural broadband is not, a communications industry executive says. With rural electrification, "When the lights went on, you knew you had it. It's a little different when you have multiple ways to deliver the product (broadband service)," said Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association.
These are challenging times for the U.S. dairy industry. Now, Midwest Dairy — formerly known as the Midwest Dairy Association — has made some changes that the organization thinks will help struggling producers. "Our goal is better connecting with consumers," says Lucas Lentsch, Midwest Dairy's CEO. The changes — made after a year-long planning process with input from Midwest Dairy farmers, staff and partners, including retailers, cooperatives and others — include:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. farm and food groups generally have been publicly optimistic for months that the next farm bill will look a lot like the existing one. Now, despite uncertainty in the U.S. House, at least one person engaged in the farm bill process still thinks that will be the case
If you've ever wondered what U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is all about, here's a very small sample of projects it has funded; • Growing commercial cabbage in heavy loam soil in North Dakota • Mobile farmers markets in Minnesota. • Organic control of weeds in Montana. • Wild berry opportunities in South Dakota.
WASHINGTON — The Conservation Stewardship Program is America's largest working lands conservation program. So two conservation-minded agriculture groups are predictably upset by a House Agriculture Committee proposal that they say would gut the CSP. "Terminating the Conservation Stewardship Program undermines farmers' and ranchers' abilities to implement conservative practices on their land," Anna Johnson, policy associate for Lyons, Neb.-based Center for Rural Affairs, said in a statement.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. agriculturalists wonder when the next farm bill will be approved and exactly what will be in it. Pat Roberts, Debbie Stabenow and Collin Peterson — who should be in the best position to know those answers — say they're wondering, too. The three Congressional ag leaders, all farm bill veterans, met April 10 on Capitol Hill with members of the North American Agricultural Journalists. The group, which represents U.S. and Canadian ag journalists, held its annual convention April 9-10 in Washington, D.C.
Sustainability has become one of the most widely used words in American agriculture and the U.S. food system. Farmers and ranchers frequently talk about it and how to best incorporate it into their farms and ranches. But the term and concept behind it means different things to different people and organizations. Though they all agree sustainability is important, they often disagree about how individual agricultural producers and U.S. ag in general should respond.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steve Censky spent 21 years as CEO of the American Soybean Association. Now, as U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, he's part of an administration pursuing trade policies that deeply concern U.S. soybean farmers. Asked what he says about that to his former colleagues, Censky answered, "Understand the anxiety very well. China is U.S. soybean farmers' No. 1 market."