National clips

ALTERNATIVE FARM ...

This land is your land

Feeding ten billion people means growing crops faster, smarter

One hundred feet below London, old World War II bomb shelters have been turned into a sustainable farm.

by Daniel Stone, National Geographic  |   April 24,2014

Light, seeds, soil, and water. The recipe for growing food out of the ground is among the planet's simplest equations.

Tweak the variables—less light, different dirt—and you can grow anything from feathery lettuce that's lighter than air to a beefy jackfruit, the world's densest fruit, which can weigh more than a hundred pounds.

So it's strange that in the middle of the day on a recent Thursday we're walking through a dark tunnel on the way to a farm.

    

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This land is your land

    

FARM COMMUNICATION ...

New Holland launches online community

Spotlight forum will explore topical issues with expert guidance

New Holland has launched an online community dedicated to the agricultural world, www.mynewholland.com.

by New Holland  |   April 24,2014

NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — New Holland has launched an online community dedicated to the agricultural world, www.mynewholland.com.

Open to all farmers and everyone with an interest in farming, My New Holland offers all the functionalities of a virtual community, providing a meeting place to contribute to farming related discussions and access premium contents and services.

The My New Holland community is accessible either directly through its URL or following the link on the home page of the New Holland website at www.newholland.com/na.

    

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New Holland launches online community

    

EPA WATER RULE ...

AFB tells members to 'ditch' EPA water rule

EPA contends that set of exemptions will protect many farmers

"The EPA exemptions offer no meaningful protection for the hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers whose operations and livelihoods are threatened by this expansion of EPA's regulatory reach," AFBF President Bob Stallman says.

by American Farm Bureau Federation  |   April 22,2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Farm Bureau Federation today asked its members to resist a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that it says will impose unworkable regulations on the nation's farms.

Published Monday in the Federal Register, the more-than-111,000-word "Waters of the U.S." proposed rule reflects the EPA's latest interpretation of the 1972 Clean Water Act.

The rule could ultimately lead to the unlawful expansion of federal regulation to cover routine farming and ranching practices as well as other common private land uses, such as building homes.

    

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AFB tells members to 'ditch' EPA water rule

    

FOREIGN IMPORTS ...

NFU urges continued ban on Brazilian beef

NFU: Keep ban on Brazilian beef to protect U.S. ranchers, consumers

The economic costs of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be tremendous. A 2002 study found that if an epidemic similar to the outbreak that occurred in the U.K. in 2001 were to strike the United States, a loss of $14 billion in U.S. farm income (in 2002 dollars) would result.

by National Farmers Union  |   April 22,2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today NFU President Roger Johnson submitted comments to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on its proposal to allow the importation of beef from several states in Brazil with a recent history of unresolved foot and mouth disease (FMD).

"As we've seen in the past, consumer confidence in the safety of our food supply is easily jeopardized by even rumored threats," said Johnson.

"NFU's family farmer- and rancher-driven policy is clear on this issue: livestock, animal protein products and meat imports from countries with a history of FMD and other infectious livestock diseases put the entire U.S. livestock industry at risk...

    

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NFU urges continued ban on Brazilian beef

    

CENSUS UPDATE ...

Full 2012 Ag Census to be released May 2

Complete census will contain detailed data down to the county level

The full census information will be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

by RFD-TV  |   April 21,2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture will be released May 2.

The full release is fast approaching.

"The Census of Agriculture complete report will be made available May 2 at noon," said Renee Picanso, with the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

    

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Full 2012 Ag Census to be released May 2

    

PEPPER PROVENANCE ...

Home of chili pepper farming revealed

Scientists examine genetic, ecological, archaeological evidence

By drawing on genetic, archaeological, linguistic and ecological evidence, researchers found the birthplace of chili farming.

by Megan Gannon, livescience  |   April 21,2014

Chili peppers reign as the world's most widely cultivated spice crop; farmers grow them in bulk, and self-described chili-heads breed ever-spicier varieties of the fruit.

But before they conquered cuisines around the globe, chili peppers were domesticated in Central and South America.

Now, scientists say they've found the hotspot where ancient farmers first cultivated Capsicum annuum, the most common kind of chili pepper.

    

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Home of chili pepper farming revealed

    

FARM LABOR ISSUES ...

Program would bring protection for laborers

Effort to protect farmworkers from sexual assault gaining momentum

A Florida-based program that could bring protection for laborers seeks to expand nationally. (Joe Klamar, AFP/Getty Images)

by Sheila Bapat, Al Jazeera America  |   April 17,2014

Isabel, 30, has been working on Florida tomato farms for many years since she arrived from Guatemala.

Her experience in the sun-soaked fields has brought a steady paycheck, but she has also seen co-workers experience sexual abuse and sexual violence.

"Before, we would hear about a contractor or supervisor who would take women to a private place, to the edge of the field, and we understood that sexual assault is what was happening," she said. "Now, we aren't hearing these stories in the same way we used to."

    

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Program would bring protection for laborers