Ag Journal | Concern for small farms fits broader policy shift

Ag Journal By Candace Krebs Earlier this year Sarah Lloyd, a dairy farmer who works for Wisconsin Farmers Union, organized a national roadshow that included a stop in Clovis, N.M., to rally solutions for what many now consider a full-blown dairy crisis. The problem she wanted to highlight wasn’t a shortage of milk. The U.S. is producing more milk per cow than ever before. But what Lloyd refers to as “no brakes” expansion is pushing out traditional family Read More …

USA Today | A nonprofit promoting dairy pays leaders millions — while farmers funding it go out of business

USA Today Cary Spivak As the number of dairy farms nationwide has plummeted by nearly 20,000 over the past decade, there’s one corner of the industry doing just fine: The top executives at Dairy Management, who are paid from farmers’ milk checks. The Illinois-based nonprofit is charged with promoting milk, cheese and other products – spending nearly $160 million a year collected through federally-mandated payments from dairy farmers. In 2017, a year in which 503 dairy farms closed in Wisconsin and 1,600 were shuttered nationwide, IRS records Read More …

Feedstuffs | Former poultry farmers push for GIPSA rewrite

Feedstuffs By Jacqui Fatka Former contract poultry farmer Craig Watts made headlines when he teamed up with Compassion in World Farming USA to expose issues he faced, from receiving sick chicks to animal welfare conditions to carrying the full financial burden of maintaining and upgrading facilities. In 2016, his contract was terminated by the poultry company he had served long term, and today’s he’s trying to ensure that farmers have government protection against retaliation from companies. “As American farmers, we deserve Read More …

Successful Farming | What Farmers Can Expect from the Latest Round of Seed Company Mergers

Successful Farming Gil Gullickson “Oh, one more thing,” says Ray Gaesser, as he holds out two fingers pointing to his shiny green 24-row corn planter on a bluebird April day. “Would you believe when I began farming over 50 years ago, I started with a two-row planter? Then I went to four, then 12, and now 24 rows.” The mix of largely family-owned and some national seed companies from which the Corning, Iowa, farmer bought seed from in Read More …

POLITICO | The Ivory Tower team of wonks behind Warren’s policy agenda

POLITICO By Alex Thompson and Theodoric Meyer Behind Elizabeth Warren’s trust-busting, Wall Street-bashing, tax-the-wealthy platform is a brain trust that extends well beyond the Beltway thinkers who often rubber stamp campaign proposals. Instead, the former Harvard professor and her tight team of policy advisers have waded deeper into the world of academia than is usual in presidential campaigns, according to interviews with more than a dozen people her campaign has consulted and a review of the scholarship underlying Read More …

Farm Progress | Merger moratorium bill introduced

Farm Progress Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill to place a moratorium on acquisitions and mergers in the food and agriculture sector. U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., introduced the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act. The bill would put an immediate moratorium in place until Congress passes comprehensive legislation addressing the problem of market concentration in agriculture. “Our agriculture and food sector have reached alarming levels Read More …

NPR | ‘American Soil’ Is Increasingly Foreign Owned

NPR By Renee Wilde American soil. Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can’t be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities. When the stock market tanked during the past recession, foreign investors began buying up big swaths of U.S. Read More …

DTN Progressive Farmer | Groups Rally for Farmer Bill of Rights Before Rural Forum

DTN Progressive Farmer By Chris Clayton STORM LAKE, Iowa, (DTN) — Several farm groups focusing on issues related to small family farms in crisis held a rally here Saturday leading up to a rural issues forum later in the afternoon with a handful of Democratic presidential candidates. NOTE: I plan to update this blog with comments from the forum later in the day as well as post tweets at @ChrisClaytonDTN Family Farm Action spearheaded the forum, along with Read More …