Ag Briefs: Iowa soybean leaders headed to China

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Farm worker buried in soybeans dies

Authorities say a Virginia farm worker was killed when he became buried in soybeans.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch cites an Amelia County Sheriff's Office release that says 30-year-old Dustin Lee Arthur was pronounced dead at the scene March 13.

The sheriff's office said Arthur was wearing a safety harness and was tethered to the grain bin at the time. Amelia County's director of emergency management, Kent Emerson, says rescuers had to create a way to safely enter the bin before digging to find Arthur, who was found deceased.

Emerson said Arthur was killed as farm workers were unloading the grain bin into a container truck. Authorities said Arthur had been trying to free the flow of beans.


Kansas winter wheat in poor shape

The latest government crop report estimates that more than half of the winter wheat crop in Kansas is in poor or very poor condition.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 17 percent of the Kansas wheat is in very poor condition with another 38 percent is rated as poor. About 34 percent is rated as fair with just 10 percent in good and 1 percent in excellent condition.

That assessment comes at the same time that topsoil moisture supplies were rated as short or very short across 81 percent of the state.


USDA declares ag disaster from drought in 4 states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared an agriculture disaster because of recent drought in 25 Louisiana parishes , three Mississippi counties , 61 counties in Arkansas and 60 in Texas.

Farmers and ranchers in adjacent counties in those and other states can qualify for low-interest loans if they can prove losses from the drought.


Construction underway for Chicago's largest greenhouse

Construction has begun on what will soon become Chicago's largest agricultural greenhouse — a project many hope will breathe new life into a historically underdeveloped neighborhood.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined community leaders Thursday to break ground on the 140,000-square-foot greenhouse. The facility will be run by Gotham Greens, a New York-based produce company that uses clean energy to grow fresh produce year-round.

The $12.6 million complex is expected to create 60 permanent and 70 construction jobs.
This is Gotham Greens' second facility in the Pullman neighborhood. The company also runs a 75,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse that provides fresh produce to local and national grocery stores across the Chicago area.


Soybean leaders worry about farm trade, travel to China

A group of Iowa soybean farmers will travel to China this week in hopes of smoothing over any rift in the trade relationship caused by the Trump administration's announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Iowa Soybean Association President Bill Shipley says now isn't the time for the U.S. to retreat as a trusted source of soybeans because U.S. commodity prices are sliding and other countries are ramping up production.

Nearly one of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is destined for China. Last year's Iowa crop was valued at more than $5 billion.


Grocers ask judges to bar food stamp figures' release

A grocery trade group has asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to block disclosure of annual food stamp revenues for stores participating in the federal program.

The Argus Leader reports a Food Marketing Institute lawyer told a three-judge panel Wednesday that releasing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program information would cause competitive harm.

The group appealed a judge's 2016 ruling that the sales figures through the program are public records. Gavin Villareal, a Food Marketing Institute attorney, says the numbers could be used to determine a store's total sales. 


Pennsylvania waterway soiled by 100K gallon manure spill

About 100,000 gallons of manure have spilled into two streams in Pennsylvania, killing fish in the area but not posing a threat to the water quality.

LNP newspaper reports a manure storage facility failure at a farm in Sadsbury Township caused the spill Monday. The state Department of Environmental Protection says the manure facility was located under a barn and had the capacity of 150,000 gallons.

The department says the manure reached Williams Run and the East Branch of Octoraro Creek that feeds into the Octoraro Reservoir. The reservoir supplies drinking water to people in Chester and Delaware counties.

The department says the dead fish were found in Williams Run. It says there has been no negative effect to the water quality in the reservoir.


OSHA cites plant in worker's death

A federal workplace safety agency has cited a northeastern Nebraska egg processing plant where a worker was killed last year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a news release that the Michael Foods plant in Wakefield violated several safety provisions in the September death of a worker.

OSHA determined that the plant failed to properly brace a dock leveler as it was undergoing maintenance, causing it to fall on the employee who was helping with the maintenance. A dock leveler is a device used to allow a forklift to travel between a loading dock and a trailer.

OSHA says Michael Foods faces $188,464 in proposed penalties and has 15 business days to respond.