#AgAlerts: Losing farms; giant pigs; recovery from wildfires

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A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues.

Ford outlined how sustained low commodity prices now meant that the average farm income in 2017 was $43,000, and that the median farm income for 2018 was minus $1,500. This had pushed bankruptcies in the farm states across the Midwest, which sell half of U.S farm products, to the highest level in a decade.

 As the pigs get larger and the yield goes up, the animals are likely to be increasingly uncomfortable, as their skeletal structure and internal organs aren’t necessarily built to deal with the strain.

The stories of five farmers who endured wildfires in the last two years. “You can read every book and online resource and go through the FEMA website and do as much objective research as you can, but nothing will really prepare you for what [wildfire] does,” he says. “Hearing stories from real people who have lived through it is absolutely vital.” 

Hydroponic farming can use about 95% less water than conventional field farming. If hydroponics systems were adopted just across the lettuce industry, they could save billions of gallons of water each year in the United States alone.

African swine fever is wiping out millions of pigs in China, and that’s starting to ripple through the global economy. While the disease doesn’t affect humans, it’s deadly to hogs and doesn’t have a cure. Some analysts and pork producers are warning that it’s only a matter of time before the problems in China start showing up in American prices for ham and bacon.