#AgAlerts: Small towns struggle; pesticide buffer zones; farm bankruptcies up

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

The current large farms, utilizing far fewer farms than in the past has created population loss that threatens scores of small towns that sprouted on the prairie in a different time, when larger numbers of small farmers depended on them.

“The end result is reduced protection in the application exclusion zone,” said Iris Figueroa, a lawyer for the advocacy group Farmworker Justice. Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group said smaller buffer zones will mean more risk of exposure. “Not a single farmworker justice, environmental, or public health group supports [administrator Andrew] Wheeler’s latest capitulation to the pesticide lobby,” he said.

From September 2018 through September 2019, Chapter 12 bankruptcies totaled 580 filings and were up 24% from the previous 12 months, according to John Newton, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Beijing could remove extra tariffs imposed on U.S. farm products to ease the way for importers to buy up to $50 billion worth, rather than direct them to buy specific amounts, the head of a government-backed trade association said.

On Monday, the Battle Creek, Michigan-based corporation, officially known as The Kellogg Company, entered into a settlement agreement with a class of five plaintiffs in California and New York, who alleged Kellogg used deceptive health and wellness claims to market high-sugar cereals and breakfast bars.