Tag Archives: Farming

At a time when agricultural employers are struggling to find workers, access to quality child care can aid in worker recruitment, improve retention and boost employee morale.

A new resource, “Roadmap for delivering child care in agricultural communities,” can help ensure that children of workers are kept safely away from dangers on the farm.

“Providing adequate child care services for farm workers is beneficial to both employers and workers, as well as the children,” said Barbara Lee, Ph.D., director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. “Making sure the children of workers are kept safely away from dangers on the farm can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve public relations.”

The resource, developed with input from agricultural business owners, human resources directors, insurance providers, Head Start child care specialists and farm worker parents, is part of the, “Protecting Children While Parents work in Agriculture” project, an initiative of the National Children’s Center and Migrant Clinicians Network. Funding is provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“The Roadmap is designed to assist individuals and organizations in identifying challenges and assets within their local regions regarding child care services for children of agricultural workers,” said Lee, one of the Roadmap’s contributors. “This local knowledge, combined with the references and resources in the Roadmap, will pave the way for developing an action plan that can help foster access to child care.”

The Roadmap will walk stakeholders through each step on the road to accessible child care. It breaks down the processes of conducting a needs assessment, building a team of stakeholders, identifying funding sources, and implementing and marketing new child care services to those in the community.  Utilizing community resources and links to existing organizations and featured model programs, the workbook will guide businesses to implement the services needed to cultivate their growing community.

Washington, D.C. – As part of his 2019 Ag Update Tour, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host August listening sessions in Alliance, York, and Auburn.

 

The Ag Update Tour provides Third District constituents an opportunity to hear from Smith and his special guests on the future of agriculture policy. In addition to Smith, officials such as Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Director Steve Wellman of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and Director Jim Macy of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, will join the discussions on selected dates.

 

“Sound agriculture policies are a crucial part of ensuring farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to succeed,” Smith said.  “I am grateful Ambassador Doud, Director Macy, and Director Wellman are taking time out of their busy schedules to join us for these conversations with Nebraska producers, and I am looking forward to constructive meetings. Getting policy right will help our producers overcome the challenges they face and ensure the Third District remains the top-producing agriculture district in the country.”

 

Alliance Ag Update Tour Session

Tuesday, August 27

West Side Event Center

2472 Co Rd 62, Alliance, NE 69301

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MDT)

 

York Ag Update Tour Session

Wednesday, August 28

Crossroads GPS

2711 Enterprise Ave, York, NE 68467

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

 

 

Auburn Ag Update Tour Session

Thursday, August 29

Auburn City Hall

1101 J St, Auburn, NE 68305

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

 

 

For questions about these events, please contact Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson hosted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a bipartisan listening session with members of the House Agriculture Committee and other members of Congress this morning at the annual Minnesota Farmfest.Peterson issued the following statement after the listening session:

“With all of the stress in farm country, it was important for Secretary Perdue to be here at Farmfest so Minnesota farmers could share directly with the Administration the issues they are having first-hand. At the forum farmers shared serious concerns about the trade war; the potential benefits of USMCA, which I support; the ongoing need for labor on dairy farms and other agricultural operations; and issues brought on by bad weather in the spring and throughout planting season, among many other topics. We talked about new programs in the Farm Bill and ways those programs will help farmers, with a particular focus on the dairy folks and what the new Dairy Margin Coverage program can do for them.

“We heard loudly and clearly that farmers don’t want to get their revenue from the government, but we also know that we at the federal level have a responsibility to make sure folks aren’t left behind as a result of forces beyond their control. There is still a lot of work to be done, and I’m going to continue do what I can as Chair of the Agriculture Committee as well as work with the Secretary to help.”

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Kansas State University is partnering with the Kansas Water Office and farmers across a swath of western Kansas to host eight Water Technology Field Days in August and September. The events are designed to show agricultural producers and others how the newest crop irrigation research and technology is being applied in real-life situations on private farms.

The dates, locations and times are:

  • Aug. 8 – Tribune – Homeland Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Aug. 9 – Hesston – Jacob, Weber and R&E Goering farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 20 – Scott City – Circle C and Long farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 23 – Larned – WaterPACK & ILS Farm – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 4 – Goodland – NW Kansas Tech College Farms – 9:30 a.m. (multiple events)
  • Sept. 5 – Garden City – The GCC-Roth Family, T&O and Harshberger farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 5 – Liberal – Hatcher Land & Cattle Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 10 – Troy – Loess Hills Water Quality Farm – 9 a.m.

The KWO provides financial assistance to K-State’s efforts to give technical support for some of the technology demonstration farms.

“K-State Research and Extension is committed to developing and promoting new irrigation technologies that will be environmentally and economically efficient while conserving and protecting limited water resources,” said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “The K-State Research and Extension services conducted at these Water Technology Farms significantly advances the knowledge of the most efficient water management technology and practices.”

