Ag Briefs: Farmers apply for hemp growing licenses

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Farmers apply for hemp growing licenses

Wisconsin farmers strapped by stagnant dairy and grain markets are expressing interest in growing industrial hemp this year.

Brian Kuhn, director of the plant industry bureau at the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, says that more than 50 producers have applied since March for one-time licenses to grow industrial hemp.

Kuhn told the Wisconsin State Journal that farmers should be careful not to rely on the crop to solve their financial problems. He says farmers also must pay attention to rules for selling hemp, which differ from rules for selling corn, soybeans and other mainstream crops.


Prospective corn acres down from 2017

Wisconsin farmers intend to plant 3.85 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2018 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Prospective Plantings report. This is down 50,000 acres from 2017.

Producers intend to plant 2.20 million acres of soybeans, a 50,000 acre increase from 2017. If realized, this would be Wisconsin’s largest planted acreage on record.

Farmers also expect to harvest 1.20 million acres of all hay for the 2018 crop year, down 50,000 acres from last year. If realized, this would be Wisconsin’s smallest harvested acreage on record.

The report notes that producers indicated they would plant 230,000 acres of oats for all purposes, up 50,000 acres from 2017. Planted acres of winter wheat, at 230,000 acres, are up 20,000 acres from last year.

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official, survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2018 planting intentions.


Ag Dept. offers wedding contest

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is offering a $5,000 grand prize package in its wedding contest.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a news release that the Kentucky Proud Weddings Contest is aimed at giving Kentucky Proud businesses a chance at some of the U.S. wedding industry.

The agency launched a website in February for businesses that offer picturesque farm venues for wedding and receptions, foods and beverages, catering, flowers, gifts and other goods and services.


Order exempting farmers from dicamba ban challenged

Efforts to exempt some farmers from Arkansas' ban of an herbicide blamed for widespread damage were challenged in state court Friday April 13, days before the prohibition was set to take effect.

Arkansas' attorney general asked a judge to dissolve her order exempting more than 100 farmers and farming entities from the dicamba ban, which begins Monday and runs through Oct. 31. The state Supreme Court, in a separate case, halted another judge's order exempting six farmers from the ban.

Arkansas' dicamba ban was issued after the board received nearly 1,000 complaints last summer that the herbicide drifted onto crops and caused damage.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Mississippi County Circuit Judge Tonya Alexander's restraining order against the ban was invalid, saying it didn't state why farmers would face harm or why it was issued without giving notice to the state first. She asked for a hearing on or by Tuesday if the judge doesn't dissolve the ban.

Rutledge argued the farmers don't have standing to challenge the ban and that the state is immune from being sued over the prohibition. An effort by Monsanto, one of the companies that makes dicamba, to block the ban was dismissed by a state judge earlier this year.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday stayed an earlier ruling by a Pulaski County judge that exempted six other farmers from the dicamba ban.


Kansas couple continues to expand urban farm

A Kansas couple who grew their first crop in their Hutchinson lot last year says they hope to grow more and branch out to restaurants in Wichita in the coming season.

Maggie and Adam Pounds began growing microgreens in their basement and front yard in 2015, The Hutchinson News reported. They expanded in 2016 to a half-acre lot in South Hutchinson.

The Pounds now have rows of kale, bok choy, arugula, baby radishes and turnips, collard greens and more at Simple Abundance Farms. The lot now includes a small greenhouse for starting plants during cold months, and a larger high tunnel that will be finished soon.

The urban farm's crops are planted in soil mixed with compost that's covered with a tarp to keep weed growth to a minimum.

To help boost the farm's profitability, the couple chooses crops that can be grown in quick succession. Each bed can produce up to four different crop harvests per growing season.