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Agriculture

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  • California copper thieves knocking out water pumps Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 11:28 AM ET
    Copper water pipes.

    Rural thieves in bone-dry California are sacking water pumps and irrigation lines for copper, putting further pressure on farmers.

  • Grain mostly higher, livestock higher Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 10:50 AM ET

    CHICAGO— Grain futures were higher Thursday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for July delivery was 1.75 cents higher at $4.9075 a bushel; July corn was 1.25 cents higher at $3.8325 a bushel; July oats were unchanged at $2.6650 a bushel; while July soybeans was unchanged at 9.6775 a bushel. June live cattle was. 28 cents higher $1.5195 a pound;...

  • Zimbabwe takes tobacco road to agriculture recovery Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 3:52 AM ET

    HARARE, April 15- Fifteen years after Zimbabwe's agriculture sector collapsed in the face of President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms, its tobacco industry is again booming, with black farmers funded by private firms producing a near record crop. Production of tobacco, increasingly sold at a premium to China, was up 235 percent last year compared...

  • That means the seafood could be available in as few as two years— but only if USDA moves quickly to complete the rules and seafood companies decide to embrace them. The United States is "trying to play catch-up on organic aquaculture," says Miles McEvoy, who heads up USDA's organic program. The European Union and Canada, along with other countries, have been exporting...

  • Despite Hindu beliefs that cows are sacred— and the fact that their slaughter is banned in most of the country— India is the world's fifth-largest consumer and second-largest exporter of beef. The meat, which in India comes from bulls and buffaloes, is widely eaten in some communities, particularly by low-caste Hindus and millions of Muslims and Christians.

  • Bird flu outbreak could head eastward with fall migration Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 5:00 PM ET

    Now they're preparing for the worst, said Donna Carver, extension veterinarian at North Carolina State University. The highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza strain has turned up since December in commercial poultry farms, backyard flocks wild birds in the Pacific and Central flyways, but it's done the most damage in the heavily traveled Mississippi Flyway,...

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday he is pleased with the number of grain farmers signing up for the new five-year federal farm bill's main crop supports, but final results will not be available for another month. "They are still signing up," Vilsack told Reuters in an interview. The final deadline for getting paperwork in was April 7, though...

  • The key to helping small farmers? Going organic Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 2:57 PM ET
    US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

    Government invests in organic farmers to meet growing consumer demand and boost rural incomes.

  • California water wars: Farms vs. everybody else Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 2:16 PM ET
    Signs referring to the water shortage in Kettleman, California's Central Valley.

    California has the most people and the biggest farm economy, but an epic drought is turning the two against each other.

  • CHICAGO, April 15- The U.S. government will boost support for production of organic crops and produce this year to meet growing consumer demand and boost rural incomes, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are currently 19,474 certified organic operations in the United...

  • Thirsty? 'Toilet to tap' gets real in California Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 1:43 PM ET
    Purified water after processing at the Orange County Water District

    Communities in the Golden State are expanding water recycling programs, and support for “toilet to tap” programs is growing.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it is removing two stocks— the gag grouper of the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic albacore— from its "overfished" list. The agency is also taking six stocks off of the "overfishing" list, including the Gulf of Maine haddock, the South Atlantic gag grouper, the western Atlantic Bluefin tuna, the snowy...

  • Grain higher, livestock mixed Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 10:49 AM ET

    CHICAGO— Grain futures were higher Wednesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for July delivery was unchanged at $4.9650 a bushel; July corn was 2.25 cents lower at $3.7875 a bushel; July oats were unchanged at $2.6825 a bushel; while July soybeans was 9 cents higher at 9.73 a bushel. June live cattle was 1.50 cents higher $1.5192 a pound; August...

  • U.S. pushing organic crops as demand grows Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 10:44 AM ET

    CHICAGO, April 15- The U.S. government will boost support for production of organic crops and produce this year to meet growing consumer demand and boost rural incomes, U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. According to USDA data, in 2015 there are 19,474 certified organic operations in the United States and 27,814 around the...

  • Consumers buying more organic products despite high prices Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 10:37 AM ET

    Sales of organics have been rapidly growing since the United States put strict rules in place and began certifying organic products in 2002. According to the Agriculture Department, the number of U.S. organic operations has more than tripled since then; the number grew 5 percent just last year. The Organic Trade Association estimated in a report released...

  • GRANTS PASS, Ore.— Federal regulators on Wednesday approved an early closure of commercial sardine fishing off Oregon, Washington and California to prevent overfishing. The decision was aimed at saving the West Coast sardine fishery from the kind of collapse that led to the demise of Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck's novel of the same name set in...

  • MOSCOW, April 15- Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Wednesday the ministry had yet to decide whether a wheat export tax should be extended for the next 2015/ 16 marketing year and whether to lift a ban on some Western food products. Russia banned most Western food imports, worth about $9 billion, last year in retaliation to Western sanctions...

  • Unseasonal rain causes heartache for many Indian farmers Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 3:50 AM ET

    LUCKNOW, India— April is usually a time of celebration for millions of farmers across northern India. The largely agrarian state— India's most populous, with 210 million people— has declared a state of emergency to seek funds from the federal government to compensate farmers. Our granary is full and we clear all our dues by selling our produce, "said Vinod Kumar, an...

  • SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California's drought is not likely to have a significant effect on the state's economy or budget despite leading to cutbacks on farms, a nonpartisan fiscal analyst said Tuesday. Jerry Brown warns might be the new normal in California, is a long-term risk to the state economy if it slows home construction or leads to higher food prices.

  • CHICAGO, April 14- The number of U.S. poultry flocks infected with a deadly strain of bird flu rose on Tuesday as Iowa identified its first case and Minnesota confirmed eight more cases, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Twenty-two commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota, the leading U.S. turkey-producing state, have been infected with the H5N2 flu in...