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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sustainable Ecosystems and Community News: Earth is Losing Farmland at an Alarming Rate

Sustainable Ecosystems and Community News: Earth is Losing Farmland at an Alarming Rate: 2015 has marked the International Year of Soils, an event that many members of the public missed — but they shouldn’t have, because soil is vitally important for human survival. Ominously, a study from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures indicates that in the last 40 years, humans have chewed through 33 percent of the Earth’s topsoil, thanks to development and harmful farming practices.

2015: The Year Of The Unexpected, For Farmers Too - Yankton Press & Dakotan: Life

2015: The Year Of The Unexpected, For Farmers Too - Yankton Press & Dakotan: Life: 2015 has been an unpredictable and interesting year, and it’s not yet over.� Weather, politics, scientific advances, agriculture, well…a great many facets of life, were atypical this year.
During this year’s weather in the U.S. we had no devastating hurricanes, too much rain--or not enough, and now El Nino is having effects on pretty much the entire world.� Simultaneously, ice is multiplying in Antarctica while the rest of our planet is warming up.

10 Must-Have Agriculture Apps That Will Make You More Efficient In 2016 | CropLife

10 Must-Have Agriculture Apps That Will Make You More Efficient In 2016 | CropLife: So, I guess this mobile app frenzy isn’t a short-lived fad after all.

Consider in 2010 there was a “meager” 300,000 mobile apps in the Apple App Store, according to Statista Inc. That number mushroomed to 1.5 million apps in 2015 — a whopping 400% increase in just five years.

And the incredible volume of mobile apps has poured over into agriculture. With the number of farming apps available in leading app stores growing exponentially, it’s become next to impossible to successfully wade through the latest options that are helping make work more productive for ag professionals.

The costs and benefits of agriculture - CSMonitor.com

The costs and benefits of agriculture - CSMonitor.com: As climate leaders gather in Paris for the 21st�Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21), farmers and food leaders are paying close attention to negotiations, which will determine how global environmental policy will continue to affect the food system.

Alongside COP21, other workshops such as the�2015�Global Landscapes Forum�(GLF Paris) will take place. The�agenda�for GLF Paris includes indigenous land rights, agroforestry, international trade and biodiversity, and tenure rights around the world.

El Nino vs. the Amazon: researchers worry Brazil is not prepared

El Ni�o vs. the Amazon: researchers worry Brazil is not prepared: The severe fires that have been ripping through Indonesia’s forests have rightfully been a focal point for international media this year, as reports of ecological disaster, innumerable greenhouse gas emissions and a looming health crisis filter through the haze that has covered vast swaths of the archipelago nation.�However, another tropical region half a world away is dealing with its own serious blazes. Yet, even as world leaders convened in Paris for the United Nations conference on climate change, the fiery situation in the Amazon is getting little airtime.

Argentina's New President Cuts Taxes on Farms, Manufacturing

Argentina's New President Cuts Taxes on Farms, Manufacturing: Argentina's conservative new president, Mauricio Macri, got down to business Monday by eliminating or cutting a string of taxes on agricultural and industrial exports, seeking to kick-start Latin America's third-largest economy.

Macri, whose inauguration Thursday ended more than a decade of left-wing rule, had promised on the campaign trail to slash the South American farming giant's steep taxes on agricultural exports, which triggered major protests by producers against former president Cristina Kirchner.

Critics concerned about some wind farms planned for Texas - Beaumont Enterprise

Critics concerned about some wind farms planned for Texas - Beaumont Enterprise: The residents of Clay County gained national attention over the summer when it was announced the county's new Shannon Wind Farm would power Facebook's new billion-dollar Fort Worth data center 100 miles to the southeast.
Last July, Clay County Judge Kenneth Liggett told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that residents overwhelmingly supported the new wind farm near Windthorst, saying: "99 percent of folks like it. One or two don't."

