The Ag Blazin’ Five for 2021 (and beyond)

OK...it's once again time for your audacious commentator to give his hot takes on the agriculture stories that will make news in 2021. This year I've enlisted the help of Homer Simpson who truly knows something about predicting agricultural events before they happened (witness the Simpson take on a horsemeat scandal and the invention of the “tomacco plant”).

Opinion: Humanity’s future at stake on November 3rd

In the history of our planet there have been five previous major mass extinctions. Now there's a sixth mass extinction brewing.... the Holocene extinction. The Holocene is comparable in scope to the one that wiped T-Rex and all his dinosaur brethern off the face of the earth. Until recently a majority of the public had no idea about the ticking time bomb in their midst.

#AgAlerts: Bailout; Mexico’s corn; climate, solar and farms

Based on a midyear survey, the USDA estimates there were 2.023 million farms in the nation in 2019, a tiny decline of 5,800 farms from the previous year. The change is more dramatic when the time frame is widened — there are 3% fewer farms now than there were in 2014, and the amount of farmland, 897.4 million acres, or 1.4 million square miles, fell by 1.3% during that five-year period.

#AgAlerts: Climate change; pesticides; Gates Foundation Ag Center

Missouri agriculture officials are struggling to address a backlog of complaints from farmers who allege that dicamba-based herbicide drift from another farm has damaged their crops. The Missouri Department of Agriculture has about 600 pending pesticide investigations. Some of them date back to 2016, the year that Bayer-owned Monsanto began selling its dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

#AgAlerts: CAFOs; Solar; Partial wavers

A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues. Do factory farm bans have a political future? | Newfoodeconomy.com   

CAFOs have long been a hot-button issue in big farming states like Iowa and North Carolina. “In Iowa, there’s been like, 15,000 new CAFOs in the last eight years or something like that,” says Bob Martin, program director of Food System Policy at the Center for a Livable Future. “And they’re continuing to intensify in North Carolina, in broiler [chicken] CAFOs on the Eastern Shore [of Maryland] … they’re kind of moving unabated,” he adds.

#AgAlerts: Climate change; pollinators; news deserts; meth; hemp

“We are watching these young farmers, beginning farmers, stemming the tide. After watching the drain of our young people leaving agriculture, this is the first sign we’ve had in quite some time—hemp is bringing people back to farming.”