SANTA ROSA — Elated Sonoma County Winegrowers announced a double-header achievement for the environment at a press conference on Sept. 12 at their Santa Rosa headquarters. Not only have the more than 1,800 members reached 99% certified sustainable vineyards, but they will build on their sustainability leadership by becoming the first wine region to participate in California’s pilot Climate First Certification program.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Soybean Association Board of Directors recently approved its fiscal year 2020 budget. This includes checkoff-funded projects targeted at increasing farmer profitability and building customer demand across domestic and international food, feed and fuel markets.

Pork processing plants will have fewer federal inspectors, and could have faster line speeds, under a controversial rule the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized this week.Inspectors reject live animals that look sick, or carcass sections that look suspect. "Under the new rule, just announced, pork companies have a new option," Dan Charles reports for NPR. "They can hire their own people to help out. These company employees would be at each inspection station, weeding out any problematic pig parts before the USDA inspector gives the meat a green light. There will be fewer USDA inspectors in the plant because they won't have as much to do."The new rule also eliminates limits on slaughter line speeds. Critics worry that will injure more workers, but industry representatives say it won't. Casey Gallimore, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the North American Meat Institute, a lobbying group, "says that the new rules will allow plants to try out new ways of operating that could be more efficient," Charles reports. "She says it won't affect food safety. The additional company employees will be highly trained, and USDA inspectors still will look at every piece of pork that goes into the food supply."Critics say company employees aren't required to have extra inspection training, and worry they won't be as aggressive as USDA inspectors in looking for problems. Patty Lovera, an industry critic with the nonprofit Food and Water Watch, told Charles that "to ask company employees to be under that pressure, of pulling product out and costing their employer money, is a lot to ask."The new rules will go into effect in two months, and pork processors have several months to decide whether to switch to the new inspection system, Charles reports.

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A soybean field day offered western Pennsylvania farmers a forum on Sept. 4 to discuss a number of production challenges.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A national coalition representing almost 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers today delivered a letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal and calling on lawmakers to make agriculture policy reform a priority for addressing the climate crisis and the economic crisis facing independent family farms.

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Sulfur has become an important crop nutrient applied to corn fields. Recent research has shown a benefit from applying sulfur in fields that need organic matter. It’s also of benefit in increased-residue situations where mineralization and release of sulfate sulfur from organic matter are limited.

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DES MOINES – “An unexpected complex of thunderstorms moved through the state on Saturday producing heavy precipitation. This put a damper on the annual Cy-Hawk game but helped improve conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Monday, commenting on the Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The September 12 USDA Crop Report slightly lowered the projected U.S. average corn and soybean yields for 2019, as compared to the August National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) yield estimates. The USDA yield estimates were based on U.S. crop conditions as of September 1st; however, the NASS projections do not agree with that analysis of U.S. crop conditions by many private crop and marketing analysts. Many of the private analysts cite excess moisture and poor early season growing conditions in portions of Southwest Minnesota and South Dakota, along with a large portion of the Eastern Corn Belt, as reasons for concerns with the 2019 USDA corn yield projections.

Fly Control in concentrated animal feeding operations such as dairies is a challenge, especially in warm weather or late in the year and also if there is abundant moisture and organic matter available. Flies not only are a pest, but they also decrease production efficiency. Flies cause livestock to expend extra energy fending them off instead of resting, feeding and milking. Other issues directly associated with fly pest problems on dairies include increased medication costs, veterinary costs, increased potential for disease spreading, and possible increased public complaints. For example it is estimated that Stable flies (biting, blood-feeding fly) can lower milk production by 15 to 30 percent (Westbroek, 2002). Additionally, contagious mastitis is also spread by high fly populations. Flies also can hinder worker productivity along with spreading disease to humans.