Outside Interest Boosts Western Illinois Auction

Successful Land Sale... | Real Estate | Agriculture: Van Adkisson notes that farmland prices in western Illinois are holding fairly steady. The Bushnell, Illinois-based auctioneer sold 373.66 acres of cropland, grass and homestead in Warren County on December 11. The sale netted $2.533 million, or $6,780 per acre - a bit higher than what Adkisson thought it might bring.�

Equipment Sales Will... | Business News | Agriculture

Equipment Sales Will... | Business News | Agriculture: Farmers aren't the only ones feeling the pinch of lower grain and oilseed prices.
Deere & Co., AGCO, and other large equipment manufacturers are seeing sales decline and profitability slip as farmers, in general, have less money to spend on new combines, tractors, and trailers.
Corn prices dropped about 8% and soybean futures declined about 16% in 2015. Chicago wheat futures fell by about 5%. Weakness in global commodity prices will likely lead to a similar decline – from 5% to 10% – in sales for manufacturers of large agricultural equipment, analysts said.
“Farmers as a whole are going to be concentrating on how to save a little bit on the bottom line,” said Jason Britt, the president of brokerage Central States Commodities in Kansas City, Missouri. “If they’re on the fence a little bit about purchasing something, they might be likely to hold off a little bit.”

Earth is Losing Farmland at an Alarming Rate

Earth is Losing Farmland at an Alarming Rate | Care2 Causes: 2015 has marked the International Year of Soils, an event that many members of the public missed — but they shouldn’t have, because soil is vitally important for human survival. Ominously, a study from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures indicates that in the last 40 years, humans have chewed through 33 percent of the Earth’s topsoil, thanks to development and harmful farming practices. The grim findings are a bad sign for the future, as we rely on soil not just for sustenance, but also as a carbon trap, key component of nearly every ecosystem on Earth, and breeding ground for organisms with tremendous commercial and humanitarian applications, such as bacteria that could contribute to the development of cutting edge pharmaceuticals. We should be worshiping the ground we walk on, and this study indicates that we’ve been doing just the opposite.

If Interest Rates Rise, What Happens to Crop Prices? | Agweb.com

If Interest Rates Rise, What Happens to Crop Prices? | Agweb.com: With the Federal Reserve widely expected to finally raise interest rates this week, many farmers are bracing themselves for the likely impact on their operating loans. But they also need to prepare for how the Fed’s move will affect commodity prices.

“It’s in all likelihood is not going to be a big rate increase, but it’s going to be a game changer in that we haven’t seen a rate hike in a long time,” said Joe Vaclavik of Standard Grain, speaking on U.S. Farm Report this week. “Interest rates (and) the (federal) funds rate have been essentially next to zero for a long, long time.”

Lack of Dairy Processing is Everyone's Problem | Agweb.com

Lack of Dairy Processing is Everyone's Problem | Agweb.com: Minnesota might be the poster child for being careful about what you wish. Michigan isn’t far behind.

Just last winter, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association and the Midwest Dairy Association commissioned a study that showed Minnesota was not keeping pace with neighboring states’ milk production. Though milk production was climbing, it wasn’t climbing as fast as neighbors or the country as a whole.

Macri slashes agriculture export duties; farmers promise 30% larger crop next year — MercoPress

Macri slashes agriculture export duties; farmers promise 30% larger crop next year — MercoPress: Export taxes will be eliminated altogether for wheat, corn and sorghum, and for soybeans the tax will drop from 35% to 30%, confirmed Agriculture Minister Ricardo Buryaile. Taxes on wheat and corn exports were previously 23% and 20%, respectively.
“I am going to sign the decree today,” Macri said in a speech to farmers in the town of Pergamino, in the heart of the Argentine Pampas, the fertile plains that are the national breadbasket.

Rising Interest Rates Won`t Be Good For Commodity Prices, But It Won`t Be Too Bad Either | Farms.com

Rising Interest Rates Won`t Be Good For Commodity Prices, But It Won`t Be Too Bad Either | Farms.com: The financial markets and economists are in agreement that the Federal Reserve Board is likely to begin raising interest rates at its December 15-16, 2015 meeting. It seems certain that rates will be raised several times in the next year. As farmers begin thinking about what crops to plant next spring, a part of their thinking may be: what effect will interest rates have on commodity prices?

The literature, confirmed by recent research I conducted with my graduate student Aitbek Amatov, has reached a strong consensus that both an increasing money supply and declining interest rates are good for commodity prices, including agricultural commodities. The Fed's quantitative easing programs functioned similarly to more traditional methods of increasing the money supply. Now, after seven years of low interest rates and a quadrupling of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet (pumping about $3 trillion into the system although much of this ended up as excess reserves at the Fed), the Fed policies which favored higher commodity prices are about to shift into reverse.

Wake Up Call Allendale Advisory Center

Wake Up Call Allendale Advisory Center: Grain markets are quiet as traders are reluctant to build risk going into US policy decisions and FOMC meetings. Crude oil set new lows overnight. Can turn-around Tuesday provide a short covering rally for commodities?