Some of the technologies that these Water Technology Farms have are replicated in small plots at the Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City.

“We are excited to work with the producers on these farms because we could validate the results in our research plots to the production scale and conditions of actual farms,” said Jonathan Aguilar, K-State associate professor and water resource engineer located in Garden City.

He leads the monitoring activities of six water technology farms within the Ogallala Aquifer region.

“We hope farmers can see better options in managing their water as their peers test new – and even not so new – irrigation technologies,” he said.

More information on other collaborators and details on the field days is available online or by contacting Armando Zarco, KWO water resource planner, at 620-765-7485.

A pair of K-State Research and Extension western stations that are conducting irrigation research are also hosting field days this month:

Tariffs are now costing the U.S. up to $6 billion a month, according to Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. The trade group says American businesses and consumers paid $6 billion in tariffs in June 2019, one of the highest tariffed months in U.S. history.

The June figure is up 2.5 billion, or 74 percent, from the same month last year. The data, compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, is the first look at the impact of the escalation of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent in May. The data comes days after President Trump announced yet another round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods, which are set to take effect September 1. China responded to by stopping purchases of U.S. ag products.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold says the tariffs are “costing American jobs, raising prices, hurting farmers and derailing U.S. economic growth.” In total, American taxpayers have paid over $27 billion in extra import tariffs since the trade war began.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas wheat farmer testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on “Perspectives on Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act” on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Brian Linin, a farmer from Goodland and member of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, provided testimony about the importance of the Federal Grain Inspection Service on behalf of wheat farmers.

“The farmer works to provide the highest quality product that feeds the world. FGIS helps ensure that our customers are receiving the exact specifications that they need,” said Linin. “We’ve provided a lot of information on milling quality, the inspection services and our production processes to our buyers giving them more confidence in our high quality product that other countries can’t always ensure.”

The U.S.’s grain inspection system, authorized through the Grain Standards Act, provides certainty to our foreign customers that all U.S. grains and oilseeds have been inspected and certified by an independent agency. This service is a great, unique value to U.S. commodities and is an important enhancement for our products on the competitive world market.

“As a grower of winter wheat, among other crops, I wanted to be with you here to serve as a voice for fellow wheat farmers across the country about the importance of maintaining a smooth export system,” said Linin. “It’s been a very difficult few years for farmers. Having a functioning and respected grain inspection system has enabled the U.S. to be a reliable exporter and facilitate continued demand for our commodities. When we’ve seen disruptions to our grain inspection system in the past it has resulted in billions of dollars of lost value throughout the production chain.”
The Grain Standards Act serves a critical role in exporting grains and oilseeds, including U.S. wheat, of which about 50% is exported each year. U.S. wheat exports increased despite bearish factors such as a strong U.S. dollar, uncertainty about U.S. trade policies, and difficult inland transportation logistics. A properly functioning grain inspection system is critical.

“The grain inspection system is one that is valued by our overseas customers and adds value to our commodities,” Linin reported. “Foreign customers can be assured that an independent agency has certified shipments to meet the grade requirements specified in a contract. This certainty and reliability has helped wheat and other U.S. commodities to grow our export markets and serves as a significant advantage of purchasing U.S. wheat versus wheat from other origins.”

Other testimonies for the committee were provided by Tom Dahl, president of the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies, Bruce Sutherland, member of the board of directors for the National Grain and Feed Association and Nick Friant, chairman of the Grades & Inspections Committee North American Export Grain Association. For the Brian Linin’s full written testimony, please visit kansaswheat.org.

American Farmland Trust (AFT), the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, is releasing four case studies that show that healthier soil on farmland brings economic benefits to farmers and environmental benefits to society. These case studies were developed in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

AFT Water Initiative Director Dr. Michelle Perez, the lead researcher on the project, is unveiling the case studies at the Soil and Water Conservation Society annual conference today. The case studies were developed as part of a 2018 NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project, “Accelerating Soil Health Adoption by Quantifying Economic and Environmental Outcomes and Overcoming Barriers on Rented Lands,” and feature farms in California, Illinois, Ohio and New York.

“Increasingly, we understand that better soil health – and specific practices aimed at building soil organic matter, fostering microbial life in the soil, reducing nutrient loss, and protecting soil from erosion – lead to higher net income for farming operations. These case studies contribute to the growing body of quantitative evidence that improving soil health increases farmer profitability,” said Dr. Perez.

The two-page case studies focus on corn-soybean production in Illinois and Ohio, almond production in California and a diversified rotation (sweet corn, alfalfa, corn for silage or grain) in New York. The four farmers featured implemented soil health practices like no-till or strip-till, nutrient management, cover crops, compost, and mulching.

