• Belgian farmer sentenced to pay fine for unlawful use of saved seed

    The Antwerp Court of Appeal has sentenced a farmer in the Belgian province of Antwerp to pay a large fine and damage compensation to Breeders Trust. On May 2, the full bench division of the court sentenced the farmer involved to pay Breeders Trust a compensation of more than EUR90k in lost income for not reporting his acreage farm saved seed for the varieties Asterix and Fontane which are protected under Plant Breeders’ Rights. In addition, the court determined that Breeders Trust has also suffered other damage, such as investigation costs and damage to reputation, for which compensation must be paid and that is fixed at the benefit that the farmer involved has enjoyed from the infringement on an acreage of more than 230 hectare of the variety Fontane. An expert
  • California farmer fights $2.8 million federal fine for plowing own field

    The US Army Corps of Engineers and state authorities are seeking almost $3 million in fines from a California farmer because residue from plowing polluted creeks on his property, under environmental rules the Trump administration wants to abolish. Federal authorities are charging John Duarte of Modesto for not obtaining permits to discharge dredged or fill material into seasonal wetlands that are considered waters of the United States, the Redding Record Searchlight reported this week. “The case is the first time that we’re aware of that says you need to get a [US Army Corps of Engineers] permit to plow to grow crops,” said Anthony Francois, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian nonprofit working on Duarte’s behalf. “We’re not
  • Climate change 'to slash value of European farmland'

    A new EU study has suggested that the effects of climate change could reduce the economic value of European farmland by up to 32 per cent. Farms in southern Europe are particularly sensitive to climate change and could suffer value losses of up to nine per cent per 1°C rise. The study by Steven Van Passel, Emanuele Massetti and Robert Mendelsohn, entitled ‘A Ricardian Analysis of the Impact of Climate Change on European Agriculture’, concludes that policy – on water and land use, for example – will be crucial to help farmers adapt to climate change and mitigate economic losses.
  • Irish use of antibiotics in livestock among lowest in Europe

    Ireland is in a good position to deal with EU legislation on potential antibiotic restrictions in livestock, the MSD Animal Health conference heard on Thursday. The EU is due to introduce restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals over the next three years. Irish use is quite low, the MSD animal health conference in the RDS heard, putting us in a good position to deal with the new rules. “A recent EU report shows that Ireland is near the bottom of the European league in the use of antibiotics in animals,” Fergal Morris, director of ruminant business with MSD Animal Health, said at the conference. “Irish farmers use one-eighth the amount of antibiotics used by farmers in Spain on a per-animal basis, which is the highest user of antibiotics in the EU.
  • Dairy farm sales rise 20 per cent from a year ago

    Dairy farm sales around the country have shot up by 20 per cent as confidence enters the industry, says real estate agent Peter Barnett. The co-owner of Feilding-based NZR said last year's tally of dairy farms sold was low after being hit by a low milk payout, but this had improved and in many regions, dairy farm sale numbers were similar to those in the high payout season of 2014. The big dairying regions led the way, with more dairy farms sold in Waikato, then Taranaki and Northland and Southland, than last year. Barnett said smaller regions such as Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Whanganui had seen lower numbers of transactions, but this was expected to change next season.
  • Sinn Féin: Brexit could devastate north's farming industry

    Brexit could herald the end of the small family farm in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein has warned. The region's farming and agri-food industry would be devastated by tariffs and restrictions on movement across the Irish border, the republican party claimed as it launched a new policy document on the sector. Euro MP Matt Carthy said the potential negative impact on farmers highlighted the need to attain special EU designated status for Northern Ireland when the rest of the UK leaves the EU. He said European subsidies to the region's farmers, totalling £236 million a year through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), were unlikely to be maintained at the same level under a post-Brexit UK government.
  • Farmer's daughter takes case to court when dad tries to sack her

    A Te Awamutu dairy farm manager has been granted interim orders preventing her employer, who is also her father, from kicking her out of her job and her house. Donna Spence had lived on the farm all her life and began full-time work as a manager for her father, Murray Spence, in 2005. The farm is a 70 hectare dairy and kiwifruit property and is held by a family trust. Murray Spence leases the land and operates the farm business. Last August, Donna Spence took a personal grievance for unjustified disadvantage to the Employment Relations Authority, alleging her employer had physically and verbally abused her and made it impossible to carry out her job. This investigation was adjourned in November and was due to continue in February but Murray Spence did not attend.
  • Cattle producers prepare for China to open its doors to US beef

