Farmers

Farmers Get Ag-gressive On Soil Health

Dec 7, 2017

A group of companies and nonprofits will provide almost $20 million to conservation groups to improve soil health in Indiana and across the country – a move aimed at putting more money in farmers’ pockets and protecting natural resources.

Money from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, General Mills, Monsanto, and others will go to three conservation groups to better understand soil health. Larry Clemens, the director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program, says Indiana is already a national leader in soil health.

New research from Purdue University finds that climate change could have far more adverse impacts on agriculture than originally thought.

The study provides a new “social cost of carbon.” State and federal agencies often use the metric to determine the damage additional carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere will have on society and the economy.

Farmers Seek Delay For Hazardous Air Emission Rule

Nov 14, 2017

Chicken and hog farmers want a federal court to delay a rule that would require they report certain hazardous air emissions from manure pits, but Hoosier farmers aren’t sure how they’d comply with the rule if it goes into effect.

A federal court ruled last April farms were not exempt from a 2008 Environmental Protection Agency rule regulating hazardous air emissions. The ruling takes effect Nov. 15, but Indiana Pork Producers executive director Josh Trenary says the EPA and ag industry groups want a delay.

Hoosier Farmers Toil As Corn Harvest Drags On

Oct 24, 2017

Indiana grain farmers are hustling to keep up with harvest as fall progresses.

The soybean crop is on pace with the five-year average as of this week, according to the USDA. But corn is less than half harvested, which is well below average for this time of year.

That’s put large operations like White Oak Farms in Putnam County under the gun to get their corn out of the field before it spoils.

Farmers in Indiana and across the nation are using more of a powerful, but controversial, weed killer this year — dicamba.

Dicamba has been used since at least the 1960s, mostly on corn. Last year, though, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a new type of dicamba to use on cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist the weed killer.

Don Lamb, who operates an 8,800 acre farm in Lebanon, says the new dicamba has created a problem.

New regulations for how big farms handle raw produce won’t affect the hundreds of vendors that sell at Indiana farmers markets.

But small-scale growers still have plenty of rules to follow.

In a trailer at the Lafayette Farmers Market, Graham Rider digs through a freezer stuffed with plastic packages of frozen meat. His family owns Thistle Byre Farm in Burnettsville.

“Here’s our thermometer,” Rider says, pulling it out from beneath totes of ground beef and lamb. “Oh, good. It’s below 20.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue wrapped up a Midwest road trip at the Indiana State Fair Tuesday.

Perdue met in private with state lawmakers about their goals for the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization.

That’s the $800 billion package of laws governing the nation’s agricultural and nutritional assistance programs.