“When it comes to conservation, producers have to make decisions based on what makes the most sense for their operations,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “These case studies provide information on the economic benefits of using soil health management systems, demonstrating the value of adopting these systems.”

With soil health management, producers can increase their yield, decrease their risk and input costs, and improve their profits, all while conserving our nation’s resources for the public at large, on their farms, in their watersheds, and beyond. Soil health management systems are good for farmers and for the public.

“Increased implementation of soil health is critical to AFT’s holistic approach to saving the land that sustains us. Ensuring a sustainable future for this planet and our society requires we value the land, the practices on the land and the people who steward that land. AFT’s case studies showcase farmers who took the risk and are now enjoying the benefits of implementing practices that will support food production for a growing population while improving our environment and sequestering carbon. Farmers across the country can now embrace these practices and, with the help of staffers from AFT and our partner NRCS, put them into practice with greater confidence and profitability,” says John Piotti, AFT president and CEO.

Highlights from the case studies include:

  • All four of the farmers profiled saw improved yields ranging from 2% to 22% that they attributed, in part, to their soil health practices. The average return on investment was 176% for the four farms in the study and ranged from 35% to 343%. The study accounted for other factors at play in increased yield such as improved seed varieties and increased seeding rates.
  • All four farmers saw improved water quality outcomes, both by witnessing reduced soil and water runoff and as estimated by USDA’s Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT). NTT estimated that nitrogen reductions ranged from 40% to 98%, phosphorus reductions ranged from 74% to 92%; and sediment reductions ranged from 76% to 96% from specific fields in each farm.
  • All four farmers saw improved climate outcomes, as estimated by USDA’s COMET-Farm Tool. The tool estimated that total greenhouse gas emission reductions from specific fields in each farm ranged from 16% to 560%, corresponding to taking three-fourths of a car to 17 cars off the road.

All four farmers have been implementing different soil health practices over different time frames and a variety of cropping systems. With these case studies and the ones that will be released in the fall, AFT is building a diverse library of on-farm examples of soil health investments that have led to economic gain.

We hope that farmers who have been considering adding soil health practices to their operation will be able to use these case studies to approach their existing landowners, from whom they rent their land, to discuss sharing the risks and rewards of the soil health investments. We think farmers may be able to use the case studies with a new landlord to add new fields. Should that materialize, we hope farmers will also share the case studies with their bankers to secure additional financing for the farm expansion.

Farmers across the country can reach out to their local NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation District staff to help them implement soil health practices on their farm. In the watersheds featured in the four case studies, farmers can reach out to both the local NRCS and SWCD staff as well as the four AFT authors of the case studies.

We hope our conservation partners at NRCS, SWCD and Extension, plus our partners in the private sector, crop consultants, cover crop seed dealers, and strip-till equipment providers, use these case studies with their customers to help answer questions about the costs and benefits of adopting soil health practices.

AFT’s first four case studies can be found on AFT’s “Accelerating Soil Health” webpage.

The U.S. and China are trying to “reset” trade discussions after talks broke down back in May. Politico says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will hold face-to-face conversations with Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There are a lot of important items on the discussion schedule, including agriculture, intellectual property, forced technology transfers, trade deficits, and enforcement. There’s a lot at stake for U.S. farmers as President Trump is still seeking major Chinese agricultural purchases from the U.S. after reaching a short-term truce with Chinese President Xi in late June.

However, Beijing recently approved new wheat and soybean imports from Russia as the two countries are looking to increase their agricultural-trade activities. Also on the trade front, the Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for trade talks with Lighthizer. The U.S. is looking for a limited trade agreement in the coming weeks aimed primarily at agriculture and automobiles. Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet in late August and late September, which Politico says could be two chances to either sign or shake hands on a mini-deal.

Lincoln, NE —AFAN has announced the hiring of Rylee Stoltz of Bassett, Neb., as its new Livestock Programming Coordinator. Her appointment was effective July 8.

AFAN (The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska) is a non-profit organization formed by leading agricultural membership groups in Nebraska to encourage the development of environmentally responsible and economically viable livestock production in the state.

Stoltz’s responsibilities at AFAN include creating and managing programming events for producers and communities and assisting with communications activities to enhance understanding about the importance of the agriculture industry in Nebraska.

She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness focusing on business and finance. She also holds the Associate of Science degree from Northeast Community College, Norfolk. Until joining AFAN, she was a loan administrative assistant at Sandhills State Bank in Bassett. While in Bassett, her community activities included founder of the Rock County Growth, Inc., Youth Engagement Committee and chair of the Rock County Growth, Inc. Housing Board.

“Rylee is a most welcome addition to our team,” said AFAN Executive Director Steve Martin.  “Her skills and experience will be used to expand AFAN’s outreach efforts by helping create and carry out programming services on behalf of livestock producers and by getting the word out about how critical agriculture and livestock is to Nebraska’s economy.”