Tag Archives: crops

Public-interest groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency last week over its decision to reapprove atrazine. The groups claim atrazine is linked to birth defects and cancer in humans.

The lawsuit contends that the agency failed in its legal duty to ensure that the pesticide would not cause unreasonable harm to public health and the environment. An attorney for the Center for Food Safety says, “We are in court to make sure EPA answers for its blatant disregard of the lives of our nation’s farmworkers and their children.”

The lawsuit also challenges the EPA’s re-approvals of two other pesticides in the triazine class, which were part of the same review process as atrazine. Farm groups welcomed the September re-approval announcement made in Missouri.

At the time, Missouri Natural Resources Department Director Carol Comer stated, “EPA is using sound science to make decisions that protect children and workers, provide predictability and flexibility for our agricultural producers, and protect the environment.”

More than half of the United States is experiencing a drought as La Nina favors warmer and drier weather across much of the country.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the drought west of the Mississippi River and extends into Illinois and Indiana, as well as the Northeast. Drought conditions cover 91 percent of the 11 states in the West as determined by the Drought Monitor, with extreme drought conditions covering 40 percent of the region. That drought area expands into west Texas and the Plains states.

Drought conditions cover 98 percent of the High Plains states, and 35 percent of the Midwest. The southeast, including Louisiana, are largely spared from drought conditions, but at the cost of an active hurricane season.

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported the ongoing La Nina is expected to expand and intensify drought across the southern and central Plains, eastern Gulf Coast, and in California during the months ahead.

LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director (NDA) Steve Wellman issued statements following a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-register dicamba products.

“I welcome the recent decision by the EPA to approve registration for the ‘over-the-top’ dicamba products,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The agency’s transparent process provides certainty to Nebraska farmers and ranchers in a year where things have been anything but normal.  Our producers now have the necessary information to make confident decisions when it comes to spring planting in 2021 and for the next few years to come.”

“The EPA’s recent dicamba decision is welcome news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and the state of Nebraska – providing certainty for the industry when it’s needed most,” said Director Wellman.  “This outcome, based on science and stakeholder input, will allow Nebraskans the appropriate time needed to make informed decisions prior to the 2021 planting season.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will continue to work in partnership with the EPA to properly enforce this decision and respond to requests to adopt the new label and register products in Nebraska.”

The Department of Agriculture’s 2019 Organic Survey released Thursday finds total sales of $9.93 billion in organic products, an increase of $2.37 billion, or 31 percent, from 2016.

Released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the report shows there were 16,500 certified organic farms, a 17 percent increase from 2016, which accounted for 5.5 million certified acres, an increase of nine percent over 2016. California continued to lead the nation in certified organic sales with $3.6 billion, which is 36 percent of the U.S. total and four times that of any other state. Top organic commodities include livestock and poultry products, milk, vegetables and fruit.

The survey also asked producers about plans for future production. Twenty-nine percent of farms plan to increase their level of organic production. More than 1,800 certified organic farms have 255,000 additional acres in the three-year transition period required for land to become certified as organic.

An additional 710 farms not currently certified reported 61,000 acres of land transitioning to organic production.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – It may sound like a common refrain in farm country, but we sure could use some rain around here.

Kansas State University northeast area agronomist Stu Duncan talks weekly with extension agents across the state and many are sending the same message: The fall crop harvest has gone well, and much of next spring’s wheat crop is in the ground.

“But it is dry,” Duncan said. “It’s great weather for harvest, but not so good for seeding wheat. It’s going to take rain to get most of the later-seeded wheat up right now. And the ground is hard. That’s what we’re dealing with right now.”

Mary Knapp, the assistant state climatologist at K-State, said producers have “hopeful eyes” on a measure called the Quantitative Precipitation Forecast, which gives a picture of how much moisture might be received in the next seven days.

“The latest forecast (from Oct. 21) has a significant amount of rain falling in the eastern third of the state,” Knapp said. “The heaviest is in the southeast, where 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches might accumulate.”

She said the amount of rainfall expected through the end of October tapers off in the  north and west. “Further west, generally less than a quarter of an inch is expected,” Knapp said.

“Amounts less than a quarter of an inch will do little to improve conditions. One-quarter to 1 ½ inches will provide short-term relief, maybe enough to get wheat or other fall crops started.”

Unfortunately for farmers, Knapp said, a three month outlook beginning in November is for conditions that are warmer and drier than normal.

“What I can tell producers is that they should plan for a normal year, though I’m still not sure what a normal one is,” Duncan said. “As a farmer, you go for the norm, plan for success, but then be ready to pivot if you have to.”

In addition to satisfying their crops, farmers could use a little rain to help in restoring farm ponds or other supplies of water, and to anchor down some of the dry soil that is at risk for erosion. Duncan said the extension agents also are telling him that some farmers are getting a bit anxious about having enough feed to get livestock through the winter months.

An interview with Duncan is available online on the weekday radio program, Agriculture Today. Farmers can also get weekly updates from K-State Research and Extension in the Agronomy eUpdate, published by the Department of Agronomy.

More information on weather conditions, forecasts and other weather-related data in Kansas is available online from Kansas Mesonet.