    When the Chinese open their borders to American beef this summer, the promise of significant premiums and a substantial new market is real and is prompting many beef producers to go through verification programs to be among the first to export beef to the new market. Ranchers Connecting Ranchers and RaeMarie Knowles stand at the ready to help producers through the process. Ranchers Connecting Ranchers (RCR) was established in 2014 after Knowles had spent six years in the cattle verification industry and hoped to better serve cattle producers. Knowles, who lives near Kiowa, Colo., is the Managing Partner and CEO of the company that provides verification services to beef producers who are hoping to participate in programs that might mean more dollars per head. RCR verifies cattle for
  • Poultry farmer who tried to block publication of RHI names received £750,000

    One of the founding members of the group that sought to block the publication of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) claimants has received £750,000 since the botched scheme opened. Ballymoney poultry farmer Tom Forgrave is among the biggest claimaints on the list released yesterday by the Department for the Economy (DfE). Mr Forgrave is chairman of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) poultry committee and a key figure in the Renewable Heat Association NI (RHANI), which went to court to stop claimants being identified. He is among a handful of farmers who have received more than half a million pounds under the scheme. Mr Forgrave claimed for 11 biomass boilers in all, one of which attracted a subsidy of more than £114,000 over three years.
  • US giant Glencore looking to expand agriculture business

    Miner and trader Glencore is looking to expand its agriculture business via its partnership with two Canadian funds, the company's CEO said on Wednesday, but has no plans to move into any commodities it does not already trade. CEO Ivan Glasenberg was speaking a day after U.S. grains trader Bunge Ltd said it was not in talks with Glencore, while Glencore said it had made an informal approach to discuss "a possible consensual business combination". "Agriculture has always been our strategy," Glasenberg told shareholders at the annual general meeting in Cham, near Zug in Switzerland where Glencore has its headquarters. Glencore, which became a major international grain trader through its takeover of Canadian-based Viterra in 2012, sold 50 percent of its agriculture business in 2016
  • Feds fine farmer $2.8 million for 'deep ripping' of farmland

    John Duarte, a farmer in Tehama County, California, is facing a $2.8 million fine and a federal trial for plowing his field without a permit. One of Duerte’s lawyers, Anthony Francois, told USA Today the case could establish a precedent requiring farmers to obtain costly permits to plant crops on privately-owned land. Duerte’s troubles began in 2012 when he hired a worker to plow 450 acres of land he’d just purchased. The contractor plowed the land, hitting some vernal pools that existed on it, cuasing minimal damage to the pools themselves, Duerte told USA Today.
  • Promoting agriculture and rural prosperity? Really?

    While the president was solving the problems of the Mideast and mending fences with the pope, the legislative poop hit the proverbial fan when the Office of Management and Budget made public the administration’s final budget proposal that would drastically slash federal agriculture programs over 10 years. When the preliminary budget proposal came out a few weeks ago, ripping farm programs a whopping 21 percent, ag organizations couched their concerns in somewhat diplomatic language. But when they got a look at the proposed final budget, the gloves came off and the e-mails started flying. Typical was this statement by Food Policy Action: “…the budget the president released is filled with misplaced priorities that would be terrible for America’s food system,
  • Trump budget seeks cuts in agriculture, new round of base closings

    Amid proposed increases in defense spending and deep cuts to the nation’s social safety net, the Trump administration’s 2018 budget also calls for another round of military base closings, opening up a federal prison at Thomson, Illinois, and reductions in crop insurance subsidies. President Donald Trump’s first budget landed Tuesday, with area Republicans cautioning it is just the first step in the process. Democrats, meanwhile, blasted it for its cuts to Medicaid, Social Security disability payments, education and other programs. Outlines of the $4.1 trillion spending plan already had been made public, but Tuesday was the first release of the details. “This budget is a direct attack on Iowa’s hardworking families, rural communities and small
  • Details emerge on requirements for U.S. beef exports to China

