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MEXICO BEACH, FL

Michael ruins large part of Florida cotton crop

Researchers at the University of Florida estimate that Florida's cotton crop has been nearly decimated by Hurricane Michael's rampage.

Researchers at the school's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences said Monday that about 90 percent of Florida's cotton crop remained in the fields when Michael struck. They also estimate that about 40 percent of Florida's peanut crop is lost.

The researchers say they haven't yet calculated the value of Florida's crop losses from the Category 4 hurricane, which crashed ashore last Wednesday. They say the hurricane potentially impacted 3.6 million acres (1.4 million hectares) of upland forest and 1 million acres (more than 400,000 hectares) of field crops in Florida.

Florida's most famous crops, oranges and grapefruit, weren't affected much by the storm since they are primarily grown in areas south of Orlando away from the storm's track.

JACKSON, MS

Nation's largest egg producer buying Texas egg farm

The nation's largest producer of fresh eggs is buying a Texas egg producer.
Cal-Maine Foods of Jackson, Mississippi, announced Wednesday that it would buy Featherland Egg Farms.

Featherland has 600,000 egg-laying hens and a feed mill and other facilities near Marion, Texas, outside San Antonio.

No price or other terms were announced. Cal-Maine says it expects to complete the purchase in coming weeks.

Chairman and CEO Dolph Baker says Featherland was attractive in part because it's near other Cal-Maine facilities and major markets in south Texas. He says the acquisition will give Cal-Maine greater market reach.

Cal-Maine has 42 egg-producing facilities in 15 states, mostly in the South and Texas.

LANSING, MI

Federal grants awarded for Michigan specialty crop support

Federal grants have been awarded to organizations representing growers of a variety of Michigan specialty crops.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture supports efforts such as marketing, sustainability, boosting production, and preventing disease and pest infestation.

Director Gordon Wenk of the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the grants are particularly helpful because they can be used in so many different ways.

Individual grants could total as much as $100,000. Among those receiving the highest amount were Bay View Wine Trail Inc., the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan Farm Bureau and Pickle Packers International.

ATLANTA, GA

Cattle Corral Concludes: Last cow caught from highway crash

Officials say a cow who managed to hoof it for two weeks on the lam after a tractor-trailer overturned on a busy interstate junction north of Atlanta has been caught.

News outlets report 89 cows escaped when the livestock truck transporting them flipped Oct. 1 around 3 a.m. on the cloverleaf of Interstate 75 and I-285. Eleven cows were killed in the wreck.

The Georgia Department of Transportation's metro Atlanta district tweeted a photo Monday morning of the final cow in a wooded area. Department spokeswoman Natalie Dale says crews safely captured it in the afternoon.

The department previously said that the roundup after the crash included real cowboys. Some roads were closed and police dealt with four wrecks caused by the wandering cattle. No one was injured in the four accidents.

LINCOLN, NE

Farm groups, patrol announce livestock hauling agreement

Agriculture groups and Nebraska state officials have created new guidelines for taking care of livestock on trucks that are pulled off the road due to an accident or a failed safety inspection.

The new procedures announced Monday are designed to ensure that animals being transported are kept healthy, protected from extreme weather and properly fed.
They also were created to help livestock haulers comply with state road rules.

Agriculture groups say they wanted to be proactive with the animal shipments, and the new guidelines weren't inspired by any previous incidents. The coalition includes the Nebraska State Patrol, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen and the University of Nebraska.

Gov. Pete Ricketts calls the agreement a "great example of public-private partnerships."
 

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