Americans like their berries. They consume more than 8 pounds of fresh strawberries a year per person, almost twice as much as 15 years ago, according to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The increased demand is adding to a big problem in the agricultural industry: a labor shortage that is unlikely to improve soon, according to farmers and researchers. It means berries that would otherwise be sold might instead rot in the field. Technologists think automation eventually could help producers pick specialty crops like berries, apples, peaches and snacking tomatoes, just as high-tech combines from companies such as Deere & Co. already are helping farmers of commodity crops harvest grains. Autonomous robots that run along tracks also are ferrying bins inside greenhouses, cutting down the walking workers have to do, growers and industry researchers say. Read more from the Wall Street Journal. NewsOK highlights … [Read more...] about Can AI save the agriculture industry?
click to enlarge Screen grab via Nikki Fried/Twitter Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for the state's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has a problem with the National Rifle Association's vise grip on elected officials in Florida. Following a report from the Tampa Bay Times last week that brought to light emails exchanged between gun lobbyist Marion Hammer and officials within the agriculture commissioner's office, Fried sent a letter to Hammer, a former NRA president. In it Fried writes, "I won't be beholden to you." According to the Times report, which accessed hundreds of Hammer's emails with the department through a public records request, Hammer apparently has a serious amount of clout within the agriculture commissioner's office, in that her demands are rarely met with a resounding "no" and she's made a habit of reaching out with complaints at all hours of the day – not to mention on weekends and holidays, too. Hammer, however, defended the … [Read more...] about Florida Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried says she won’t be ‘beholden’ to the NRA
House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) offered the following statement after President Trump announced that the United States, Canada and Mexico have reached an agreement on the renegotiated NAFTA, now formally known as the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): “President Trump promised to deliver a modernized NAFTA agreement that was better for America’s farmers, ranchers, businesses and workers – and I’m hopeful this newly announced agreement will do just that. The initial prospects released by the administration are encouraging. Between eliminating Canada’s ‘Class 6 and 7’ dairy pricing policies and removing Canada’s discriminatory grain grading standards, many of the key requests from production agriculture seem to have been addressed. My staff and I continue reviewing the details, but I look forward to working with President Trump and his team to ensure that a strong, modern agreement among our … [Read more...] about Conaway praises Initial USMCA prospects for production agriculture
This is an unconventional year for candidates for state commissioner of agriculture, neither of whom has a deep, personal connection to Florida farming. One is a real estate appraiser and the other is a lobbyist for marijuana interests. Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried would be a stark change from the traditional mold of Florida’s chief farmer, bringing more diversity to the state Cabinet and a new emphasis on the increasingly important consumer services side of the job.Fried, 40, is a Miami native who served as student body president at the University of Florida, graduated with a law degree and worked in both public and private practice. When she became a lobbyist, she lobbied on behalf of school boards and foster kids and eventually marijuana interests when Florida passed a compassionate use bill in 2014, which paved the way for voter-approved medical marijuana.The agriculture commissioner runs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Fried would … [Read more...] about Times recommends: Nikki Fried for agriculture commissioner
Dr. Kristine A. Tidgren, adjunct assistant professor in the Agricultural Education & Studies Department and Director for the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, University of Arkansas, will review the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on farming businesses in a webinar, Oct 11, This class will discuss issues affecting owners of small C corporations, S corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Dr. Tidgren’s work focuses on studying and interpreting laws affecting the agricultural industry. In particular, she focuses on agricultural taxation. Included in the discussion will be a review of the new IRC § 199A deduction and its impact on agricultural cooperatives and their patrons, new depreciation and expensing provisions, new loss provisions, and the new tax treatment for personal property “trades.” The webinar gets underway at 10:00 a.m. Central Time in (U.S. and Canada). Link to Register: … [Read more...] about The Impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Agriculture