Midwest Briefs - Limits on livestock lawsuits ok'd
ST. PAUL, MN
Officials confirm first capture of silver carp on St. Croix
Minnesota officials have confirmed the first capture of an invasive silver carp on the St. Croix River.
The DNR says a commercial angler caught it near Prescott, WI, as part of a monitoring project, just upstream from where the St. Croix meets the Mississippi River.
DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer says it's disappointing but not unexpected. In 2014, two silver carp were found in the Mississippi just upstream from the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix.
The commercial angler also caught one bighead carp, another species of invasive Asian carp. Bighead carp were previously caught at the same location and further upstream on the St. Croix.
Frohnauer the captures don't indicate that the two species have established populations or are reproducing in the St. Croix.
Indiana's Family of Farmers to celebrate Agriculture Day
Indiana's Family of Farmers group is planning a celebration of the state's Agriculture Day at the Statehouse.
The organization will recognize the economic and cultural contributions that agriculture makes to Indiana during the March 21 celebration. The event is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Indiana Statehouse's north atrium.
Organizers plan to host an agriculture appreciation luncheon, exhibits from Indiana farm organizations and agencies and announcements of Ag Day video contest winners with the help of Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. The contest asked participants to answer what the future of agriculture means to them.
Indiana Family of Farmers representatives will also read the governor's proclamation designating "Ag Day" in the state.
EAST LANSING, MI
Grants for innovative approaches to farm conservation
The USDA is offering grants of up to $75,000 for innovative approaches and technologies to improve conservation on farmland and private forests in Michigan.
Proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants are due by May 9. Among those eligible to apply are individuals, businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities and American Indian tribes. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service says it has $225,000 available to fund grant proposals in Michigan.
USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee says the grants are designed to focus on conservation projects that promote science-based solutions benefiting producers and the environment. Projects could include on-farm pilot projects and field demonstrations. Funding is intended to quicken landowner adaptation of promising technologies.
Nebraska dairy farms uses first robotic milking systems
Robotic dairy operations may seem like a thing of the future. In fact, they were in Nebraska until last month.
That's when the Demerath Farms dairy made state history when it began using four robotic milking systems on its expanding dairy operation. At maximum capacity, the dairy will milk 240 cows, three times a day, the Norfolk Daily News reported.
Bill Demerath said the day-to-day work on the farm has, indeed, changed since the robots were installed Feb. 21.
"We'll be able to come in and do our chores, but we can do them whenever we want," Demerath said. "In the old (milking) barn, we would've walked in at 5:30 in the morning. Four hours in the morning, four hours in the afternoon we had to be milking cows, so we couldn't get anything else done."
DES MOINES, IA
Iowa Senate approves limits on livestock nuisance lawsuits
The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that limits damages in nuisance lawsuits filed against livestock producers, with supporters arguing that the operations are in the public interest.
Sen. Dan Zumbach said the legislation is intended to protect animal agriculture, which generates $38 billion annually in economic impact and provides 160,000 jobs in Iowa.
The bill makes it easier for livestock farmers to fight off lawsuits filed by neighbors who object to odors and other nuisances by arguing the neighbors could have done more to lessen the impact, such as by planting trees. The legal concept is known as affirmative defense.
It also limits the monetary damages a neighbor may seek in a lawsuit to only the lost value in their property caused by the livestock farm. It also places strict limits on any monetary damages for adverse health conditions caused by living in close proximity to a livestock farm.