    New details have emerged on what U.S. beef producers may have to do to export their product to China, but the industry still awaits specifics that will determine the size of the opportunity ahead, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said Tuesday. Producers would be required to track the locations where cattle raised for beef exported to China are born and slaughtered, under a U.S. proposal that has been accepted by Beijing, Reuters reported Monday, citing the USDA. The beef exported to China also must be free from residue of beta-agonists, a growth-enhancing feed additive. And beef shipped to China must be from cattle under 30 months of age, a standard designed to reduce the risk of so-called mad cow disease.
  • Dairy farmers just got some good news for a change

    The slump in global prices for dairy appears to have eased. The Fonterra Co-operative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, today increased its forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 15 NZ cents to $NZ6.15 per kgMS. Chairman John Wilson says the rise is "good news for our farmers and their communities" and reflects the strong fundamentals supporting global dairy markets. “World dairy prices have risen in recent months and as we near the end of the season we have more visibility and certainty which makes us confident of our $6.15 position,” says Wilson. Fonterra also confirmed its forecast earnings per share range of 45 to 55 NZ cents for the 2017 financial year, as it continues to target a full year dividend of 40 NZ cents.
  • Big dairy continues war against farmers & raw milk

    Dairy is undoubtedly controversial. Regardless of whether it’s raw or pasteurized, many health experts would argue that it’s for babies, not adults. Nature didn’t intend for milk to nourish adults. In fact, babies are weaned from their mothers’ breasts around the time their new teeth allow for proper consumption of solid food. Lactose intolerance is another valuable argument, with mammals generally losing the ability to digest lactose around the age of two. This explains the stigma surrounding milk for many — it makes them gag! If it doesn’t make you queasy, and you do not have an intolerance to it, you may very well enjoy a glass occasionally (or regularly). That’s where the argument of the raw milk versus pasteurized milk comes into
  • US farm groups oppose Trump's cuts to agriculture spending

    U.S. farm groups on Tuesday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash agriculture spending, viewing it as a fresh threat to a struggling farm economy. The White House on Monday proposed $46.54 billion in cuts to federal government funding for the agriculture sector over the next 10 years, including limits on federal subsidies for crop insurance premiums. Congress has the final say on the government’s budget and lawmakers said the president’s plan stands little chance of passing. U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue said there was no “sugarcoating” the budget proposal, which could lead to the elimination of 5,263 jobs at the department if implemented, or about 5 percent of its workforce. USDA requested $18 billion
  • Tainted food fear spurs new breed of Chinese farmer

    China’s agricultural landscape can be summed up fairly simply: it has too little arable land, divided into too many tiny plots, tended by too many farmers, who are mostly too old. And much of the soil is contaminated. Four-fifths of the nation’s farmland is divided up into plots of less than 3.3 hectares (8.2 acres) and most of those are even smaller—less than the size of a football field. These patches of earth are used mainly to grow cereals like rice and wheat on soil that farmers soak with government-subsidized chemicals to boost yields and keep state grain silos full. To meet the ballooning demand from China’s newly wealthy middle class for a greater variety of foods such as meat, fruit and vegetables, China needs bigger, more efficient and safer farms.
  • JBS meat scandal grows in Brazil

    The world’s largest meatpacker — and second-largest global food company — is directly involved with a bribery scandal at the highest levels in its home country of Brazil, but there is no indication JBS S.A. is facing investigations in the U.S. Joesley Batista, chairman of JBS S.A., is caught up in a political scandal with global market impacts. While JBS is based in Brazil, the company last year had $33.9 billion in sales of U.S. and Canadian beef, pork and poultry, accounting for more than half of the company’s revenue, according to JBS’ financial reports. A spokesman for JBS USA Holdings told DTN on Friday the company is not commenting further on the investigation in Brazil. The company is not under investigation in the U.S. related to the
  • Prospect of NAFTA rewrite gives US farmers a case of jitters

    A sizable majority of rural Americans backed Donald Trump’s presidential bid, drawn to his calls to slash environmental rules, strengthen law enforcement and replace the federal health care law. But many farmers are nervous about another plank in Trump’s agenda: His vow to overhaul U.S. trade policy, including his intent announced Thursday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Trump’s message that NAFTA was a job-killing disaster had never resonated much in rural America. NAFTA had widened access to Mexican and Canadian markets, boosting U.S. farm exports and benefiting many farmers. Farm Country went on red alert last month when it looked as if Trump wasn’t even going to pursue a NAFTA rewrite: White House aides

News source: Farming UK