National Briefs: VT farmers looking for relief

Wisconsin State Farmer


National briefs


Dairy farmers won't get relief

New Hampshire dairy farmers hurt by low milk prices and the drought won't receive any financial aid from the state before year's end.

The Dairy Farmer's Task Force instead wants the Legislature to vote on a funding relief bill early next year in the new session. The group endorsed a plan that would provide one-time aid to farms based on herd size, feed costs and how badly they were affected by the drought. A total price tag hasn't been calculated, but Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said about 100 farms would be eligible for the relief.

Members of the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund had initially hoped to see $3.6 million in aid approved this week when lawmakers were sworn in.

The drought forced many farmers to spend more on livestock feed, and some reduced their herds to save money. That adds to the financial strain farmers are facing from low milk prices, which state officials say have dropped nearly 40 percent in the past few years. The state had 115 licensed cow-only dairies in October, down from 123 in January, the Concord Monitor reported.


Thief steals 400 orange trees from Florida grove

Authorities in a central Florida county are looking for a thief who stole more than 400 newly-planted orange trees from a grove.

Orlando television station WFTV reported Monday that Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies were investigating the disappearance of the trees from a grove in Frostproof, Florida sometime last week.

The trees were valued at $3,000. The trees were planted to replace others that had died.


Farmers: Dig into Soil Health on World Soil Day

The Soil Health Partnership commemorated World Soil Day on Dec. 5 by encouraging farmers to reflect on steps they can take to make their land healthier. World Soil Day celebrates the importance of soil as one of our most vital resources.

To mark the occasion, the SHP has released an educational and fun white board video, “Farmers to the Rescue: How Healthy Soil Can Save the Planet.”

“Soil health is the next frontier in agricultural sustainability,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “Restoring organic matter through practices like growing cover crops will help soil sequester more carbon while making it more resistant to drought, and more resilient to floods. These are important goals worldwide as the population grows.”

With more than 65 farm sites already enrolled in nine Midwestern states, the SHP is the leader in field-scale testing and measuring of management practices that improve soil health. These practices include: growing cover crops to prevent erosion and nutrient losses; implementing conservation tillage like no-till or strip-till, and using advanced, science-based nutrient management techniques to reduce nutrient loss.


New development in saving global fruit industry realized

AUM LifeTech in collaboration with the USDA has developed a novel Non-GMO RNA silencing approach for bacteria, insect and pathogen control with a focus on citrus trees and fruits. Huanglongbing, a fatal bacterial citrus disease, also known as citrus greening has already caused an estimated $15 billion loss in revenue to the industry. Citrus is the most consumed fruit in the U.S. with an estimated annual $9 billion industry. These numbers are rapidly changing with losses increasing and industry size decreasing every year.

According to a study funded by USDA it was noted that Florida, which produces 66% of the total U.S. citrus, saw an almost 60% reduction in citrus production over the past 15 years. Brazil and China which produces almost twice than the United States are also struggling with citrus greening.


New Mexico farmers brace for another dry year 

Farmers in southern New Mexico are bracing for what could be another dry year.

There's not much water in Elephant Butte and other key reservoirs upstream, meaning any new water would have to come from snowmelt runoff next spring in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado's Rocky Mountains. However, snowmelt isn't looking promising either, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts warm weather and low precipitation over the next 90 days in those areas.

Gary Esslinger, manager for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, said there has been light snowfall in southern Colorado but that there still needs to be more in southern cities. Snowfall in the mountains near Denver drains into basins other than the Rio Grande.

Elephant Butte Lake, the largest of the reservoirs upstream from Dona Ana County, last week held about 151,300 acre-feet of water, just 7 percent of its capacity. A year ago it was 21 percent full. Caballo Lake, another nearby reservoir, is only 8 percent full.