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MASON CITY, IOWA (AP)

Proposed chicken farm raises concern in Cerro Gordo County

Residents and officials are uneasy about a proposed farm slated to house 98,000 chickens that will likely be approved with little oversight from Cerro Gordo County.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reviewing a manure management plan for the proposed Wharam Creek Poultry facility, the Globe Gazette reported. The farm is slated to be just 2,000 birds shy of regulation requirements for large animal feeding confinements in Iowa, so it would face less strict regulations and less county input.

"It's really somewhat problematic for counties when you have a facility that's this size, because there's very little input that they have if it's built,'' said Adam Shaffer of the Iowa DNR's Mason City office.

Among county officials' concerns is that the application indicates owner Adam Pope doesn't plan to incorporate the chicken waste into the field surface. Pope said he does plan to work the manure into the ground.

"The manure is only going to be removed from the building once a year and applied to the field ground, and then it will be incorporated within 24 hours or less,'' he said.

County officials said they fear that even if Pope incorporates the waste, the odor could affect residents, businesses or public spaces in the area. Officials are also concerned about runoff into a nearby creek, said John Robbins, an assistant administrative officer for Cerro Gordo County Planning and Zoning.

Pope said there are grassy areas between the field and the creek and a pasture, to reduce runoff into the water.

Shaffer said he'll send the company a letter with permission to build if the facility meets all the requirements.

ST. LOUIS, MO

Thousands “Farmer Up!” at 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio

In spite of challenging times in the farm economy, thousands of growers and agricultural advocates opted to “Farmer Up!” and attend the 2017 Commodity Classic March 2-4 in San Antonio, Texas, in huge numbers.

“Commodity Classic continued in its tradition of excellence this year, demonstrating the enthusiasm America’s farmers have for continuous learning and improvement,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Kevin Ross, an Iowa farmer.  “From the exhibit halls to the learning sessions, the men and women who attended generated an electric energy sparked by their passion for agriculture.”

Total attendance was 9,303, the second-largest total in event history, second only to the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans.  Growers represented 4,102 of that total.  Among the throng were 920 attendees who were enjoying Commodity Classic for the very first time.

The trade show featured 425 participating companies, including 83 first-time exhibitors.  These exhibitors filled 2,266 booth spaces and represented a wide range of technology, innovation, equipment, products and services.

Educational sessions were also a huge draw, with many sessions enjoying standing-room-only audiences.  “Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic and this year’s line-up was no exception,” said Ed Erickson, Jr., a North Dakota farmer and Commodity Classic Co-Chair.  “Farmers are continually seeking information, ideas and innovation that can give them an edge—and Commodity Classic is the place to find it.”

The General Session featured remarks from U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, and inspirational speaker John O’Leary.

Country music star Pat Green performed during the Evening of Entertainment on Saturday.
The 23rd annual Commodity Classic will take place February 27-March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, California.  Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Cary, NC

FarmTrade leads the online crop protection industry with another record-breaking year in 2016

FarmTrade.com, the first and only online exchange for crop protection products, begins 2017 with steady growth after a record breaking 2016.  FarmTrade was founded in 1998, under the name XSAg, changing its name to Farmtrade in the Summer of 2014.

“We are thankful to our 100,000 members and clients for trusting us with their farm chemical needs,” says Jeff Stow, President of FarmTrade LLC.

Stow attributes FarmTrade’s continued success to its unique approach to a complicated marketplace.  “Our value proposition is savings, transparency, and simplicity.” Stow explains, “FarmTrade is a completely free service for buyers, and sellers pay a fee only on goods sold.  There is no cost to register as a member and members have free access to price ranges for more than eighty of the most highly traded active ingredients and their equivalents.  Members also receive the FarmTrade e-mail newsletter which offers continually updated chemical trading ranges as well as industry insight from our knowledgeable FarmTrade staff.  We welcome members to call to discuss pricing and current trends and our no pressure sales approach makes it an easy call.  While our goal is to win your business, we are happy to have the opportunity to serve our members with pricing updates and industry trends.”

“As the industry’s leading e-commerce platform we are excited for the future as we continue to offer our members unmatched service and lucrative savings,” stated Stow.

FarmTrade LLC, is based in Cary, NC and is the premier online crop protection marketplace.  Additional information may be found at FarmTrade.com.  Inquiries should be directed to Jeff Stow at Jeff@FarmTrade.com or 919-439-6004.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

General Mills boosts eco-friendly grain Kernza

A sweet, nutty-tasting new grain called Kernza is getting a big boost from General Mills.

The giant food company is intrigued by the potentially big environmental benefits of a drought-resistant crop with long roots that doesn't need to be replanted every year.

General Mills is partnering with the Kansas-based Land Institute and the University of Minnesota to commercialize Kernza, a wild relative of wheat. It plans to incorporate it into cereals and snacks under its Cascadian Farm organic brand.

Kernza comes from the perennial intermediate wheatgrass plant. Its dense roots extend over 10 feet deep.

This represents the second but largest major move to commercialize Kernza. Patagonia Provisions last fall rolled out Long Root Ale, which is sold at Whole Foods stores on the West Coast, using Kernza from Minnesota.

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